Tales of A Zoom H4n – Shane Howard & Band – Colac

Shane Howard and Band - Colac 2014

Well that was huge fun. Jools and drove down to Colac (160 kms)and it was a good run, although it rained off and on all the way. So why the hell were we driving all that way in the cold and the rain?

Simple.

Shane Hpward was doing a gig premiering the songs from  his new  album “Deeper South”  and we hadn’t been able to catch him for years

Shane’s gig was an absolute hoot. What a great show!!!

He was leading a 4 piece band (no drums). Shane on vocals and guitar, John Hudson on guitars and a Godin mandolin (never seen or heard one before – nice toy), Ewen Baker on fiddle and mando, Ruben Shannon on Bass and Double Bass.

They were amazing. It was so far from a slick and rehearsed reiteration of whats presumably on the CD. It was a  wonderful evening of musicians listening to each other guessing what was about to happen and reinventing/making up the arrangements as they went.

Total heaven to listen to.

We were sitting 12 feet back from Shane so the sound we heard was a mix of the PA, the foldback spill and the live stuff from the stage. There was no one in front of us.

Shane said during the gig that “there is nothing more exhilarating or terrifying than exposing new material for the first time” Well for those of us in the audience, the prospect is much the same. A performance without any of the songs and stories and memories that we have built up over the years.

The show starts with Shane doing and aboriginal welcome to place song, goes into the title track of the new album and finishes with a set of Irish tunes. Neatly sums up the threads we will be exploring over the next 2 hours and the show has only been running for 10 minutes.

I am so  in awe of a performer who can chance alienating an audience of diehard fans by not doing his old tracks, we all know that there will be future opportunities to hear them but there will never ever be another “first time” for these songs. An amazing risk, and the songs?

My total favourite was his pirate song and murder ballad all rolled into one.

There were a lot of songs about the sea, love found and love lost. The title track “Deeper South” is classic Howard storytelling.

The audience was so small. Jools finds it hard to believe that so few people were in the audience, my guess would be 150 if he was lucky. I suppose it’s the not the current generations taste, and he is unlikely to get any airplay, there was no hit single in what we heard.

Is he really a mainstream artist anymore? People I was working with on Friday didn’t know the name and it was only when you mention that mainstay of oldies rock radio “Solid Rock” they sort of go “oh yeah I’ve heard that. Is he still around?”

I confess that I find it completely amazing that in the same month I get to hear a brilliant new Jackson Browne album AND a brilliant new Shane Howard album (albeit live). Both are songwriters who need you to actually listen  and pay attention to their words and stories that they are telling,  both do it with such apparent ease (and great guitar sounds).

Shane said that he had his poetic license renewed. Have to tell you he played some of the best guitar I have heard him play for years.

So was it worth all the money, the miles, the pain, and being off line for nearly 2 days by choice?

You bet.

Hope your weekend was as much fun as ours.

As I have said before, if you ever get a chance to see Shane play, grab it, he is never to be missed.

Here he is at the the 2015 National Folf Festival.

ZoomH4nBoring Tech Stuff:
The Zoom H4n recorded in Stereo @ 44.1kHz/16 bit. It was sitting in a pocket on my messenger bag and just pointed up at the flown PA . We were about  4m back from the stage ( 3rd Row) Right of centre.

The audio recording was cleaned up in Sound Forge.
The pics are by Jools Thatcher

Tales of a Zoom H4n – Ian Bland and The Lamington Drive Orchestra

Ian Bland and The Lamington Drive Orchestra @ Caravan Music Club
Ian Bland and The Lamington Drive Orchestra @ Caravan Music Club
Ian Bland and The Lamington Drive Orchestra @ Caravan Music Club

Long-suffering readers will be well aware of Ian Bland (You can read all the previous entries about later MFI –  My Friend Ian ) So to bring you up to date Ian has a new album out it’s called Angel in Reverse and Saturday was it’s CD launch.

The venue was one that I hadn’t been to before, Caravan Music Club (it’s over the other side of town) and it’s a ripper. The sound was just wonderful.

The first track here is my favourite song on the album, “My Fathers Ashes”, this is a ripper performance. Ian and the band just nail it.

Have a listen

 

This next song is called “King Of The Singles Bar”, the band was augmented by Marty Smith on 2nd violin. Greg Hunt did a great strings arrangement and I just had to included this version

I’ll pop a few more up as I get to them.

Thanks to Caravan Music and the band for a truly memorable evening.

ZoomH4nBoring Tech Stuff:
The Zoom H4n recorded in Stereo @ 44.1kHz/16 bit. It was sitting on the table, we were left of centrewith the micc just point at the stage. Chopped the recording up in Soundforge and added 3db of volume over all.

The room is an old RSL hall, rectangular the PA set left and right of the stage.

 

 

Tales Of A Zoom H4n – Danny Spooner – Albert Park

Danny Spooner - Harmony Row Albert Park
Danny Spooner - Harmony Row Albert Park
Photo by Jools Thatcher

It’s been ages since Jools and I have been down to Harmony Row @ Albert Park and frankly I have to wonder why we have left it so long.

Cliff sent out (just subscribe to his email list – trust me) that Danny Spooner was playing and that was enough for Jools.

We were going.

In Japan Danny Spooner  would be made a  “living national treasure“, in Australia he gets the odd gig at the National Folk Festival and the like {insert head shaking here}. I have memories of seeing Danny perform back at Frank Traynors when I first discovered guitars back in the late 60’s .

The song I picked is “Newry Town”,  its about a criminal’s life, deeds, and death.

