September Gigs

22/11/2008

Sat 20th Sep 2008

Downs Barn Charity Music Evening

This was the third year running for this event held at the Cross and Stable Church, Downs Barn, Milton Keynes. The concert is the brainchild of Stephen Tucker and features local acoustic music acts and raises money for Willen Hospice, Milton Keynes and for the Cross and Stable. I have performed at each event and this year, I was also in charge of providing and operating the sound system. My friend Ian Graham (who also plays bagpipes in an occasional Celtic music duo with me) handled the lighting.

It was the first time I had sound engineered for such a large venue and for so many different acts. My equipment included my Mackie CFX 12 channel mixer with ART reverb unit and two Mackie SRM350 speakers. Stage monitoring was via my third SRM350 and a borrowed Laney monitor. I was also using a snake muliticore for the first time.

The running order of bands/artists was Stephen Tucker and Steve Neale/Rick the Rock/Maryanne and Jess/Udo Dolz/Milton Keynes Youth Chorale/Higher Plane/Rag’n’Roll and Taylor’d Country.

The higher Plane set was So Good to Me/Feeling Good/Brown Eyed Girl/Higher Plane/Leaving this Town and Work to Do.

This was a successful evening raising approx £650.00. Subject to fund matching by a local business, this should be doubled.

Shaking the Tambourine

Shaking the Tambourine

Leaving this Town

Leaving this Town

Sun 21st Sep 2008

St James New Bradwell: Peace One Day

This was at St James Church, New Bradwell, Milton Keynes featuring four local acts, Tracey Walters, the singer from the Lemonheads and Marcus Armstrong’s band Blue on Blue. I played a reflective laid back set minimally amplified in the helpful acoustic of St James (Higher Plane/Light to my Path/Feeling Good/Down by the River). A number of compliments on my voice were later passed on to me by the minister of St James.

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April 2009 Gigs

12/08/2009

Jericho Tavern, Oxford – Higher Plane 03/04/09

In October 2008, I arranged for us to play a support to at this renowned Oxford venue, at tone of the gigs run by Fab Promotions. It was with a band called Red Ruth who had sent us some supportive comments about our music on our MySpace page. In the event Red Ruth were unable to play the gig, so Oxford band Keeling Curve took over the headline slot with Higher Plane second on the bill. Also playing were Hamish Currie and Mike Dignam.

The previous evening I had warmed up with a set at the Cannon, Newport Pagnell open mic, playing three of the songs that were to be used at the Jericho. Our slot was 40 minutes and we played a standard set of our best originals, mixing flute, harmony and keyboard driven songs. The venue was packed and had a fantastic, friendly atmosphere. We even got dancing during Work to Do. The sound was excellent, my Gibson Hummingbird, being on its maiden gig, working really well with the system, with some sparkling arpeggios. I recorded the whole thing on my Zoom H4 recorder.

Guitarists and drummers etc. are fairly used to audience members asking about their equipment, but we got a student type asking about Janet’s flute. He had correctly identified it as a Trevor James but wanted to know the exact model. I never thought classical types were gear nerds, but I guess you can tell when you’re in a rarefied, more academic atmosphere.

The set: So Good to Me/Down by the River/Feeling Good/Midnight Songs/Let Me Know/Leaving this Town/Higher Plane/Work to Do.

Midsummer Place, Central Milton Keynes 05/04/09

This is a monthly event in Milton Keynes shopping Centre. I played a set with Lee Michalke (bodhran) and a bass player friend of Lee’s. Hadn’t practiced, we just winged it, I played they followed. There was a child dancing who complained loudly when her parents made her move on. A great sounding, really clear Bose PA system.

Open Mics

Open mics attended in the month were at the Max Bar, Kettering on 8th, run by Stevie Jones and the Cherry Tree, Kettering on the 19th. Vicky Stuart also played at both of these, playing a featured spot at the Max borrowing the Hummingbird from me for both events.

August Gigs

21/11/2008

LABOUR CLUB, NORTHAMPTON 8TH AUGUST 2008

This was a support slot for acoustic neo punk rocker Lee Billingham who had arranged to play at the venue. It was my first gig in Northampton town centre.

