It's possible that I forgot to mention this properly: but the trio with Dave Kane and Joshua Blackmore was five years still standing last week. It's also unlikely anyone else will celebrate it, but I'm very happy to do so.
Here's the first half of our most recent gig, very roughly recorded.
In some ways, our five-year anniversary gig [that's what I count it as] was very similar to our first. This was definitely the case in terms of the number of people—there weren't many there when we played at the White Swan in Stratford. At that first gig—a gig I was very excited about at the time Joshua and Dave had never met. Although I'd worked with Joshua when he lived in Derby a few times, I'd only worked with Dave once, on Take Five. And as I waited for them to arrive, I sketched out a composition that I ended up never showing them. And I thought: will this work?—a shorthand for asking: if you have exactly the right people and the willingness to create a communal language, can you perform full works you don't know yet? Skip forward to the most recent gig, and I'm sat waiting for them to arrive whilst I sketch out a composition that I have no intention of showing them—and I'm thinking will this work? And even though I feel it might, I just don't know until it's happened. And that is exciting. It never gets dull.
We haven't played together as often as most bands I know, although perhaps in relation to improvising groups it's quite high: twenty-one gigs in five years [this doesn't count Orrery; as a note Aquae Sulis will be our twenty-second]. But I think we've definitely changed—how we sound now has clear links to the sound of 2008/9, but there's been a shift—where we'll move to, how much fun we have now.
We've never got together to just "play". It isn't something any of us have any time to do—I'm not even sure it's something I'd like to do. I've always appreciated gigs where the feedback loop between musicians and audience is completed—where we're not just giving out all this energy because we want to; but that there is someone there who wants to receive it, and who gives back. Music for me is a mutualistic act. I feel lucky to say that I've felt that way each time the trio has played, and I hope we can keep it going!