Wednesday, June 15, 2011

WEGO: June Enlighten Show! (and Andrew's solo opener)

Andrew's Set (33 megs)
WEGO Set (82 megs)

Here are the recordings of my opening solo-guitar-and-voice set and the full WEGO set from our June show at the Enlighten Cafe!

Both Jesse and Jenny were out illin' for this one, so it was a jaunty quartet of Woody Frank (guitar, tambourine, and voice), Dennis Jolin (guitar, uke, timbales, assorted percussion, and voice), Ian McKagen (guitar and voice), and Me Woods (electric bass, foot-percussion, and voice) -- plus the peripheral addition of Jennifer Ng on assorted percussion (but more on that later). Without our usual dual-djembe groove-attack, this one was a little lighter on the tribal momentum. And generally, if this is your first time here in a while or if you've followed my link to this page to try to determine if we might be a good fit for your venue, then please jump down to any of the two previous WEGO posts for a better representation of the current flavor. But for those familiar with the 6+ piece group, I think there are still plenty of enjoyable moments here!

But hopping over to the flip-side for a moment, the opener was probably my best solo set yet! Part of it is me just getting fed up with songs that have just been limping along in this format and finally kicking them out of the rotation, but it also feels like I'm sitting in a much less self-conscious place with "solo guitar-and-voice". In fact, I'm actually breathing and enjoying it now! So perhaps there will even be some new material for next time…? (The clip here is the complete unedited set, except for removing some speculation as to exactly who "Texas" was written about...)

But back to the WEGO set! This was my first WEGO show with the electric bass, and while I would really miss certain aspects of the bass-box, I really do think that the characteristics of the electric are better suited to providing a fat and versatile foundation for our sound. Wow, there really is a bass-hole where the recorder was! … but even so, in this one you can hear the sweet, farty support of the electric most of the time. (With how round Ian's electric tone was, there are places where we get a little tangled up when he's playing low on the neck, but I think you can still hear what I'm talking about.) And after a bit of testing at home, it seems that the intermittent signal-dropouts were just a faulty cord, so it should be rock-solid for the next one.

Typically awesome stuff from Woody and Ian here, but special thanks to Dennis for stepping up and bringing his own palette to the percussion (and even singing from time to time!)!

But yes, Five's friend and percussionist Jennifer Ng happened to be visiting from Singapore for this one, and if I had read my emails a bit more carefully it seems we could've had her up on stage with a complete percussion rig! Doh!! But even as it was, we managed to lure her into bringing a few miscellaneous pieces to her seat and adding her tastefully-crafted percollating high-end wash from the middle of the house. It was a great first connection, and I'm hoping we'll have another visit from her very soon!

One other random tidbit: I had built a strange frankensteined acoustic pedal-powered percussion thingy (photo above), with a splash-shaker sound on one of the pedals and my largest (and fairly broken) woodblock-frog mounted to the other side for more of a "thock". I didn't play it more than 3 or 4 times over the course of the evening (26:00-ish, for instance) but it seemed to provide a nice accent and push some interesting syncopation into the bass whenever I did.

Alright GEEEEEEEEZ enough of my thoughts! What are your impressions?

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