Monday, September 27, 2010

Two nights in Bristol 26th September 2010

So on a very nice Sunday afternoon I ventured up the M5 to Bristol to play 2 little gigs in the city.
The first one was at a place called The Rose Of Denmark, now I cant count how many times I have been plat this venue in the last 20 years going to various gigs in the City, but on this occasion I actually set foot in the place.
Was a bit odd when I got there as most of the pub was having a roast dinner, while a PA was being set up in the same room and soon after backline and drum kits were being piled in.

Still I was on first so bang on 4pm I took to the stage.

The first set consisted of

Fortunes Light
Friends Forever
Love is a Spirit
Broken Dream

The set went down OK and it was good to have some decent monitoring while playing.
So after the set we ventured into the main city centre, was very useful that a lot of street parking was free no a Sunday. Had a late lunch at a place called
Zerodegrees wasn’t bad there they did a good Pizza.

Then off to the Urban Wood, a nice small bar again with a good PA and they served decent coffee too. Played a longer set too.

Fortunes Light
Twenty Nine Point Nine
To Behold
Love Is A Spirit
Broken Dream

After the set I had to hang about as I had left my top at the previous venue, but the promoter was going to pop it over. We then headed to the James Street Vault to see Geoff Horsey’s set of Blues and Folk, this guy is an incredible Harmonica player.

By 12.30 pm collapsed into bed, was a good day out.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The making of ‘To Behold’

Well this is a story that goes back to spring 2009, I was working on a few ideas and I came up with the basic riff and bass line, I added some keys and just jammed over it.
After the initial recording I took it home to work on and I did some work on the drum programming, then it sat for a good 6 months.
In the meantime I had written a chorus for it and some lyrics and I started playing it live at my solo gigs that I have been doing and in the spring I worked on the band recording put in the choruses and had a structure there.
I then went to my friend Roger O’Donnell’s house and asked him if he wouldn’t mind recording some Moog on it for me. His initial solos were great but he was using his trademark muted sound, and after much nagging I got him to open up the filters a but to make it sound a bit more rock, and what he recorded to my ears was amazing, exactly what I wanted. He did 3 takes and I edited some of it together to give some layers.

This song then sat fallow for a bit longer.
I had performed some embryonic versions live with my old band, and during this process Niall had worked out some more interesting bass lines to the ones that I had recorded on the original demo so we recorded the bass very much in an as live situation where we played guitar and bass together as if it were live, we did 3 takes of the bass and cut the best bits together. We took a DI out of an Ampeg SVT 3 and recorded it straight in and added a limiter. There was an EHX compressor in the fx chain.
The vocals were recorded in my flat using an electric condenser mic with a pop shield and no pets around! The last thing was the guitars. Now I re recorded all the guitar parts from the demo, the Acoustic is my Yamaha where I recorded the sound from the internal piclup to one channel and I also recorded the guitar at the same time using an electric condenser microphone, I used separate condenser mics and panned the guitars 75% L and R (Mic was left and transducer right I think!!).
The clean electric guitars were my Charvel 375 going through a Marshall DRP1 direct recording pre amp into the mixer then into the computer, all effects were added from plug ins. And the Lead guitar was done the same with the exception of also going through an original 70s EHX Big Muff pedal.

And there you go!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

20th September 2010 at the James Street Vault

Well first things first, I will start with Mondays gig at the James Street Vault. Now the JSV is a pub that is right in the middle of the University in Plymouth, but innless you know its there you would have no idea of its existence if you get my drift.

I played a short acoustic set down there a few weeks ago, and impressed Mark the promoter down there enough to give me a gig. Is a bit tricky for me at the moment not actually having a band for the first time in 18 years, but the ‘North and Parker’ concept is a very neat bridge as we can have a full sound and play whatever we like, new songs, old songs even the odd cover, and it can be electric or acoustic, and all the way it keeps the chops up and hopefully keeps the audience entertained as well.

