Springfest

Spring.

A little early perhaps, but undoubtedly on the way.

This is the time of year that the young man begins to think of love. Soft thoughts of romance begin to surface ‘neath the waves of winter, bringing with them a hopefulness and lightness of spirit destined to lighten the coming year with happiness.

‘Course, your Folkie looks at the forthcoming year through different eyes.

How does the waistcoat wearing troubadour view the horizon?

Be welcome, Gentle Reader, and read on…

Before we return to the dreams of the Folkie, I know that you, Gentle Reader, are agog with puddle-inducing excitement as to what adventures FG may have had over the past week.

Put away that mop, sit ye down in safety[1], for I shall tell all.

Sunday last and we for The Monkey. This small club still seems to be one of the best kept secrets in the local folk circle, as the numbers seldom swell beyond a total that creates a front room full of friends sort of atmosphere[2]. A few Acoustic Chums were in attendance, and in the absence of Davie Minikin, the whole show was ably led by …darn; my memory – prompt? It was a very pleasant, laid back evening, no great hurry to the proceedings and no need either. Good relaxing fun. It was very useful for us to get a few songs under our belt ahead of Tuesday. And welcome back to AC Michael, great to see him looking well again and back to playing and singing.

Which brings me to…

The Daleside Arms at Croxdale on Tuesday was FG’s guest night there. It is well known within these exalted circles that attendances at clubs in general are like interest rates, they can go down as well as up[3], and Croxdale has had its fair share of thin evenings over the past couple of years. So we were very pleased indeed to see a few Acoustic Chums, some unknown punters, and even a Gentle Reader or two turn up to hear what we had on offer. What we had was two 40 min spots, using the arsenal of strings and parping toys that we use for the full set. I know some of you are interested in this sort of stuff so:

  • Taylor 212 CE 6 string
  • Ovation Celebrity CSE 225 Twin Neck (6/12)
  • Ozark Mandolin (it’s purple)
  • Ozark 3372c Tenor guitar
  • Martin LXM Tenor guitar
  • Trevor Jones Flute (not very purple)

And introducing…

  • Roland PK5 midi pedals & Boss Dr Synth midi tone module

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We set up the gear as inconspicuously (sic) as we could, which ended up with the bass pedals under the front of a table, along with the little loudspeaker, to keep it out of the way[4]. This is fine except that it meant when playing the pedals, people could only see me from the thighs up, so while pressing the pedals it must have appeared to the audience that I was doing some sort of demented jig, or was suddenly afflicted by a small plague of particularly feral rats.

The feedback for the evening was very positive. I thought we played and sang ok, but the opinion of those whom we trust was very positive and the pedals seem to have gone down well. We naturally had a grand night, but more importantly so did those who came, for which we are especially pleased. Thanks to John Kelly for putting us on and like MacArthur; we will return…

Following a salutatory listen to one of our recordings on the jiva forensic analysis system the other weekend, we also revisited and remixed The Voice this week. It sounds so much better to us now, but I think I’ll have to ask Jimmy and Val to cast an ear over it for me, just to see what they think. It is scary what you can do in studio software, and is probably the most fun you can have with your clothes on, bar playing a gig.

And we always keep our clothes on for those.

Which leads me nicely to the Folkie view of spring. Facebook and email are starting to bounce with news of festivals and events that happen in the supposedly sunny months, and it is with these that the overwintered folkie is primarily concerned.

This is because these offer the attraction of a beer tent.

Music, whilst important to the traditional folkie (that’s the one with the neckerchief and the waistcoat, just a waistcoat simply screams ‘amateur’), but it is to the bar that they are chiefly drawn. Festivals will often sport their own brew, with names like Neckbolter, Festival Ale or Badger’s Bum. These all have the same side effect, usually blindness, but do make folkies sound better.

Some Folkies will attend the new season with a brand new waistcoat, but is a matter of honour and personal pride to ensure that the new one looks exactly like the old one, down to a careful replication of the egg stains.

Details matter.

Talking of festivals, we have been invited to Seafest in Scarborough in July, more of which shenanigans here:

http://www.seafest.org.uk/

which will be very jolly, and a new venue for us; Billingham Golf Club, no less, for two spots on the 29th March, apparently you can eat while we play, which worryingly introduces the possibility of throwing things.

Still, at least it’ll be edible.

http://www.billinghamgolfclub.com/

And a happy birthday, this posting day, to AC Andrew ‘Ace’ Higgins, whom Catherine still allows to think is at the helm of ItsAcoustica – next Friday at The Bridge with Turkish Chris. Be there.

http://www.itsacoustica.com/

And so, as the sun of acoustic music sets over the yardarm of the folk club, and the chairman rises to his feet to thank everyone for coming, only to realise that everyone buggered off prior to Billy doing his bodhran solo, I notice it is the end of this blog.

Until next time Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’


[1] On newspaper. Best not take chances.

[2] This is a Good Thing.

[3] Although ours never have. They haven’t moved in any direction, certainly not up on savings anyway.

[4] If you do take an amplifier to a folk club, esp. a trad one, arrive early and hide it. Apart from avoiding disapproving glances from those resplendent in waistcoats, you also have the fun of watching the audience trying to see where the sound is coming from.

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