Monday, July 05, 2010

Sunday Night at the Proud Gallery

I went out to Camden, early evening, to see Alex Lipinski play. He used to be a student of mine, and I was impressed by how much his singing voice has developed and also by the fact that I remembered so many of his songs from the last time I saw him, well over a year ago.
I was also tempted to compare the way he is on stage with an obnoxious man from Brisbane that I had the misfortune to follow on stage last week.
Although I had talked to him beforehand and watched his set, during mine he 'worked' the audience, going from table to table and chatting loudly, before inserting himself between myself and the promoter, who was offering me another gig, to ask for another gig himself.
He then left without even farting in my direction.
Alex, on the other hand, is totally un-vain.
You don't realise that this quality exists in a performer until you see it. He sings with commitment and authenticity: he means it. Even if he was singing to one little old guy in a flat cap sitting in a  corner, you know he'd give him the full show.
Put this together with catchy songs and pitch-perfect singing, and the lad will go far, even beyond playing the part of Paul McCartney in a Beatles show in LA later this summer. He has a CD out soon.
I was glad I went out into the muggy gloom, for my friend Chris Carr was out too (he is now Alex's record label), and Colm the studio manager from the University of the West. I'd seen neither of them for ages so it was nice to catch up, even if it was in the decidedly weird environment of the Proud Gallery. The sound was immaculate, but there was an odd conveyor-belt feeling to the night.
Perhaps this is what it's like in Nashville?


Anonymous said...

We'll get Tracy (Hey Harriet/shadow shot Sunday) to duff up your obnoxious man when he goes back to Brisbane!!
ps - you could copy the Corries - if anyone disturbed their performance, they would walk to the front of the stage and tell them off!!

alex said...

Helen, Always want to know why people dont enjoy themselves at proud... how was it "conveyor" belt like, how could we make it better? thanks...

Helen McCookerybook said...

Well, that's good advice Anne- I'll try that next time!
Alex: well, the air-conditioning is louder than the music if you sit at the front.
The room itself is like a passage to the bar at the other side; perhaps the stage should be at the end where the entrance door is. It doesn't work having photographs behind the artist; it's impersonal and threatening. A stylish backdrop would do the trick- Wild West red velvet drapes perhaps. The lighting (and the background colour in general) seems blue. When I was touring in the 1970s and 1980s we never let anyone light us in blue- it's cold and harsh. The colour to use is a gel called straw, which makes any skin colour look good.
Finally, when you walk out of the venue, you hear another artist playing in the room across the way. This makes the whole thing seem desperate.
That's probably a lot more detail than you wanted! But I'm an artist as well as a punter which is why I write about the venues and promoters as well as the music.