On a sunshiney day, at the Bavaria Statue in Munich…
People begin to appear dressed up, and start to paint each other’s faces. A tall lady arrives with light sabres and a yoda face mask. Another arrives in a zebra print and dons a day of the dead stormtrooper mask.
Then this happened.
You can be part of this, too!
Dress to impress the force, and join us in Wood Green on the 1st of May at 5.30pm –
Do you want to tour living rooms too?
House concerts or living room gigs are a great way to present acoustic music in an intimate settings, with people really listening.
The Break Up Tapestry
It’s a good opportunity for audiences to discover new music and foster a personal relationship with a musician. People are also more likely to buy a cd or other merchandise because it is a souvenir of a lovely evening.
In the last year, I organised over 25 gigs in living rooms across London and Europe, including a tour which took us through 5 living rooms in 5 cities in 7 days. I much prefer playing in people’s living rooms to a group of people who have come to listen than a load of people chatting in a pub. It’s a real event, it’s a vibe, it’s a buzz, it’s a party, and everyone gets involved.
I organised 4 of the 6 gigs on the tour via Couchsurfing, the others through friends and friends of friends.
I was chatting to a fellow musician, and he was saying it must have taken a lot of work, organisation etc.
Actually, it wasn’t too bad.
I think the key was in preparation and work I’d put in before.
A quick explanation about Couchsurfing/ -it’s a platform to link hosts and guests – works through a kind of “paying it forward” system- I host you- you host Jim, Jim hosts Lotte…
I have hosted a number of guests from all over the world and I guess I accumulated some good social karma. This is definitely an important part of using couchsurfing for gigs – your profile and references.
I also know that Couchsurfing is not for everyone. A lot of people don’t like having “strangers” to stay or meeting randoms in a pub for a meetup. But if you fancy it, have a go- go to a meetup, host someone who has shared interests, it can open up opportunities and seriously widen your horizons.
So… you’ve been to a meet-up or two, hosted a bit, surfed a bit – and you like the culture and the vibe… Now you want to organise a tour. What next?
I wrote up an approximate schedule of when we would be where –
31/03/2014 Amsterdam, Holland
02/04/2014 Nancy, France
03/04 Basel Switzerland
I posted in groups, but found that addressing individual hosts worked better and was more satisfying, and just asking if they were interested. As we were a crew of 4 people travelling I used the search filter to find hosts who could host 4 or more people and were into music in some way. This worked wonderfully, and I got all the dates filled 3 weeks before setting off.
Have you toured living rooms/house concerts? How did you do it?
Danny Clark, Yasmine’s best childhood friend, invited Yasmine and me to Lincoln to play an intimate belated birthday gig in her cosy dragon and book filled living room.
We are always up for adventure, especially when it involves living rooms and music (yes, we’re special that way!) and two days later, we were in a car on our way to Lincoln.
About half way, we stopped at a motorway petrol station to fill up, and the attendant was drumming to the beat of his internal tabla;
“All together?” dak dak drak go the fingers.
“Yes-“ I said.
“34.65” drak dak da dak dak da dak dak
“Are you a musician?”
“Yes.” He grins. “I’m a singer and am working on album, my ep’s just been released.”
“We’re musicians too! Where can we find you? Soundcloud?”
“Yes, soundcloud. Subesh.”
“Su-besh.” He pointed to his name tag. Ah. Subesh… See you on soundcloud!”
“Yes, hope to see you on soundcloud!”
So… from petrol station promotion near Grantham to… Lincoln.
Yasmine and me
Tank – guitar teacher and surprise performer
Danny singing “Close every door”
Yasmine with her old keyboard
It may have been our smallest audience so far, but it was a magical evening for us all.
According to Yasmine, our host, Danny, doesn’t usually sing in front of an audience.
I don’t claim to be a great performer or musician. I write songs from my heart, and strum to the beat. But what is becoming increasingly clear is the purpose of these living room concerts. I have a gift. We have a gift to share with our hosts and audiences in living rooms across Europe. That gift is music, that everyone has the ability to appreciate and make music, and this sharing of music is forging connections between human beings, a connection to our creative souls. And it seems to be inspiring people to get back in touch with that side of themselves. It is amazing to see the “I can” look on faces. I am so humbled by this, and so sure that what I’m doing is right.
According to Yasmine, Danny doesn’t sing in front of audiences. Not only did Danny sing, but she also played the piano and the bodhrán to accompany Yasmine on the keyboard and me and my guitar.
The keyboard provided a special homecoming for Yasmine- it used to be her keyboard and has all sorts of recordings from her past.
Tank, who didn’t think he should bring his guitar to play, turned out to have a lovely smooth mellow voice and has even written a number of songs himself. We rotated, taking turns performing and accompanying each other.
Jon-Paul even played his one and only song called the “Plinky Song” which Yasmine transposed to the piano and called the “Plonky Song”. Ok. We were being special.
The living room concerts we have played in 4 living rooms in the UK for audiences from as few as 5 to more than 20. It has been great preparation to prepare for what might await us on our travels, in Europe. We come bearing the gift of hope, inspiration and renewed trust in human kindness. What could be more fitting from a performer named Pandorasdiary?
Every concert has made me smile to myself, honoured, blessed and humbled, amazed at what is being created in each living room we visit.
Tried to order cake and coffee and ended up confusing the lady at the till.
Tried to join in 3 year old’s song- he stopped in shock that any adult might behave so childishly. When asked whether we were allowed to join in he told us: “you can’t sing”.
Tried to get into pub with keyboard- knocked over drinks, obstructed waiters. Mortified.