What a fantastic few days I've had. Musically, I mean—obviously the travelling hasn't been too hot [for the first time in a long time for me, the London train was an hour late], and I've never been a fan of staying in faceless accommodation or rooms that smell of stale cigarette smoke. But that's life, eh?
Mau Mau is on the Portobello Road, not far from the Ladbroke Grove tube station. I'd just done some recording for the Heliocentrics in North London, so it was a bit of a mission to get across to the west side, especially at five-thirty in the evening. By the time I got there at half-six, Dave had been there for two hours; Josh was just setting up. We then found that we were going on at ten; so we sat back, got a Chinese, and waited.
It's funny how as a trio, we don't actually talk much: most of our time is spent talking through music, and normally the others are packed up much quicker than me and have long car journeys[!] so hanging out afterwards is always tricky. So it was good to have the time chill out before we began.
People started to come in—it wasn't packed, but you could tell that Adam Rock and the Jazzre:freshed crew had done the work to promote the night. They'd been playing some poor hip-hop almost all the time when we were there, but by the time the guys had set up the equipment the feel of the place was replaced by some quality hip-hop and some soulful jazz-funk. And then we played. And we were different. And the audience liked it. And that's what makes a good night: a totally open and receptive audience.We enjoyed ourselves immensely.
A slight drama with an unknowledgeable taxi-driver and a disturbed, uncomfortable sleep later, I headed to Paddington to get the train to Cardiff. Having never been, I was surprised at how... balanced the city was in terms of the buildings: lots of modern things but still a retention of some old ones. Not necessarily beautiful, but nicely done. The National Assembly building was amazing to look at, and the Norwegian Church is right next to that. It's a wonderful space, with a buzzing café—and the room we were to play in had a fantastic acoustic. Although the audience was small [the promotion was subtle to say the least: council-run venues, eh? I hit the street with some flyers for a bit while trying to find somewhere to stay for the night—but Cardiff on a Friday after five o'clock changes] it was [again] a receptive and open one; and once again we enjoyed being there.
A much more comfortable, yet noisier sleep later [like I said, Cardiff changes] I headed home, finally got to take a long soak in a bath and rested up for today—the last date in Leeds. I'm still tired, but it's been a lovely tour, and with luck there will be much much more...