Friday, April 17, 2015

The Islands of New England (04.16.15)

I have a sticky floor in my kitchen. The reason I have a sticky floor in my kitchen is because I performed last night at The Islands of New England in Second Life, and afterwards I was starving, so Kat came over and I made a huge pot of spaghetti with meat sauce, covered in delicious parmesan and romano. We scarfed down that dinner, and as I was cleaning up, Kat's sweater caught the top of an open bottle of Coke, which upended and somehow managed to spray in 360 degrees of carbonated insanity. I thought I'd mopped it up sufficiently last night, but then this morning, my sneakers were behaving as if they were partially glued to the linoleum. Apparently, I have more mopping to do, but first, I'll tell you about the show I did previous to the dinner and the Coke incident.

First off, I should note that my pal Taunter Goodnight was performing directly before me, and while Taunter is well known as a great singer and an entertaining performer in general, a lot of her material is in the pop and even traditional realm. So imagine my surprise when she ended her set with two completely rocking songs. The lady was belting out tunes Janis Joplin-style, and then wrapped up her set with "Tush" by ZZ Top. So basically, I found myself in the position of having been out-rocked by Taunter before I'd even strummed a note on my guitar.

Most of you know that I'm doing less and less shows in SL. The reasons are very simple:

• Less venues are able/willing to pay artist fees, and I don't perform for free or for "tips only".

• Along with Christina and Bunny, I am extraordinarily busy with the creation of the first They Stole My Crayon album, and there are only so many hours per week that I can dedicate toward music. Even if every venue in Second Life wanted to book me every day, I still wouldn't be able to perform more than once or twice a week, max.

• Perhaps most importantly, my personal perspective is that performing too often causes a musician to have less of an appreciation of each individual show. Therefore, since I'm playing less frequently, each show becomes something more special.

Crayon song debuts
I want to specially note that this show marked the live performance debut of two brand new They Stole My Crayon songs: "Carry Me Here and There" and "Disarmed". Both debuts went very well for a first-time performance. I find that there's a special aspect of trying to do original music in the stripped-down environment of one instrument and one voice: when people get to hear the fully fleshed-out version of the song that we do in the studio, with multiple voices and instruments, it's a fun experience for them. They're already familiar with the song, but they get to experience it in a whole new way. So, as was the case with my last solo album, I will be continuing to do Crayon tunes at SL shows as often as possible. I should also note that my performance of "Carry Me Here and There" was also the first time I've ever played a song live whose music was written by my lovely Kat. While she's contributed to our band's lyrics quite prodigiously, "CMHAT" is her own debut as a musical composer, and I think it's great (and by their reaction, so did my audience last night). It was nice being able to show off her skills via my performance, as I've often done with songs that Bunny or I created.

All photos by Kat.

TIONE set list...
Northern Sky (Nick Drake)
Carolina In My Mind (James Taylor)
*Carry Me Here and There (They Stole My Crayon)
*London Calling (The Clash)
Wakin On A Pretty Day (Kurt Vile)
*Disarmed (They Stole My Crayon)
Sleeper In the Valley (Laura Veirs)
Comes a Time (Neil Young)
Falling Down (Zak Claxton)
Blew the Dust Away (They Stole My Crayon)
Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd)
It's Choade My Dear (Connan Mockasin)
Everyday I Write The Book (Elvis Costello)

*Indicates the first time I've performed this song in SL.

Massive thanks to all who came out to my show at TIONE, especially the following folks who helped support it.
RansomTalmidge Resident, Kalie Indigo, TheaDee Resident, Sesh Kamachi, Richy Nervous, Kat Claxton, Taunter Goodnight, Aurelie Chenaux, Celeste Ewing, Barbara Mixemup, my great manager Maali Beck, and the lovely events manager of TIONE, Christine Haiku!

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