This image, a taken in the dressing room of Brighton’s theatre pub, The Marlborough, pretty much sums up my feelings about the tour of England & Ireland I’ve just partied my way through.
On the way over, I set up a film shoot with Malaysian pop princess Ze! ( http://ze.com.my ). It was fun to pretend I knew what I was doing for a couple of hours, and we ended up with exactly the footage I’d hoped for. After a night out at a Malaysian open mic comedy gig (One Mic Stand - look it up if you’re ever in KL), the next day I went everywhere in Singapore (well, everywhere cool - their Chinatown district is amazing) and shot a whole pile of location footage. You’ll be able to see some of this in my new show, either titled The Final Chase or Tomás Ford Stop Killing People depending on where you’re seeing it.
I then spent the next fortnight constantly on the move between London, Dublin and Brighton, in what must be a new world record for Most Annoying Travel Plans, but which saw me to perform shows most nights I was away.
My London debut at an 80’s themed cabaret at the Bethnal Green Working Mens’ Club went down pretty well, with a custom-made cover of Kim Wilde’s Cambodia going down well, somewhat making up having to abandon my cover of The Power And the Passion when it was met by blank, unrecognising faces at the tech rehearsal - the UK didn’t really get into Midnight Oil. Luckily this meant I had an excuse to bust out one of my own songs afterwards and since my excessive use of digital reverbs makes everything I do sound like 1983 anyway, it fit perfectly. In any case, you can see it for yourself:
Film by Shaun Mooney
I’d also been rather looking forward to playing London institution The Double R Club for a long time; it’s a David Lynch themed cabaret, and is full of fucking amazing, on-the-edge-of-what-this-stuff-can-do kind of stuff. So it was quite enjoyable to completely blow the roof off the joint, even if I do say so myself.
My full Electric Cabaret shows were all great nights. Dublin was a tiny audience who were unprecedentedly terrified of me during opening number Nice but who were well and truly along for the ride by the end. Nothing quite as satisfying as that. I learned a lot about how to do shows in Ireland, and loved the joint (and the chance to hang out with my truly excellent pub-owning cousin, not to mention Ben Watson from Perth’s Project Mayhem taking time out of his epic busking tour of the UK to hang out) so much I’m plotting my grand return already.
My London show (again at Bethnal Green WMC) elicited two encores, which was humbling, and Brighton Fringe was all kinds of fun. I did two nights there; the first had a slightly terrified audience (who revealed themselves at the end to have been wildly enjoying themselves the whole time), and the second was so playful and along for the ride that I am still grinning madly about it a week later. Brighton also featured the outdoor Fringe City stage. Street shows are tough, but I love doing them at Fringe festivals, you can get away with quite a lot while working up attention from a really broad audience.
Here’s a pic - the grey slate was very slippery on my new shoes; at my first Fringe City gig, I managed to fall over before I’d sung a note. At the second, I accidentally hit play on a track which has a schtick where I cover myself in water without bringing a change of clothes. At 1pm, when I was MC’ing the stage until til 6. Luckily Brighton has menswear GALORE.
Image from Brighton Fringe’s Fringe City by Dade Freeman
I finished the run with a guest spot at piano man Pete Saunders’ (Perth folks will know him from his show Blues And Burlesque at Fringe World) residency at The Cellar Door, which was fun but proved a bit of a technical challenge in front of a quiet sunday night crowd; after a couple of wonky computer moments it turned around with a decent couple of tunes. It’s funny; touring for me means usually playing to big audiences one night and then fuck all the next, and you’d be surprised how many times the final show of a run has been a bit of a misfire. Still, it felt good and a grand low-pressure excuse to consume whiskey and celebrate such a magic run.
Thanks to all the venues, producers, Fringe & rock ‘n’ roll friends, spectacular cousins, people who put me up and audience/victim-folk.
Now I’m back in my studio, putting the final pre-rehearsal touches on my new show (tickets go on sale this week!). 2014, you can stay.
Image from The Double R Club by Juliet Shalam