original. acoustic. music.

Acoustic Alchemy 09

Acoustic Alchemy 09 began at the Bath House on a small stage dominated by a drum kit.

A rather alliterative start to a review, an homage to Hopkins (Gerard Manley) or purely purple prose? Who knows? Perhaps I'll start again...


Acoustic Alchemy 2009 kicked off with Mara Simpson, a solo singer/songwriter with a voice reminiscent of late 60's folk hero Melanie and a slew of songs passionately performed (sorry, I can't seem to help it). Amidst her original songs, many inspired by or featuring the ocean, she performed a cover of Dolly Parton's Jolene that I'm sure Ms. Parton would have approved without hesitation. Mara's distinctive voice and the character of her playing style stood out above the hubbub of the growing crowd, and set the bar pretty high for all of the performers to follow.

We were up next, and after shoehorning ourselves around the drum kit, we cracked on with our set. The stage, as well as being small, was not entirely stable either. I like to tap my foot and move about, and I found myself having to chase the mic around as the stage floor flexed and made the mic stand wobble. Darrel on the other side of the stage had to restrain himself even more as the hi-hat threatened to bite him if he moved around at all. Sure, we could have moved the drums, but then where's the comedy in that?

We played a mix of old and new songs and it became apparent from the first couple of bars of I See that the sound mix was not quite what it could have been. We recorded the gig off the mixer and listening back to it, my guitar is almost completely absent in the first two songs and then only partly there for the rest of the set. Odd, really, as I had plugged into the same channel Mara Simpson had been using just before, and her set sounded a lot more balanced. Now, I don't like to complain, because I know how difficult it can be to do a live mix for a number of different acts in one night, but.... Grrr.

Still, we had a good time performing and the crowd (including the Fledge and Pedge renta-crowd) really appreciated it. We played I See, The Thought of You, Photograph, Still Got a Hold, Four AM, If The Stars, and Release, a song we haven't done live in a long time.

Next up was Vorn - one man, one accordion, and an imaginary trombone player. The confidence emanated in great waves from the man - not only was he playing a generally unpopular instrument, he also chose to sing about things like romance after the apocalypse, the sad state of affairs in the world today - how could he succeed, you might ask? Well, if Kurt Weill can do it, then so can Vorn. And he did. With a little help from Led Zeppelin and David Byrne.

Pisces, who followed Vorn, were a three piece pop outfit who began with a couple of energetic uptempo numbers that got the crowd onside almost immediately. They [Unfortunately the original blog post ends here. Something happened in the export from Blogger.com. Apologies!]