Richard Bennett
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Contrary Cocktail

Moderne Shellac, 2015

Contrary Cocktail

A hypnotic blend of rhythms, landscapes, tones, colors, styles and moods, with melodies leading the way to certain places that only songs without words can go.

-- Pieta Brown, 2015

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Sunday was a day off in London.  The weather’s wonderfully spring, bright, clear and mild.  I had lunch with a friend and wandered around the Kensington area for a while before heading back Mayfair way and joining Glenn and Jim in search of a pub with London Pride.  It wasn’t as easy as we thought and had resigned ourselves to heading back to the hotel bar when we decided to give one last pub a try.  The ale gods were with us and there on draught was our beer of choice.  Funnily enough it was the first pint of Pride in all the time we’d spent here.  Never could find it while in rehearsals either.  We made up for lost time with a couple of pints each in short order.  We’d have stayed for more but hunger was quickly gaining.  At that point we did go back to the very inviting hotel bar for dinner.  A good day off and an early night in.

Monday the 25 was our first of two shows at Royal Albert Hall.  For many tours we’ve performed a six night residency there.  This tour it is only two at RAH having already done a night at O2 Arena.  The Albert is like coming home for us, always comfortable and we’ve come to know every nook and cranny of the place.  We had an early sound check to make way for a full soundcheck for Ruth Moody and her band who will open with their own show here tonight and tomorrow.  While they were checking we headed down to catering.  One of the three entrees tonight was tempura prawns in a thin mushroom broth with udon noodles,  It was a miracle in a bowl and maybe one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.  My hat is humbly off to chef David Eskinazi at all times but particularly tonight.

I watched from the wings while Ruth & Co. played brilliantly, so much music from the four of them, great playing and singing all around.  Soon it was our turn for a full house of 3,100 and a scrappy, rocking show it was.  London audiences can sometimes be a little staid but tonight’s couldn’t have been warmer.  The post-show reception was jam packed, difficult to make your way through the crowd.  I’d invited my friend Justin Sandercoe and finally found him at the far end of the crowd where he and his friend wisely were hanging out in a quiet spot.  I’ve written about him before in these notes.  Justin’s a great guitar player and also happens to have the very best guitar instruction videos on the web.  From beginning to intermediate to highly advance lessons, it’s all there at justinguitar.com.  I can’t recommend him highly enough.

Tuesday the 26.  Another perfect spring day here in London.  I made my way across from the hotel to the little outdoor Euro Coffee Shoppe for a couple of scrambled eggs on toast and an extra strong latte.  Back to do a little practising and met the aforementioned Justin for lunch where we could actually hear each other talking.

Tonight was the second of our two shows at RAH and it was a grand gig… a man in every corner and all 12 cylinders firing.  Can’t say much more than that except that Ruth Moody and her band were wonderful again tonight.  Also, I had the honour and pleasure of meeting and visiting with legendary engineer and producer Glyn Johns tonight.  I won’t even begin to tell you about him here.  If you are not familiar with Glyn, simply go to www.glynjohns.com and click on discography.  You will amazed.

For the last couple of days I’ve been enjoying a fantastic 3-way speaker system called Spaced 360, www.spaced360.com.  It’s compact, lightweight and turns any room into a party… literally fills the room with great fidelity and enough volume to warrant an eviction notice.  It’s Bluetooth ready and all you need is your computer or pad and you’re set.  You really have to hear it to believe how good it sounds.  Check out their site and if you have a chance to hear one..do so.

It’s a day off in London tomorrow, the 27th.  On my sched is a visit to the gym of which I’ve been very negligent of late followed by a trip to Sounds Of The Universe record shoppe in Soho then dinner at one of our fave Indian restaurants… Malabar in Notting Hill.  Thursday we decamp for Milan and the Continent.  We’ll officially be on the road at that point but I will be a little sad to leave the U.K., my home away from home.

So long,

Richard