So far this year I’ve been pretty busy.
White Noise Radio have had several gigs, and we’ll be playing at the Underdog Battle of the Bands come July. This seems like a genuinely well thought-out event, with 50 bands playing on 10 dates in the initial round. The winners will take £1,000 home in cash with them, and the other prizes are also very worth having. We’ve been working on new songs and refining our set so we hope to take one of these prizes in August.
I’ve also joined the Bristol “Riff Raff” choir to gain more experience singing in an ensemble. The arrangements are challenging but rewarding and the teaching style is very casual; everything is done from memory with no sight-reading required. I’m now in my second term and looking forward to our concert in July at Redland UR Church.
Last weekend I went to Brixworth for the annual “Deanload” jam festival. This is an offspring of the weekly jam nights that were run at the Rowbarge in Guildford – my old local when I was at uni. Once a year all the jammers will haul themselves up to Brixworth and spend a day (and a night) hacking their way through pub classics and rock favourites with the aid of several kegs of ale. The whole event had the feel of a relaxed jam night where everyone knows each other; there were no expectations or judgements of anyone’s playing, only the shared enjoyment of playing together.
As I was travelling from Bristol (with my lovely girlfriend Fran) I was under pressure to keep my rig as portable as possible. To this end, I set up a series of patches on my Boss GT-100 pedal to give me an “amp in a box”. By combining the twin-preamping capabilities of the GT-100 with the Palmer PDI-09 cab emulator I was able to get a pretty convincing, flexible and reliable tone. As I was unwilling to take either my PRS or my Lonestar Strat I opted to make do with my standard teaching guitar, an 80s Korean Squier Strat. This did a great job; though it’s not the best guitar it was able to create a convincing sound for all the various songs I had to play, and since I paid £60 for it I was much more willing to leave it in a barn all day and a car all night.