Frank challenger is a cultural magician, a man with a canny ability to pull a rabbit out of a hat, make something outta nothing.

He did that in my hometown of Wolverhampton when he created the lighthouse cinema decades ago and since re locating to Westonzoyland appears to have done the same there – creating “Music on the Levels” a live music event set in a beautiful church built in the 1400s, populated with an audience of discerning music lovers with inquisitive souls, generous spirits and people that are ready and open to take in new ideas and concepts. 

I was tired coming into the gig, having had a bit of an adventure with a travelodge booking gone wonky the night before. I arrived to check in for my prepaid room only to discover they had sold the room to another punter ?! Has this ever happened to you? I was eventually allocated a room an hour later but it was dirty and the receptionist and mucked in and made the bed ourselves. Please let me know your own strange hotel experiences below!

Anyway, I was so tired I played in a relaxed way, I think it helped me to “tap out” as my friend Chris Cleverley would say. I felt like I entered that other realm pretty seamlessly on this particular wet afternoon. It kept raining, and then bursting into brief bubbles of sunshine, it felt like God was crying, and then laughing, as if s/he was having a particularly emotional day.

Despite writing and rehearsing the show in a certain way, today I cut and pasted the stories and songs into new shapes, it felt natural and I ran with it.

Sometimes I’d play an intro sequence and people spontaneously applauded, sharing their excitement and clearly familiar with the music. Of course I feed off this connection, and the positive energy appeared to wrap me in a loop of connectivity – rather like the interesting audio induction loop built into the church PA system – this system was doing some funky things to my set up – my vocal microphone was beaming through my electric guitar amp speaker cabinet aswell as the PA. I’d love to speak to a sound engineer and get to the bottom of that one day!

Frank and the team had arranged cakes hot drinks and a raffle! What’s not to love about this event?!

Some of the kind volunteers stuck around to help me wind cables and load the car post gig, winding up what felt like the perfect sharing.

Take me back to Zoyland….

Dan x