Saturday, 8 March 2014

Numb tongue in a mouth alive!

Every one of the gigs I have done in Brazil so far has had a million requests for photos of people posing with me and many of them were instantly posted up on to Facebook. I could see my life scrolling across the internet almost in real time but with me too busy to make a comment.
Once I had been dropped off at the Arts Centre in the early hours and the shutters came down once more to lock me in, I lay on my bed in the dark and watched the 'Friend requests', the 'tagging', the 'comments' still rolling in. When do these people ever sleep? When their batteries run out perhaps? My batteries had by now, so I lay my head on my bed and recharged.

The television tower of Brasilia
In the afternoon of the following day, I hit 100% and my face lit up and told me to unplug myself from the horizontal charging position. Today Gilmar is to take me to a big market which I am really looking forward
to, as will give me an opportunity to buy some gifts for home especially for my sister who is having a seventieth birthday bash soon. The market takes place around the television tower of Brasilia and is full of wonderful things and wonderful aromas and wonderful music. A simple enquiry about a strange musical instrument at a stall encouraged the owner to demonstrate it by playing it, bursting into song and was instantly accompanied by a couple of resident percussionists. It was so good that we tried enquiring about another instrument and the same thing happened again. Sadly, I couldn't buy these things, I will have enough trouble getting my guitar home in one piece.
Next Gilmar asks me if I can smell that food that is being cooked a little way from us. I say I can, especially as it was time to eat and I was pretty hungry. He describes a certain dish in glowing terms and tells me it is one of his favourites. At this, I hit on an idea, instead of him supplying food, why don't I take this opportunity to buy him a meal, for thanks for all he has done.
"Why should you pay for it", he enquired.  "To treat you" was my reply and he accepted that so we head over to eat.

Yum Yum Yum, numb your tongue, the wonderful  Tacacá
I swear to you, I have never tasted anything like it in my life, no exaggeration. It looked like a japanese Miso  Tacacá, it´s composed of garlic, chicoria leef, alfavaca leaf, salt, chilli, jambo (the anaesthetic), shrimp, and maniva gum (that make the thing seems like a glue) and other herbs.
soup but tasted nothing like it, it had a taste I cannot describe here but it comes from the Amazon region of the country and the craziest thing about it, it makes your tongue go completely numb but doesn't stop you tasting the food so the chilli still bites through. That means it numbs the nerve endings of the the tongue but not the taste buds. And the texture of the meal was like the sliminess of oyster, gloopy with shrimp floating in it. It's name is
It was a revelation to me and gave me another experience to remember of my trip. We also had Acarajé, composed of beans, onion, ginger, garlic, salt, all the moisture is fried on dendê oil ( a very fat Brazilian coconut). Also wonderful and also nothing like I have ever had before.
Brilliant, and then we went on around the market some more and I found all the gifts I needed for home.

What's next? The gig! ahhhh the gig. That happened to be around the corner in the nearby shopping centre. Yes a shopping centre.
There is a small bar in there called Barberellas and it has an open area in front of it in which shoppers pass by during the day but can be sealed off during the evening to make an open performance area.
It is already buzzing when I arrive and after relaxing with a beer, Caio takes me and Gilmar home and I freshen up and collect my guitar. When we return, the place is buzzing even more.
I then take the opportunity to use the outside area to start replacing some strings on my guitar. This then prompts a flurry of photos taken of ‘Me and the Maestro as he maintains his instrument'. The owner of a rehearsal studio I used a couple of days before comes over and says hi and says, you haven't had much luck with the weather for your gigs have you! No, he was right, before I came here everyone in Sao Paulo said the weather in Brasilia is very hot and very, very dry. So hot and dry that householders often put bowls of water out in the living room to try to put some moisture into the air. Since I have been here I have seen it quite hot, but every time I play a gig, I see rainfall of a magnitude I have rarely experienced.

Anyway, I say to him, at least we haven't had any rain today. It isn't raining at the moment, is it?  I add quickly and he says no, anyway it is open here so you would feel it. Oh yeah, I say as I look up to see half of the open area open to the sky.
He walks away and I continue with restringing and after no more than five minutes, the sound, initially covered up by a random burst of hard-core coming out of the PA, of pitter pattering of rain can be heard falling into half of my guitar case and nearly spoiling all of my replacement strings. I had to pull all of my stuff under the more covered area.
I looked up at the sky and murmured, I don't believe this, Brasilia, oh it is so hot and so dry. An Englishman always brings his own rain.
This downpour completely reverses the layout of the gig, the mikes and fold back monitors cannot be put placed outside now so the cafe is to be the performance area, with the PA outside but undercover and the audience outside half under cover. It wasn't too much of a problem though because on this occasion the rain didn't last long.

Barbarella's earlier in the day.
Last night we opted to not finish the show which was great because it meant that I could relax and enjoy the Squintz (Caio, our Brasilia bass player plays guitar with them) who turned in a very good set indeed. This time I decide to do the same, as this will be my final gig in Brasilia and I want to party a little before going home. I have to be up early tomorrow to fly back to Sao Paulo so I want a bit of downtime before I do.
So we are on second this evening.
The one thing I hate, no, the two things I hate, no, actually, the three things I hate and do not accept if I am to perform a gig are...

I hate performing on the floor
I hate performing under house light/s
I hate performing looking directly into the faces of the members of the audience.

Tonight I am expected to perform under a single blue light bulb this time and I have had enough. Let's play with the lights on, I've had to be adaptable since I have been here, let me adapt again.
No stage, ok but the way it is laid out some of the audience are at the same level and the rest are tiered higher, bit like playing at the Christmas lectures at the Royal Institute in London (I know it's nothing like but it is a nice idea).
I will not only playing face to face with the audience but as the gig rolls on I will even be in the audience.

I am not going to be a blue silhouette, I want people to see the sweat , the joy and the excitement on our faces, live rock 'n' roll should not to be experienced as audio only, we need to be seen, the Brasilia Neurotics need to be seen, seeing is believing, believe this...

So starts my final gig in Brasilia with the Brasilia Neurotics, such a short time to become friends and become
Unforgettable. I begin the stabbing single note intro of Wake Up and imagine it rising into the sky above Brazil so far away from home and yet, so near at the same time.

And off we go....

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