We turned up early in the evening for the sound check. Although we had told the venue it was two solo acoustic acts, they appeared to be expecting a band. Whilst I was sound checking I warmed up with Ruby Tuesday, only to be told “you can’t do covers here.”  Weird – I spent twenty years trying to do all original music only to be presented with a lack of gigs, so I gave in and started playing covers only to be told I can’t do ’em. I sometimes wonder what the fuck is going on.

The turnout for the gig was disappointing, but my eight song set went down very well with the predominantly young audience.

Lee played a wild and committed performance that went down a storm with all his mates who had turned up to see his first major performance.

Bletchley Band Stand 23rd August 2008

This was made up of three separate combinations of personnel. First I played with Phil Paterson, a similar set to the one played at the St Lawrence Barbeque with some extra numbers, including a first performance of Mungo Jerry’s In the Summertime, plus a request for My Old Man’s a Dustman. Went down as storm with the good folk of Bletchley. On some songs we were joined by Esther Squire on back up vocals. I then played some of the numbers I had been rehearsing with Cathy Beaton. Quite a few of her friends and family had turned up especially top see her and this increased her confidence. Finally I played some songs with Esther including a revival of our old folk club staple form the Eighties, Spanish Lady.

Sets

With Phil and Esther (some songs):

You Aint Goin Nowhere

Dirty Old Town

Let Me Know

Brown Eyed Girl

Mr Dreamseller

Hickory Wind

Leaving this Town

All Over Now

Down by the River

I am A Pilgrim

Midnight Special

Urban Spaceman

In the Summertime

Jambalya

My Old Man’s a Dustman

Footprints

With Cathy

Nothing Ever Happens

Talking About a Revolution

More then Words

Songbird

When You Say Nothing

With Esther

So Good to Me

All I Have to do is Dream

Spanish Lady

Summertime

Those Were the Days

The Popular Hillbillies

The Popular Hillbillies: L-R Phil Paterson/Mike Squire/Esther Squire

Mike and Cat Beaton

Mike and Cat Beaton: Hairy Git and Lovely songstress in beautiful dress

Higher plane at the Navigation 1st August 2008

25/08/2008

This was our much anticipated return to the Navigation Inn.

We were playing in the back room with superb views of the canal as the light fell. A good crowd of people including friends and work colleagues (including Lee Billingham who was to  do a gig with me next week).  Also a good selection of pub regulars and others stayed around in the performance room giving us, at times enthusiastic support.

When setting up in the restricted space, we opted to go without fold back, which for the most part worked well, despite my misgivings about such practices.

In pub gigs we have been trying to get the right balance of number and styles of songs, ratio of covers to originals etc and overall this gig was well on the way to getting it cracked. We had 24 songs scheduled with the option to do more and after setting up went straight into Down by the River, instead of telling the normal story of the song, then following up with I am a Pilgrim, featuring my new Hohner harmonica. The story of my days in Sapphire was alluded to before changing to 12 string and playing Let Me Know and the Everley’s Dream. After that was Midnight Songs, which was the one I would have appreciated fold back on, followed by Brown Eyed Girl. On this song, the flute takes on the role of the guitar riff. I wasn’t sure how this would work with the rockier types in the audience, but this sort of thing is what is known as an “arrangement” and in any case this song went down really well, with an excellent reception. Continuing with the nostalgia theme of the Van Morrison song, we played Feeling Good, with especially warmed up and beautiful flute playing from Janet. Other songs in the first half were Space Oddity, Memory Town, the slightly funky Three Simple Words and World of Our Own. In the second half, we started with the normal So Good to Me, Hey Good Lookin’ and Blowin’ in the Wind but we had an hour to fill so added in extra numbers: Summertime, Far Away, Annie’s Song and Being True. These ballads were balanced by the usual up tempo crowd pleasing climax of Midnight Special, Jambalya, Urban Spaceman and Those Were the Days. Final number was Work to Do.

