(Typewriting) Machines of Loving Grace

We had a gig and EP pseudo-launch on Sunday, February 10th.  Thank you to those who attended and joined us in celebration of:

1. The Year of the Snake, my maternal grandmother’s birth year.

2. Cameron going against type with the Equal Marriage Bill.

3. Individually hand-made CD labels.  Will, 0ur bass player, was not the only one to ask how I managed to fit the CDs into my typewriter without breaking them.  Here is an artfully arranged photo of the EPs we gave away for free, plus a copy of sound engineer/producer Dave Tidmarsh’s business card, which you can print and cut out for your wallet if you didn’t manage to pick one up at the gig.

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4. Mark’s new guitar and matching purple strap.

5. Strong, intelligent, and creative women making great music.  This time, it was Siobhan Mazzei and Meri Everitt – we don’t necessarily try to get female artists to play with us, but isn’t it nice when it works out that way?

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6. Sunday afternoons and free entry for under-16s.  We are shameless in our attempts to win over the younger generation to Bluebird Parade.  If you don’t believe us, check out Pearl (this shot was taken before her attempt at stage-diving):

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7. Specialized 2.

8. Familiar and unfamiliar faces in the audience.

9. Talented, clandestine, and generous photographers who like to add to their portfolios by going to local gigs and then posting the resulting photos on Facebook.  A big thank you goes out this time to Philip J Vernon – visit him at www.philipjvernon.co.uk .  I’ve added his photos to the website Home, Gallery, and Band pages, but here are a few more examples (he also took the ones above of Siobhan and Meri and co.  Unfortunately, there are no individual shots of Styx, and the full band photos have his head obscured by a crash cymbal – such is the plight of the drummer):

PhilipJVernon - Russ vox - 10.02PhilipJVernon - Jon flugel - 10.02

PhilipJVernon - Mark laugh - 10.02PhilipJVernon - Will profile - 10.02

PhilipJVernon - Ming deep - 10.02

 

 

10. Malc (as always).

If you were there and have anything to add to the list of celebratory items, please post a comment below.  If you were not there, even better!  And in the current absence of gig alerts,  please listen to the new recordings on the sidebar and let us know what you think (as of February 18th, I don’t think I have added the new songs correctly, but if you click with enough enthusiasm, you should get there eventually.  I do prefer the typewriter).

Why do today…

…what you can put off until tomorrow?  Procrastination runs in my genes, which may explain why it’s taken until February 2013 for me to acknowledge the New Year and proffer even the most cursory blog update.  We saw our 2012 gigging extravaganza out in style with a giddily grand time supporting The Men They Couldn’t Hang at the Musician.  Only the first part of that sentence was ironic – what a great band, and what gorgeous people (why all the g’s?  I don’t know).  If you aren’t familiar already with TMTCH, I urge you to catch them live when they tour again this year, for the sheer joy of their onstage banter and rapport alone.  The musicianship and sweaty folk-punk enthusiasm, and the impromptu raffling of paraphernalia, are a bonus.  May I add that I won the raffle prize, a slightly battered and out-of-tune, but nonetheless authentically signed mandolin?  I can’t remember the last time I actually won anything, let alone something so…useful.

So, it’s mandolins ahoy for our first gig of 2013 (yes, we are all getting older; sometimes we need a big rest in between our moments of genuine excitement), which will also be at the Musician on this Sunday, February 10th.  We decided we like the afternoon slot; it gives off an air of sophistication and maturity, despite the fact that it means all ages can attend (take note: we will accept only well-behaved children accompanied by suitable guardians).  And there is incentive to get there early, because the first 20 guests will receive a free, exclusive CD copy of our new recordings.  The EP features re-recordings of In Case You Fail and Cynical Boy, as well as “covers” of two that we did as Summerhouse back in the day – Cynical Boy and Seven Horses – which will be new to many of you, and which in any case have been reworked to reflect our current mood and line-up (think poppy yet contemplative; and stadium-rock-lighters-aloft-lump-in-your-throat: we’re that good).

A big special thanks goes out to the wonderful Dave Tidmarsh, a.k.a. Integral Elements Studios, who has done a fantastic job of recording and producing us.  Dave – thank you for all your skill, hard work, and patience.  Everyone else – visit him at www.facebook.com/I.E.Studios .

Before we thank Dave in person at the Musician on Sunday, things will kick off shortly after 2 pm with Siobhan Mazzei, who has been described by Trevor Locke and John Wray (Arts in Leicester) as “sensational….Here is an artist with a great voice which she wields with jaw-dropping agility, a voice, that has character and a personality behind it….It is easy to see why she is celebrated as one of Leicester’s top singer songwriters“:

Siobhan just featured in the obsUnplugged Finale 1 at the Musician last Saturday.  From all accounts, she went down a storm (unfortunately, three of us were gigging in a medium-secure psychiatric hospital at the time and couldn’t make it!) and we wish her all the best in that competition.

As if that were not enough, on Sunday we’ll also be graced with the presence of another local singer-songwriter talent, Meri Everitt.  Meri is “one of those performers who seems like she was born playing the guitar….a songwriter who has real edge in her work….[and] delivers a performance that has real intensity” (Steve Simpson, Myvillage). Here she is with her band, Flying Kangaroo Alliance, who were in the finals of 2012’s obsUnplugged and also featured in Alternative Female Voices Magazine last winter:

I’m not entirely sure yet whether she will be playing solo on the 10th or with any of her bandmates, but either way, it should be a great afternoon.

We really are honored to have Meri and Siobhan both join us – it is one of the finest pleasures of playing live to be share in other artists’ music as well.  But it’s also a pleasure to steal other artists’ music and record it, which is what we’ll be doing over the next few months when we prepare our contribution to Specialized 2 – Beat Teenage Cancer.  The first Specialized project was so successful, raising over £25,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust, that it took only the briefest of breaths following The Big One for Paul Willo to conceive of and commit to a follow-up.  This time, it’s the songs of The Beat (or The English Beat, as I knew them – I’m sorry, but I did grow up in the States) that will be dusted off and gussied-up and generally re-vamped for music-lovers’ consumption.  Bluebird Parade are overjoyed to be a part of it again, and this is our assignment:

We’ve started work on it, and I have to confess have been referring back to this clip time after time; the structure is a lot more complex than you might think for a three-minute pop song! (If you think the yellow polo shirt is a classic fashion statement, have a look on YouTube; the posted comments drooling over Dave Wakeling are really very sweet.)

We’ll keep you updated on Specialized 2 through the blog and Facebook, and advise you strongly to reserve the weekend of November 8th, 9th, and 10th for your caravan at the Big One 2 in Dorset.  See www.specializedproject.co.uk for further details in the meantime…

…and join us on Sunday if you can.  Happy New Year!