Archive for the “gigs” Category

In the last four months I’ve played three gigs. All of them have been solo gigs, all of them a hell of a lot of fun, and all of them have happened because of lovely people I met on the internet.

Comrade Robot have been gigging on and off for about six years. We’ve played mostly on the London acoustic circuit and in that time we got used to being one of the few good things on the bill, not because we were amazing (all right, I think we are amazing. But I’m biased) but because a lot of promoters on the London acoustic circuit are just plain lazy.

There are plenty of promoters in London who hire a cheap room, but on whatever five acts they can get their hands on, charge a fiver and only pay the acts once they’re past a certain of audience members who have come to see that particular act. Band X gets 20 people in? Five quid. Band Y gets ten people in? Nothing.

That’s a crap deal. Crap for the performer yes, but more importantly it’s bad for both the audience and the promoter. I got to the point where I was embarrassed to ask friends and family to come and see us, because I couldn’t guarantee the rest of the night would be worth watching. They might have to sit through three or four awful acts before it came to us. Why would I want them to do that?

And why would the promoter? These guys never build up regular audiences for their night because they don’t see it as their mission to always put on amazing acts. This is London. With a reasonable amount of effort you can find four or five world-class musicians who will be happy to play an interesting gig for a reasonable share of the door money. It shouldn’t be difficult. Instead there are countless promoters who put on any old crap because the ten mates each band pulls along is enough to make a bit of a profit. But it’s a different set of punters every night, cos no-one ever wants to come back.

In short, I wasn’t enjoying these gigs, and stopped doing them.

Then in March I took part in the London FAWM Over Party – a lovely little gig in which London based songwriters who took part in February Album Writing Month met up and took turns to play songs to each other.

(It included this impromptu band – a wonderful, pick up your instrument, grab a chord sheet, launch into a song you’ve never heard with no discussion sort situation. Raucus, silly and wonderful.)

Was it a business venture? No. Did it make money? Yes, it did. Performers were happy to donate for the hire of the room and any surplus was donated to the FAWM.org website.

In the last month I’ve also done my first Ustream gig, and played at a great new comedy and music venture called ‘Date horse’. The Ustream gig was easily the most fun I’ve had at a gig in ages. I played about 50 minutes of solo stuff, and was greatly entertained by the lovely people in the chat room while doing so. Date Horse was even more fun, as it contained a mixture of comedy and music all on the theme of horror (the theme changes every week).

There are decent gigs out there, even for musicians who can’t yet draw large audiences. I’ve had some truly lovely people say some truly lovely things about my last three gigs, and i get the impression that people had genuinely enjoyed themselves, and I would much rather that than try to get people to a dingy pub on a wet weekday in the middle of London to see one good act and maybe three okay-to-mediocre acts.

All of these recent gigs, needless to say, have happened because of lovely people I’ve met through the internet. Yay for new technology.

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All has been quiet on the Comrade Robot front, due to  real life getting in the way. Pete is still dealing with certain aspects of real life, and so this might turn out to be a solo gig:

(Yes, I know. We’re billed as ‘We’ll Write’. Hopefully this will not happen again.)

The Zenith bar can be found on this map, and this website

Fret ye not, I can still belt out a tune or two on my own. As if to prove this point, I’ve begun work on a solo project.

Spinning the Compass – which is supposed to be Steampunk themed and contain longer songs with more twiddley guitar parts than would be found in a Comrade Robot recording.

That’s my plan anyway. Two songs there for you to hear, more to follow.

I hope to see you next Sunday, and I wish you a pleasant and gluttonous winterval.

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Thursday 17 September

The White Hart
1 Mile End Road
Whitechapel
London
E1 4TP
£4

A map can be found here.

Monday 19th October

The Old Queen’s Head
44 Essex Rd
London
N1 8LN

A map can be found here.

I’m particularly looking forward to this one. It’s a new venue for us, and from the look of the website it’s a very pretty one too.

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Last night we performed at the Fiddler’s Elbow for the Second time.

It was lots of fun, and in my opinion Pete and I played the best we have for the last year or so. The set was a nice mix of songs we’ve never played before and three older songs. Trampoline Song was a highlight for me, though singing about hanging murderous evil clowns in August and Whiteface was also lots of fun.

The set consisted of:

Our cover of Hanging on the Telephone
August and Whiteface
Trampoline Song
Follow Man
Just Sleeping
One More Time Around

Also on the bill were Freddy McConnel and Eric T Walker. I would particularly recommend listening to Eric’s song TnT, which I think is great.

