Friday, July 15, 2011

The Basement Gig


I played The Basement last night, opening solo set before three local bands. It was all very exciting, and it got my stomach bouncing a few times in the days leading up to the show, but, well, I was great. What can I say? I mean, for me, it's all about getting people wrapped up in a story or a laugh...before they notice how badly I play the guitar and sing. And that ain't easy! But I did it last night, from right out of the gate, and it was a damn good feeling. They liked me. They really liked me.

The Basement is truly a nice place. It's located in Circular Quay, very close the the famous Harbour Bride and Sydney Opera House. For all the hype about it, and everyone I've talked to has heard of the club - it has a bit of legendary status here - it is a very warm and altogether unintimidating room. It seats around 120, at tables, with service, and claims room for another 150 standing, but it's hard to picture than many people in this little space. The stage is small, only a foot high, tables surround it very intimately - you could easily be sitting at a table and be only six feet or so from a performer - there is wood everywhere, there is nowhere in the place where you couldn't see, and feel basically pretty close to, the stage, so, again, it's just a hell of a nice place. It is billed primarily as a jazz club, but they go way outside of that. Just a few of the acts that have played there:
Bill Evans
Dizzy Gillespie
Herbie Hancock
Johnny Rawls
Muddy Waters
Kinky Friedman
Prince
Ralph McTell
Taj Mahal
Bruce Cockburn
Daniel Lanois
Todd Rungren
Niel Diamond
Loudon Wainwright III

I mean, come on. Herbie Freaking Hancock played here! And Niel Diamond! And Prince! Holy crap! And my own personal hero - Loudon! And now me! Holy even more crap!

And they recorded last night's show, so fingers crossed that that comes out alright.

I took some photos. And the vivacious and whimsical Christine, who came to the show even though she has a bronchial crapitis thing going on - thank you, sweetness - took some photos, too, and some video as well.

This is the green room, as it were. It's full of gear, and the walls and ceiling are lined with posters and signatures and graffiti. (Click to enlarge):










A couple posters from the walls of the club:



And, finally, the star:







 Old friend Denise, new friend Chris, and a well deserved drink for the star. Ahem.




Two songs. The first. "The Bass Player." For my old friend Marty Ruddy.



The second comes with a warning: Kids, this song is for adults. And not even for all of them. So don't listen to it. Or you'll get me in trouble.



Big thanks to Sydney song and gig giant Russell Neal for setting up the show (and for use of his guitar! the electronics on mine crapped out), and thanks to everyone at The Basement (especailly engineer Chris for the help), and to the three bands: Kooyeh; The Raw Tide (can't find a website!); and Bones and All—who were really fantastic.

7 comments:

  1. wonderful, fabulous, so proud.........

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  2. This is FANTASTIC!

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  3. Thank you, denise! Perty cool, huh?

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  4. like I said......
    like I have always always said, yes?
    so how did you get the gig?
    Love my brilliant bro

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  5. Thank you , Sue. I won it: I went to a singer/songwriter competition a couple of months ago, and took second place - winning a chance to play at The Basement. (Funny thing: An old friend from Oregon who lives nearby got first place. This was out of 24 people or so.)

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  6. Go Thom! In there with the legends! So nice to see you and your talents appreciated in your new home. And thank Christine for including the audience reaction. In my view a "live" performance includes the audience and their part should never be edited out. They should get to "solo" for at least 5 seconds on any live recording, IMO.

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