Twenty-Seven songs altogether. Great fun evening, well supported and with positive feedback from people who spoke to us, in particular for Brown Eyed Girl, the ballad Memory Town and the honky tonk sound of Work to Do.  The gig organiser Chris Allin,  stayed to listen and commented positively too.

July 2008 gigs: Bletchley/Bedford

03/08/2008

1. Higher Plane at Bletchley Bandstand Sat 19th July

A sunny afternoon in Bletchley for the second of three bookings this year at the Bandstand on Elizabeth Square. We had three hours to fill but as people come and go, a certain amount of repetition matters little, plus these events serve as great live warm up sessions. This part of the town can be a little lacking in Saturday shopping, but this afternoon there was a great turn out both from people we knew including my old drumming mate James H and others who just stopped to listen. We received a number of favourable comments from passers by, including a professional performer and promoter who got talking to my wife and aid she was most impressed by our sets. Two newly added songs were given their first public airing: Georgy Girl (The Seekers) – with Janet on lead and me on harmony and Songbird (Fleetwood Mac) – with me on lead and Janet on harmony and flute solo. Total of 27 different songs were played with a few repeated ones. Some pictures were taken by Esther and a classic by Catherine of a bird flying up in front of us. See bottom of post.

2. Mike Squire at Stepping Stone Live, Bedford Park, Sun 27th July

This was supposed to be a Hgher Plane booking but Janet was not available. The Stepping Stone cafe is operated at weekends by Brickhill Baptist Church In the Summer they put on live music in the Bandstand, a couple of hundred yards away, providing sound system and engineer. I was on after superb jazz singer Jess Eaton who used backing tracks. Playing as a soloist in this situation was not my ideal but I made the most of it by operating without a set list and just seeing what went down well. If they appeared to get bored with my ballads, I put a crowd pleaser cover in like Brown Eyed Girl and Urban Spaceman. The kazoo songs went down real well and some people started dancing during Jambalya. I had wanted to use the occasion to showcase some of my more obviously Christian songs and this was partly achieved, though I pulled Fill Us with youy Love, a song which sounds better with Janet’s keyboard part in any case. Light to my Path went down well as did I am a Pilgrim. Rarely performed gospel songs were Teach Me To Wait (featuring gate pan effect on my flanger pedal) and Work A Miracle. I played for about fifty minutes.

3. Higher Plane at Kilkenny House, Thur 31st July

This was an early one hour perfromance at a sheltered housing complex. Janet had arranged the set order and she took a major role in anouncements on this occasion. It all worked very well with just the right sound balance and levels despite a very quick set up time. I included Leaning on a Lampost (George Formby). The event was very much appreciated by the residents.

Higher Bird

Higher Bird

St Lawrence Charity BBQ

25/07/2008

This is an annual event at which I quite often provide the live music. This year I did the gig with Phil Paterson (banjo/kazoo) and Gemma Shirley (fiddle). I also accompanied Catherine Beaton on a couple of songs.

I wanted as many songs as possible that were different to the Higher Plane set and as Phil and I had been rehearsing some new songs we decided to play them for the first time here. We asked Gemma to play along with us too and she came along to the gig and provided some superb lines on all of our songs including particularly fine interpretations of Down by the river and a double stopping laden Jambalya.

I had also recently got together with Cathy as well to rehearse some covers and to accompany her singing.

Despite a generally disappointing summer so far, the weather was very good for this and the event was well attended by church members and others. The music went down well with manyu positive comments being received. The whole gig was recorded onmy Zoom H4 handy recorder, though this was from the back of the playing area and is a reasonable quality considering there was no special recording set up. Certainly serves as a reminder of the day. A selection of recordings can be heard at  http://www.soundclick.com/mikesquire

The event raised money for Milton Keynes Bridgebuilder Trust and Falcon Camps. More information on these organisations avaialble at:

http://www.cpas.org.uk

http://www.mkbt.org.uk/

The Set: You Ain’t Going Nowhere/Dirty Old Town/Hickory Wind/Leaving This Town/All Over Now/Down by the River/Nothing Ever Happens and Words (both with Cathy on vocals)/I am a Pilgrim/Brown Eyed Girl/Midnight Special/Urban Spaceman/Jambalya

