Tag Archives: concert

A Little Update

Here’s a little update that’s been long overdue. Four songs for the new album are done now. For two more I still need to record and mix in some more vocals. It’s really just another day or two to finish them, but currently my live performance set takes precedence.

I’m very happy and extremely excited to say that I’ve been invited to the IndiEarth Xchange in Chennai, Madras to hold a workshop and perform live. I only got the first email about four weeks ago and I’m flying there already on Tuesday. Very unexpected and it will delay all my other plans, but who’s going to say no to such an opportunity? So I’ll be in India for a week, hopefully with some time to not only take in the Xchange, but also a glimpse of Madras. I’ve never been, but always wanted to go. So exciting!

Fingers crossed that I’ll have the live set ready and am well rehearsed till then. Panic started setting in a few days ago when it took me three hours to get the MIDI remote scripts working as expected. And that was one small part, not all the details. Charlie, my cat, helped me calm down with her purring. I can’t bring my array mbira, but will use Ableton Push to play and record. Quite a task, relearning all parts on the In key layout (from keyboard and array layouts).

Charlie's trying to help me or something
Charlie’s trying to help me or something

After I’m back, I’ll get right onto finishing Noise Machine and Tipping Point. One night, when I was supposed to work on something, I instead looked through all my little musical sketches and jammed along with the ones I still liked. I have at least four more ideas, vocal lines and lyrics. I only need to find enough time in a row to produce them. Not just a few hours here and there.

In case it looks like I never will (because there’s somehow always more work), I’ll postpone everything else. At some point the album simply needs to be my first priority. I feel like otherwise my head might just explode one day.

Anyway, I’ll be back with another blog post after my return. I’m sure there’ll be much to write about.


Where to Go from Here?

Last month I played an electronic live jam together with Donna Maya and Aschka. Three women, three laptops, two Ableton Pushs, one Akai APC40 and zero rehearsing. We’d never played together before or even seen each other’s gigs. We only had a quick Skype group call two nights before the gig to get an idea what each of use could prepare.

Donna Maya, Aschka & me having fun (from left to right)
Donna Maya, Aschka & me having fun (from left to right)


It was so refreshing and exciting. The total opposite of my usual concerts which require lots of preparation and rehearsing. Often they are only paid by what’s put into a hat. During the last five years or so, I could see how DJs started replacing live concerts while getting paid more in comparison to the hours of work that goes into it.

The live jam was not only tons of fun, our audience really loved it (including kudos from Robert Henke a.k.a. Monolake). I loved the moments of surprise when we built up something amazing soundwise, the freedom of just creating in the moment.

It made me wonder how I could combine it with my usual live set. A live remix of my songs intertwined with electronic live improvs? I’m not sure, yet, the ideas are brewing inside my head, but not quite ready to come out… One idea I recently had, was to do shorter live improv sets on my balcony or in the studio (depending on the weather) on a fairly regular basis and broadcast them via UStream. Basically, doing the trial and error live, figuring out what works well and what doesn’t and maybe get your input (if you’re so inclined). Starting first with pure jams, then slowly adding my songs after I’ve figured out a good way to include them.

What do you think?



Live Jam on International Women’s Day in Berlin

Tomorrow, on International Women’s Day, I’ll be playing an electronic live jam together with Donna Maya and Aschka. It all takes place at ://aboutblank in Berlin Friedrichshain as part of the Reflecting Perspectives Festival. Plenty of other great acts are gonna play as well: DJ Marcelle/Another Nice Mess, Kat Kat Tat, Lotic, Rona Geffen, Sick Girls, Stellar OM Source and Vinilette.

I hope you’ll come if you’re in Berlin. We’re on at 10 pm and I’m already really excited about it.

All information about the Reflecting Perspectives Festival

Live at the Electric Castle

A week ago I played my first ever online concert as a Google Hangout. It was a very interesting new experience and I truly enjoyed it. I’ve had to face a few technical issues as the Google Plus event didn’t let me broadcast on YouTube although I had checked the box, the Google Hangout plug-in crashed and later on my looper plug-in, but I think it went rather well despite all that. I feel like I’ve learned a lot from it.

You can watch the two parts and see for yourself:

I’m sure it won’t be the last online concert. I’m already thinking about doing an unplugged-style concert sometime early next year. So watch out. đŸ™‚

Google Hangout concert

Last Sunday I had planned to play my first ever Google Hangout concert. However, I needed to postpone it due to a bad migraine. I’m really sorry, but I couldn’t have played in that condition. Apologies to everyone who tried to tune in and hadn’t seen my tweet about the raincheck.

