Thursday, April 30, 2009

Notes Shack Pub (04.30.09)

I really never know what to expect when I play at Krakov Letov's little bar in SL, the Notes Shack Pub. All I can tell you is that I seem to have a fun time every time I play there, and it doesn't seem to matter whether the place is empty or packed. Of course, I tend to prefer the latter, and we scrounged up a nice sized crowd of about 25 today for my 2:00PM show.

By the way: at 11:30AM, I went into the Notes Shack and started getting myself ready to play. That is, until Krakov reminded me that I wasn't scheduled to take the stage until 2:00. Oops. I thought it was noon for some reason. Ah well, no harm done.

So, as you ZakBlog readers know, I've been focusing a lot on my original tunes lately, and I think it's been great playing my own stuff nearly exclusively. But every once in awhile, everyone needs some variety in their lives. I decided that the Notes Shack would be a fun place to go "Old School Zak" and pull out a bunch of covers to mix into the set. I think we all had a great time as a result. I definitely had some good energy coming back at me from the crowd.

Here's the "Old School Zak" set list...
Bertha (Grateful Dead)
Thanks Anyway (Zak Claxton)
Little Wing (Jimi Hendrix)
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Comes a Time (Neil Young)
You're Like a Cloud (Zak Claxton)
Tea in the Sahara (The Police)
Nowhere Man (Beatles)
Come Around (Zak Claxton)
Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Queen)
Always Tomorrow (Zak Claxton)
Love Hurts (Everly Brothers)

Thanks to everyone who helped support my show...
Horizon Darkstone, Obeloinkment Wrigglesworth, Triana Caldera, Diana Renoir, BJ Barbosa, Gretchen Capalini, and the mighty Krakov Letov!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Originals (04.26.09)

Bringing the ZakRock to lots of new and cool people.

Neat place for a big show.

Ah, so that's what 90 people look like. It's been awhile.

When I first heard about THE ORIGINALS, a group in SL of people who perform their own song exclusively, I was immediately interested. First and foremost, I was interested as a music fan. Don't get me wrong; I like hearing someone do a terrific cover song as much as anyone, and have spent a lot of time in SL playing covers while I worked on my own stuff. These days, my shows are about two-thirds originals on average, with some covers thrown in to mix stuff up every so often.

But I digress. Today, the Originals held an all-day festival for -- you guessed it -- original music. Here was the line-up:

12.00pm - POL Arida
12.30pm - STRUM DIESEL
1.00pm - ZAK CLAXTON
3.00pm - The AfterParty with DJ DOUBLEDOWN TANDINO

So, I had the pleasure of joining some of SL's finest for this entire day of live music. I usually don't stay the entire day for these kind of events, but it turned out to be the perfect day to relax and enjoy the company of Kat (here in real life) and all my musical compatriots in SL as well.

I can say honestly that everyone I heard today sounded pretty fantastic. It was a definite honor getting to play before one of my personal favorite musicians in SL, Grace McDunnough. But all the performers really brought their A-game and played some terrific stuff. I really enjoyed it. My set was at 1:00, and the show was run very well (thanks to Harrie Skjellerup) so right on time I got to start my half-hour show.

Set list for THE ORIGINALS (Sun 4/26/09)...
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Thanks Anyway (Zak Claxton)
Falling Down (Zak Claxton)
You're Like a Cloud (Zak Claxton)
Always Tomorrow (Zak Claxton)
Come Around (Zak Claxton)

I'd say it went really well, considering that a week ago, I was completely laid up with the flu, and hadn't played for a week before that either. It was a really nice way to jump back into doing gigs in SL, and huge thanks go out to Harrie Skjellerup for getting me involved in this terrific group.

Big thanks to everyone who supported today's show!
Triana Caldera, Diana Renoir, Harrie Skjellerup, Reginald Beck, Ron Kaffebaum, Shellie Sands, sarahjo Teardrop, Jeaninne Mathilde, Natasja Koenkamp, Jordan Hazlitt, Krakov Letov, Kat Claxton, Bourque Rau, Winston Ackland, Jura Shepherd, Amylyn Arcadia, Aurelie Chenaux, Strawberry Holiday, and Eli Schlegal!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Another new demo song (04.12.09)

I have a good problem.

I had decided awhile ago that 11 songs was a pretty good total for my first album. Why 11? Pretty simple; as we all know, most music today is purchased online via downloads, from places like iTunes, Amazon MP3, Rhapsody, and so on and so forth. And we also know that most songs sell for $0.99, and albums sell for around $9.99. So, to make an album worthwhile for a listener to want to buy, it should have a value worth more than the sum of its parts. Therefore, an album needs at least 11 songs to cost $9.99. Res ipsa loquitur.

