I'm not an easy person to analyze. Not even for myself. Especially for myself, really. It's not easy for me to pinpoint why I do what I do, or why I like what I like. I've learned over the course of time that making these confirmations is less important than I used to think it was. For example, most of my shows in Second Life are good. Some seem better than others to me, and sometimes, the reasons are obvious. Like any performer, I have days when my voice is more cooperative, or my guitar playing seems to come more easily. And I have the opposite kinds of days where for whatever reason, neither are doing what I want them to.
But that's not really what seems to make me wrap up a show with a high degree of satisfaction. The performance aspect of the show -- what material I did, how well I felt I sang and played -- is really only one component of many. Last night, for example, I felt I had a really strong show at Panorama Art Center in Second Life. It had been over a year and a half since the last time I played there. I've said before that my feelings of confidence in performing at a particular venue were tied into my level of familiarity with the place, but there are other aspects as well. The people who run the place make a huge difference, as do the number of friends I have in the crowd. When I feel confident, I lose the self-consciousness that's an inhibiting factor to any kind of performing artist, and it always makes for a better show. I don't divert the mental energy I'd spend on my performance toward being concerned about what people think about it.
Photos by Kat.
Anyway, we had a really good combination of factors rolling last night. I was booked for the show by one of my most longterm SL acquaintances, Ursula Cinquetti. The folks who run Panorama seemed to all be in attendance, and I recall that I enjoyed their company during our previous interactions. And yeah, we had a great turnout of Zaksters, which always helps put me at ease during a show. Plus, and this is no small thing, the place itself is cool. Let's face it; some SL venues feel weird or oddly contrived. The virtual environment of an SL venue does have an effect. But I need to note one other very important factor: the other artist(s) who play at the venue, especially the one directly preceding me. Last night, I was fortunate enough to have a super talented person who I believe is a kindred spirit to me in many ways, musically and otherwise... Matthew Perrault, aka Matthew Broyles, aka The Matthew Show.
I don't know about other artists, but when there's someone playing directly before me, I'm listening to that person's set while getting my own shit together to play. Having someone really good, whose music I enjoy, is an inspiration for me. I've even made last-minute adjustments to my set list in order to have a better transition from the last performer to my own show. With a guy like Matthew playing before me, it couldn't be more of an easy process. While we're different in the kind of material we play, there's a vibe that makes for a good flow for the audience. We both enjoy independent music, we're both songwriters (and enjoy doing the music of our fellow songwriters), and we both play fully live. Neither of us are very interested at all in doing current pop hits. In fact, heh heh, we both probably go out of our way to not do those songs. And yet, both of us are pop artists in our own way, and both explore multiple genres of music as influences to our own.
Anyway, enough on that. I felt great taking the stage after Matthew's last tune, and the good feelings stayed with me throughout the hour of my show. I also pulled out one They Stole My Crayon tune that I hadn't ever done before, so that was cool, too. And finally, it appears that both Matthew and I will be doing a repeat of our shows there in another month or so, which gives me more to look forward to on the horizon.
Panorama set list...
Never Run Away (Kurt Vile)
Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
Northern Sky (Nick Drake)
*River Shallows (They Stole My Crayon)
Sleeper in the Valley (Laura Viers)
It's Choade My Dear (Connan Mockasin)
Blew The Dust Away (They Stole My Crayon)
Big Yellow Taxi (Joni Mitchell)
Peace Love and Understanding (Elvis Costello)
Low Key (Tweedy)
I've Been Waiting For You (Neil Young)
Say Goodbye (Beck)
You're Like a Cloud (Zak Claxton)
Tea for the Tillerman (Cat Stevens)
*Indicates the first time I've performed this song in SL.
Big, big thanks to everyone who came out to my show at Panorama, especially the following who helped support it!
Timo Dumpling, Triana Caldera, Kat Claxton, Sesh Kamachi, CB Axel, Christine Haiku, RansomTalmidge Resident, Cicadetta Stillwater, Aurelie Chenaux, TheaDee Resident, Alexis Fairlady, Ursula Cinquetti, Matthew Perreault, my manager Maali Beck, and everyone at Panorama!