Os has uploaded his flickr photos from last Wednesday.
I should be a little bit careful what I say about this one, because my enjoyment of the evening as a musical experience and as a thing I supposedly do for fun is completely at odds with what I have been hearing in the recordings, the first download from which I put up on Thursday, and the second a couple of hours ago. The recordings are nice. The gig felt less so.
This was our outing at Ember in Farringdon on 14 November 2007, our first at this venue, featuring regular contributors Mike Bearpark and Os, plus special guest Michael Peters, who we were lucky to include in the lineup during his visit to England for the Norwich looping festival gig on the 17th.
It has been sinking in for some time now that as the organiser of these things I'm bound to phases of not enjoying them very much. When we're trying out a new venue, and one of our players drove all the way from Germany the previous day, you can understand if I feel uneasy with regard to the possibility of having fewer people watching than playing. In fact it wasn't quite that bad apparently, and there were good comments to the bar staff from people who did watch us, but this kind of gig-uneasiness has been happening to me a lot. There have been several musically very good Improvizone gigs this year, that I hope the other players enjoyed and found to be worthwhile, but that I don't remember feeling good about at all. Sadly this is what organising a gig is all about.
The guys this time did some terrific playing and came up with some lovely stuff over much of the evening, as I hope to the downloads in the next week or so will show. This is especially hard without much of an audience to provide the motivation. That aside, we were trying out this place, and my two conclusions so far are that a basement venue like this is not necessarily a good idea in the middle of the week, and that if the sound setup is so involved that I'm blogging the goddam wiring diagram, it needs to kept simpler. Daniel from The Resonance Association mockingly pointed out how the aforementioned schema had stripped the last vestiges of musical romanticism, detachment and mystique from the prospect of coming to watch us. He came to the gig anyway. But I know what he means.
About the venue, Mike B seemed to agree it might not be quite right for us. Though it's a nice room, and has a nice corner for us to play in with easily enough room for a fifth player, those two spaces felt quite separate. We're not really part of the bar ambience. We're right down the other end. It would have helped if we'd managed to get the house PA working. More effort on that next time. Because of that separation, as Mike pointed out, it didn't seem to feel right for any of us to slip off for a break and a chat, and not still be in the musical area watching. At this gig we played for almost two hours as a quartet. We have always broken off into smaller groups in previous gigs.
And about the sound engineering, Os and I have since agreed that he will handle the recording for the next gig(s), alleviating the need for bundles of leads all over the floor, at the same time simplifying my own setup. I reckon we should go back to the original backline approach of one amp per player. Also, we are definitely better off with a bass player. Michael P did a lot of bass-simulation using his octave divider, which on the one hand was great, but on the other hand detracted from his talents in the upper register.
We're back in Ember on 28 Nov, when I will carry 1.5 times my own body weight in electronic drum equipment back down their convenient fire-escape stairs and set up for a second gig with Os, Mike and Simon Laffy on bass. See you then.