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Event 78: Lucky Chops: Album Launch…from Jakarta to New York

Lucky Chops – I say very passionately are one of the best instrumental bands I have ever seen. They create fun. They create memorable experience. And they understand the concept of performing. Welcome to the blog and adventure of there album drop in Manhattan…


What is the event?

What: Lucky Chops – Album Launch in 42nd Street Train Station

When: Friday 27th September 2019

Where: 42nd Street Station, Manhattan

Watching the band set up I had to remember the area we were standing – in the middle of 42nd street subway station in Manhattan with thousands of people passing through every 5 minutes. The doors of different subway carriages would open from downstairs on platform C and then a new audience would arrive for Lucky Chops. The pink Lucky Chops flag was moved and to the right and then – we were ready. 


Behind the subway gates was a musical talent and performance that I was fortunate to have seen in Jakarta Jazz Festival and now I was meeting the band once again in New York. But with this – it was so much more special.

Lucky Chops have worked so hard to become internationally known – and now are embarking on a Europe tour. In the past they have played in subway stations to survive and spread there music – now it’s where they drop an amazing album. They don’t forget there roots and importantly they remember the people that made them. 


With a tripod set up and a mic boom locked to the subway beams – the horns take off. The drums soar into a rhythm of uncontrollable dance. And it beautifully all begins. Immediately people stop – they look and engage. I call this “a moment of distraction”. It pulls people from normal routine and creates a moment of escape. Lucky Chops were a tool for creating that moment of escape. Some people filmed the performance, some just danced and some just soaked in the music. This is the point of why I wanted to complete a project like this. I wanted to watch the different methods of engagement of events. I wanted not to watch at times the performance but those enjoying it. Yes, some people had to take off because they had time schedules to meet. But for others – it was about standing in the middle of a subway and enjoying what was being presented to them. 

For sure there is a thesis or research project on an event like this. What is a subway station really? Well, it’s a place of consumption for travel but can also be of education, alternative entertainment and moments of inspiration. Today that was exactly what I experienced. 


You have to think about what is events – and sometimes it’s about consuming abnormal moments to propel a change or an emotion. Happiness for me was evoked and I got to enjoy something that – doesn’t happen all the time.

For an hour and a half I got to listen to the new album as well as some classic covers. There new album, Lucky Chops Instrumental, it was a very lively group of melodies. Perfect for vibrating off of the lonely walls of the subway station. My favourite song (incase your interested) was Full Heart Fancy.

One thing to take away…

Events can happen anywhere. They can shape someone’s day. They can bring a positive distraction and allow people to have a moments of unique engagement. And this was just that…


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Event 77: “Concert for One: 1 Musician, 1 Listener, 1 minute of Live music”…me, a musician and a nice rug

One musician and one spectator in the middle of refurbished shipping container. I mean – wow! It was special for sure and let me explain how this absolutely unique concept could become a world education and promotional tool for the future in a way others could never and has never done.


What was the event?

What: “Concert for One: 1 Musician, 1 Listener, 1 minute of Live music”

Where: Havard Science Center Plaza/ Rose Kennedy Greenways’ Chi Park , Boston (Two Locations)

When: Monday 23rd September 2019

Let the story begin…

Two yellow containers sit on the grounds of Havard University, just one of the locations that this event is taking place. One container holds a display of the aims of the project. It has musical instruments for people to engage with and the other has a window and a door. Inside is a time you will never forget. Here is what happens…


Walking in the door closes and in front is a musician sits and welcomes you and introduces the instrument they have. This can vary and happens between 10 – 6 with a rotation of musicians throughout the day. For 15 seconds my musician introduced the “lute” and spoke about the history. It was a great story and then he played a melody. I was absolutely in awe. It was so unique a concept I literally was taken to another planet of “interest”. Outside was a world of activity but in here was a capsule of a conversation. My ears were completely locked in to each noise.

The whole concept was simply beautiful. To given a minute away from phones, friends, reality and just listen. This is one of the most important points here – to listen. Not many people understand what sound does. We take it for granted. But to listen to a melody that is for your ears only. It gives a whole new appreciation for music because you can listen with no interruption.