There will be another gig in September, more news on that later.

New Song, New Song!

We’ve finally recorded a version of One More Time Around, which you can find in the fan’s area.

PS. To access the Fans’ Area, you need to join the mailing list:

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Rehearsal Noun – A situation in which musicians loudly hack their way through a couple of songs with gusto, paying only marginal attention to matters of tuning, timing, finesse or musicality.

Today, Pete and I rehearsed in this manner. It was lots of fun. We also took a couple of videos. Recording rehearsals is a good idea because it forces you to concentrate a little more so as not to mess up the recording. However, it also provides evidence of exactly how bad my posture is when singing. I need to sort myself out.

Anyway, gig on Thursday. The other performers are:

Freddie McConnel
John Carter
Derek Hampson
Costas
Eric Walker

Seriously, I could only find one of these musicians on the internet. I guess that’s a drawback of performing under your name rather than a band name:- less likely to turn up in web searches. Ah well, it means Thursday shall contain many suprises.

Thursday 20th August
The Fiddlers Elbow
1 Malden Road,
Camden,
London
NW5, UK
8.30pm.
£5

Here’s a map

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‘August and Whiteface’ is the title for what I cannot help but refer to as the ‘evil clown’ song.

Here we are, playing it through for the first time. This video is also proof that even with the lyrics in front of me, I will still get the words wrong to any given song.

Gig!
Other subjects covered at next Thursday’s gig will include zombies, pirates, novels Pete has read, and telephones.

Thursday 20th August
The Fiddlers Elbow
1 Malden Road,
Camden,
London
NW5, UK
8.30pm.
£5

Here’s a map

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Last Thursday we took to the stage at the wonderfully named Fiddler’s Elbow near Chalk Farm Road, London, for the second in what should be far more regular gigs from We’ll Write.

The setlist was something like:

    Old Moon Face
    Measure of a Man
    Where Once They Had Hearts
    Trampoline Song
    Bleached Bone Fields
    One More Time Around

We played well considering the horribly hot and humid pub atmosphere did not agree with our guitars at all. There were little tuning problems along the way. However,all was good in the end, and people applauded in all the right places.

As you may know, we always send a mailing list sheet around at gigs for people to sign up. This week the sheet included the question ‘What is your favourite spaceship?’. Replies included the obvious – Enterprise, Apollo 13, Millenium Falcon; the dull – UFO; and the downright geektastic – Defiant and MOYA.

Thanks to all those who came to see us play, and a big hi, hello and a-hoy-hoy to the newest members of the mailing list.

ps. Pete appears to have changed the words to Trampoline Song yet again. Third version so far.

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Last tuesday saw us take to the stage (well, performance area in the corner of the first floor) at Phibbers in the bleak, desolate, post-apocalyptic nightmare that is the Holloway road.

Here’s an extract from Pete’s blog, because I’m too lazy to write anything myself:

Also this week, the Tom and I returned to the stage to sing songs about robots and such. Some people actually came and saw us! We also covered Meat Loaf’s I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That), a performance of such unbridled silliness, certain members of the audience almost emptied their bladders where they sat. This is all part of our new sci-fi Jim Steinman rock-opera project, y’see. Because songs about zombies and trampolines obviously weren’t silly enough.

Last night I flew solo, playing a couple of We’ll Write songs and a few covers at an open mic Ben is running in Chingford. There were more people there than we ever really see at our own gigs, so I’m going to get the Tom to accompany me in the future. I really did love playing on my own for a change, though. As a bit of an experiment, I hastily sequenced a backing track using the Korg synth on my DS for 21st Century Pop Song by Hymie’s Basement, and that worked out surprisingly well. Maybe a bit too weird a song, but it’s certainly something I’m going to use more in the future.

So that’s all good, but the final chapter of Songs for the End of the World is now so far behind, and I’ve done fuck all about it for weeks.

In other news, yesterday saw the final filming for the Measure of a Man video. Here are some pictures. More can be found here :

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The evil, whirring, silver-scaled, robot tentacles of doom wave nuclear death across the land. Zombies march through the streets, eating brains and kicking puppies.

So why not come and listen to a We’ll Write gig to take your mind off it?

We’re playing at Phibbers bar in Islington on Tuesday 28th April

Phibbers
203 Holloway Road
Islington
London
N7 8DL
£3 – 8pm.

The gig is promoted by the adorable BedSprings

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Tuesday 28th April
8.pm
Phibbers,
203 Holloway Road,
Islington,
N7 8DL
(close to Holloway Road and Highbury & Islington tubes).

Here’s a map

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