In the excitement of my new
toy instrument and tool of my trade, I forgot to tell you about Friday night, which was the String Project‘s first gig of 2016 (and indeed mine).
We were third on a bill of four acts, at a very well-known regular live music night in an established venue, and crowd numbers and atmosphere benefitted accordingly, which is always good to play to! Unfortunately, the spirit of the evening appeared not to have been caught by the PA system, and we played through (I think successfully) amid feedback, inaudible monitor levels and having very little idea what was actually reaching the crowd (despite some of them being only six feet away when I stepped onto the funny little thrust stage section at the Wheatsheaf for some of my solos). The general response from people I chatted to was ‘you played really well, under what were clearly very difficult circumstances sound-wise’!
This was also our last gig with beatboxer Pieman as a full member of the band. We hope to see him back often as a guest star, but as he’s relocated to Bristol, it’s just not practical to keep him as the lynchpin of our rhythm section. He’s played a huge role in the band over the last couple of years, co-writing some of our most successful current numbers with Ben, taking some lead vocals as well as lending his utterly distinctive and fantastic mouth percussion, and giving both a cohesion and an accessibility to our sound it never had before, without us having to sacrifice the classical and ‘advanced’ elements of our musical mix. Perhaps more than anyone else, he represents the shift of the String Project from a vehicle for Ben’s compositions to an actual band.
However, a challenge is always also an opportunity. And so the next opening for the String Project is getting to grips with live sequencing, loops and programming courtesy of Ableton Live. See you in the next chapter – it won’t be long …