One thing that you keen-eyed readers of this blog have likely noticed: I don't perform at as many Second Life venues as I did a number of years ago. The reason is simple, and purposeful. First and foremost, going back to 2011, I stopped doing any shows at "tips only" venues. It's my opinion that it would be completely unfair to charge some venues a performance fee, and then turn around and do that same hour of music for free elsewhere. Not everyone feels the same as me in that regard, and that's fine; I only can live based on my own set of ethics, and I don't assume or demand that others will want to act the same.
But since then, there's also the very important aspect of time. I am a busy human being, like many of us are. I own a small business. I am a father. I have a love life. And, musically speaking, I devote a chunk of my time working on the writing and recording of original music, as a solo artist and with my band They Stole My Crayon. All of that adds up to my not being able to spend a ton of time preparing for, promoting, and performing shows in SL. I am fortunate that my manager Maali Beck understands this very well, and she never books me without checking on my availability, nor does she push for my doing shows more frequently. Therefore, when you see show reports on this blog from the same few venues repeated time and time again, it's because playing those places is my choice.
Last night's show at Serenity Gardens was a good one, as most of them are. While it wasn't the right timing for my doing new songs as I often do (more on that below), I made a specific point of pulling out some tunes that haven't been in my set for a number of years in some cases.
The reason I didn't have time to choose and learn any new tunes for this show is that my weekend was filled with creating a different sort of new songs... those of my own. Last week, my bandmate Bunny had suggested suggested that he and I do an ICS session. ICS, as I've mentioned before, stands for Immersion Composition Society. Per the true ICS "rules" (note: there really aren't rules... just ideas), some writers do as many as 20 songs in a single day. I found that pushing for quantity just for the sake of getting to 20 songs is a limiting factor for me, so I basically spend a day and get as many as I can. My only personal rule is that even if I have some other songs in various stages of completion, I use absolutely nothing that doesn't start and finish on the day of the ICS session. Every song I do on one of those days literally did not exist before I awoke that morning. If you'd like, you can listen to the results of that 24 hour songwriting session below.
My weak point as a songwriter is the first part of that word... the song. Songs are sung. I'm a decent singer -- not great, mind you -- but that's not the issue. When I try and force myself to write lyrics while not being inspired to do so, it's almost always a recipe for musical disaster. For this ICS session, I made a decision to continue writing music and not let my lack of lyrics stop me from it being a productive day of music creation. That's why out of the seven songs I did, only one of them have a full set of lyrics. I honestly tried doing lyrics for one of the other songs, and realized while I was recording those vocals that they were so horrifyingly bad that I was better off just leaving them out.
Keep On Rocking in the Digital World
All that left me with little opportunity to learn any new cover tunes for the show -- and the new original songs were so new (and incomplete) that performing any of them live wasn't really possible. But still, the show itself was really good. We had a fun crowd, and of the songs I did choose to play, several were in the "extremely rare" pile. Below are a bunch of photos from the show courtesy of Kat.
Serenity Gardens set list...
Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie)
Falling Down (Zak Claxton)
Saved by Zero (The Fixx)
Low Key (Tweedy)
Shame Chamber (Kurt Vile)
Pickles (Zak Claxton)
Afternoon Delight (Starland Vocal Band)
Nowhere Man (The Beatles)
Bag of Nothing (They Stole My Crayon)
Gardenia (Iggy Pop)
Bring On The Night (The Police)
As Tears Go By (Rolling Stones)
Radio Free Europe (R.E.M.)
Big ol' thanks to each and every person who came to the show, with special thanks to the following who helped support it!
Lyin and Joe Trafalgar, Rosie Arnaz, hynesyte Harbour, TheaDee Resident, Trouble Streeter, Kat Claxton, go2smoky Resident, Diana Renoir, Aurelie Chenaux, Bee Blackrain, my excellent manager Maali Beck, and the fabulous team at Serenity Gardens, Tilly Rose and Ilsa Wilde.