Category Archives: Gigging

A couple of nice improv gigs in August

Two dates to finish off the summer, both first time collaborations. First, I’ve been invited to be part of Unpredictable Series’ Alterations Residency 2018 at Cafe Oto Project Space. Over four days from 23rd to 26th August, Alterations (Peter Cusack, David Toop, Terry Day and Steve Beresford) are presenting a series of workshops and performances. I’m very flattered to be one of the guest artists along with John Butcher, Gina Southgate, Pierre Bouvier Patron, Max Eastley and Blanca Regina; I’ll be playing a duo set with Gina Southgate on Saturday 25th at 6pm. I’ve wanted to collaborate with Gina since she put her name in the Hat Speaks hat at LUME Festival 2017 (where she was doing live painting for us), and then played a brilliant set with an amazing collection of household objects as part of an ad hoc group. This promises to be fun…

A couple of days later on Tuesday 28th, I’m back at the Project Space as part of John Macedo’s excellent night SOLO:DUO:TRIO. I’ll be playing a duo set with Daniel Thompson. I’ve shared the bill with Daniel quite a few times and we’ve both played at each other’s gig series, but this will be the first time we’ve actually played together! Really looking forward to it.

Bari photo by Agata Urbaniak.

A Glorious Monster: Sloth Racket tour report

This year’s Sloth Racket tour was our biggest yet. We played eight dates over two weeks, taking in four new cities and four of our favourite tour spots, and even managed to fit in a live session on Resonance FM: big thanks to Dexter Bentley for hosting us on the mighty Hello Goodbye Show! You can check out the whole show on Mixcloud.

Playing on the Hello/Goodbye Show (photo: Dexter Bentley)

I’m extremely grateful to Arts Council England for supporting the tour. A grant from their new National Lottery Project Grants scheme made it possible for us to spend a fortnight travelling together, playing some great gigs, meeting new promoters and developing our music: all of which would have been a huge financial challenge on gig fees alone. I was very pleased with the geography of the tour and with how the logistics went, considering that it was the largest number of dates I’ve booked in one block so far, and I also successfully avoided acting as a ‘tour manager’ at any point: on these tours I book all the gigs, travel and accommodation, but once we set off the band acts as a collective – meaning I get to ‘just’ be a bandmate…

On stage at the Peer Hat in Manchester (photo: Ian Simpson)

The tour marked the release of our third studio album A Glorious Monster which came out on 4th June, right in the middle of the tour. The album (and our new band t-shirts) went down well with tour audiences and online followers alike, and I was happy to be posting out orders from different cities between gigs.

Our new touring stops this year were Bath, York, Durham and Edinburgh. In Bath we were hosted by the tireless RMT Productions, who deftly handled a last-minute venue let-down and moved the gig to the beautiful Kelston Barn, as a co-promotion with Kelston Records. We shared the bill with Run Logan Run, and the great weather made it the perfect night for a gig in a hilltop barn! In York, our venue was the Basement, a live music space hidden under a cinema, where we discovered (or were discovered by?) an enthusiastic new cluster of local listeners for our music. I’ve been trying to find a way to play in York for a while, and I hope we’re able to go back sometime.

Our next new place was Durham and DJAZZ Festival (which I had been pronouncing ‘dee-jazz’ but is apparently ‘jazz’). This was the second year of the event and there was music going on in all sorts of spaces around the city, from barber shops to outdoor stages. We were the last act of the weekend on the Fowler’s Yard stage and had a great time. Hats off to Heather and the festival team! After that we headed to Edinburgh, where we played our second ever Scottish gig at Emma Smith’s Bitches Brew night. The series focuses on female improvisers across all genres, and it was refreshing to be part of a bill with multiple styles of music.