As a final thought, if you ever get a chance to hear Danny perform, do not miss it.

Thanks to Cliff and Trevor for an awesome night.

ZoomH4nBoring Tech Stuff:
The Zoom H4n recorded in Stereo @ 44.1kHz/16 bit. It was sitting on the table (Hence the bumps and “ambient” noises ) and we were stage left just pointed at Danny on stage.

The room is a large square reverberant space with the PA set left and right of the stage.

 

Tales of A Zoom H4n – Madison Violet – Portarlington

Madison Violet @ Harvester Moon March 2012 by Jools Thatcher

Madison Violet @ Harvester Moon March 2012 by Jools ThatcherIt’s been 4 years since their last trip to Australia and Madison Violet have finally returned. AND to top it off they are playing at Harvester Moon, quite a no-brainer really, a quick phone call to Dominic and we had a table booked. Woohoo.

Lisa and Brenley are just wonderful musicians and generous performers. I wrote up their 2008 show @HarmonyRow and how much fun the night was. This time their two brackets covered a lot of material from their two new albums (well new since their last visit) and a selection of older songs, (they played Haight Ashbury -yaaay)

For this post, I am putting up two tracks.

First up is a song called Home from their new album. Good In Goodbye ( I left Brenley’s intro in)

But my favourite moment of the night is their performance of the album’s title track. Good in Goodbye. This is totally acoustic, Lisa and Brenley unplugged, put aside the mics, stepped to the front of the stage and literally blew the room away, two voices fiddle and Brenley’s awesome tenor reso guitar. It was stunning.

If you get a chance dont miss them.

Also special mention to Dominic and his awesome team @ HarvesterMoon,  they are brilliant.

ZoomH4nBoring Tech Stuff:
The Zoom H4n recorded in Stereo @ 44.1kHz/16 bit. It was sitting in a pocket on my backpack and just pointed at the stage.

We were about 2.m back from the stage (first  table). The room is a long skinny room with the PA above our heads.

 

Tales of A Zoom H4n – Shane Howard – Portarlington

Shane Howard - Portarlington 2009
Shane Howard - Portarlington 2009
Shane Howard – photo by Jools Thatcher

Back in September last year Jools and I went off to see Shane Howard play at Harvester Moon in Portarlington. (If you aren’t on their mailing list you should be). We decided to make a bit of day of  it so we found a B&B  (with a bay view) and a totally unexpected “pick you up after the show” delivery service. Seriously cool.

On to the show.

Shane’s performance was just brilliant. With one or possibly two exception’s, all of my favourite Shane Howard gig’s have been down in Geelong/the coast/Bellarine. The evening started with Shane sort of playing his own support, his daughter Myra opened the proceedings with a really great set (Shane accompanied on guitar and backing vocals). I believe you can hear more of her on the new “Goanna Dreaming ” album. I will rummage through my recording and see if there is a track that does her justice.

Next up was Shane, just him and a guitar. It really doesn’t get much better. The set list was a reasonable stroll through his catalogue of songs, some old and some new. Of the old ones Solid Rock was my favourite (it always has been – my all-time favourite version was was the day Goanna played the Lygon St Festa, back when the Festa had bands and that was a long long time ago (someone has suggested early November in 1981? – really that long ago huh?). We walked around the corner from Queensberry Street and there they were. Complete with a Meyer sound system. Totally brilliant sound and an even better performance. and as usual, I digress.

I figure it will be the perfect song to put up.

Yes you have all heard it a million times before and one more isn’t going to hurt. Let your mind wander back to where you first heard it.

If you ever get a chance to see Shane play, grab it, he is not to be missed.

Sorry this took a year to post.

ZoomH4nBoring Tech Stuff:
The Zoom H4n recorded in Stereo @ 44.1kHz/16 bit. It was sitting in a pocket on my messenger bag and just pointed at the stage. We were about 2.5m back from the stage (second table). The room is a long skinny room with the PA above our heads.

The audio recording was cleaned up in Sound Forge.

 

Tales Of A Zoom H4n – Ian Bland @ Melbourne Folk Club

Ian Bland  & Greg Hunt - MelbFolkClub
Ian Bland (right) & Greg Hunt @ Melbourne Folk Club - photo by Jools Thatcher

Jools and I both decided to go out and see some live music and seeing that My Friend Ian (MFI) had scored  a gig at the Melbourne Folk Club, that seemed like a great place to start.

The Melbourne Folk club is currently down in West Brunswick and seems to have a fairly wide ranging selection of styles and performers. (Tonchi is on next week – look for us down the front).

Ian was accompanied by Greg Hunt on fiddle and mandolin and between the pair of them, the just flew. I honestly think that this is one of the best gigs I have seen Ian do and Greg ever so “subtly” reminded us of just what a monster musician he is.

The track I picked is “But For Chance”, it’s one of the contenders for Ian’s next album, I will be really miffed if it doesn’t make the cut, the song has managed to up residence in my head and it shows no sign of leaving.

[audio:https://thatchspace.com/audio/100717-butforchancece.mp3]

Have a listen or three and see what you think. Jools and I had a great afternoon, there are lots worse ways to spend a Saturday arvo.

ZoomH4nBoring Tech Stuff:
The Zoom H4n recorded in Stereo @ 44.1kHz/16 bit. It was sitting on top of the mixer ( thanks Russ)  and just pointed at the stage. We were about 2.m back from the stage.  The stage right PA speaker is basically what we are hearing.

The audio recording was edited in Sound Forge and all I did was fold the left and right in to about 50% to tighten up the stereo image.