It has been an obscenely long time since I last posted anything new on the website, so I’ll start where I left off I suppose: the album launch in the View Two Gallery on December 1st.
It went remarkably well, really. Beyond word-of-mouth, there was no publicity campaign; no posters, no flyers, no promoter, no event-runner. In the end, the first people taking payments on the door were myself and one of the acts. It was very badly organised. The PA was a complete brute. But people came through the door, people enjoyed the music and I sold over fifty albums.
The night itself was a mixed event: an art exhibition from 6pm put on by Laura Sullivan and her many cohorts, and a gig from 9pm onwards, featuring three of Liverpool’s best acoustic musicians (Robert Vincent, Dominic Dunn and Silent Cities) and finally me playing with my band at the end of the night. My friend Laurence Glover compered throughout the evening, and a well suited up master of ceremonies he was.
It was nice to see familiar faces in the audience: Threshold crew members Karen Macfarlane and Andy Minnis, James Addis, Tony Donaghey, Terry Gray, Seba Rashii, Chris Callander, evening-photographer Kayley Cope, my housemates, former housemates, some of my family and good friends. It was also nice to see a lot of artists, their work, and a lot of their friends who I’d never seen before as well. Without exaggeration, I’d say there was a constant of over 175 people throughout the night. It was a messy success.
The next night, me and Elle Schillereff (the female singer) returned the favour at an event being put on in Formby at Cafe D’art by Robert Vincent, with Sophia and Gary Edward Jones also on the bill. The next Friday, percussionist Chris Cousineau and guitarist James Baxter would return to the line-up to support The Midnight Ramble at Mello Mello. Also on the bill were the Restless Venture and again the gentleman that is Gary Edward Jones.
With December in Liverpool over, I returned to Shrewsbury for Christmas. But by December 27th, I was back in Liverpool ready to perform at the Cellar Bar in Chester on the 29th and by New Years Eve, I was back I was performing at Schmooze Wine Bar and Eatery, along with the fantastic Dominic Dunn (my former partner in door managing activities about a month before). Me and Dom had the amusing task of swapping from downstairs (massive PA system, huge drunk audience) to upstairs (small tables of people eating quiet meals, no PA, whilst one of us sang at them). It was a lot of fun. On New Years Day, I found my song ‘Sexy Shade of Sunburn’ had been played in the morning on BBC6 by Tom Robinson and that I’d been marked as an act to watch for 2013.
I made a visit the first Wednesday I could in January to the Old Roan in Aintree with Chris, to visit Steve Hughes, Greedy Jesus, and the famous Eli. I didn’t have anywhere to go, so Eli let me kip on his sofa, drink his fantastic coffee and sample some of his awful burnt sausage sandwiches. A brilliant time had by all I think!
January ended with the Samuel Garlick run event ‘The Woodland Social’ at the Elevator Bar in the Baltic Triangle. The bill of acts was incredible. I really remember feeling part of something very special; an array of organic, exuberant, passionate musicians with great songs and each with a stomach full of fire. From Danny Badger, to Hedda Aronssen, the GREAT PLAIN SUNDANCE (can’t believe we had to go on the act after them!) and headliners the Edwardian Picnic, it was a really good night, the highlight for me being the moment the GPS played Stay Up All Night. Really really fantastic band, who will undoubtedly be headlining some enormous stage by the end of this year.
February began with the 3rd: a gig for Dave O’ Grady’s new night at Studio 2 with Elle and Chris, then the 6th, as the three of us played for Derek King’s new ‘K’s Choice’ Night at the Printworks Hotel on Renshaw Street. On the 8th, I also played a sneaky set at Terry Gray’s ‘Festival Express’ night at the Vinyl Bar on Lark Lane, where me and Terry also had a bit of a play with my saxophone. Later on, we found ourselves sat round listening to Beatles’ records on Vinyl with some Americans we had met earlier on. Nice people.
By the 9th, I was back in Chester at the Cellar Bar to play a set to a busy busy bar. Later on, we had quite the little shindig in the actual cellar of the Cellar Bar. Having not really thought about where I was going to stay, I was fed by various people with beer and whiskey. I began to make it clear I had nowhere to stay, and three very nice young women said I could sleep at their place. Hilariously, I giggled myself to sleep, considering the connotations of sharing the enormous bed I found there with these three beautiful girls with which absolutely nothing took place in the way in which you may expect. Just to clear that up.
By the 14th of February, the magnificent Threshold Festival was looming like a big loom. I was contacted by Chris Carney, not just about playing at the festival, but also if I would be interested in playing at a Little Atom interview event featuring Paul Du Noyer; the founding editor of Mojo Magazine, and former editor to the NME and Q. I immediately said yes, and Chris Carney (who only until recently thought I was Irish, I wish I had not burst the bubble) and was rung by Gemma Aldcroft of the now award-winning Little Atom Productions about meeting with herself, her Little Atom partner Karen Podesta and the other featured artist Natalie McCool (absolutely amazing!) to discuss the event. This all developed quietly throughout February.
In the meantime, me and Elle Schillereff caught up with old friend Rob Rivieres very briefly as he visited Liverpool in the middle of February. It was good to see him again, and to know how well he and his girlfriend Georgia Stuart were getting on in Exeter. Also during this time, I met and played with a bass player called Adam.
By the end of the month, I was eagerly waiting for Threshold Festival.