Last week I was honoured to be asked as the guest at the Crookes Folk Club - a club that's pretty much next door to me and I've criminally under attended.
Although I've been steadily gigging over the past year, most of the gigs I've done have been in the pub where nobody really cares about what you do. Those who are interested are usually the other musicians who're playing that night.
However, the Crookes Folk Club was my first folk club gig. That makes a big difference - at no point did I need to work to get people's attention and make it obvious that it was worth listening to me. They all were, because otherwise they wouldn't really be there. And with that, it makes it much easier to play the things that you really want to play.
I've got a whole collection of instrumental material that I never get to play out anywhere, because it never really fits. If you're in a group band and you play a bunch of really energetic tunes then everyone gets uplifted and tends to pay attention. The instrumentals I play tend to be airs or waltzes - I like really uplifting and bouncy tunes but I haven't worked out how to make them work so I don't play them out.
At the Crookes Folk Club I got to play all sorts of tunes I've not tried out on human beings before. I played a tune from Final Fantasy IX (one of my favourite games). I played a tune I wrote for my friend that I've been dying to play in places but never really got the chance to. I finished with a piece I wrote for my fiancee while we were in Ireland.
I also got to do more than one a cappella song. I've got into the habit of just using Silence (written by the late Michael Marra) and I Went To Market (I get far too much enjoyment from that song...) since they're nice attention grabbers but I don't usually get to sing anything else. This time, I got the chance to sing Pilgrimage by Jess Arrowsmith (it was topical since we just had the John Birmingham Cup heat in Sheffield).
But most importantly, I got to go through a whole bunch of songs that I know and never get to play. The entirety of the first half hour set I played in one tuning, and I only changed capo once. It's an utter delight to try out new material, and it's brilliant to have such a welcoming club to play to.
So, hopefully I'll be invited back in the future. In the meantime, I look forward to doing some more!