Tuesday, May 10, 2016

So, I joined a band...

I haven't played in a serious band since 1989. My experience throughout the course of that year, as a member of a group that made pretty good music but were ill-matched as people, was enough to kill off any desire I had to do any more work in that kind of environment. Since then, the only time I've been in bands is at the occasional party...
I have played in loads of duos over the years and I have found that to be quite an agreeable pastime, but anything involving more than two, in terms of membership, has been less than palatable.

So, when I was approached last year to join a band as lead singer, I had some thinking to do...

PlanB was formed in the early 80s after Dexys-inspired soul outfit Del Webb Explosion split. The new band enjoyed some good times for a couple of years, playing some decent shows and releasing a few singles, before folding in early 1986. As is common these days, after a short 23-year break, four of the original members thought 2009 would be the right time to get back together and reform the band. Since then, the eight-piece, brass-infused PlanB has enjoyed a few tours of South-East Asia and China, and has also released an album.
It seemed to me that the PlanB job offered me things I wasn't doing enough of as a solo artist: touring, making film clips, recording... Plus, I thought it might be good to play with other people again.

My first rehearsal with the band was 21 July 2015. I've been with the band now for around 10 months and we've rehearsed weekly, just about completed the recording of a new album, made a film clip and started work on another. The biggest news is that we are off for a tour of England in July, comprising five festival performances and a bunch of pub shows. Everything appears to be moving in the right direction, and we all seem to be getting along.

Last week we played at The Governor Hindmarsh, the first show with the current line up, and the first PlanB Adelaide show for more than 30 years. I'm very pleased to report that it went extremely well. Good sound, good-sized crowd, good vibes.

Off we go!


Friday, May 6, 2016

Laura and her friends...

Gigs have been coming thick and fast for a few years now, but I never take them for granted. You never know when the well will run dry. My motto is, wherever possible, "never say no to a show".
One of my favourite events is the Laura Folk Fair. As mentioned previously, I'd passed through the delightful place a few times on my mountain bike, and always thought it was an attractive place.
This year was my second visit to the Folk Fair, after taking my bow in 2015. It was a similar deal for the 2016 fair: five shows, spread across the weekend.
We decided to make the trip a little more of an adventure by travelling up to Melrose first. Another lovely place. I organised a gig at the Mt Remarkable Hotel, and had a great time entertaining a few of the locals on the Thursday night. It was also nice to do a bit of walking around Mt Remarkable itself the next morning. And enjoy a pub lunch.

We stayed in a big old house in Laura, and had a lovely time wandering around and getting into the spirit of things.
I played shows on both stages, kicking off with a two-hour show on the main stage late morning-early afternoon on Saturday. Given the relatively early hour and the duration, it was a fair effort but I enjoyed the vibe immensely. I caught up with the guys from Dirty Frank, who were up there on the Saturday, and watched The BordererS do their thing. The Saturday night fireworks were a hoot.

I had three shows on the Sunday, so I was pretty much on stage all afternoon. Another decent workload, but that's what I was there for. Folks seemed to dig my originals, which is always a good thing, and most of my sets were built around my songs.
Over the course of the weekend, I sold a few CDs, bought a bottle of commemorative port to put in the music room, and made some new friends.

All up, we had a great few days away. I hope to repeat the adventure, most likely in 2017.