I'm happy to report that not only was last Saturday night's gig sold out but that it was awesome. A keen crowd and having to wait around too long to get started really got the band firing on all cylinders. I won't review the show since I played in it. But, from my corner of the stage it was a lot of fun. Zoë got up in the last song to sing with me after doing some roadie/photographer bits and pieces so that was pretty cool. We're on again tomorrow night.
This week I got to back two singers as they braved a crowd of around 900. They both did a great job and the audience were very, very enthusiastic. Yes, it was here at work. I guess the fact that the kids here are so positive is one of the things that keeps me going. They could absolutely pan some of the singers if they want to in this and any other of the myriad of performances that we have, but they don't. If you're really good they let you know, and if you're just having a go the applause and cheering is just as loud.
Warming up my fingers in an empty hall yesterday I thought about songs that I like to play. Riffs, whole tunes, even mash-ups. So this week you'll get three songs that my fingers seem to automatically gravitate to on the guitar. Note that yesterday was the first public performance of my electrified ukulele as well - that was fun!
First up is a classic from AC/DC. For years I played this intro riff incorrectly. I remember watching Angus Young's hands at some stage in a video and the lightbulb flicking on in my head. It's a few notes that I use all the time to warm up with but also on an acoustic guitar it can sound quite refined...and people roll their eyes when they realise what I'm actually playing!
AC/DC - Hell's Bells - http://youtu.be/3tOKYFR4Rzg
Second is a 90's classic from Deb Conway. The album that this is from, "String of Pearls", is well worth a spin if you find yourself liking this song. Full of jangly guitars and great lyrics. I really only play the three intro chords to this so I should learn the whole song one day. For you guitarists it's just an open E chord, open A chord and then a D chord with the high E string left open. Simple but it just rings out so well. Apparently it's called Dsus2. Who knew? Just don't use your middle finger on the D and you're there.
Deborah Conway - Release Me - http://youtu.be/n-9EHP-wJzA
I guess I can play a few bits and pieces that I save for the guitar shop but I'm really not a flashy player. My favourite players are guys in the background like Malcolm Young just sitting in a groove and pushing the band along. The Oils shows and working with H and the Chief have certainly expanded my playing in good ways. They manage to coax the odd guitar solo out of me.
Years ago I had a fair bit of time on my hands in the evenings so I sat down with a guitar magazine (pre-internet folks) to learn something that I thought was challenging. I was right into Metallica at the time so the next tune was my goal. To be fair, it was the quiet introduction to the song that interested me. I'm no musical expert but I can tell you that the time signature changes during the bit I was learning. After a little while I got my fingers trained and what was a real effort now flows with ease. There's a message there I think. Anyway, it's probably my only favourite piece that the guitar shop guys recognise straight away!
Metallica - Welcome Home (Sanitarium) - http://youtu.be/V6Dfo4zDduI
Last week I bought a CD called "Van Diemen's Land" by Australian music icon Russell Morris. I must say that I am rather impressed. It's a bluesy album with plenty of very tasty guitars and great lyrical content. There are songs about the Eureka Stockade, WWII and Breaker Morant. If you're a fan of John Lee Hooker style blues with a modern twist and an antipodean flavour then listen. If the fact that the album also features people such as Rick Springfield and Joe Camileri then again, put your money down. There are only some preview tracks on the 'net so far...this one should give you a fair idea of what to expect. Click here.
And just in case you don't know what Russell is famous for...click here
That's it for another week.
"Na, na, na, na, na-na, na, na, na, I wanna be sedated" - The Ramones 1978 (this cover version ROCKS!)