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In The Square Wolverton

06/07/2008

Higher Plane 6th July 08

Recently back from this excellent little festival in the town of Wolverton, Milton Keynes. It rained in the morning and was overcast in the afternoon but the festivities went ahead as planned.  Janet and I played a twenty minute all original set and it went down well. It was fun to play and we thought it one of our best. Some good feedback from people, but one person was critical of the sound of my guitar through the PA system, though another disagreed with him. It is difficult to establish to what extent this was due to the guitar (Yamaha) and to what extent a mixing matter. These things happen with live music where they are trying to accomodate a number of acts. I am well aware of the shortcomings of the pick up on my acoustic guitar, however by trial and error I have manged to coax a decent sound when working with my own PA. By the way, anyone is welcome to contribute to my new guitar fund (I fancy a Gibson Hummingbird, a Martin or a Taylor).  I accept cheques, cash or Paypal (lol). Stay tuned for my experiences of choosing a new instrument.

Set: Down by the River/Higher Plane/Let Me Know/Feeling Good/So Good to Me

Leaving this Town

05/07/2008

We can talk about the money I owe

If they can catch me before I go

But they better start moving

‘Cos I won’t be slow

I’m leaving this town tomorrow

Where I’m bound I can’t tell

I’m leaving this town tomorrow

Too many people know my face

It fits everything wrong in this place.

I may take the early morning train

Or I might hit the open trail

Got to keep them guessing

Cause them some delay.

I’m leaving this town maybe tonight

Where I’m going I can’t tell

I’m leaving this town maybe tonight

Fed up with the hangman following me

Whatever they’re plotting

Won’t hang around to see.

What can you do when the dice is loaded?

What can you do when you’re a marked man?

They can talk about the man laid low

But they won’t see me before I go

I’m leaving this town right away

Where I’m going I don’t know

Leaving this town right away

Hounds on my trail sniffing for me

Got to get to where my spirit is free.

©2003 Michael Squire


Higher Plane at the Oak Room, Stony Stratford 12th June 2008

27/06/2008

As part of the Stony Live Festival 10th Anniversary, we played at the Oak Room in the Cock Hotel, Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire. This room is normally used a the Song Loft Folk Club as as such is an intimate venue in which a PA system is not strictly necessary. This then was a genuinely “unplugged” (apart from Janet’s keyboard) performance. Apart from a warm up gig at Bletchley Bandstand on 19th May, this was the first major length Higher Plane gig since last July. The room was almost sold out with a good attendance by enthusiastic people from St Lawrence’s and from work. As normal we mixed mellow, serious songs with more light hearted fun ones, my turns on kazoo causing particular amusement. Three new songs were played including Busking on the Underground. Between sets, Lee Michalke and then Stephen Tucker played some numbers. The Higher Plane sets were:

Set 1

Down by the River

I am a Pilgrim

Let Me Know

All I have to do is Dream (new)

Seagull

Midnight Songs

Brown Eyed Girl (new)

Feeling Good, Feeling Fine

Light to my Path

World of Our Own

2nd set

So Good to Me

Hey good Lookin’

Busking on the Underground (new)

A Higher Plane

Leaving this Town

Urban Spaceman

Jambalya

Those were the Days

Work to Do

My Old Man’s a Dustman (Encore….I’m trying to drop this but they insisted)

Higher Plane are

Mike Squire: 6 and 12 String guitars/Vocals/Harmonica/Kazoo

Janet Edsall: Vocals/Flute/Keyboard

Gigs Early 2007

21/06/2008

6th April: Navigation Cosgrove – Higher Plane
This was a real cracker of a gig, supported by a number of friends, colleagues etc who were highly appreciative, but the real test is how you go down with punters who haven’t heard you before and that category of audience seemed just as enthusiastic with some of staying right to the end: I should explain here that the gig was in the covered balcony eating area behind the main bar, though people in the bar can hear the music too. Our area was certainly full for much of the evening. The request for Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here was slightly off the wall though!  24 songs and 3 repeats. Our sets for this and the Old Crown were almost identical –

