Band Project Blog #2: 6 month review 

So it’s time to evaluate. It’s been over six months technically, if I were to count rehearsal time, but let’s just call it 6. Dear Sol began rehearsals in the last quarter of 2016 and had our debut gig on the 9th of February 2017. The debut gig at the Zoo was off the chain. Such a great vibe, such a great venue.

The Shows

Since the debut show we’ve had a total of 4 more shows, New Globe Theatre, Rics Bar, the Zoo again and then Rics Bar again. The most recent gig at Rics was a competition gig, a battle of the bands of sorts, we passed through our heat and are now awaiting a date for the semi final. Fingers crossed. Although, funnily enough this particular gig was probably the worst one we’ve done. Technical issues during the first song had a lasting effect on us throughout the set; I know I personally made several mistakes, in one particular instance I skipped a full 4 bars of the second chorus of “Orchard”. Full credit to our drummer Brad though, who kept us together and quickly sensed I had made the mistake. So if we can make it into a semi final with this level of performance, things are looking up for the next round. Stay tuned on that front.

The Set

The set thus far has been undergoing constant refinement. “Shiver” was and still is our strongest song, the most refined piece of music we play, and certainly the most popular piece. The song was the opener for the first two shows but then was moved to be the closer for the next three shows, though our at Rics Bar (4/May) we played the Ball Park Music song “It’s Nice to be Alive” as an encore. The song has also served as our go-to cover in each gig we’ve played one. Also at the 4th of May show, the new song “Lost in the Wires” debuted. An odd song; catchy, but also unrefined. After its debut it was moved to the opener slot for the next two shows, the position “Fool’s Paradise” filled at this same gig. This particular song while a solid piece of music is probably our most uncharacteristic song. By that I mean it’s the least like our sound. Our music, while diverse in sound is not genuine rock music; we’re definitely more on the alternative side of rock/pop. This is not only the heaviest song (and starkly so), but also the one song that has a different guitar tuning (D standard) to the other songs (E standard), and it’s frustrating to haul a second guitar to a gig just for one song in a 40 minute set. I certainly don’t dislike the song, but I’m not sure how much longer it will remain in the set. “White Curtains” has been our go-to feel-good pop song, though ironically given the lyrical subject matter. Originally sitting at third in the set, it moved down to the penultimate slot for the three most recent gigs. “A Tiger’s Cry” has been a hard song to place given its moderate tempo, often competing and losing to “Orchard” in shorter 30 minute sets. It’s a shame though because it’s probably the most lyrically deep song we have. Orchard seems to work better in the shorter sets due to the groove. “Beautiful Sin” has been another odd song to place. It can really go anywhere, though if I’m being honest, this is a rather old song of mine and certainly not one of my best, I’d drop it in a heartbeat if I had a completed upbeat alternative. “Flower Blue”, also an old song, appeared once in our debut set and hasn’t been played since. It feels odd having more than two low to medium tempo songs in a 40 minute set. I also don’t think this song reflects the band vibe that we’re trying to portray. “This Work” has served us well, twice as a closer and then moved to second billing. All in all, the set went under one major change in our third show and only minor changes since.

The Single

Shortly prior to the Rics gig on the 4th of May we released a video of our first single “Shiver”, which I’ve already talked about at length in a previous blog post. Short story: arduous task of recording to a video and not the other way around as it’s conventionally done. We had no other choice however, so we learned to think on our feet.

End of Phase 1, beginning of Phase 2

Phase 1 will be coming to an end shortly. Phase 1 was to include making the set and playing it live, phase 2 is shifting into a higher gear, an EP is in planning and potential tours maybe. The shortlist in decreasing order of likelihood appearing on the final product: Shiver, White Curtains, A Tiger’s Cry, Fever Dream (new song), Lost in the Wires, Orchard, Beautiful Sin. Five songs will make the cut I think, order yet to be determined, working title: “Fever Dream”. Watch this space.