So we got there about 8pm set up our kit, had to wait till 9 for the pa to set up but once arrived sound checking was a relatively easy and simple process. We made up a song on the spot called the Pizza song, based on what we had just eaten, I liked the chord sequence and as I had my Zoom box running I might got back to it and turn it into a proper song.

So we kicked off at about 10:20pm with the acoustic set

1. Fortunes Light
2. Feel
3. Friends Forever
4. Drowning
5. Love is A Spirit
6. Broken Dream

On the acoustic set Niall was playing slide guitar like we did at the Torquay show, it was a lot more fluid this time, and we settled into it much better. After a break of about 10 minutes, the lights went off the projectors came on as we did the electric set.

1. To Behold
2. Jessica
3. Wait For Yesterday
4. The Living
5. Destiny
6. Wait Here (For You)
7. Hey You
8. Crimson
9. Twenty Nine Point Nine
10. Is Space Found?

So the last song that I didn’t list on the Torquay set is ‘Is Space Found’ ? One of the new Secrets for September songs. But I wanted to keep it under wraps until the download was out.

So was smiles all round after, I enjoyed the gig and felt more comfortable as front man than at any other gig before now. Its not perfect far from it but getting better all the time.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Acoustic set at the Pilgrim Inn Bristol 9th September 2010

So last night I ventured up to Bristol to play an acoustic night at the Pilgrim Inn run by Mark Venus whom puts on a lot of acoustic nights in Bristol. I only had a 20 minutes set so was a tricky choice of what to play, in the end I did

Fortunes light
Love is a spirit
To behold

I didn’t intend on playing Jessica I blame it on not having a pen to write a set list, I was going to do either 29.9 or Broken dream.

Anyhow the set went down pretty well, looks like I will probably be playing some more stuff in Bristol in the not too distant future.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

North and Parker at Ryan's Bar Torquay 3rd September 2010

Last night was a bit of a special gig for us, really the first official post All Living Fear gig, billed as North and Parker and as we were the only band on the bill we had to extend the set, so the obvious thing is to play 2 sets one acoustic and one electric.

The acoustic set was made up of

Fortunes Light
Friend Forever
Love is a Spirit (Arthur Brown Cover)
Broken Dream

What made this different to the normal acoustic sets that myself and Niall have done is that Niall was playing slide guitar rather than Bass, this had a great sound, especially as he was playing his guitar through a compressor and a memory man analogue delay pedal.

After a break of 5 minutes we then took to the stage for the electric set, there was only really 1 stable All Living Fear song in the set specifically Jessica, the rest was either song I have written in the past year as well as a few of my older tracks.

To Behold (With Synth solo)
Wait for Yesterday
The Living
Wait Here (For You)
Hey You (Cure Cover)
Twenty Nine Point Nine
The last song was a new one but I’m not listing it here as it might give the game away

There was a few more tracks in the set, but we cut the set a little shorter as my voice was flagging and we had gone on a little late.

All in all was a good gig, the PA at Ryan’s bar is very good and puts a lot of more well known club venues to shame.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Torquay Ryans Bar Acoustic Gig 28th August 2010

Well last week I played a show for the very excellent charity Rowcroft Hospice. The show was at Ryans bar in Torquay, a special town to me, I was born there, I formed my first band proper with people from Torquay and played my first proper gig there. I had recently had a car accident and was temporally without transport, this meant 2 Cabs, 2 Trains and 2 Buses but I got there!

The venue is a great little pub, well its really 2 bars in one, the top bar where the gigs happen has a good atmosphere and an excellent PA that puts a lot of venues to shame.

A few old friends turned up which was great, the set that I played was

Fortunes Light
Broken Dream
Love is a Spirit
To Behold
Twenty Nine Point Nine

It was then a mad dash to the bus to get back and tomorrow I return to the venue this time with a full electric and acoustic set.

Above photo taken by Dee Ryans Bar landlady