Rocking for my bro Luis on a Sunday afternoon somewhere in SL. Photo by Kat.
I'd had no plans to do a live show on Sunday -- a rarity for me -- until I heard from Whata Conundrum via Facebook (a person whom I now know by at least three names, but I digress). She let me know that there were plans being made for a surprise birthday party for our mutual friend Luis Lockjaw. Whata (the lady formerly known as Grace Sixpence) is, along with Luis, one of the co-owners of Lutz City of Templemore, a live music venue and virtual environment in Second Life where I've performed many times over the years. And Luis, of course, is a terrific guy whom I'm proud to call a friend. I didn't hesitate for a moment; I accepted the offer to perform immediately.
I decided to put together a similar set of music as I'd do at a Templemore show, but the show couldn't be actually held there; that wouldn't work with it being a surprise for Luis, you see. In fact, until maybe 10 minutes before the start of the show, I really had no idea where it actually was. I'd been sent an LM, but the actual place wasn't ready for primetime until right before the show (it turned out to be a nice-looking club in a giant skybox somewhere over one of the FaMESHed sims). The whole thing was put together by Whata and Brooks Breeze Zapp, and they did a great job; not only was there a nice big crowd of Luis' friends there right from the start, but Luis himself seemed genuinely surprised by the whole thing.
The birthday boy. Photo by Kat.
You have to have good friends who would go out of their way for you to do stuff like this. Luis obviously is someone who has lots of people who care about him. Pretty cool. Photo by Kat.
Side note: I always make sure to invite my Zakster fans to every show I play, but I wasn't quite clear as to whether or not this was a completely private party (and I knew for a fact it was supposed to be a surprise for Luis), so I decided to err on the side of caution instead of letting the news get out. Turns out I could have dropped some invites once the party got started, but by then, I had a guitar in my hands and was kinda busy. Especially since I'll be doing a more regular Zak Show tonight at Serenity Gardens, I didn't think missing me for one show was a big deal for my loyal friends and fans.
Only In SL
Over the almost 14 years I've been doing live music in Second Life, I've often mentioned the unique aspects that allow people from all over the world to gather together and enjoy things with people they'd otherwise never have even met. But during this era of the pandemic, it's even more mind blowing that people can have the feel of being gathered together in a room, something I mentioned specifically during the party. I think that this aspect of Second Life is even more appreciated these days. In previous years, it was still an option for more people to have real-life activities to choose to do; now that choice has been removed for most folks. And yet, there we were, socializing and having a great time, packed into a crowded club. It reminded me that while I rarely have the luxury of "hang out" time in SL beyond my own live music shows (just from being so damn busy here in reality), I really enjoy it when I do.
My view from the stage. Photo by Kat.
Oblee Is Great
So, one more quick note. I was booked to play from 4-5pm, and normally I'd have to split pretty soon after my own show, but since this was a Sunday and I didn't have anything major going on afterwards, I was able to hang out for the rest of the event, and my fellow veteran SL performer Obeloinkment Wrigglesworth (more commonly known as Oblee) had the slot after mine. I truly enjoy his music and have for a long time, and I found his performance style of layering loops was just perfect for the occasion. People were dancing and being silly; at some point, someone passed around nipple lasers to the crowd (something that really only could happen in SL), and the place looked like a full-on rave for awhile. Anyway, he was great as usual, and Kat and I ended up staying for the full duration of the event. It was fun feeling like I was hanging out with friends in a packed club, as opposed to sitting in the middle of a pandemic in Southern California.
I will continue wearing a mask in SL as long as it's required for me to wear one in RL. Photo by Kat.
Oblee music and nipple lasers. Only in SL. Photo by Kat.
Luis Lockjaw's Party set list...
*Luis’ Fanfare (Zak Claxton)
Loading Zones (Kurt Vile)
Among the Leaves (Sun Kil Moon)
Thank U (Alanis Morissette)
Don’t Let It Pass (Junip)
High and Dry (Radiohead)
Northern Sky (Nick Drake)
Vacancy (Neil Young)
Falling Down (Zak Claxton)
Shiny Happy People (R.E.M.)
Homeward Bound (Simon & Garfunkel)
Straight On (Heart)
Happy Birthday to You (Traditional)
*Indicates a song I've never performed before in SL.
Thanks to Whata and Brooks for throwing this great party and for inviting me to play it, and to all the people who seemed to be enjoying themselves while I did my thing! And, of course, extra thanks to Luis for being a great guy who's been super supportive of my live shows for many years!