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Blog: Totally Acoustic

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As I STRODE towards The King & Queen last night for Totally Acoustic I noticed someone on the other side of the road, carrying a guitar. "I wonder if that's Mr Benjamin Shaw, who's playing tonight but who I've never actually met?" I thought, handily explaining to myself why I wasn't sure.

IT WAS. We went in and had a bit of an old chat while we waited for the upstairs to clear out (due to a PARTY) and were soon joined by The Guests At My Function and then Mr Chris TT. For the first time ever ALL the acts were present before I'd even gone upstairs to set the room out!

We got set up then had some FURTHER chat, during which Chris revealed that he'd been to a DINNER at Google and ended up talking to two people who were fans of ME. I was rather pleased, though I suspect it may be because I am one of their top customers. "Who's googling MJ Hibbett AGANE?" they doubtless ask. "Oh. It's MJ Hibbett. AGANE."

ANYWAY, people drifted in and it was soon time to start, so i did THIS:

  • Totally Acoustic
  • Don't, Darren, Don't
  • The Theory Of A Dinosaur Planet
  • My Theory Of A Dinosaur Planet
  • The Perfect Love Song
  • Payday Is The Best Day
  • It Only Works Because You're here
  • Billy Jones Is Dead

  • A slightly LONGER set than of late at these gigs, partly because I'd had an AUDIT of songs that I haven't yet put in a Totally Acoustic podcast, and had realised that i had some fairly EASY options. It's a GOOD THING that podcasting these shows FORCES me to do root through the back catalogue to make sure I'm not repeating my own songs, but it doesn't half make it difficult sometimes, and does tend to lead to me being a bit NERVOUS at the gigs. HOWEVER, as I'm only going to be doing a couple more of them this year I thought I could RELAX and use up some songs that I KNOW a bit better, like Payday Is The Best Day. I haven't actually played that one LIVE for a couple of years, but the FACT that I played it at pretty much every gig when I was first starting out seems to have LODGED it in my BRANE!

    Next up was Ben who, as stated previously, I'd never actually seen LIVE. A while back someone emailed me with a couple of suggested for acts to play Totally Acoustic - I do occasionally get emails like this and USUALLY it's from people who've never actually BEEN and seem to think it's a FOLK CLUB, so I always listen to these suggestions with some TREPIDATION. I was thus SURPRISED to hear how GRATE Ben's stuff was, and was surprised a whole lot more during the set. I said this to him afterwards and don't think I made it clear - what I mean is that every song had a SURPRISING turn of phrase, or chord, or something that I just didn't expect. Most times I see a Singer Songwriter you can pretty much guess what the rhyme'll be or how it'll work out, but he had some FANTASTIC lyrics that LEAPT to totally unexpected, yet CORRECT, places. He was a BIT like Superman Revenge Squad, in that the songs were massively downbeat but KIND OF amusing/heartening/enjoyable without asking for sympathy or excusing their own emotions.

    I'm trying to say it was GRATE, basically! Watching him though, ENTHRALLED as I was, I thought how brilliant it was to get to see such UNIQUE performers, like him or SRS or Jim'll's Brain or... well, any of the acts that we've had on at these gigs. I always feel there's a KINSHIP between the people we get on, though most of us are out there in our own SCENES doing this ALONE. If only The Melody Maker was still going, they could call us a MOVEMENT!

    And talking of KINSHIP, we finished with someone who i QUITE FRANKLY look up to as a HERO of This Sort Of Thing, the incomparable Chris TT, who did a MAGNIFICENT set which, i later realised, didn't really have any of [what I think of as] his HITS in. There was a LOAD of songs from "Disobedience", his AA Milne Show, and a MAGIC version of "Love Is Not Rescue" but none of the big singalong "LET'S STORM THE RAMPARTS!" songs, yet the whole thing was bloody magical. He really is an INSPIRING FORCE in all of this, and if you get a chance to see him on the MEGA TOUR that he's starting off this weekend, I'd URGE you to get along!

    It was all rather wonderful, and I wandered off home thinking how marvellous it is to be able to DO this sort of thing. There's only TWO more of these shows coming up this year, with Frankie Machine and Gavin Osborn at the next one on May 10th - do come along if you can, it'll be GRATE!

    posted 13/4/2012 by MJ Hibbett

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    "I'd even gone upstairs to set the room out!" yeah, i've seen you slaving away, setting the room up *so* many times ;)
    posted 13/4/2012 by Steve, somewhat inevitably...

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