Quaint ramblings and occasional reflections of a journeying Aussie musician...

22 November 2005

Cuidado menino...

Just thought I'd drop a quick note about Vinicius Cantuaria last night....beautiful stuff, but a bit of a funny gig. He seemed a bit reluctant to be there or something...they only played for a little over an hour and that was with encores. Also, the venue was weird for it...I've always found Jazz Cafe to be a bit of a funny one (£20 for standing room only and all)...maybe I should have booked a table...that's how I was feeling it. I would have liked to hear that music in a different place, but not concert hall, still somewhere where I could have a laugh and a drink with friends. Anyway, always great to see the Brazilian thing live, and the drummer turned out to be Paolo Braga, so that was an extra something.
And thus concludes my listening fest....inspiring stuff all round, keeps you going through the murky times. I thought I might get a chance to chill for a while, but no rest for this wicked one...seeing M tonight in an opera, Miss N is coming to stay on Tuesday night, gigging Wednesday and Thursday nights, and then probably a riotous night out on the town on Friday...when will it all slow down?! Or do I ever want it to?...

20 November 2005

The Soul of Things

The sun is getting too low in the sky...I walked up to the corner store this arvo and it was barely above the apartment building on the corner...and it's getting cold round here real quick!
Anyway, I've managed to clock up four of the five gigs on the list this week, so here's some more reviewing action:
Thursday night - Squarepusher - INSANE! The venue itself was incredible, Koko's in Camden...imagine a big old Victorian-era music hall but in crimson and gold, five or six tiers high, biggest mirror ball ever. He wasn't on until midnight, but when it started....without a doubt the most abrasive musical experience I've ever been to. Steel wool and machine guns somehow come to mind....and either side of him were these two huge black screens showing bright white geometric shapes, somehow manipulated by the programming (the only lighting in the room, so you couldn't turn away from it).
While being an overwhelming sonic experience, sometimes electronic music (for me) can be a bit boring to watch....boxes plugged into other boxes...so I made sure that I was in a spot on the side where I could mostly watch the crowd, and they were loving it, with everyone doing that strange little bobbing up and down dance that looks so silly but when you do it feels so right! I came out of there and I was walking down the street spitting out the rhythms without even knowing it! Incredible stuff.
Friday night - Tomasz Stanko / Charles Lloyd - beautiful. I've got Stanko's two albums with the group we saw, and it was great to see the boys stoke it up in contrast to the albums. All the melodies and arrangements wandered along nicely...don't know what I'd call it, but that doesn't matter. And then Charles with Zakir Hussain and Eric Harland - what an open set! with Eric and Charles regularly swapping around between kit and piano. Funnily enough I just ended up listening to Zakir and Eric being a world-class badass percussion duo, with Charles adding a zany old zen master vibe to the show.
So it's Vinicius Cantuaria tonight, which is going to be superb I know, and thus concludes an incredible, inspiring week. And then my friend Miss N coming to stay on Tuesday for a few days...always good to pass on the dossing karma, especially after my great weekend hanging with her in Helsinki a little while back. It just doesn't stop round here!....

18 November 2005

In My Life

So, now I've put out the big group email to my many followers around the world (ha ha), please, my dear friends, don't be afraid for one second to comment upon my random raves and superfluous....somethings! For those of you concerned about my health from the last posting, I am now fit as a fiddle, and all set for a great week of soul-warming, mind-altering music (please see earlier posting for the gigs I'm checking out).
Saw Bill Frisell on Tuesday night...definitely soul-warming. Only the three of them (including the violinist and guitarist from his two most recent albums) doing mostly John Lennon and some Beatles tunes. I kind of drifted off in a couple of places (I only knew about half the songs), but there were some real magic moments, 'In My Life' being one of them.
Definitely one of the most memorable things about the concert though was Bill's little 'display' down at the front of the stage. The trio were centre stage, with Bill facing the violinist, and at all times throughout the ever-changing light show, two spots were permanently set upon some little thing that I couldn't see from my seats, in fact so small that no-one past the first row could have either. So, intrigued, my good friend J-Sax and I went down the front after the second encore had finished to investigate....it was a small collection of pebbles and shells with what looked like a tiny little Star Wars stormtrooper figurine standing on one of them. Whatever gets you going I guess....crazy musicians!....

16 November 2005

...and the night and the music...

