Before lockdown, I had played just a couple of pub gigs (including a memorably packed and steamy Christmas one for which knitted jumpers were both de rigueur and impractical!) as guest fiddle player with the 145s, a mostly soul and rock’n’roll-oriented covers band responding to demand by expanding into some Irish territory too.
So it was very gratifying for them to be the only act (so far) to actually offer to pay me to participate in a remote collaboration video performance. I’m sure we’ve all seen loads of these: the usual model is hundreds of instrumentalists and/or singers rendering an ‘epic’ version of a well-worn classic pop song (or occasionally Pachelbel’s Canon). For my money as a viewer / listener, the ones that are actually worth listening to have a small ensemble with distinct individual voices, ideally people who pre-lockdown have performed together in person; performing something musically interesting (the Swan Consort have done some superb one-to-a-part madrigals and similar for their YouTube channel which almost win me over to the format in general). As a performer, I view the usual ‘giving us a way to play together’ description as about as thin as gigs for exposure, though fair enough if amateurs enjoy making them; personally overdubbing to backing tracks is one of my least favourite ways of being a musician and I certainly won’t be doing any more of it for free, especially not when I have to be the sound engineer and cameraman too!
The 145s’ decision to represent their Irish repertoire with the medley they cooked up for live gigs, rather than a single song, was certainly no lazy or easy choice for remote multitracking: I reckon there to be three distinct tempo changes, one out-of-time section and one long accelerando. Without destroying the mystery of artistic production too much, this meant us individual musicians used a live performance as guide for several sections rather than a generated click track … and the live audio and video found their way back into the tail end of the final mix! I reckon the end result ticks my boxes above for a remote collaboration worth doing and worth watching, and is certainly fun (especially when the quality band dancing gets going!):
Enjoy! (and of course, let me know if you want to hire me for any others … )