Gig archive

The Zoo – 9 February

  1. Shiver
  2. Fool’s Paradise
  3. White Curtains
  4. A Tiger’s Cry
  5. It’s Nice to be Alive (Cover)
  6. Orchard
  7. Beautiful Sin
  8. Flower Blue (solo)
  9. This Work

New Globe Theatre – 31 March

  1. Shiver
  2. Fool’s Paradise
  3. White Curtains
  4. Orchard
  5. It’s Nice to be Alive
  6. Beautiful Sin (Cut for time)
  7. This Work

Rics Bar – 4 May

  1. Mos Eisley Cantina Theme
  2. Fool’s Paradise
  3. Beautiful Sin
  4. This Work
  5. A Tiger’s Cry
  6. Orchard
  7. Lost in the Wires
  8. White Curtains
  9. Shiver

10.  It’s Nice to be Alive (Cover)

The Zoo – 27 May

  1. Lost in the Wires
  2. This Work
  3. Orchard
  4. Beautiful Sin
  5. Fool’s Paradise
  6. A Tiger’s Cry
  7. White Curtains
  8. It’s Nice to be Alive (Cover)
  9. Shiver

Rics Bar – 18 June

  1. Lost in the Wires
  2. This Work
  3. Orchard
  4. Fool’s Paradise
  5. White Curtains
  6. Shiver

FOOTNOTE: If You Want to be Awe Indpired

Hitchens speech transcript:

I’m not as I was. Some of you I’d urgently felt I ought to do while saying, and one mustn’t repine or relate to self pity about that, but at this present moment I have to say. I feel very envious of someone who’s young and active and starting out in this argument.

Just think of the extraordinary things that are happening to us. Go for example to the Smithsonian museum, To the new hall of human origins, magnificently curated and new in exhibition. Which Shows among other things the branch, or branches along which perhaps three, certainly three, maybe four if you count Indonesia, humanoid shall we say anthropoid species, died out, not very long ago within measurable distance of 75, 000 years or so possibly destroyed by us possibly not, we don’t know. We know they decorated their graves, we think they probably had language ability, we don’t know if they had souls, I’m sorry I cant help you there But I so envy those who could glimpse.

I’ve only mentioned three or four of the things that have magnetized and charmed and gratified me to think about in the recent past, and how much I hope that each of you form some such ambition this evening and carries it forward, In the meantime, we had the same job we always had, to say as thinking people and as humans that there are no final solutions, there is no absolute truth, there is no supreme leader, there is no totalitarian solution, that says if you would just give up your freedom of inquiry, if you would just give up, if you would just abandon your critical faculties, the world of idiotic bliss can be yours but we have to begin by repudiating all such claims grand rabbi’s, chief ayatollahs, infallible popes, the peddlers or surrogate and mutant quasi political religion and worship.

The dear leader, the great leader, we have no need for any of this, and looking at them and their record and the pathos of their supporters I realize that it is they who are the grand imposers and my own imposture this evening was mild by comparison, Thank you very much.

If You Want to be Awe Inspired

In times of confusion and vulnerability there is nothing quite like something awe inspiring. Something that reminds you that in this cold, dark; possibly infinite universe, that you have the power to change yourself, a power that no one else can give to you. People find this notion scary, that there is no fate, that there is no divine purpose, but honestly I couldn’t think of anything more awe inspiring. Scary – yes, but still awe inspiring. The knowledge that you can choose your own path, your own purpose. It’s often in these confusing moments that we look to religious figures; to a deity. To something inhuman, something or someone not susceptible to the flaws of the homo sapien. Something perfect, but there is no beauty in perfection, there is nothing awe inspiring about perfection.

Recently another pre-human fossil has been discovered, this time in Europe, a discovery that is rewriting human history. What is truely awe inspiring of other fossils we’ve found is that we’ve found them in burial sites. These common ancestors look so familiar but yet so alien at the same time. Will these new findings lead to similar revelations on human behaviour? Time will tell. One day I hope to see the Hall of Human Origin at the Smithsonian Museum, that would be awe inspiring, to see the branches of human kind. They commemorated their dead with grave decorations, and likely had language of their own. So like us, yet so alien. The time outlasts us all.

In this sombre mood, in this time of confusion, I look to a man who inspires me, the late Christopher Hitchens. A hero for lack of a better term, as he himself would say. Specifically the final public speech he ever gave, that is what awe inspires me.

“In the meantime, we had the same job we always had, to say as thinking people and as humans that there are no final solutions, there is no absolute truth, there is no supreme leader, there is no totalitarian solution, that says if you would just give up your freedom of inquiry, if you would just give up, if you would just abandon your critical faculties the world of idiotic bliss can be yours”

Christopher Hitchens – 13 April 1949 – 15 December 2011

It’s been several years since he passed, in his memory I’d like to share the classic Dylan Thomas poem.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.