Just finished a 10-day bender! I came back from Helsinki and I pretty much didn't stop partying....highlights included running a line of salsa dancers at G-Man's gig at the 606 club (that was Monday night), paying TWELVE QUID for a champagne cocktail at China Tang (Friday night) and sleeping in the basement of my workplace for a couple of hours when it all got a bit messy yesterday. Aside from the deadly combination of colder weather and early evenings, this is a town where people gotta work hard, so they end up partying hard, and my experience lately has been no exception!
So as of today it's dry out fortnight me, and a great week of music coming up as it's the London Jazz Festival...tonight I'm going to see Bill Frisell (incredible guitarist), Thursday night it's Squarepusher (tear-your-face-off drum n bass), Friday night it's Salif Keita and Richard Bona (awesome African megastars), Saturday night it's Charles Lloyd/Tomasz Stanko (heavy hitter jazz stuff) and Sunday night it's Vinicius Cantuaria (Brazilian singer'guitarist with electronics - 'Tucuma' is one of my top ten favourite albums). And then next week it's laying low for a while and baked beans for dinner I suppose!

12 November 2005

Dance of the Newcomer

Once again, back to the end of a day job afternoon and I've got about 10 minutes to hammer something out before diving back down into the tube to go teach some kiddies at their homes. At the moment my weeks are full up of a part-time job, about two or three gigs a week and about five hours of teaching, which is a bit of an organisational juggle at times, but it's all right, and I never have to start too early which is all good.
In my first six months here I felt like London was dragging me along - it felt like it would never end - but for this last little bit, it feels like I've got at least some control over what's going on, like the town has put me through enough and is now allowing me a bit of self-determination.
I've always liked being real busy, but now I've gotten to this next bit, I'm already starting to wonder where it's all going to go from here...planning my next move I guess.
Oh dear, I'm getting too serious again...I've been partying every night pretty much non-stop for the last week, and that doesn't look like changing any time soon. So it's off to teach the kiddies, back home, and then fasten your seatbelts with my mate G-Man for what should prove to be a killer diller!

08 November 2005

Come Fly With Me

It's the end of my big day job day, so I thought I'd drop a quick note about my recent weekend in Helsinki, my first trip to the continent, my first real holiday in a couple of years, and a break well overdue.
What a great, relaxed town! I kind of knew it was Scandanavian Europe meets old Soviet bloc....colourful pretty buildings looking over dark statues, with some amazing churches (I guess that's pretty standard for Europe though).....but it's got this real trendy art deco vibe as well, which along with the trams was rather reminiscent of somewhere else I used to live.
So great as well to just stroll along (look down, even) these tree lined boulevards in the middle of town. Couldn't speak a word of Finnish but that was fine....checked out some amazing CD stores and the main jazz venue in town, spent a lot of time by myself (haven't done that in a while) just wand'ring the streets, as well as hanging with my dear friend Miss N and her gorgeous mates on a four-day coffee/alcohol tour of the superb nightlife....so good to go out after midnight for a change!
The main thing about it all was that it was a real nice place, so much more chilled out (literally) than here...
So now, entrapped once again within the M25 and back to my three jobs, I plan my next move...Netherlands soon? A week in Paris (maybe a bit later on)? Barcelona in the winter? Who knows!...

02 November 2005

Page One

My name is Mike Guy, and I am a musician. I am a musician! It's something I say to myself most days, to other people when I meet them, it's a phrase I write in the box marked 'Occupation' on silly forms I have to fill out...it's just four words, but it's something that fills me often with pride, sometimes fear, and always questions and wonder. How did I get to be this? Where's it going to take me? What is it that keeps me coming back for more, so much more?
So, there's my profound opening paragraph, written far too seriously! After being inspired by a friend (as well as working a hell boring day job, and procrastinating from doing some non-urgent teaching homework), I've decided to give this blog thing a go. I've been a compulsive journal keeper for most of my life now, although these days I don't seem to get to handwrite in it much....typing, although it's far less personal, gets it out a bit quicker and easier.
I thought I'd give it a go because of a whole bunch of reasons. I've always loved writing but I've never done a load of it, just in my own journal to myself. I figure if I get into the habit of hammering it out, then, like writing tunes, maybe a working style that I'll be happy with will eventually appear.
A couple of other reasons too...this past year has been without a doubt THE most difficult yet, but also in a lot of ways it has been the most amazing (in the true sense of the word)...definitely the year in which I have learnt the most about, well, everything! And as a wise 'old man' once said, as long as you learn something, preferably for next time....also, after what has seemed like an interminable period of introspection, it's time to get some of it out there. And not be too serious or heavy about it, hell, maybe even laugh about some of it!
Alas, it's time to go for now, but there'll be more, don't you worry!