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Big weekend. Friday morning I got a Skype message from fellow Catalyst Jaymis Loveday about the support act for Imogen Heap playing that night- Tim Exile. I’d not heard of him, but a quick youtube search made me realise I should keep my eye on this guy for live electronica insanity. I scored 2 of the remaining 5 tickets to catch Imogen Heap’s show in Brisbane- not a bad effort, given the Melbourne show was sold-out months in advance!

The very long queue snaked around a couple of blocks in West End, and I made a mental pledge:
“Note to self- get more contacts who own big venues or manage superstars, lining up is for chumps.”
Of course this was further illustrated when I caught sight of Jaymis casually milling near the front of the venue, and later when I saw him and his camera up on stage behind the scenes as well. My current claim to fame: “I know someone who met Imogen Heap!” Oh yeah, I rule.

The gig itself was pretty special- my first visit to the HiFi- and I like it! The warmup acts were very accomplished- Tim Exile hits new heights for live sampling with lashings of geek-factor. The highlight of Tim’s set was when he jumped into the crowd armed with some kind of bluetooth supergamer joystick and a microphone and proceeded to sample and mess with sounds from the crowd on the fly. Impressive stuff.

Imogen was a joy from the moment she ducked out on stage with her hair “not done yet” to introduce Tim’s performance to her spine-tingling triple encore. Calm and disarmingly charming as always, Imogen gave us a brief rundown on her impressive technical setup, and showed off her wrist microphones- “a lot less expensive than miking up every piece of equipment” she noted.

Armed with more technology than NASA and sporting an impressive set of wireless packs strapped to her back, the focus was definitely Imogen’s music and not the gadgetry. Live samples of wine glasses, toy birds, bells and chimes combined to build beautiful atmospheres for each track. The highlight, almost predictably, was Hide and Seek; the whole crowd was swept up what could only be called a sacred 5 minutes. Who knew a gaudy plastic key-tar and a vocoder could emote so much?

Anyway- the gig rocked- I’m sure Youtube is saturated with video and Flickr updated with the collective recorded bits from the army of iPhones in the crowd. I managed one “not totally blurry” pic from my (this is not a gadgetry blog) Sony Ericsson w810i. I’ll upgrade soon ok?!

Imogen Heap on stage

On the Saturday afternoon I headed down to The Edge to check out Plug & Play- a VJ workshop being held by Jaymis & Andrew Gibbs (also a Catalyst). Inspired by the previous night’s performance, I thought it might be a good idea to finally make use of my gear that’s been locked away downstairs for months and see what crazy noises we could come up with to complement the visuals. With no rehearsal, laptop, or backing tracks of any kind, it was a leap of faith. Fortunately it was a small and tech-curious crowd, who were only too keen to get involved and there was no pressure for me to keep some kind of uplifing DJ set going the whole time, so I managed to play all kinds of geeky stuff. A little polish and we could maybe take this thing on the road and perform at the Logan RSL! 😉

I’ve come to a few conclusions after the “performance”. 1.) My Amiga 600 has no place in any kind of modern stage-setup, and I should consider setting it free on ebay. 2.) It might be a good idea to learn how to play my own songs (sequencers make us all lazy!) and 3. Brisbane crowds are pretty forgiving. I got away with playing the soundtrack to an old Nintendo DS game I made, and jamming over the top, as well as an impromptu jam with Andrew Gibb’s iPhone running some imitation Tenori On  software- and found new uses for my Electrix Repeater. Here’s a photo of the setup:

Plug & Play

The Edge is still an inspiring place- met some amazingly talented and industrious VJ types, and hopefully there’ll be more jamming. Any future gigs will have this bit of experience behind them, and I’ll be better prepared to keep some smooth tunes rolling. Will work on a live FL-Studio set for next time.

Speaking of which- don’t miss my workshop on April 10 if you want to meet other FL producers and build your skills!

=) A