“Turn your lights off mate, you’re scaring the little fishies away!”

Was the voice I heard in the dark, as I unloaded our instruments from Ropetackle Arts Centre venue late last night.
“Sorry mate!” I apologised to the fisherman, grateful of this sweet little reminder of our location. Shoreham-By-Sea – and a well resourced arts centre sitting in the centre of town in an enchanting spot, another place on this tour maintained impeccably by the goodwill of a strong team of local volunteers passionate about the arts.
Upon arrival earlier, Nicky had greeted us at the door with the offer of a hot drink, and Josh the soundie offers to help us load in and has this gentle, stable energy that feels grounding. Such kindness is very much appreciated. Things are aligned and we’re in the right place.

NB rest of tour: dan-whitehouse.com/live

Max ZT, Katie and I share a large portion of chips for tea. Max is surprised to learn the satchets of condiments are individually priced and sold separately. I guess this is a service culture thing, and I put it in the same box as the fact we rarely tip bar staff when ordering a pint. With this extra dough for sauce, he’s got a point! ha ha! I enjoy the lightness of us sharing the details of the little differences in culture we discover as go along this week.

Opening act Ben Paley engaged the crowd, drawing us away from the pathways of our individual days and shepherding us closer to the reflective mindset the evening allows. Tonight (for the first time) we’ll play straight through, no interval – and I’m excited by this idea – a straight line of communication. We open with ‘the perfect circle’ and as I begin to sing it feels like I’m opening the door nervously to greet our guests for dinner – some close friends and others we’ve just met – nervous grins and enthusiastic, hopeful high pitched sounds all round.

When Max begins the improvisation he creates a bliss full state, I feel as if the audience and I are floating, and this whole arts centre is in fact a boat we’re travelling on together. The slow build, the time and space within the music – all feel like elements we so rarely share in public these days. This has grown to be a significant part of what we offer audiences on this tour, we’re opening up and sharing our own creative practice on stage.

On our closing song Ten Steps, it feels like I venture further than previously on the electric guitar, taking up Max’s invitation to break out and solo a little in addition to the colour I contribute. This invitation encapsulates the spirit of this song – it’s all about bravery, being brave enough to take the steps you need to in this brief life.

We deliver an extended performance of the song tonight it feels like Max and I reach a summit… oh boy, look at the view from up here! The congregated audience of heads turn towards us now, each head holding a detailed story of their own, each heart formed from a long history of tiny (at the time even seemingly insignificant) moments of kindness love and affection, each holding a beating red heart burning so brightly that it feels I can see them all so clearly now – I was shadowed when I walked on stage, when I started – thank you for opening me up tonight Shoreham. I feel illuminated, do you? we feel connected, we have reached a point of resolution I’m so grateful for.

Dan x
Lyrics from the improvisation – Shoreham On Sea Ropetackle Arts Wed 25th Oct 2023
We talk back via shards of glass
our ancestral roots frozen now
the fragility of this land we build upon
the price we pay as our attention become frayed
you hold my hand
we float away
though our feet remain anchored here
though our hearts remain anchored
you hold my heart in a paper bag
blood spills from the seams
we rise delicately from this night
and our shame floats away
the present pulls back her disguise
and i don’t look the other way
as she pulls her disguise
i said i fail to turn the other way
you hold my hand
we float
though our feet remain anchored here
we never stay
yes our feet remain anchored here
but we’ll never stay
If you are interested in hearing what I am writing about – head on over to my Patreon where you can download a recording of the entire show, and all the shows on this tour.