(Though there was an appearance by a pianist, plucked from the audience).
Yesterday was the third Friday of the month which, for lovers of the music scene in Southampton, means the Three Monkeys Showcase at the Art House. Last night’s event took place under the umbrella of SO: To Speak (just as well given the rain!), Southampton’s annual festival of words. Fear not, word-lovers, there are still plenty more festival events to catch before the festival ends on 28 October!
Regular readers may have wondered about the reduction in quantity (and possibly quality) of updates to this blog, particularly those of a more diary-like nature. There are a couple of main factors involved: (i) I am going out a lot more often which (a) restricts my time for writing this sort of nonsense and would (b) try the patience of even the most loyal reader if I immortalised them all through GofaDM and (ii) I’ve started using Facebook to memorialise the more quotidian details of my existence. I may be slightly(!) over-using Facebook but, despite the underlying sensation of abiding evil which seeps from the platform, it is very handy way to share my life and bad jokes in real (or near real) time with people who are more likely to be interested (or willing to feign such interest) and it seems to provide better audience interaction than WordPress. This more Pepysian instalment of GofaDM (though despite intimations of imminent apocalypse, I have not yet started burying my cheese in the garden) reflects the author being commissioned to produce a few words about last night’s gig (well, I say commissioned – I don’t think the person who asked for a few words had this in mind!).
The Three Monkeys has a deceptively simple premise: there are three performers (sometimes a performer may be comprised of more than one person) who perform one song each in sequence. They do this three times followed by an interval and then a further round of three songs each. While simple, the concept is rather brilliant, which coupled with the friendly and inclusive nature of the Art House, creates an (almost) unique vibe for the gigs. Having all the musicians on “stage” throughout the gig gives them more chance to interact with each other and the audience. It also means the audience don’t just turn up for their favoured act but get to see the whole gig which must help with music discovery, even for those normally reluctant to sample the new.
The Three Monkeys Showcases are always good and some have been really special, but even given this very high historic bar (limbo was much easier in the past) last night was particularly great. Our Monkeys last night were Jack Dale, Charlie Hole (and if no-one has already done so, I shall be writing a series of children’s books with him as the principal character – what a name!) and the Real Raj (or Rat as he was introduced thanks to some dodgy typing).
I won’t attempt to assign a musical genre to each monkey – partly because I don’t really approve of pigeon-holing (even for pigeons) but mostly because I don’t really understand genres except at the Phylum level. In each case, we had a chap with a guitar producing glorious music with mouth and strings – and, in the case of Jack joined for one number by a random audience member (aka his ex-stablemate Patrick Ytting) on the piano. Perhaps in honour of the SO:To Speak Festival, the verbal interplay and trade in quips between the songs: both intra-monkey and with the audience were a much larger feature of the gig than is traditional – and the gig was all the better for it. I fear it will be impossible to explain here the importance to the evening’s merriment of such topics as heavy breathing, wedding singing, radio racism, rule breaking and the importance – and competitive nature – of capo position, nor indeed the major role played by the absent Tom Dale! Suffice it to say, I doubt any members of Genus homo will have had more fun last night than the near capacity crowd at the Art House did. St Crispian’s day may still be four days away, but I feel more than 7 billion people will be counting their manhoods (or alternative gender appropriate head coverings) cheap this morning.