34th gig: Tue 27 March 2012 at The Alleycat Bar, WC2H

Andrew Booker 2012-02-21 23:25:25

Improvizone will return from nowhere and descend to The Alleycat Bar, 4 Denmark Street, London WC2H 8LP on Tuesday 27 March 2012 for an evening of ambientially electronicious musications in the chillouter space. Guffaw. That is the kind of nonsense I am free to come up with when I have no-one to edit me. It is one year and eight months since I last closed a gig, back in June 2010. For much of that time I was not looking to play again.

I can put the period into a rough timeline beginning at 12.15am on 24 June 2010, when I had finished packing up after a musically mediocre evening an hour out of London to which nobody came. As I slammed the car boot shut, I knew I wanted to give the gigs a rest for a while. In fact I stopped everything for a couple of months, had my acoustic kit refurbished ready to sell (I kept it), worked on using some C++ to animate pictures of my eyeballs (we used them for a Darkroom gig the following year) and ate a lot of apples.

By autumn 2010 I was ready to play again. I knew we should be heading for Central London, but in the interests of a quick win I went for the Plough again. Many of our gigs there had required a single phone call to book. This time calls went unreturned, the venue announced its closure at the end of the year, and away went the single good relationship we had built up with a venue. Os and Mike recorded me for their forthcoming Darkroom album, and I set the drums up in an empty rented house for a month or so. I even considered holding an Improvizone recording session in there.

January 2011 came, I made a list of Central London venue candidates and hit the phones. Practically everyone who took the call directed me to an email address, and thus to the death of the prospect. By the end of February I couldn't be bothered with any more. I drip-fed mp3s to the downloads page, but otherwise retired to work on my acoustic drumming, work on my video material for a trip to Germany with Darkroom, and finding interesting places to take my son at the weekends.

Darkroom did their one gig in April 2011. No-Man did the Burning Shed 10th anniversary gig in October, and are releasing the live recording Love And Endings through Burning Shed next month. Both gigs were ones that I didn't have to arrange, playing to audiences that I didn't have to find, two things I had forgotten I used to undertake routinely and willingly for Improvizone. Amongst other contributors, the Burning Shed gig featured The Resonance Association playing a set in the upstairs bar alongside album cover prints by photographer Carl Glover. Daniel from TRA contacted me a few weeks later and offered me drum duties for his next project The Enemy Game, for which he sent me some mp3s. Carl recommended me to progressive rock band Sanguine Hum after the departure of their original drummer.

The year ended, and in January 2012 I resolved I would re-boot my activities from a year before and either find somewhere for Improvizone to play or bin the whole thing for good. All we needed was one venue to play at on a regular basis. Such were my thoughts while enjoying listening to the material Daniel had sent me. To get out of the house I considered taking him up on his offer of doing some playing. He suggested we talk about it in a pub off the Charing Cross Road. As I walked there down Denmark St, my gig venue recognition lobes flickered into activity as I passed the Alleycat Bar. I added it to my list, phoned, visited, phoned, re-phoned and phoned again, and an evening was ours.

It's a pretty good location, so if we can make a success of it I'll be trying for a regular date. Making a success of it largely having people turn up, and that means remembering how I used to do promotion. Luckily I blogged volumninously on that subject when I got stuck in for the Imbibe gigs. It's mildly fascinating reading material now. I've already been through my list of promotion channels and issued a bunch of listings details. I've stuck stickers on most of my remaining copies of mainly noisier or busier stuff for dispersal in any local record shops that haven't closed down. I'm working on a little poster to pin up in all the places I once pinned up little posters for Imbibe. As many that aren't now restaurants or private offices, anyway.

And so time to resume, though not exactly from where we left off. For example, we won't be arriving with four car-loads of gear like before. Gear will either start its journey to the venue from my house, requiring it to fit in my car, or it will be carried on trains or taxis, or it will be staying in its cupboards. Instead we will have a little bit of new software and a little bit of new blood.

By that I mean someone we haven't played with before. Lest in our absence you were thinking we had turned into vampires.

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