Thursday, August 12, 2010

A neglectful blogger ...

My apologies to the reader in my head. Only 1 blog in July!

I have to make comment on a number of fronts.

First, the Ukastle Ukestra is really starting to do me proud. Last weekend we performed at the Wallsend Winter Carnivale. It was a real pleasure. We were allocated the last spot in the town rotunda, after all of the brass bands. Of course they have far greater sound projection, whereas we are humble little and quiet tackers of instruments. Once we cleared the stage of brass instruments, I asked the audience to move into the rotunda with us. This was a good move.

The Ukestra excelled themselves. There were about 20 of us. We did two quick bursts down the street, then the 1 hour rotunda performance. Their voices were just lovely together - very full - and the rhythm of the ukes was VERY together, particularly on 'Dreaming of You'. And the soloists vocalists were impressive, and endearing.

Last night The Do Riders performed and our last song was our version of 'Dreaming of You'. I mentioned that we had stolen it from the Ukastle Ukestra and some young students in the audience yelled out that 'they rock!'. I asked for clarification. 'The Ukulele Orchestra! We saw them at the Darby St Fair' - how funny and fantastic is that?!

A few yunguns had seen the ukestra in a few places - I think we make quite an impression! So lovely.

I have now started to teach ukulele in Maitland as well. The Maitland Ukestra is starting off low key. It is always difficult I reckon to get the word out, but one must persist! The 2nd one had 6 people, so that was really good. Mondays now generally consists of me going to do the Tomaree Ukestra in the mornings, then across to Maitland in the evenings. All interspersed with some nice time at my Mum's holiday house up at the Port Stephens.

The Do Riders are going gangbusters at the moment. I am taking a management cut and am working hard at getting us gigs and ensuring that we have a reasonable web presence. It seems to be working for us.

This week we have 5 gigs, 4 of them in a row. This is (and will be!) highly unusual. Last Sunday we played at the wonderfully old school Grand Junction Hotel in Maitland. Liss and Ben are supreme hosts, and discerning music lovers and publicans. It was a very last minute gig (a band dropped out) so we couldn't get much word out. But we had a great night.

Last night was our second turn at the Great Northern. We had quite a few there, plus a few friends and relatives. At the end of the evening a bunch of young people (uni students, early 20s) rocked in after leaving another venue. They really understood what we are trying to do. We also tried 'Fake Plastic Trees' by Radiohead for the first time. A young couple from Melbourne were also there - he had dreads and was carrying his dij in a little indian cloth satchel. They really enjoyed us. All of these accidental audiences were just what we needed.

We have also now recorded, and are very happy with that as a demo. It was vital resource for the heaps of festival applications that I have just submitted. Fingers crossed with that stuff.

Tonight we are doing a Greens benefit (have a look at this wonderful 'advertisement' from the Gruen Transfer if you haven't seen it yet).

It is funny, but the Demo is really selling well. Though it was not meant to. Have just returned from doing a Festival in Maitland, where we had a bunch of people hanging around listening carefully, they bought so many CDs! Most of this audience were over 50 at least. They loved us!

I am very hopeful that we will be able to build something sustainable.