There are also limits to what one can include on an album, due to the fact that at some point, it also needs to be put on a physical medium such as a compact disc. The compact disc is still a pretty cool way to store and distribute music, even with its popularity on the decline. You can put about 80 minutes of music on a CD, which is a lot; my entire album of 11 songs should clock in as such:

1. Lines On Your Eyes (3:35)
2. You're Like a Cloud (3:34)
3. Falling Down (4:13)
4. This Afternoon (3:16)
5. Come Around (3:04)
6. The Sands of Redondo (4:35)
7. Time Never Waits for You (4:12)
8. Always Tomorrow (3:11)
9. Thanks Anyway (3:01)
10. Waxing Gibbous (3:30)
11. Waiting for This (6:04)

So that's only a little over 42 minutes, and obviously, we have room for more music. And therein lies the problem; I am definitely anxious to finish the recording of this album and get it out there, but at the same time, I keep writing songs, and it's entirely possible that I can include them on this album.

All that having been said (and I hope you didn't doze off while reading that crap), I have a new demo tune that you can check out. No lyrics yet, and only a half-assed melody that I can hum at the moment. But it seems like it could be a strong song, and I'm still debating as to whether it a) goes on the album in addition to the current list, b) goes on the album in place of one of the other songs that I have yet to record, c) is put out as a single while I'm working on the next album, or d) is just put on the shelf until we record the next album.

Decisions, decisions. In the meantime, here's the new song idea. Enjoy.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Averlast Boxing (04.11.09)

Bourque Rau is a hockey fan, if you couldn't tell by her avatar name (inspired by NHL great Ray Bourque). Maybe that's why she thought to approach the group Averlast Boxing to see if they wanted to host a live music event. Bourque is a great fan of live music in SL, and she's taken it upon herself to go around and set up what she calls "investment gigs". We musicians are donating a little time and effort, but helping to spread the word to people to might not ordinarily get exposed to the music scene in SL.

So, that was the spirit when I went over to Averlast today. Averlast is a group for boxing and MMA (mixed martial arts) in Second Life, and they'd scheduled my show directly after a big tournament fight. In retrospect, I"m not entirely sure that was a great plan; I think after a bunch of aggression, you might not be up for hearing some guy strumming away on a happy acoustic guitar, lol.

But we did manage to scare up a pretty decent crowd that included a bunch of great friends and fans (and both), as well as get some new folks from the Averlast group to hear a bunch of my tunes. And, most importantly, it was a really fun day. I can't put a value on that, so I'm happy to say I'd gladly do another "investment gig" for Bourque if she calls me to play again.

Today's set list...
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Thanks Anyway (Zak Claxton)
Old Man (Neil Young)
You're Like a Cloud (Zak Claxton)
Always Tomorrow (Zak Claxton)
Tribute (Tenacious D)
California (Joni Mitchell)
The Man Who Sold The World (David Bowie)
Falling Down (Zak Claxton)
Come Around (Zak Claxton)
Behind Blue Eyes (The Who)
Lines On Your Eyes (Zak Claxton)

Thanks to everyone who came out to support me and the SL Live Music scene today!
Julianna Lionheart, Diana Renoir, Red Hykova, Jordan Hazlitt, Chyna Landar, Alex Barth, jsmn Yao, hexx Triskaidekaphobia, and especially Karine Koba for hostessing and Bourque Rau for putting the show together!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bay Vista Rainforest (04.09.09)

About to get onstage at Bay Vista. April 9, 2009.

Now this was a fun show. We had a nice-sized crowd of seemingly happy people, and despite having taken two weeks off SL performances, my voice and guitar were working with me (as opposed to against me, as they occasionally tend to do).

Last time I played at BV Rainforest, it was cool and fun but I didn't draw a large crowd that day. In contrast, I got wedged between KevinMThomas Carpool and Zacharia Loon, and I think I benefitted from both of their respective crowds. In any case, I felt nicely inspired to rock, so rock I did. And, giving myself a break from my own songs (which I do like, but play a LOT), I did throw a couple of extra covers in on the spur of the moment. I think the people approved.

The set list for Bay Vista Rainforest today...
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Summer Breeze (Seals & Crofts)
Thanks Anyway (Zak Claxton)
Always Tomorrow (Zak Claxton)
You're Like a Cloud (Zak Claxton)
Falling Down (Zak Claxton)
Fire & Rain (James Taylor)
Come Around (Zak Claxton)
For the Turnstiles (Neil Young)
The Weight (The Band)
Soul Kitchen (The Doors)

Big thanks to those who helped support my show today!
kittie Serendipity, Amanda Steadham, OESSI Harbour, Shiwa Taurog, Alexandri Ashbourne, Chrysalida Burnstein, Bourque Rau, Blindboy Gumbo, and Bay View's lovely owners, Charm March and Gretchen Capalini!