Since I’ve prepared everything and the venue is no issue for re-booking, the new date for the concert is:
November 25 at 8 pm CET

You can either watch through Google Plus or YouTube.

I hope you’ll join me then.


Release Concert on Google Hangout

On Sunday 18th November at 8 pm Berlin time I will host my first Google hangout to celebrate the release of my new EP ‘Patchwork’.

‘Live at the Electric Castle’ will see me perform songs from ‘Minutia’ and ‘Patchwork’ live in a very unique setup including Rhodes piano, Minimoog synth and of course array mbira. Afterwards I will answer questions and we can chat.

Watch the hangout broadcast live at http://www.youtube.com/madeleinebloom.

  1. RSVP to the event invite
  2. Add me to your Circles
  3. Invite or share it with others.
  4. Check the start time in your time zone
  5. Watch live at http://www.youtube.com/madeleinebloom

I’m really excited about this event and I hope you’ll join me next Sunday!

P.S. Make sure you have the Hangout plugin installed – find out how here.

Sicily, oh Sicily

2 weeks since I came back from the Sicily tour. How quickly time flies by. I had to work a lot of hours doing tech support to make up for the time away. I’m also working on new songs and a plan on how to get to tour more. Lots of new things in the pipeline already. Anyway, here’s my overdue post about the first tour.

I took a taxi to the airport as I couldn’t take all my luggage by public transport. At the check-in desk I was told I had 8 kg more luggage than allowed. That made 80€ (yikes) extra one way for bringing my array mbira. Altogether I had 40 kg and my clothes made up the smallest part. Nicoleugenia picked me up from the airport in Catania and so we drove to Palermo. She’s the one who booked the gigs for me and who also made a great tour manager and driver – or handler, as she liked to call it.

BallarĂ², Palermo

The first gig was the next day. A good thing since I was overtired from getting everything ready. The venue was less than 5 minutes away from the B&B we stayed at, both in BallarĂ². The rest of the day we spent wandering around Palermo. An impression through cotton wool for me in my sleep-deprived state. Italians are noisy people with their shouting, vespas and honking. I had brought earplugs and so managed to get a good long sleep.

We had a look at the venue PalaB on Friday afternoon before it was time for soundcheck in the evening. I was rather excited about playing there. Then there was only the owner to do the sound and he didn’t know the mixer or what to do. When I tried my headset mic I got feedback. He tried different things, even wanted to give me another one made only for talks. Finally I went behind the mixer and found the gain to be the culprit. Soundcheck done after ages. By then I was extremely nervous again. When I started playing I noticed that the mixer settings didn’t work on my laptop. I had set them up to be recalled for each song with one button press. So I scrambled to get the mixing done on top of all the looping, playing and singing. The audience enjoyed it anyway, but I found it difficult. Grin and bear it and through with it. People came up to me afterwards saying “Complimenti” or “Brava”. Not many Italians speak English actually. The chef even bought my album and was blasting it to the whole neighbourhood the next day. Sweet!

Marsala view while sipping a Mojito

The next concert in Caltagirone was a week later so there was time for taking in Palermo. We also went to Marsala for a day to enjoy the view of the salt pools and windmills. Then it was time to head to Caltagirone where I had to work some hours in the tech support inbox each day and took it slow otherwise. I stayed at the same B&B as in December and it almost felt like home. One with an incredible view.

View over Caltagirone from the B&B

The concert in Caltagirone was open air and it was unusually chilly for the season. We set up behind Villa Patti with plenty of time for soundcheck. This time I was going to have an opening act – Daiquiri Fantomas. I even got to play their Theremin.

The later it got, the chillier and windier it became. Because of the technical issue at my last gig my stage fright was back at its worst. I was ready to sell all my live gear and never do it again. The two guys – Dario and Marco – did a great job with their debut gig while I anxiously awaited my turn. Then it was time for me to start. At first I was still nervous, especially with the wind being picked by my mic in every loop. Luckily it was only loud in my in ear monitoring. The crowd enjoyed it and apart from a few people with kids they stuck it out till the end despite the cold. Daiquiri Fantomas and I even did a little improv together. It made me realise how much I miss jamming with others.

Live @ Villa Patti, Caltagirone

The third and final concert was in Catania at La Lomax, a 45 minutes drive from Caltagirone. This is the place where I was supposed to already play last December. Back then the police shut off the power to find squatters leeching electricity from the streetlights. No power, no gig. I knew that the venue is very nice with helpful and knowledgable sound engineers. When we arrived there was a puppet theatre – pupi in Sicilian – still on.

