Badass is definitely back.

I’m loving my new tattoo. I can’t wait to get it finished now. Under my arm is going to have a few Sheikah words.

It looks great with the leather. I just need to get the zip mended on these trousers as it no longer locks up.

Why didn’t I do this years ago?

I’ve used all sorts of recording methods over the years, each of them having various complicated cabling paths.

Now it turns out there’s a really good one shot gizmo to do it all.

Its a Focusrite Scarlett solo. Perfect for me! I don’t need any fancy stereo for my setup.

I’ll be doing some work on Ostalgia this weekend!

Great gig!

It has to be said that Saturday’s gig was probably one of the best we’ve ever played! The crowd were brilliant and really up for it. The venue was a nice place and we played so well. Tight and sounding great. We’ve since had a few posts go online and a review which always makes it feel worthwhile. We’re still on 100% verified 5* ratings.

It was the hottest gig in ages. The suit in the first set was dripping by the end. I’m glad I remembered to take a second suit though – I always remember at weddings (strictly it was a vow renewal) that there will be at least 3 cobalt blue suits in the audience. You don’t want to look like the guests do you?

It was a 10:30 finish for us, although Jake couldn’t finish DJing until half past 11 so we broke down the stage whilst he finished off and got all the cases ready to go, and then whilst the guys loaded the van I packed down the PA and wrapped all the speaker cables.

Strangefish Progress Update

I thought it was time I did a decent progress update on the Strangefish stuff, after all, it’s now about a month since our first rehearsal.

First of all, full disclosure, this is honestly the most complicated material I’ve ever played. I’ve been in a prog band before (Manning) and his stuff was a doddle at the side of this.
I’m not Carl, nor am I Julian – I have quite a different style from both of the previous bassists and as such it’s going to have my personal twist whilst still being an honourable hat-tip to the previous guys, both of whom I admire greatly.
So, here’s the current state of play.
Full Scale

The songs I’ve learnt from the first album are
Shifting Sands & Turning Tides
Listening to Ghosts
Oceans Deep
Take a Holiday
The only real struggle I had here is because this is the band’s first full album and was obviously home produced the bass is sometimes unclear in the mix and occasionally I have problems picking out exactly what is going on.
As is key with all Strangefish songs, the cycle of fourths and fifths is a work of fiction. We have progressions based all over the scale, and in particular there is a common usage of a Root – Flat 5th which seems to be a favourite of the band, particular on this album.
My personal favourite on this album is Oceans Deep. Not only do I enjoy listening to it, but I find it really fun to play – and challenging.
Fortune Telling

I’m automatically at an advantage here because the mix is so much clearer. I’ve learnt:
It Could Be Me
Keep the Exits Clear
Have you seen the Light
Ignorance of Bliss
Reflection This is me (I)
This material has a lot of repeated themes, then again it is a concept album so I’d expect that. Rhythmically it is more interesting than the stuff on Full Scale as there are a lot of “morse code” rhythms running through the album which makes it fun to play.
Personally, I love Reflection This is me. It’s just a great track and again, as per usual for Strangefish, the material totally ignores the cycle of fourths and fifths again and the key changes to wherever the hell it wants. I love that. It keeps me on my toes!
The Spotlight Effect

The newest album has proved the biggest challenge for me. We’re learning:
Progress in Reverse
Iconacon
The Spotlight Effect
Summer Slips Away
Up to You
A very different style of bass playing comes to the fore here. Carl’s style is very much more fluid and dynamic than Julian’s. Carl’s playing is very flambouyant, but it matches his personality. He’s very busy on the bass! 
Any bassist who keeps a good solid rhythm and low end going is a good bassist, and both those guys are solid and keep the grounding. I wouldn’t put one above the other as it’s like comparing apples and pears. They are different and each has it’s own unique properties.
The main struggle I’ve had with the new album is just not knowing the material as thoroughly. It’s not been out as long. It’s been on the solid playlist in my van for a while now though and I’m really starting to get the feel for it.
As for which song I love the most? Well at this point it’s actually quite difficult to say. I love the writing and lyrics in Summer Slips Away, but there’s hardly any bass. On the other hand, The Spotlight Effect has some magnificent sections.
Final Conclusion
So with over 2 hours of music in the bag, we can really have a nice selection to pick from – although we do have to cherry pick down for The Robin 2 gig on 5th May as we don’t have a 2 hour set!

