Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Islands of New England (08.22.18)

Enjoying the show at The Islands of New England. Photo by Kat.

Sigh. I've just returned from dropping off Christina -- aka Kat Claxton -- at LAX. She's heading to Europe for three weeks, and it's a trip she's wanted to take for many years. I'm happy for her, of course, and were I not in a situation where a long period away from work wasn't feasible, I'd have loved to go too. But I'm not the kind of person that would hold back their significant other from things they wanted to do just because of my lack of interest or ability to be involved. That having been said, I really don't like it when she's gone, and while I am a capable adult who can manage just fine on my own, her presence here will be missed.

Meanwhile, there's a ton of shit -- good shit, bad shit, exciting shit, boring shit, and every other kind of shit -- going on at the moment. My son has his first college classes starting next week. All manner of craziness is going on in the government of the USA, which seems to require my checking various news sources about 80 times per day. And, of course, there are the mundane aspects of getting work done, maintaining a home, and all that stuff we all do. It all eats up time and energy.

Side note: I'd been half-heartedly encouraging myself to use the time while Kat is gone to spend a good amount of time in the evenings and weekends on working on new music. I have at least three different projects I could be writing and recording right now... my solo stuff as Zak, my band stuff with They Stole My Crayon, and a whole other thing that isn't baked enough to even mention just yet. I know myself pretty well, and I'm not entirely convinced that I'll actually accomplish any music at all while she's away. We'll see. Regardless, I have a cornucopia of activities to keep myself preoccupied while she is traveling, so my cup runneth over and boredom is really not something that concerns me.

The Show
I always like performing at The Islands of New England in Second Life. I've been doing shows there on a fairly regular basis for about 7-8 years now. I think one of the things I enjoy best about it is that the folks who run the place -- Christine Haiku in particular -- have a better understanding about what goes into a show in SL than most folks do. Christine always refers to my shows as "concerts", and when I first heard her say that, I felt it was a slightly overblown term to use for what we virtual world performers do. But really, in my case and that of many others, it really is enough of a focused performance that it could be considered a concert experience. I carefully curate a set list that I plan based on many factors and tailored to the place where I'm performing. I try and engage with my audience at every single show. I hope that at least sometimes, they close their laptops or walk away from their computers at the end of a Zak Show and feel like they got some decent entertainment from the comfort of their own homes.

Anyway, knowing that, I feel very much at ease at TIONE, and whether we get a big crowd or small, I put the same amount of energy into the performance and do the songs I think people would like to hear (whether they know it or not). Hopefully, I occasionally introduce people to the music of bands and artists they might not have heard otherwise, and it's an outlet to perform my own music (which people would definitely never, ever hear if I wasn't out playing it in SL). I have never once felt forced to conform to any one musical style or vibe at TIONE, and always feel appreciated there. I can't ask for more than that.

Photo by Kat.

Photo by Kat.

Musically, as usual, I had some thoughts behind my set list. "This Afternoon" was one of a couple of songs I'd written about missing Kat before we lived together. "California" is literally about someone traveling through Europe and wanting to come home. There was a theme there, albeit a subtle one. Also, I pulled out songs I hadn't played before by Depeche Mode and Chastity Belt (one of Kat's favorites, actually). I'd say it was a fine example of a Zak Show.

One final note: while we'll still be sweltering in a heat wave or two over the next month here in Southern California, we are quickly approaching my favorite time of year in autumn. I only mention this now because fall has a big effect on my music, and I'm hoping for some seasonal inspiration coming soon.

The Islands of New England set list...
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Airport Bar (Martin Courtney)
Blew the Dust Away (They Stole My Crayon)
One of These Things First (Nick Drake)
*Enjoy the Silence (Depeche Mode)
Washed Away (Zak Claxton)
Among the Leaves (Sun Kil Moon)
*On the Floor (Chastity Belt)
On The Way Home (Buffalo Springfield)
Pickles (Zak Claxton)
Games Without Frontiers (Peter Gabriel)
California (Joni Mitchell)
Waking Light (Beck)

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

Big thanks to all who came out the the show at TIONE, with special thanks to the following who helped support it!
Alexis Fairlady, Triana Caldera, RansomTalmidge Resident, hynesyte Harbour, go2smoky Resident, Anastasia Yanwu, Tyche Szondi, TheaDee Resident, Kat Claxton, Aurelie Chenaux, my great manager Maali Beck, and the always wonderful Christine Haiku!

No comments: