Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Re: play

So - as alluded to and mentioned and everything else and none of the above in the last couple of posts, me and my namesake (who I shall henceforth refer to as troUSers once more, thanks to djkirkby reminding me that this was his moniker on these pages) played another gig at the end of last week.

It was another really good, lovely evening.

There are, before I go on, a couple of very minor howevers to get out of the way:

It felt like less of an event than last time, for a number of reasons - the principal one being that we've done it before, and I can't imagine being able to replicate the novelty and the weirdness of that first time that we shared a stage and collaborated on each other's music.

It was also less well-attended than the last one, we seem to have picked a Friday night on which so many other events were happening both locally and further afield.


There was definitely more than enough of an audience to recreate the same kind of atmosphere that we had last time: relaxed, warm, quite celebratory. In fact, listening back to a few recordings that a friend made, the audience is pretty loud and raucously enthusiastic.

I think I was a little more nervous about the music I was playing than last time - I hadn't had much opportunity to run my ideas past other people in the run up to the gig and, while I'm confident about my ideas in many respects, it usually takes a bit of feedback to help me feel ok about the execution of them. I was happy though that I didn't replicate any of the stuff that I played last year, it was all new except for something from a few years ago that I'd heavily reworked.

It does seem as though I follow a structure whenever I get half an hour's worth of music together to perform, though not on purpose: it's just how it seems to work out. This time was no exception, beginning with one very long opening piece (in this case about 15 minutes), and three or four shorter ones. And, as with last year, a final track in collaboration with troUSers.

Most of my stuff is laptop-based, though ensuring that there's enough about it which remains "live" - but the final track I played was just me on guitar with troUSers singing. What I love about this - apart from being an accompanist to his incredible voice - is that there is someone there to respond to, something which accentuates the live and spontaneous elements.

So on the second or third verse when he started shifting things up a gear vocally, I immediately responded in kind, and got absolutely lost in the interaction between his singing and my guitar playing. Listening to vocal cues and watching him as he sang for further indications of where we were going, and absolutely losing any self-consciousness in terms of being in front of an audience - until we brought the song to a close and got the sort of response that I mentioned a couple of paragraphs up.

His own songs really gain their dynamism from such interactions, but mainly between him and the audience. They're excellent songs anyway (and I say this as someone who can take or leave songs as a musical form), but watching troUSers in the soundcheck and watching him before an audience is seeing the difference between a perfectly decent run-through of finely-crafted melody and notes, and of something which is elastic and charged with energy, full of pivotal moments in which he will push a song in any given direction depending on the feeling in the room at that precise point.

His set was fantastic, both for the songs and for the incredible delivery.

He also invited me and a further musical friend and collaborator back onstage for a final song, again subject to the kind of potentiality described as above. I remember being alongside them both and remaining attuned to the ebb and flow of music and mood, and getting a good reception yet again.

I only remember this last one vaguely though, for my one regret about the night is that my tolerance to alcohol was not what it usually is: unlike the title of the previous post, I was certainly not undrunk.


Reading the Signs said...

yes, but, well it does sound as if it was a kind of magic show. Something that takes off in this way is down to the skill and attunement of the people performing but it also needs the magical ingredient. Moments like these are the best ever. Not that I've ever done what you and your namesake alter do, but I recognise that space - where everything comes together and happens.

Fire Byrd said...

I'm so pleased it went so well.
And losing yourself in playing to TroUSers voice just the sort of stuff to make your hairs stand up on your arms.

trousers said...

Yes signs, if you recognise that space, that's the main thing: it's a place I'd like to visit more often again.

Thanks too fire byrd, and yes that's how it was.

I think I'm now left with a sense of relief - in that it went well and so on, but also feeling a bit flat - in that I need something else to aim for now, to take things that little bit further.

zola a social thing said...

Evedn in my down all the days days I try to respond to the chords of a Trousers who presses so deep.

Keep it up matey.

Zhoen said...


trousers said...

Sometimes you stop me in my tracks zola: thank you for that.

Thank you too, zhoen.