Nov 1, 2009

UK Tour


MANTIS Festival

Painting owned by Sam Andreae.

This gig was well attended and awesome. It was our first gig with Mauricio Pauly.


Manchester (2) – All three of us had nice home-cooked meals by ourselves (I forget exactly what I had but I’m sure it was delicious), and as anyone knows, Christians make good cakes, so before we played I made sure to sample the chocolate cake and wasn’t disappointed.  In the end the gig was a good way to round off the tour, perhaps not as good as Edinburgh or London, but definitely enjoying the home comforts of cake and hot chocolate.


Sleeper's Bar

This was the 2nd date of the tour that was booked (the first one being Dry Bar), and it was also the only date of the tour that wasn’t an existing night/event. Scott agreed to put us on in Huddersfield, then found the venue, then some opening acts etc… It was a great venue, and one of the best attended dates on the tour.

We setup our usual gear, and usual arrangement, but because of the shape of the venue and performance space, very few people in the audience could see Angie’s painting straight on. Most so it from the side. Anton and I were able to see it perfectly, so that didn’t impact the performance itself any.

The improvisation, for the most part, was very good. Great ebbs and flows, and Angie’s painting was working very well in the ‘mix’ of things. The first improvisation came to a natural conclusion, and given the opportunity to play one more short piece, we took it. Unfortunately it wasn’t very good, further proving the adage “when you have an ending, take it”.

This was originally the last date of the tour. We were a last minute addition when an act pulled out of the MANTIS Festival.




Huddersfield – this is the slight anomaly in my good food=good music thesis, as my dinner was a Tesco sandwich, and, although the gig wasn’t one of our best, I don’t feel it was anywhere near as bad as the sandwich would suggest it would be.  I think maybe the food was counteracted partly by the welcoming folks from ‘inclusive improv’  If we’d be playing for strangers I don’t think the power of the Tesco could have been avoided.


The Klinker

Painting owned by Hugh Metcalfe.

We arrived in London hours early, as we expected heavy traffic that was, in the end, non-existent.  We set up and then headed to a Turkish restaurant that ended up serving some of the best food we’ve had in the UK. We even got a dessert on the house, surely because were were taking photos of our spread like tourist idiots.

Yadda, yadda, yadda…

This was the best performance of the tour. All elements were appropriate and in harmony.



London – this was the killer for me, had a leisurely time in a Turkish restaurant over the road from the venue called (I think) ‘Ates’  Rod had some Turkish pizza thing and Ang and I had kebabs with an excellent selection of onions and salad.  No idea what was on the onions but I’d have been happy with those alone, though the meat was excellent.  They even brought us some free desert (which is a sure fire way to win yourself a tip by the way), all in all a great feed which we followed up with my favourite gig of the tour.



Dry Bar

Stepped Mid-Rise
To say we were dubious about this gig is an understatement, having spent a few weeks trying to get hold of the promoter, he eventually says two days before the gig “if you can find another band that’d be good” (in fairness to him, we had arrogantly asked to pick the other bands so we could play with people we liked, but that was a couple of months in advance).  We suspected, rightfully, that the actual promotion for the gig amounted to the square route of f-all so had very low hopes.

In the end, a small selection of our friends turned up and it turned out to be quite a nice atmosphere with support sets from Pete Mosely (solo guitar ambient loop drone stuff, good textures, makes me wish I still smoked weed) and Mark Pilkington (laptop plus Nord synth, not the best time I’ve seen him as his patch crashed so had to rely on backing tracks, but went down well anyways).  I’m never brilliant at analysing sets a while after the gig, especially with improvised stuff, but for me this one felt good and I liked the painting at the end of it.  Certainly after Glasgow it felt like a breath of fresh air and set us up nicely for our first trip to London.  Oh, and we sold a DVD for the first time, and a few porn comics, so all good on that front.



Trip to the Piccadilly branch of Bar Burrito for some, erm, burritos.  Good all round, bit of spice, not quite the high standards of Edinburgh but certainly more interesting than Glasgow’s food and the resulting set followed similar lines.


This performance was rushed and uninspired, and it reflected both the in music and in the painting.  Going into it we knew we were playing on an acoustic singer-song writer night, but we hoped that as long as we gave a good performance, the audience would remain open-minded, and perhaps found themselves enjoying the set though it didn’t really fit in with the night.  Unfortunately however, the night had been overbooked (6 performers in one night) and everyone’s sets were shortened to 20 mins. as a consequence.  Having just driven to Glasgow from Edinburgh and hearing that bit of information was demoralizing.

Performance-wise, it apparently effects me tremendously being so hyper-aware of the duration and feeling rushed.  I really felt like I had to get the work somewhere…and QUICK. This completely killed any subtlety or any organic, serendipitous, composition from occurring.  It looks like a train wreck, and felt like one too, as it was happening.  The guys agreed they also couldn’t follow a thought, and so musical development and nuance suffered as well.  The first moment of silence was quickly filled by a clap–a sign from the audience that they were ready for yet another acoustic singer-song writer to take the stage. We packed up and rolled on back to Manchester, leaving that failure in Glasgow. This was the worst performance in the history of TSC.




Glasgow – walked round some dingy streets near the venue looking for somewhere we could sit down but that wasn’t too posh.  And we found Subway.  Rather uninspiring, predictable food that we had to have as we were on a time-limit.  Back to the venue and turned in an uninspiring, predictable performance on a time-limit.

Edinburgh - Alison House

Painting owned by  fit Matt.

First and foremost, Edinburgh is a beautiful city, and it was great having it as the first stop on our tour.  We were shown around by locals and I discovered how great Ellen Gallagher’s work is at the Edinburgh Museum of Modern Art. Additionally, Promotor Lin Zhang’s (of Diva Abrasiva) hospitality was amazing and very much appreciated. He let Rod and I use his room during our two day stay, and let Anton to use the guest bedroom which came complete with a skylight!

Regarding the performance, we played in a great space at Edinburgh University’s Alison House.  The room was quite large and two stories tall, with a balcony that overlooks the performance space.  It felt like a University too–very quiet, well built, and carpeted. It felt like a very appropriate space.  We saw the opportunity to set up a small collapsable stage for the painting area, which  was a great perk, and set the drums and guitar on either side. Having an elevated area that I could step on and off of is not something I’m used to, as most venues don’t have that, but I found it gave me additional mobility during the performance which was great.  I feel the visual work functioned beautifully within the context of the aural performance, and I also feel that it is quite successful in its final form.





Edinburgh – taken to Kebab Mahal, the curry house next door to the venue, by Nick and Lin from Diva Abrasiva.  I’ve known Nick for a long time, ( and have grown to trust him implicitly with any curry-based decisions, and this was no exception.  We all had different curries but all were excellent, I washed mine down with an Iron Bru and we kicked off the tour with one of the best gigs we’ve done…


Painting owned by  fit Matt.

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Takahashi's Shellfish Concern merges sonic and visual information into a single transmission during improvised performances. I think we're all exploring consciousness, and I want to realize with every thought and expression that I am that through which the universe speaks. TSC helps me in trying to do this. We are based in Manchester, England.

Angela Guyton
Rodrigo Constanzo
Anton Hunter