On stage at Bitches Brew at the Traverse Bar, Edinburgh (photo: Emma Smith)

We returned to London, Manchester, Derby and Leeds, playing for familiar faces as well as plenty of new listeners. Our co-promotions with Andrew Cheetham and David Birchall (at the Peer Hat in Manchester) and Shatner’s Bassoon (at Wharf Chambers in Leeds) drew lovely crowds who were unexpectedly into my advance ticketing through Bandcamp too. I put us on at Hundred Years Gallery in London, where Colin Webster and Andrew Lisle played an amazing duo set to start the evening, and in Derby we were hosted by the ever excellent Corey Mwamba at the Bless.

Overall it was another great tour. Many pots of instant oats were consumed, and a thorough survey of UK budget hotel chains and their bar opening hours was carried out (with mixed results). We did the majority of the tour on cheap train tickets this time (band members even made formal commitments to each other by getting a Two Together Railcard), which meant that everyone could enjoy multi-tasking on fun other activities like tweeting about the next gig, testing our strength with ridiculous luggage and reading essays about Anthony Braxton (who some of us had also managed to catch playing at Cafe Oto at the start of the tour). Thanks to everyone who came out to support us, and to all the promoters and musicians who hosted the gigs. See you on the next one…

On stage at The Old Barn, Kelston Roundhill, near Bath (photo: Matt Somerville)

SLOTH RACKET: A GLORIOUS MONSTER TOUR 2018!

Apologies…..this post demanded all caps. I’ve been working on this for a LONG time, so I’m pretty ecstatic to announce that Sloth Racket will hit the road once again this year with support from Arts Council England! It’s an eight date tour taking in some new places and revisiting some familiar sloth haunts, to celebrate the release of our third studio album ‘A Glorious Monster’ on Luminous this June.

Head to the dedicated tour page on the Sloths website for all the info and to buy advance tickets…

 

BRÅK Season Three! And photos…

The excellent waterintobeer have invited us back for a third series of BRÅK improv gigs in the shop. I’m looking forward to playing duos with Dee Byrne, Rachel Musson and Alex Ward this time around, and Colin and Tom also have a great selection of guests lined up. Join us in Brockley for more evenings of beer and music…In other BRÅK news, I’ve just seen some great photos by Arek Golosz taken at our September and October gigs last year. You can check out the full selection on the gallery page of our new BRÅK website, but here are a couple of my sets with Tullis Rennie and Kim Macari:

What Love

This month I’m part of Seth Bennett’s ‘What Love’ project; three gigs for a brand new group, interpreting/responding to the music of Charles Mingus. Also playing in the ensemble will be Kim Macari (trumpet), Ollie Dover (alto saxophone and bass clarinet), George Murray (trombone), Adam Fairhall (piano), Johnny Hunter (drums) and of course Seth on bass. Each member of the band will bring an arrangement of a Mingus composition (or their own Mingus-inspired new composition). It should be good fun! You can catch us in Sheffield, Cambridge and Manchester. See the flyer below for dates and venues…Update: now with rehearsal video….

BRÅK: series 2!

After a great first batch of gigs this Autumn, BRÅK is back in early 2018 for a second series of improvised music nights at waterintobeer in Brockley. Colin Webster, Tom Ward and I are inviting a new set of duo partners for triple bills and tasty beers. I’m focussing on string players, playing sets with Benedict Taylor, Hannah Marshall and Seth Bennett. All the info is on Colin’s poster below…hope to see you there!

Sloth Racket live album and November gigs

A Sloth Racket live album ‘See The Looks On The Faces’ is coming out this month on the excellent Tombed Visions label. David McLean, who runs the label, approached me earlier this year and we came up with a plan to record the summer tour with a view to putting something together. The resulting album features music from our gigs in Cambridge (at Listen!) and Norwich (at Plink Plonk), expertly captured by our own Anton Hunter, who brought his recording set up on tour. David was keen to present two versions of a composition, and so ‘Edges’ appears twice on the album – but in very different forms…

To support the release we’re playing in Manchester, Canterbury and London. Come along – and grab yourself one of the limited edition Tombed Visions cassettes while you’re at it! Check out the poster below for all the info.