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:
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.