Updates on video shoot, the Boerderij, YouTube Partnership, new website and gigs
Welcome to our Spring Newsletter!
There's so much to tell you about since I last wrote!
Since then, we've filmed new videos to help promote Light Up, played the iconic Poppodium Boerderij in the Netherlands, wrote and demoed new music, played a mini-tour with La Maschera Di Cera and have been booked for yet more amazing shows for both this year and next.
So I'll begin with our four new videos filmed at the stunning Grand Chapel Studios and funded by our amazing Guardians, without whom we simply couldn't do any of this. If you'd like to find out more about our Guardians please pop over to our ko-fi page
The video shoot was once again directed by the brilliant Mark Jepson with the very young and super talented Harry Holt and Jonathan Clay on cameras. We shot video for Light Up, Mount Ephraim, Wongle No9 and Bulbul Tarang which we'll be releasing over the coming months.
Here's a few stills taken by the studio owner and engineer, Anneliese.
And here's the first video!
I've waited many a year for the opportunity to play this show and believe me, we weren't disappointed! What an incredible venue! It's one of those magical rooms that feels immediately welcoming and sounds incredible thanks to great acoustics, superb production and a dedicated crew. Much like Veruno last year, we were so well looked after by a wonderful team of volunteers and a core professional crew who went so far above and beyond, particularly when things went pear shaped during the show.
Our show time was 10pm but an overrun meant it was 10 before we even had access to the stage and, being a festival, it was the usual high intensity 30 minute changeover with no possibility of a soundcheck or worthwhile equipment test. I knew something was up with my guitar the moment I plugged it in but hoped the intermittent cutting out was the usual dirty pickup selector issue usually cleared with some enthusiastic twiddling... I was wrong... and in an attempt to curb costs, hadn't taken my second Charvel recently acquired exactly for this situation.
Shout went by with virtually no guitar despite the crew running off and magicking up some switch cleaner.
Photo: Bryan Taylor
Realising the selector wasn't the problem, I discovered that by holding the guitar very still in a certain position (tricky □) it would work, which at least allowed me to play the last moments of Shout. As Jess chatted to the audience and the band grooved out, followed by a lengthy drum solo, the strange knocking inside the guitar suggested a loose battery. So while Pete displayed his chops, the crew produced a screwdriver and we took a look.
Photo: Jan Buddenberg
Sure enough the battery had been knocked from its clasp, presumably thanks to a heavy handed baggage crew member at Luton or Schipol, and the weight of it hanging there had wrenched a cable from the circuit board. With no further ado our hero, Domas, had produced a soldering iron... but which connector do we solder the flailing cable to?? There were several candidates so we made a choice and immediately the old guitar coughed into life. I triumphantly returned to the mic to announce our success only to discover that the guitar was operating at around half it's normal output and it sounded dreadful. Fighting off despair we put out desperate requests for a guitar I could use... by now the drum solo was over and an unnerving silence fallen across the venue. All the other bands had left and with no guitars to hand I called our hero back once more to take the guitar apart. Out came the soldering iron and as we suffered the agonising wait for the iron to reheat, my despair began to take a grip. But soon Domas had freed the cable and with the focus of a bomb disposal team, we took our chances with a different connection... boom!! We were back in business and the Charvel was ready to play another show.
The moment me and Domas realise we'd overcome □
Photo: Marco de Niet
Getting over these things can take some time but the warmth of the audience and this wonderful band had my mojo back in no time. We ran way over schedule but no-one seemed to mind and when I spoke to the promoter, Arie Verstegan afterwards, the first thing that lovely man said was... "we've got to have you back". So all's well that ends well.
Here's some shots from that legendary prog nomad, Bryan Taylor
So after the show and a chat with those that were able to stay way later than planned, we were looking at booking taxis when Jan Buddenberg (DPRP) and the lovely Astrid Faber offered to run us back to the Golden Tulip for the night. There we were met by the night manager, Henry, who would spend the first part of his shift setting us up in a private courtyard with seats, lights and quilts where we could celebrate and share a smoke without disturbing anyone. How is it the Dutch are just so bloody lovely! □
The morning after required shades □
And on returning to the venue to pick up our gear and fly home we decided we should approach Ken Loach about a new movie so shot this hurriedly arranged promo □... theme tune to be 'Time For A Toke" □
The creative roll continues as we start writing for the next album. We've demoed the first song and will be working on it during our June rehearsals ready to add to the set for the summer shows.
