Monday, October 22, 2012

Original Hankster

I played at a Hank Williams celebration on Saturday night. I grabbed the opportunity when I saw that the good people at Country Music SA were looking for performers.
I love listening to Hank, and I play a couple his songs from time to time, so this seemed like a sensible thing to do. Plus I am committed to playing as often as I can, and I never say "no" to a gig if I can possibly help it.
It was a new thing for me though, in a lot of ways. I've never played a tribute show before, never played with a backing band - we met on the night - and I've never played a dedicated country gig. Embracing the spirit of adventure, I was looking forward to the experience.
It was great fun. I played a few songs, including the 'Luke the Drifter' number Men With Broken Hearts. I was a bit worried about that one, but it seemed to go down well. Quite a few people took the time to seek me out and have a chat after my short set, and that's generally a positive thing.
So I guess "I'm a little bit country" now, but it is back to the usual post-punk mod pop brit folk yeah baby mach schau sounds for this week's gigs.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Play something we know...

Over the course of the last six months, as I have tried to play as many gigs in as many places as possible, I have found it necessary to take a step back from my almost-absolute commitment to playing original songs. There are some nights where it would be performance suicide to stick slavishly to songs penned only by David Robinson.
I have become, for some shows more than others, a one-man cover band.
Some audiences just don't seem to be interested unless they have heard the songs before.
I guess it comes with the territory, but sometimes people can be more than a little tiresome. I had to remind a couple of tipsy teenage girls the other night that I could be just as rude as they were being. It did the trick.
Depite selling my soul, I have tried to stick to songs I like to sing and play, and I always find a way to get a few originals into the mix. I'll go down fighting.
My repertoire includes songs made famous by Slade, Paul Weller, Hank Williams, Joy Division, The Beatles, Alistair Hulett, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Billy Bragg, Warren Zevon and a host of others. It's actually quite good fun, working through my list. And, of course, all my covers are recorded on my APRA forms.
Its also been a bit of a learning experience too - getting an insight into other songwriters' structures and melodies. It will probably (hopefully) improve my own efforts.

I still play original-only sets and gigs, but I suspect I'll be playing covers at certain venues for a while yet. Damn filthy lucre!

Monday, October 8, 2012


It's been a busy time. Over a nine-day period that ended yesterday I played ten times, incorporating some 257 songs.
I've appeared at the Irish Club, the Daniel O'Connell, the Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers' Markets, the Metropolitan Hotel, Tarlee Community Markets, SCALA @ Higher Ground, the Goodwood Park Hotel, the Regency Tavern and the Semaphore Music Festival.
Highlights included my first festival gig, Central Districts' James Gowans leading the choir in Living Next Door To Alice (and others), performing in front of the smallest SCALA crowd ever, playing Greetings To The New Brunette a couple of times, and getting paid.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Technically, this was my first-ever festival engagement. Hooray for me.
A one hour spot on the so-called 'Buskers' Stage' at the Semaphore Music Festival. No busking, and not really a stage either. It was, more or less, a repeat performance of the show I'd done down there a couple of weeks' earlier.
The streets were pretty quiet. I think the windy, drizzly weather, combined with the AFL Grand Final, might have kept people indoors. Nevertheless, I gave it the usual mach schau and those that came to watch, and those that strolled by, seemed to like what they heard.

If the right cards fall my way, I hope to impose myself upon music festival life a little more solidly in 2013.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Rose of Tarlee

As I played away at the drizzly Sunday Farmers' Market, I struck up a conversation with one of the stall holders. He asked me if I'd be interested in playing a show the next day. A day that I had rather hopefully earmarked as a day off. Being an enthusiastic sort of fellow though, I accepted his offer and 24 hours' later I was playing at the Labour Day Tarlee Community Market.
It was a little over an hour's drive from our place, and it was a delightful sunny spring morning. Once we'd broken free from the urban sprawl, I was once again marveling at the green and yellow fields, lying under blue, perfect skies.
The fair was already buzzing when I arrived. I got myself organised, and set up in the open air in amongst the vibrant stalls. I played a one-hour set of originals, which seemd to go down well with browsers and purveyors of quality tat alike.
Satisfied with my early session, I took a short break and had a cup of tea and a brief walk around the picturesque setting. Eventually, I made my way to the food and drink area and played a couple of hours' worth of covers for the lunchtime crowd. I saw a few toes tapping and passers-by indicated their approval in most of the usual ways.
I had my guitar case open to act as my CD 'shop', and I felt a little weird when some folks stepped up and threw money in. This wasn't supposed to be a busking engagement, but once the money started coming in I couldn't really stop, close my case, or give it back... Oh well, who am I to try and tell folks what they can and can't spend their money on?
It was a great way to spend my time, despite the fact that I'd promised myself a lazy day off. There was still time for some of that when we arrived home.