When they were finished they left the whole setup where it was as the stage is big. I loved the soundcheck. I only had to sort out my own setup, everything else they took care of. Subsequently I was hardly nervous about the gig. I even had a backstage area that I could hang out in and prepare. The concert went really well and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, it was so much fun I just wanted to keep touring. Play every night.

Not yet, but hopefully soon. I’ve got a plan and am working out the details at the moment. More on that in a few weeks.


Sicily Tour

I’ll be heading off to tour Sicily. Here are the dates:

May 27, 2011 Palermo @ PaLab
June 3, 2011 Caltagirone @ Villa Patti
June 4, 2011 Catania @ La Lomax

Supported by the Initiative Musik Non-profit Project Company Ltd. with project funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media on the basis of a resolution passed by the German Bundestag.

Livestream – Notes from the Ivory Tower

A livestream. Regularly and right into your home. Long in the pipeline, now finally ready to roll.

Live concerts, blogging about songwriting, song snippets, collaborations with you. For each song of my next album I want to collect sound contributions through my website from anyone who wants to join in. Read more about Bloom’s Sound Collective.

Kick off will be on Thursday, March 10 at 7.30 pm CET. I will do a test run playing a couple of songs live and introducing a bit of a new, unheard song… ‘Patchwork’ (working title).

From Sunday, March 20 I will broadcast a live stream at 7 pm fortnightly (if time permits).

Don’t sell yourself short

or: Why I canceled the gigs this week

The concert on Tuesday was an absolute disaster for me. Instead of being able to focus on the performance I was battling serious feedback issues. And why? Because the one (!) speaker was behind me on stage pointing directly to my mic. It was not to be moved so their solution was to turn the mic almost all the way down. I asked the guy if the mix was alright and he nodded vaguely and vanished with the words ‘If it needs any more adjusting you can do that yourself.’

I introduced myself and beckoned the audience to get closer as they had spread out during change over. They ignored me because the mic was so low in volume they couldn’t hear me. I didn’t realise that and was slightly irritated by it. So I got started with my first song ‘A Little’ which is all looping. After I finished I asked the few who had come back to the front if the mix was alright. The vocals were barely audible, was their reply.

I use in ear monitoring to hear everything well while looping. This means I wear headphones and don’t hear much of the outside. On top of that when there’s feedback it goes straight into my ears. I bought this last year because a lot of venues don’t have a monitor and looping vocal harmonies is very difficult when you can’t hear yourself properly.

Off stage upping the volume, back up, instant feedback, back down, turning it low again. In the end, turning the speaker away helped somewhat, but the vocals were still too low in the mix. Also, each time I turned towards my MIDI controller – which was positioned too low – it produced new feedback. I tried to be professional and just grin and bear it, but the whole thing left me rattled and shaken which translated directly into my performance.

I had sent the booker my tech rider and enquired about the setup of the speakers and the availability of one bigger or two small tables. I was assured everything would be as requested. Yet, it wasn’t. Putting the speakers behind you usually results in feedback because the microphones used on stage are facing them. Especially when you’re looping with a mic. This is Audio Engineering 101. It’s the speakers that feed back, by the way, not the mic. I had perfected my setup as best as I could, spent money on in ear monitoring and other gear, but the one thing I still need is the speakers in front of the stage. Otherwise looping is impossible and I don’t want to stop doing it as it’s an integral part of my live show and I enjoy doing it.

Already last year I had come to this conclusion and so rather booked select shows ahead of time. Because there are decent venues out there, but you have to be early when booking. This mini tour through Berlin was in tandem with Vibeke Falden and it was pretty short-run. I had voiced my concerns about booking so late and my gut feeling told me no. Yet, I went along because I promised. I shouldn’t have. That was my mistake.

I walked home with all my gear. Devastated. Back home I talked to my friend who booked the concerts for me in Sicily. She reminded me, I had played a show while still recovering from a bronchitis and unable to sing. I did an improvised set instead and people enjoyed it a lot. I don’t cancel that quickly. If I think I can deliver a decent performance. Yet, this last show was awful. The conditions were awful which rendered the performance subpar. The audience went home with the memory of me as the woman with all that feedback. The rest of the tour would have had similar conditions.

I don’t cancel lightly, but the last show was good for no one. Not the audience, not me. Well, the venue made a quick buck by selling liquor.

The cautionary tale: Don’t sell yourself short. If you need certain conditions to perform well, only agree to gigs that meet your minimum requirements.

And speakers in front and keyboard stands or tables at the same height is not too much to ask, now is it? I don’t even ask for a monitor or a sound guy. This can’t be too much to ask.

Don’t sell yourself short! … and trust your gut feeling!