La Maschera Di Cera Mini-Tour
Well that was incredible!.. and so good after all these years to experience that unique feeling of being on the road again. For me, the last time was with Tull in the 90s and, although this was only three dates, it brought it all back... the bonding as a band and as friends is something to treasure.
Another striking feature was the incredible, and growing, audiences. Playing London always feels a bit special but, with a full house full of friends old and new, this was a real highlight. This was our final tune from the 'First Light' cassette release from over 40 years ago □
I wondered if the following nights in Abingdon and Southampton could match up but both were fantastic with wonderful audiences, some of whom were at all three shows, making these gigs so special for us. The lovely guys from La Maschera Di Cera were superb and it was so cool that Alessandro Corvaglia sang Bulbul Tarang with Jess to close each show.
Huge love and thanks to Mark Cunningham for putting the weekend together and to Chris Parkins and Geoff Tucker for promoting the 229 and 1865 respectively.
Special mention to our son, Laurie Glass, for stepping into Jenny's shoes for these shows. He nailed it!
And Laurie wasn't our only newcomer of the weekend. Jen's got an amazing gig playing bass and singing with rising star, Oscar Lang, so our latest member of the live band, Dyane Crutcher, covered Jen at The Northcourt and turned in a brilliant performance!
Photo: Marc Auger
Photos: Martin Reijman
Photos: Simon Arnold
Here's a imperfect but vibey track from The 1865, Southampton. Amazing venue by the way. Just camera audio but you'll get the idea.
We delighted to have been invited to play Toad Hall again this year and enjoy another amazing weekend of music! Glastonbury here we come!
And... We played with the incredible Meer at Winter's End and have ever since been looking for an opportunity to do it again. So we're thrilled to announce that Meer have invited us and Ebony Buckle to Norway to play Pulterkammer Festival at the Hamar Theatre on September 16th!! Thank you MEER!
July 22nd - Colchester Arts Centre - with TRILOGY - Tickets
August 12th - Cropredy Festival, Nr Banbury - Tickets August 28th - Towersey Festival - Tickets SEPTEMBER 2ND - THE STABLES - MK with The EBONY BUCKLE Band ~ TICKETS
September 16th - Pulterkammer Festival - Norway TICKETS October 14th - 45Live, Kidderminster with TRILOGY - Tickets November 11th - HRH Prog - Great Yarmouth - Tickets
Firstly, huge thanks to everyone who helped us get to 4k view hours on YouTube! Some of you were even running Solstice videos on multiple devices which made a real tangible difference to the outcome.
It remains to be seen what, if any, revenue comes our way from the ads that YT run before and after our videos. Of course, we're not allowing ads during music videos but the other possible benefits, apart from a better support and advice service, are to receive a share from 'Premium' viewers subscriptions and the option to invite subscription support for our channel. I'm in the process of setting this up but the first issue was that virtually all our videos have a 'copyright claim' on them which means they can't be monetised and any income's going to someone else. I've successfully disputed all claims made by, among others, the mysterious 'the state51 conspiracy' but have subsequently discovered this error isn't automatically corrected in YT's system so every time I upload our music I have to dispute the claim again. It makes you wonder how many small artists have had their music copyright hijacked in this way. It'll be a massive number I've little doubt.
Whilst exporting Bulbul Tarang vocal stems for Alessandro to prep for the mini-tour I was reminded how beautiful those vocal are, so I thought put together an isolated vocal mix, Here it is if you'd like a listen.
We're so blessed to have Ebony as a member of this band and part of the Solstice family. Aside from being a lovely human being, she brings so much positive energy and, of course, brilliant musicianship to Solstice.
As many of you know, Ebony performs and releases her own sublime music that's becoming evermore popular with music lovers inside and out of the progressive sphere. So we've decided to support each other wherever we can, including updates in each other's newsletters.
Ebony and producer, Nick Burns, are well on the way to completing the followup to her stunning Disco Lasers album and they're running performances and playbacks for their patrons. Such a cool idea! If you'd like to get involved in the making of this album or just want to find out more about Ebony please visit https://ebonybuckle.com
Ebony's doing all but one of our gigs this year (and that was my fault for not giving her the date □) and will be opening our show at The Stables on Sept 2nd with her full band... believe me, they're amazing! We're all buzzing about how quickly tickets are going for this gig so. if you'd like one, please hop over to the Stables here https://stables.org/event/solstice
But you don't have to wait for September to see Ebony live!
She's in London tonight, May 12th at The Old Blue Last, and has fantastic shows happening throughout the year!