Sunday, February 7, 2016

Zak Claxton Happy Fun Show (02.06.16)

Here's a little story. I got up on Friday morning in a pretty typical manner, taking a quick peek at the news on my iPad before getting in the shower and moving ahead with my day. I also happened to notice that I had a message via Facebook, so I took a quick peek. It was in regard to the live show I was supposed to perform on Saturday in Second Life... which had been canceled. It really never bothers me much when an SL show doesn't happen as planned. My only disappointment is for any of my friends/fans whom I'd already invited to the show, but even then, it's hardly the end of the world.

But while I showered, an idea came to me that more than made up for the cancellation of my SL show. I'd been planning on doing a Zak Claxton Happy Fun Show -- my live music event that I host every so often on Ustream -- for quite some time, and I hadn't done one for about a year and a half, since November 2014. Now I had a perfectly good reason to do just that. I quickly switched over the details of my planned event, and let folks know that I'd be rocking on live video rather than in a virtual world. For those of you who are interested in doing such a show, let me point out a few differences.

1. People can see you. The actual flesh that makes up yourself. Yes, that's the point of doing a video-based show. If you can't handle the idea of being seen while you play music, you can always just stream your audio, or put up a video of something other than yourself. But really, what the hell is the point of that? You, however you look, in whatever kind of shape you're in, at whatever age you are, are you. No one else can be you. Own that shit.

2. Clean your damn room. Seriously, do not do a live video show that tempts people to start memes about your underwear that's draped on a bedpost, or that week-old pizza slice on top of your amplifier. You don't have to build an elaborate stage set or have laser lights or anything. Oh, that having been said...

3. Make sure that people can see and hear you clearly. It's not hard. Test your audio and your video before your show. Set up whatever camera you're using at an angle that is good for watching a live music show (like, not on the floor pointing at your socks). Don't do your show in a room so dark that your viewers have to guess which set of pixels is you.

4. Acknowledge the camera. This especially goes out to my fellow Second Life performers, some of whom may have less experience doing live shows where they can physically interact with their audience. Think of the camera as a friend who is chilling in the room with you. Watching a show of some person staring at a music stand off to their right is just slightly more exciting than a show about paint drying, no matter how well the person is performing music.

Image captures by Kat.

My only last bit of advice about doing live video shows is that if you're not enjoying it, don't bother. I actually welcome the opportunity to have people see me play live. I can do things that I can't do at an SL show in terms of how the audience can connect with and relate to me as a performer. There are many video-based music performance platforms out there in addition to just using a service like Ustream, so whether you're a player or a music fan, check them out.

ZCHFS set list...
Radio Free Europe (R.E.M.)
Northern Sky (Nick Drake)
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Blew The Dust Away (They Stole My Crayon)
*Gardenia (Iggy Pop)
Airport Bar (Martin Courtney)
On a Plain (Nirvana)
Underwater Underground (They Stole My Crayon)
It's Choade My Dear (Connan Mockasin)
*Appetites (Jib Kidder)
Ashes to Ashes (David Bowie)
You're Like a Cloud (Zak Claxton)
Tribute (Tenacious D)

*Indicates the first time I've performed this song live

Thanks to my people who tuned in to watch me rock. More ZCHFS events coming soon!

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