Down by the River

So Good To Me

Hey Good Lookin

Blowing in the Wind

Feeling Good

Heart of Gold

World of Our Own

Midnight Songs

Leaving This Town

Seagull (J Capaldi) – Navigation only

Annie’s Song

Higher Plane

Urban Spaceman

Space Oddity

let Me Know

Memory Town

Summertime

I am A Pilgrim

Midnight Special

Streets of London

Being True

Leaning on a Lampost

Jambalya

Those were the Days

Mr Dreamseller instead of Leaning on a Lampost at Old Crown


16th March: Old Crown, Ashton, Northants – Higher Plane
Higher Plane played at this quiet country pub in the first of two gigs arranged for us by Chris Allin of the Navigation.  We did 23 songs and 3  repeats.  New addition was Midnight Special.Recovering from a cold and with minimal practice saw me, Phil, Paul nd Paul’s
son Sam doing some numbers in a set designed to give Sam a try at playing in front of an audience.  This being his first public performance.  Phil brought huis congas and we did Come Up and See Me (Cockney Rebel), Green Manalishi (Fleetwood Mac) and Sympathy for the Devil (the Stones)
Janet and I played four numbers at the WAC including the new co writen song A Higher Plane.  Went down very well and recoeved favourable commebnts afterwards. Write up on the WAC website mentioned “very tight vocal harmonies.”

11th March Wolverton Acoustic Club – Mike, Phil and Co

4th March Wolverton Acoustic Club – Higher Plane

Gigs 2006

21/06/2008

Sep 23rd Quainton Memorial Hall, Nr. Aylesbury, Bucks – Higher Plane

Janet’s sister in law is entering the New York Marathon to raise money for the NSPCC and this evening, which included a meal and promise auction was put on in aid of this. We were in more of a background music role than usual but it was good to do and we received good comments plus it was an opportunity to use my own Mackie sound gear for a change and include keyboard songs. We premiered our covers of ABBA..s Waterloo and Andy Williams.. Can..t Take My Eyes off You. Two 30-40 minute sets – 50/50 originals and covers. The event raised approximately £2300.00

Sep 9th Cross and Stable Church, Downs Barn, Milton Keynes – Higher Plane

Stephen Tucker put on this evening of acoustic acts from Milton Keynes to raise money for Willen Hospice and for the church. Headliners were Linda Watkins and Fat Freddys Cat and we were third on the bill with a twenty minute set which way exceeded my expectations of getting an audience going, especially with Down by the River and Jambalya. Included the first public performance of Those Were the Days, a song featuring solo vocals from Janet. I am a Pilgrim and Feeling Good provided more spiritual and thoughtful contrast. All very well received. And the evening raised over £1300.00

Sep 3rd Wolverton Acoustic Club

First appearance under the name Higher Plane. At this excellent open mic club. Three song set at the end of the evening. Went down well.

Fri 22nd July: Coachmakers Arms, Newport Pagnell under new management who wanted to start putting on music and contacted me to play for their first experiment with it. Janet and I played two sets, the second being longer than planned. Gig included Janet’s first solo vocal. A good evening.

Sat 23rd July St Lawrence Church Bradwell Village Fundraising Garden Party. Mike, Janet and Phil, who brought his congas plus bass and snare drums and banjos. We included the newly added Work a Miracle featuring Janet’s boogie piano. The rain started at the end of the first set and we continued later in the church where everyone was sheltering.

Sat 15th July Shenley Brook End Picnic in the Park – I was the only solo acoustic act amid a bunch of full bands. It was one of the best gigs I have done for a long while. Someone wanted to buy a CD off me, so why the hell don’t I do one. My friends the Northey Girls were also playing.

Sun 2nd July Wolverton in the Square Festival – This is a great little festival with a good atmosphere. Took the risk of all original songs except Urban Spaceman but it all worked well, with positive feedback via third party