Tuesday, November 26, 2002

as astute followers of the Assistant webpage will know, we're now preparing for our first ever gig. This means working out a setlist and running through songs consecutively. It's tiring, We met up at Strummers last night and quickly turned our attention to which songs we'll play. There weren't any disagreements, but it was still a job whittling them down. In the end we adopted a more is better policy and crammed ten songs in. Pending changes, our set on the 11th should consist of

1. It's Alright
2. Losin' My Mind
3. Get Away
4. Bomba
5. Broken
6. Tonight
7. John Wyndham
8. Bad Vibrations
9. No-one need ever know
10. Reasoned

Running through them, it was only at the last hurdle that we fell down, the still quite new and unfamiliar Reasoned defeating us. No matter, the set sounded good although it's funny how individual errrors continue to slip in even where you dont expect them. Is there any song I've played more and know better than John Wyndham? I don't think so. But first I got the opening chords wrong and then forgot the first line. It's easy to go into auto-pilot sometimes and drift away. During one song I closed my eyes for a verse and chorus and felt quite strange when i opened them again, as if I had been somewhere else for a few minutes but the sound had carried on.

Of the songs, Broken continues to benefit from it's new chorus, Andy adapted his bassline effortlessly, Get Away seeemed almost instinctive for a change, with the guitar sound moderated and strict adherence to the rules the method at all times. No-one need ever know was bleedingly loud and taut, the keyboards crashing through the guitar, and Reasoned a tuneful and uplifting set closer, once we had it mastered.

Does the set sound coherent? Something I've been wondering ever since we started. I think it does, although where it fits in I don't quite know. I submitted our site to a couple of search engines this week and once again had trouble describing us. In the end I think I went for 'offbeat and angular indie rock', reasoning that in the abscense of an apt phrase springing naturally to mind, something which sounded journalistically desirable would do the trick. It seemed a shame to lable us 'indie' but it provides people with a better idea than my preferred 'pop group'. So there you go. I don't think the description was too lax, all things considered, and as I hinted when I began this rambling paragraph, I think an Assistant 'sound' is coming together. We don't sound particularly like anyone else, at least.

In the bookshop at lunch today I read an interview with Thurston Moore in some book or other, where he said that Sonic Youth lyrics matter as much as the music. Made me wonder why I have made such minimal effort with pulling lyrics together. Perhaps I should. Certainly you won't be finding any of my lyrics on the website for a bit :-) Unless someone else puts them up :-(

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Day one.
But we didn't rehearse today, so I'll start with the last time we did.
Monday 10th November

All down to Strummers at usual 'cept Andy who has a cold, but all is well as we're in the mood for being noisy and swapping instruments. But first Pete has a new song, or a new idea for a song. Only thing is I can't get my fingers around my guitar part. In the end we swap over and I play the chords and he plays the lead line. It sounds good. I vow to learn the guitar bit properly, and to somehow make my fingers more stretchy.

Next, having bashed out a few of the standards, I put forward an idea for a new chorus for broken, This means someone learning the backing vocals. But I'm rubbish at explaining it and, having tried to sing the lead and backing vocal simultaneously a couple of times, Anne-Sophie casually invents a much better melody and we give it a go. It sounds great; her phrasing gives its a gallic lilt which sounds amazing. Meantime Pete twists his guitar line around the new chords. Great. We're happy with that. It needs a bassine, but so does everything tonight.

Ali teaches me a cool trick involving the E string, a drumstick and a lot of reverb. Thank you Ali. This achieved, it was necessary to prove that Anne-So is a worse drummer than me. Alas, she isn't, but we 'jammed' merrily anyway with me creating absurd noises on the keyboard. Ha ha ha. Andy we need you back - you hold us together! wheeeee...