Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Islands of New England (06.26.18)

People enjoying my show at The Islands of New England. Photo by Kat.

I was having a typical day yesterday when The Islands of New England event manager Christine Haiku contacted me. Before I tell you what she said, perhaps I should tell you what a typical day in Zak Land is like.

For the past 15+ years, I've worked for myself. I have a little firm that does marketing communications for the musical instrumental, professional audio, broadcast, and media technology industries. That means I do a lot of creating. I write, I do graphic design, I do web content and maintenance, I handle social media, I make various sorts of advertisements, I create and distribute press releases, and am also involved in putting together marketing strategies for a variety of companies.

Therefore, I get up early in the morning, and spend my entire day doing these things, and since I'm pretty good at what I do, I'm never not busy. I spent the first 10+ years of my career doing similar duties as an employee, and let me tell you: people who are successfully self-employed work harder and longer hours than any internal employee, period. And yes, since I work from my home, there's no commuting involved, and I have a little more control over the scheduling of my life, but as the old joke says, self-employed people have complete flexibility in life... we can work any 14 hours per day that we choose. And even that is not entirely true, since we still need to be in meetings and interact with companies during their business hours.

Anyway, that's my typical day. Despite being near-constantly busy, I like my job and my life. It also allows me to really appreciate the non-work things I do, which includes doing stuff with my family, being active and involved in social/political matters, and, of course, playing live music when I can.

Rocking with a Canadian
That brings us back to yesterday, when I got messaged on Facebook by the aforementioned Ms. Haiku. Apparently my pal Lyndon Heart had been scheduled to perform after me at New England, which is always nice, but had to cancel. Side note: I find that Christine is excellent at pairing artists who perform at her venue. It's something that not every venue owner/manager thinks about, but makes a big difference in how much of the crowd stays from one act to the next.

What Christine wrote was, "Since Lyndon had to cancel... I found a good back-to-back for you. Bringing the bromance back to life between you and Joel."

How I responded was as follows: "YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

Joel Eilde (as he's known in Second Life), aka Red Heaven (his band's name), aka Joel W Corey Tamas (which I assume to be his birth name), is a Canadian dude with whom I share many qualities. We were born with a couple of weeks of each other, so we share many cultural similarities that age influences. Despite living a few thousand miles away from each other between our respective locations in eastern Canada and the US's west coast, we interact pretty frequently on social media and have become friends. There have been a few times where we've played in consecutive sets in SL, and I always make it a point to do something silly to poke at him when the opportunity arises. This time, I referred to him as Canada's most cherished musician above such people as Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and so on... and then performed his country's national anthem in a quite sincere way.

Me, freaking out because I'd convinced myself my guitar volume was turned off (it wasn't). Photo by Kat.

My view. Photo by Kat.

A look from above, if you were flying by while I sang "O Canada" for Joel. Photo by Kat.

What a great place to experience live music in the virtual world! Photo by Kat.

I should mention that we had a fine crowd at TIONE, and I noted during my show that nearly the entire audience was comprised of green name tags, which is the SL indicator that these people were my friends. It's a relaxed and warm vibe whenever I play shows there, and it ended up being the perfect venue to cap off my recent series of Second Life shows. I also hung out for most of Joel's show, as he's really a good performer whose music and vibe I personally enjoy.

One final note: since I'd recently been messing around with my audio/streaming systems, I had a bit of an issue just as I started the show. Without getting into tech geek detail, I usually perform with headphones on so I can hear a reasonable approximation of what my audience is hearing. However, there was a routing problem that was causing a little delay in my phones, which would have really hampered my ability to play well. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to just do my whole set with no monitoring at all, which apparently worked fine except for one moment when I panicked and mistakenly thought that I'd done an entire song without my guitar volume being on. After I freaked out and then my audience told me to calm down and chill the fuck out, I stopped worrying and just played, and everything, as it turned out, was fine. It usually is.

TIONE set list...
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (Neil Young)
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
What’s the Frequency, Kenneth? (R.E.M.)
The Crystal Ship (The Doors)
Half Moon Bay (Sun Kil Moon)
Pink Moon (Nick Drake)
Fire & Rain (James Taylor)
Someday (Mariah Carey)
Trouble Child (Joni Mitchell)
Happy Birthday to You (Traditional)
*Play With Fire (Rolling Stones)
*O Canada (Traditional)
Blew the Dust Away (They Stole My Crayon)
Alabama (Neil Young)

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

Big thanks to all who came to last night's show, with special super thanks to the following who helped support it!
Alexis Fairlady, go2smoky Resident, Joel Eilde, Radslns Hutchence, Kat Claxton, TheaDee Resident, Asimia Heron, not4gods Resident, Aurelie Chenaux, Triana Caldera, my terrific manager Maali Beck, and the always-lovely events manager of TIONE, Christine Haiku!

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