Gerald Clark – Blues & Love Songs gig review
Sometimes I’ve just got to love my job, because I get to review great gigs like this.
With the Covid-19 pandemic and on-going lockdown rules around the world, musicians and bands have had to find other ways to perform and live-streaming has become very popular in these times. My personal view on the subject is: Nothing can beat going to a venue with some friends and experiencing a real live performance in person, where the energy of the crowd feeding off the musicians on stage and vice versa is electric. Although going to a live gig is one of the best things one can do, the Covid-19 pandemic is severely restricting live gigs. On-line streaming is the next best thing. But what makes great Live streaming? The sound has to be perfect and the video excellent and in synch with the sound; and of course, the musician doing the performance must be professional and not only personally relate to an audience while only conveying this on camera but still manage to play with passion. (Let’s face it, this is still a gig that people are paying for and this is still your art that you are putting out there for the world to see.)
Live-streaming has a great advantage because you get to reach a lot more people all over the world, compared to being limited to a venue in a city where only people in the area can attend. This platform allows the performer to reach people all over the world and the person watching doesn’t even have to leave their house. A strong internet connection, a computer/laptop or phone is all you need to see your favourite performer live on stage; so doing this right can really open up doors for the performer around the world.
I’ve seen a lot of live streaming performances and there are only a handful that I would say were of high quality and professionalism (Great Live streams that I’ve seen which come to mind are Ard Matthews, Arno Carstens, WONDERboom, Celine, Deadline, 3’sand7’s, Indie Dog and Winterfest festival; and now Gerald Clark can be added to that list). It always saddens me when I watch a performance and the musician or band on stage just isn’t taking it seriously. I’ve even seen some musicians half drunk, forgetting words to songs or even taking requests for covers through the performance but not quite knowing the song and then either messing up the song badly or stopping half way through because they don’t know it. In my opinion, a very well thought out live stream, that offers great production value, good sound and visuals, is always going to be a successful event. And I can honestly say Gerald Clark nailed all of the above and even offered more than what I expected.
Before I carry on with this review I just want to say how impressed I was about the platform that Gerald used to do this live stream. Homestage.co.za was awesome from start to finish; from the time I had to make a profile and obtain my ticket to the actual event itself. Everything was top notch and I strongly advise any other musicians looking to do live streams (especially during these on-and-off lockdown times), to consider using HomeStage.
For more info on Homestage click HERE
The event “Gerald Clark – Blues & Love Songs” was scheduled to start at 8pm on 28th October 2020. Gerald, like the professional he is, was on time when he started the event. Dressed in cool blue buttoned-up shirt and jeans, armed with only his acoustic guitar, mic and a glass of red wine, Gerald was ready to rock us all. What I liked about my first impressions of his stage and surroundings were: he put thought into it, knowing that people were going to see his “so-called stage” for the night; his surroundings had a very nice setting with paintings and photos on the wall; and candles lit around him. It really set the mood.
With the start of the first song, the sound for this event was so awesome, and hearing Gerald Clark’s singing with his guitar made it feel like he was in the room with me. Like I said earlier, nothing is going to beat a real live performance and being there in person, but as far as live streams go this was one of the best ones I’ve seen and Gerald made it very easy to feel part of the event.
Gerald’s voice was on top form and when he played the guitar I swear it looked and sounded like he had 20 fingers with the type of chords he was playing, running his hand up and down the guitar neck. He is one very talented musician.
I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t point out one guitar glitch during one of the songs: his guitar seemed to be softer than his voice; but this was Live and a glitch here and there was to be expected. However, this was quickly sorted out after the song. Gerald kept apologising and said he would redo the song at the end, but I honestly think just hearing his voice in that particular song made it sound more intimate, which just shows what an amazing voice he has, something only a top musician can pull off and it still sounds great.
A nice touch to the set between songs was when Gerald displayed some really beautiful paintings painted by his fiancée and you could bid for the paintings during the performance in a chat room provided by the stream. I was amazed that that part of the event did well, with a few people bidding good money for some of the paintings. I not only thought this is a great way to punt his fiancée’s work, but it also added something different to the event.
You can follow his Fiancée’s Instagram Page HERE
One of my favourite songs from Gerald Clark is a newer track of his, called Elderflowers, and it was awesome to see him perform this song live. There is also a cool music video that you can watch of this song on YouTube which actually stars his fiancée in the video.
Gerald now lives in the Czech Republic and obviously performed this event from there, but it was cool to see he still threw in an Afrikaans song or two into his set, staying true to his South African roots.
My all-time favourite song from Gerald Clark is a song called Black Horses. To see him perform this song in his set just made my evening. The lyrics and music to that song are so beautiful that I even got a bit of a tear in my eye when it played.
Another nice thing about the set: I’ve known Gerald Clark to always be a blues artist and, trust me, he played a lot of Blues; but he also jumped from blues to rock with some songs, once again showing the versatility of a great musician and really giving the audience “A-something-for-everyone” feel.
I got to interview Gerald Clark a few days ahead of this event and we did speak about him having a hint of nerves, what with it being his first live-streaming performance and whether the sound and video were going to be okay. Well Gerald, I can safely say you can be very proud of yourself and your first live-streaming event. Everything was so professional and top notch, and after watching many live streams during lockdown, this event goes down as one of my favourites.
ABOUT GERALD CLARK:
Over the past two decades, Gerald grew from a fresh-faced 19-year-old laaitie, who fronted the blues outfit Delta Blue, into a musical stalwart with no less than five solo albums under his belt – Sweepslag, Black Water, Follow The River, AfroBoer & the GoldenGoose, and Afrocoustic respectively.
Since then he has travelled and performed in 17+ countries; received a coveted SAMA nomination as well as an MTV Europe Animation Award; played shows all over SA at festivals that range from the KKNK, to Oppikoppi, Up the Creek, Splashy Fen, and Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts; and collaborated with the likes of Stefan Dixon, Luna Paige and Albert Frost, as well as industry greats like Bok van Blerk, Gian Groen, Van Coke Kartel, Dan Patlansky and Schalk Joubert. Gerald is also actively involved with a variety of charities, including Ray of Sunshine Home for Abandoned Babies.