Thursday, September 24, 2015

Key West (09.23.15)

It may just be a bunch of pixels, but Key West is a visually stunning place for live music. Photo by Kat.

This is a tale of triumph and tragedy. Well, not really. Minor triumph and insignificant tragedy, I suppose. Okay, even that is silly hyperbole. I'll start again.

This is a tale of my show last night at Key West in Second Life. I have performed at Key West dozens of times. I've said many times that it's one of the best live music venues in all of SL, and I've meant it every time. In fact, it continues to prove itself in that regard time and time again. Previous to the show, I saw that as usual, Key West owner Liz Harley had set up a bill that was chock full o' talent. Nova Falta! Bi-Polar Express! Twinghost Ronas! And capping off the evening's festivities at the late 8-9PM set, the one and only me! It sounded like a great plan. Except it didn't happen that way. TG had to cancel, which happens to every artist occasionally, usually for good reasons. Of course, I didn't know this until I'd logged into SL to get ready for my show. A quick glance at the map told the tale; instead of the expected sea of green dots that showed the full house that one often finds at Key West, I saw that there were maybe three people there... my manager Maali Beck and two Key West staffers.


Okay, not really. In fact, it didn't bother me in the slightest, and I'll tell you why: never once have I performed at Key West to an empty room. That venue is excellent at bringing in people, and despite the fact that I started from basically zero, in typical Key West fashion, by the time I was strumming my first chords, we had a nice-sized audience that continued to grow as I played on. And play I did... it was one of the semi-rare nights that both my voice and my freshly-restrung guitar were sounding about as good as they get. I suppose that I can credit the new guitar strings for that side of things, but I honestly have no idea why sometimes my voice is laser-focus on pitch and sounding great, and other times I sound (to my ears, anyway) like a stressed-out goat. I'd like to know why this is the case, but I've been singing and performing live music since I was a small child, and I've never been able to narrow down between about a million factors that might be influential in this regard. To paraphrase the great Yogi Berra, who passed away yesterday, performing live music is 90% mental... and the other half is physical.

Rocking my crowd. Photo by Kat.

Having fun with people having fun. Photo by Kat.

I've literally never had a bad show at Key West. Photo by Kat.

Strumming, singing, laughing. That's a fine way to spend a Wednesday night. Photo by Kat.

One more thing about last night. Liz Harley, who owns and runs Key West, has spent a long time fighting a physical disorder. Earlier this month, she had been in the hospital for a surgical procedure, and has had Key West being run by her fantastic staff. I did not expect to see her at my show last night, but as I was getting set up to play, her smiling avatar popped up there. I know she's still very much in recovery mode and shouldn't overexert herself, but having her be at my show is probably one of the factors that inspired me to play my best. Liz has done so much for the SL music community, and is beloved by many. I thank her for all she's done, and wish her a speedy recovery (and share her opinion that antibiotics, though life-saving, really do suck).

Anyway, we ended up with a great crowd of enthusiastic music lovers, I did one of my best shows in recent memory, and it ended up being a terrific night that reminded me of all the positive aspects of live music in SL. Not bad, huh?

Key West set list...
Saved By Zero (The Fixx)
Gimme Shelter (Rolling Stones)
Bag Of Nothing (They Stole My Crayon)
Shame Chamber (Kurt Vile)
Underwater Underground (They Stole My Crayon)
*Nothing Compares 2 U (Prince)
On The Way Home (Buffalo Springfield)
Sleeper in the Valley (Laura Veirs)
Always Tomorrow (Zak Claxton)
Things Behind the Sun (Nick Drake)
Don't Let It Bring You Down (Neil Young)
Blew The Dust Away (They Stole My Crayon)
Improvised Outro Tune (Zak Claxton)

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

Big, big thanks to everyone who took time out of their evening to come see me at Key West. You are always appreciated!
Helllor Highwater, Carol Greenwood, canisincognitus Resident, Alexis Fairlady, Chiral Euler, Isis Rexie, Landarbeiter Resident, Kat Claxton, Votslav Hax, Sesh Kamachi, RansomTalmidge Resident, Christine Haiku, CB Axel, TheaDee Resident, GregKat24 Resident, my wonderful manager Maali Beck, Key West hosts Tommi Bayn and Syd Baddingham, and most of all, the queen of Key West, Liz Harley.

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