New Year’s Eve

New year’s eve this year was a gig in Gainsborough. The last gig arranged by our current agent before we go freelance and head to pastures new.

Sadly, because of the timing of everything it’s left us with a rather large 4 month hole in our schedule now, but that works great for me as it lets me give my Strangefish material a lot more time. I suspect stuff will come in though, it’s just the air has to clear first.

We’re now freelance but we have two agents booking gigs for us already and May onwards is looking pretty cool now. I think we’re going to sort our own new year’s eve though.

The gig, however, was superb. I really liked the club. It was a private member’s club which always means you’re going to get an element of filtering. They had booked “an evening with” type of thing and got us and a DJ.

£20 a ticket with a buffet! Can’t be sniffed at.

So we arrived. Loaded in (a nice flat load) and set up. The onstage sound wasn’t good though, mostly due to the corner stage, but it’s something you learn to deal with.

The place filled up. Really filled up.

So the first set arrived at 9pm. I suited up in my blue suit, which I thought would be tight and actually wasn’t – that 3kg on the scales is all lies! And we played our hearts out.

The new song (Lady Gaga’s “Shallow”) was rather epic! The audience really went mad at that one. I suspect being brave and doing such an out there and new song earns respect.

The second set at 10:50 took us up to about 15 minutes off midnight. Great for the DJ to take us through the bells.

This set I was a little more conservative in my looks than I’ve been at previous gigs. Absolutely no shiny trousers this time, just skinny blue jeans and a blue shirt. It’s a very slimming look and I have to say I look rather good in it!

Once midnight was out of the way we packed down and headed home. It was just before 2am hometime. Not bad for new years eve.

Gig day!

It’s at a rather nice spa this time. Ye Olde Bell. It’s very popular around here especially as the facilities are supposed to be top notch.

We loaded in… Set up on the rather bijou stage, and waited for the crowd too appear.

It was a very private function with rather fancy food. Unfortunately none for us 😞 although we do always expect that… After all we’re being paid, so I always take my own.

Sitting outside at the outside bar was very lush though. It was quite warm until late so we could.

Backstage consisted of a room especially reserved for us. It’s amazing how valued you feel when a hotel does that for you 😃

Two sets played in front of a nice crowd too! I have to say the new suit is looking very nice too.

Belinda invited a customer up on stage for Proud Mary… The customer was a little drunk…

But she had loads of fun!

So finally, we took our bow, packed down, and headed off after a very good and successful night.

Musicians playing Band Hero

Something rather unusual happened recently…

I tried Band Hero for the first time ever at a friends house. As you know, I’m a bass guitarist and so I chose bass as my instrument, naturally, of course.

How did I fare though?

I was shite… but why?

Well as a bassist I can tell you that the guitar firstly is too short thus meaning you’re playing everything at around the 12th fret if it was a real bass. At which point the rocking “string” switch is dreadful… you can’t play it finger style properly as it centres too slowly thus forcing you to rock it with your thumb. Awful.

Finally… FIVE BLOODY NOTES?!! – Sorry but that does not accurately represent a real bass. Mine has that many strings, and each string has 26 frets. Do the sums – that’s over 125 individual frettable positions (although B and E above fret 15ish are a bit pointless)… counting it as notes that’s almost three octaves of range from low B to high A – or almost 36 individual notes.

Yes, 5 frets does not accurately represent a bass guitar.

Finally… why do people who are really “good” at Guitar hero then think they are good musicians? It’s a bit like air guitarists saying they are good at real guitar. It’s not right. I’ll stick to my real Warwick Thumb thanks…

Now how do I play House on the Hill? Orange Blue Blue Blue Green Blue Red…

Finally, as I write this – Raeioul Moat is currently holed up in Rothbury and is perched on the river bank… what will his end be? – Shot? Suicide? Taser? I don’t know, but I bet it’ll be on Liveleak before too long.