NEW VIDEO: No water in the water fountain

James tells the tale of one of the most recent additions to our repertoire, Water Fountain by tUnE-yArDs

Three times in the past I’ve been so enamoured of a song I’ve woken up to (on BBC Radio 6 Music) that I’ve hunted it down, downloaded it and listened the bejeezus out of it*.

On the most recent occasion, in April of this year, I wasn’t quite sure what I was listening to. The first half of the song roused me gently yet playfully from slumber. The second hit me round the head with a series of musical frying pans. And it wasn’t even one of Cerys Matthews’ Sunday morning wildcards (I think back fondly to stirring to the strains of some pre-revolutionary Iranian pop, featuring a traditional tune which was also used in Fiddler on the Roof) – it was an actual, real-life song.

Having been too asleep/shocked first time around, I was lucky that it cropped up again a few days later and this time I was ready to note the artist & track name: ‘Water Fountain’ by tUnE-yArDs. I found it, played it on loop for a good while, and 24 hours later I had a first draft four-part arrangement of it.

This is not normal for me. I’ll usually spend a few months dipping in and out of an arrangement, waiting for something good to happen… It took about a year and a half and at least one spreadsheet to put the Disney Medley together.

In any case, four of us tried it out one Saturday morning and got the MD’s permission to add it to the Greenwood gig set list, squeezing in run-throughs before and after rehearsals on a Tuesday night, and we’re pretty happy with what we ended up with, even if we still can’t quite get the words in the right order. In fact, we’re already playing with what happens if we all join in and the forces are more than trebled…

There may be no water in the water fountain, but this arrangement has not yet run dry.

* If you’re curious, the other two were David Byrne & St Vincent’s ‘Who’ and James Blake’s ‘Retrograde’.

Advertisements

NEW VIDEO: Thanks for coming to our gig – here’s a video!

To all those who made our gig on 4 July – THANK YOU for being such a brilliant audience and making it such a great night! We really enjoyed it, and we hope you did too.

To all those who couldn’t make it: you missed some seriously incisive Question Time-standard debate on the thorny issue of Scottish independence, a deeply moving musical interpretation of the British reaction to the Boston Tea Party, and a Walt Disney impression which – I think we’d all agree – wiped the floor with Tom Hanks in Saving Mr Banks.

And a lot of a cappella, obviously – including new arrangements of Fidelity/Pumpkin Soup, Falling Slowly, Happy, Water Fountain and a stonking Disney Medley, courtesy of Joel, Hazel and James.

Here’s a little taster of the night – we’ll be uploading more videos in the coming weeks and updating you on our plans for the rest of 2014, so check back soon…

BLOG: Three weeks and counting…

Video

This week was all about the girls: we had a stonking new solo from Anna in Russian Roulette, Shirley-Anne taking on the female lead in No Air (both arranged by Michael), Mel giving it her all in Hazel’s Happy, Rachel and Lizzie mashing up Joel’s Fidelity/Pumpkin Soup… Katie was the only lady duetter whose partner was present and so who had to share – she and Michael are showing Hazel’s Falling Slowly who’s boss.

The girls also get all the best moves, not least Mel’s octopodeian Ursula impression for Poor Unfortunate Souls in James’ Disney Medley, which gave rise to handy choreo mnemonic ‘After the octopus, get into the bra’. Check it out on the video…

Independence, eh?
Friday 4 July 2014, 8-10pm (bar open from 7.30pm and during the interval)
Greenwood Theatre, 55 Weston St, London SE1 3RA
Tickets £10 (£5 concession or FREE for under-16s and school pupils)

www.ticketsource.co.uk/inthesmokeuk

GIG: Friday 4 July – Independence, eh?

We’re pleased to announce that we’re returning to the Greenwood Theatre in London Bridge this summer, and tickets are ON SALE NOW!

With the possible exception of some Independence Day ‘humour’*, this is a no-gimmicks, straight-up, best-of evening of great a cappella. Expect some old favourites, recent favourites, not yet favourites (aka world premieres) and a Disney Medley. Oh yes.

Independence, eh?
Friday 4 July 2014, 8-10pm (bar open from 7.30pm and during the interval)
Greenwood Theatre, 55 Weston St, London SE1 3RA
Tickets £10 (£5 concession or FREE for under-16s and school pupils)

Tickets are on sale now (no booking fees!): www.ticketsource.co.uk/inthesmokeuk

* It was the only date we could get the theatre…

BLOG: Encore!

We’re as guilty as any other group of preparing an encore just in case we do a good enough job to warrant one. After all, we’d hate to palm paying punters off with a poor performance and second rate singing, if they’ve enjoyed us enough to request more… Last impressions and all that.

The thing is, though, that the requests can often be a tad specific, and one request has been bellowed at our bowing bodies more than all the others put together. It’s a song that’s been with us since our first gig over five years back, as famous for its moves and video as its music and vocals… none other than Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller‘.

It’s quite a rush dragging your reluctant feet across the stage, crooked arms outstretched to grab the virtuosic Vishal, while trying to remember whether this ‘doop’ is the one that’s sharp…  But like all our songs – and our members – it needs some time off to put its feet up after a long stretch of hard work.

So if you’re coming to see us on Saturday, please do ask us for the encore we’ve so presumptuously prepared, but don’t expect to have any choice in what it is. You’re gonna love it.

–James

GIG: Tickets on sale now!

Celebrating our fifth anniversary and launching our new (fourth) album, we’re doing a proper full length show in a proper big theatre, and tickets are NOW ON SALE!

Expect brand new, never-before-performed arrangements alongside highlights from our first half-decade, and the sets that earned us the title of Champions (2012) and the Ward Swingle Award for Originality (2013) at the Voice Festival UK Community Competition.

In the Smoke: The Story So Far
Saturday 3 August 2013, 7.30pm (doors open at 7.00pm)
Greenwood Theatre, 55 Weston St, London SE1 3RA
Tickets £7 (adult), £3 (concession), FREE for under-16s or school pupils
Book online now at http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/inthesmoke (no booking fee)

Load up on puns, bring your friends…  And while you’re there, buy our shiny new CD.  Sneak preview now available at Soundcloud, or a video on YouTube!

GIG ALERT! ItS 5th Anniversary album launch – Sat 3rd August – SAVE THE DATE!

ImageCome to join your favourite a cappella band this August for our summer love-in in the “Big Smoke”.

DATE: Saturday 3rd August 2013

TIME: Early Evening (pm)

PLACE: Greenwood Theatre, London. SE1 3RA

MAP: http://goo.gl/maps/8OcxT

Yes, your favourite, all-original vocal only band, In the Smoke (ItS) has its biggest ever summer gig coming up where we’ll be celebrating our 5th (wooden) anniversary and launching our new album.

Best of all YOU are ALL invited!

Early bird tickets available soon and we’ll need your help naming our CD too. More on that soon.

So follow the advice from our original, Ward Swingle-endorsed set and: “Load up on funds, tell your friends, In the Smoke gig near London Bridge ends.”

Love a cappella? Come to join ITS this summer for our summer love-in in the “Big Smoke”.

facebook.com/inthesmoke
#ItSLove