Tuesday night saw the String Project gig (at fairly short notice, filling a gap produced by a band pulling out) at Oxford’s Jericho Tavern, in support of Joaquim & the Smoke Machine, with the gig being filmed by ChalkStar.
Being last minute (so mostly not advertised by us), being someone else’s event and being stylistically a bit off our beaten track if we have one (we were between a covers acoustic guitarist/vocalist and a blues-rock originals band!), we were mostly playing to people completely unfamiliar with our style. That doesn’t happen all that often, as we have a lot of musical friends within Oxford and are still very much in the process of building up gigging activity further afield.
It’s refreshing to play to Project novices though. Regular attendees get used to our sound, our approach, our mere lineup, and start to take more of an insider view – which is fine and good. But chatting to the odd ‘outsider’ gives the opportunity to remember how radical most casual punters find the use of beatbox as the rhythmic foundation with live acoustic strings as the core of the instrumental sound, and the mashup of elements of trip-hop, folk, chamber music, jazz and funk – and how much they often enjoy it. I don’t think this gig was anything special as a performance for us; but it clearly was for some of the audience that spoke to me afterwards.
However old your schtick may be getting to you, there’s always someone for whom it’s totally fresh and radical!