First Fridays in Bixby Knolls, Long Beach, is a community event that happens once a month & is hugely popular. Musicians perform in various locations on the street and there are vendors peddling their art, food, political agendas and such. I didn't have an amplifier, but I belted out my stuff in front of Aura Thai and then sat in with the Dave Williams jazz group!
I was invited to sit in with the Dave Williams jazz band and sing some Nina Simone and blues standards. This is such a treat for me given I mostly perform solo these days. The additional cool factor was that the gig was at a Long Beach thrift store called the Tithing Closet -- we sat on furniture that was for sale! Chef Sarah Lim provided a delicious vegetarian supper & after my set, I enjoyed the immense skills of Orange Peal Vibrations (vibes & marimba -- must be seen to be believed).
Many of the gigs I do are solo cover gigs (although I always add some originals too). This cover gig at the Lakewood Golf Club was pretty special because it was with my very good friend and multi-instrumentalist, Rebecca Lynn. I played piano or guitar and she played guitar or violin while we both performed lead & harmonies on tracks such as 'Space Oddity' and 'Karma Police'. Wish I was sticking around longer to do more work with this talented musician!
House concerts are another one of my favourite types of shows to do, as there is an audience who are actually there to listen to you! This show was hosted by local music-appreciators Jody & Judy Timmerman & the evening was shared with local style queen & blues vocalist Shy But Flyy, who is making waves with her band in the LA/Long Beach area. Mutual friend & shredder, The Whereabouts guitarist Chris Vella, joined both of us to impart his tasty blues solos.
My first show in Long Beach since I left 2 months ago was at the Gina Woodruff Gallery with up and coming singer/songwriter Chelsey Sanchez. We both showcased an hours worth of originals (and some covers) to an attentive audience. These kind of gigs are rare -- I'm so used to playing noisy places! As well as solo versions of the songs from my EP, I also performed 3 songs I had recently written in Vancouver.
After weeks of organising, and recruiting various people to help me with the gig promotion & raffle prizes, tonight was the night for a (mostly) female line-up benefit show at the Gaslight Cafe, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia! There were 7 acts and the evening ended with an open jam session. Tonight, we raised over 1700RM (over $400USD) for the WAO (Women's Aid Organisation) in Malaysia. We reached beyond capacity & had over 100 paying audience members throughout the evening! The night was filled with an assortment of female vocalists and instrumentalists (and a few male too!) and new friends were made with some local musicians meeting each other for the first time!
What happened tonight was typical of what happens here in Long Beach & why I love this place so much & why I call it my home (even if I can't live here permanently). Tonight we put on a Refugee Crisis Benefit gig at the Wine Bar on Ocean Blvd, Long Beach. There was amazing energy in the room. 'Magic' is a word I would use to describe it & all the hard work putting it together was worth every minute. I loved watching all the smiling faces & people making new connections & just having a great time. It was truly beautiful.
We raised $205 just from the raffle tickets! Big shout out to the Wine Bar LB with their generous 20% donation of $200, raising a total of $405!! I love you all so much xxx Below is a video of everyone singing a rather funny version of 'We Are the World'.
A few weeks ago, I struck up a conversation with a lovely fellow who happened to be at a gig I opened for at Pisco bar in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (for Indie act Mystery Tapes & international touring band Kyoto Protocol -- it was a really cool gig too!). He was intrigued with my story & my many anecdotes of loopy & sometimes arduous experiences. After a long chat, he asked me to write an article for a wonderful website for female travellers called Zafigo. Having never done something like that before, it took me a few days to figure out what would be the most useful thing to contribute, but I got there & came up with this: '7 tips on how to survive KL as a travelling musician'.
Lisa Spykers is a singer, songwriter, piano player, acoustic guitarist, instrumental and primary school teacher, porridge chef, vegan caterer, author, nomad, and unstoppable force of nature.