Hurrah! I made it to this month’s Chicks With Picks! CWP is a monthly open mic event putting the spotlight on women in music. Much to my delight, Sister Ursuline was a last minute addition to the performer schedule, opening the night, so I headed out early to catch her performance and was not disappointed!
I just love her whole act! I admire anyone who can sing and play an instrument at the same time, but to see anyone even attempt this on cello is incredibly rare. I loved watching her build up her layers live using the loop pedal as well, it creates such a hypnotic feel. I also very much enjoyed her storytelling mode of vocals, and she even used some less common cello techniques to create sounds reminiscent of dolphin calls, as well as rhythmic beats. Very cool and very creative.
What I didn’t expect was that she actually recognised me in the crowd! Turns out we both went to the Australian Institute of Music, with our mutual friend Alysoun who’s a fantastic metal guitarist. So that was pretty exciting! Small world.
Up next was sooze, singing her originals with an acoustic guitar. It was very much what you would expect, but she also played one called “The Anxiety Song” which I thought was great, it really conveyed the struggle with that emotion.
After that was Allie on the 8-string ukulele, who seemed to be more of a casual performer than the others, pausing mid song to quickly swipe up on her phone to see more lyrics (turns out the Townie has music stands in the cupboard, good to know!). But she was very good at picking it back up once she had. She also had a great sense of humour, such as when she paused to have a drink but found a fly had fallen into her wine, prompting her to tell a joke. It was also kinda cute when she suddenly noticed herself on the screen over by the pool table and seemed to be excited. And to be honest, I’d had no idea they could put performers on that screen! So I learned something new about the venue.
The last performers I could stay for was a trio, featuring two guitarists, and Lauren on a strange percussive box instrument.
I have to admit I have a serious weak spot for weird novel instruments! What this appears to be is a hollow box, and she uses a modified kick pedal for the main beat. Inside the top of the box, it sounds like a sort of tambourine setup, and there is an output jack on the side which indicates that there might be some kind of small microphone built in. As she taps the top of the box with her hands, you get both the tambourine jingling, as well as the sound of her hands on the box surface. Finally, I suspect the back of this contraption has a sound hole, after seeing Sally (the engineer) setting up a kick drum mic at the rear. There are some knobs on the front as well, which Lauren periodically adjusted during the performance, but I have no idea what their function was.
And these ladies attracted quite a crowd! It especially picked up once they began to do 90’s covers, with “Stop” by the Spice Girls being a notable crowd-pleaser. It was especially fun because Bec put away her guitar to be able to do the dance moves, and at one point the other guitar stopped as well in a sort of breakdown section, so Hayley did the moves as well, with much of the audience dancing along.
So overall, it was great to finally make it back to Chicks With Picks! I’m nervous about playing there next month, but just picking up the vibe again was good for me I think. My music is going to be a bit out of place, but they’re very open, and the theme of my project suits it. I’ve just got a lot of work still to do to be ready in time! I feel a bit stressed by that, but I do tend to get overly anxious, so I’m sure it’ll be fine.