The fact that the capsules are so bright and the whole thing are positioned in high footfall areas give people the opportunity to engage and disrupt there usual routines. This is the other aim – methods of disruptions. Think about it when do you do anything that is sporadic. Never. Really you stick to what you need to do rather than find random moments. Monday – Friday is the same drill with no alterations. However, this – well it breaks the routine by allowing people to have an experience that is kept forever to remember and enjoy. But also tell others. When you think about if something amazing, unique and special has happened the most important thing you want to do – tell everyone. Tell your friends. You need to share it. And for me this is why a one minute musical moment can be and should be something everyone should be doing.

I walked out of there not just wanting more but I wanted to share the story. I didn’t want to leave the area so for a while me and my friend who had came to Boston to meet me engaged with playing the guitar, writing our special moments on the wall, which was a moment of engagement constructed by the organisers.

Lets talk about the organisers. Celebrity Series are a non-profit arts organisation. They want to enrich the community with events, activities and moments like this. Its all about developing a great Boston by connecting people with the arts. They do that extremely well. They succeed with a product/ event – that for me is probably one of the most unique products I have seen.


One thing to take away…

Events can instrumentally deliver an experience that takes people to another level without being complex – but actually with just being simple. I loved it. And I think the whole concept could be a global project…


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Event 76: “What the Fluff?” – a soft and mooshy novel event with a solid future

The sun is beating down. I walk two miles to go the festival. The skyline of Boston is behind as I enjoy the walk to Somerville. As I arrive yellow dumper trucks are sitting at the entrance of the festival…the festival which was all about celebrating marshmallow Fluff was genius. Welcome to an event about Fluff…


What was the event?

 What: “What the Fluff?” Festival

Where: Somerville outside Boston

When: Saturday 21st September 2019

Let the story begin…

Jars of Fluff sat on all the different tables as I looked at something I didn’t expect. 25,000 people on the 100th year anniversary, which was 2 years before now, had passed through the gates. The idea started 15 years ago when it was well known that Fluff was invented in Somerville so of course – lets get something that creates an economic impact. What I saw was not a big professional event – it was the whole community coming out to party and what I did see – was history being created for moving forward.

The event was ran by the Union Square Main Streets. They are not event organisers but they care about the development of the area. As an economical development body Union Square Main Streets delivers a program that allows the area to benefit from a mass amount of people coming through the streets. Businesses have sprung up in the area but not just because of the festival – but due to focused strategy of Somerville with a outlook that is creating community spirit – it is allowing people to benefit and economically invest in the area. I noticed that as I strolled through “What the fluff?” people were spending money, they were enjoying everything going on and so on. I was having an amazing amount of fun as well – with me below having the chance to meet Jess the Executive Director for Union Square Main Streets and Joe the Mayor of Somerville. 


“What the Fluff?” started 14 years ago to celebrate the invention of “Fluff”. This fixture features musical performances, cooking contests, games, activities – for all to enjoy. What I loved was the theme this year – “All Roads Lead to Fluff”. I was explained to that the event has been a product that was created in a town that represents corners of the world. This include 50+ languages, neighbours and communities who are represented from worlds all over the world. Now it brings smiles and memories. It brings opportunities for locals to create stalls to benefit high school band departments, community projects for technology investment companies and so on. Not only is it about celebrating the invention of Fluff – but celebrating community togetherness.

Instead of hiding the fact that there was road works going on they used the tractors as “touch the digger”…they had great maps, there volunteers had great information and product knowledge. Product had potential and also support.


The Mayor is very supportive of this project – and I mean not just as a face. It’s about showing that Somerville has a future that everyone needs to get behind. They need to support all the local businesses and innovation. By doing both it leads to further employment, further opportunities and more people moving to the area. All of this equates to a positive city.

So he’s – it’s about Fluff with everyone walking about in there fluff memorabilia. But really what there buying into is the community. It is the area. It is there area – and together they can make it work.

One thing to take away…

Central buy in from mayor, businesses, engagement that is genuine – makes a novel idea work. This is a novel idea but actually – just think it’s now a main part of economical growth…


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Event 75: Detroit Eastern Markets: Afterdark…brilliant event with a meaning that is so much more!

The sunsets and the music begins. Market stalls of a different type are gracing the market area. Murals brightening up walls of lost hope. Artist impressions have a deeper meaning. Standing in the middle of the market I am an event that is more than an event…


What was the event?

What: Eastern Markets: Afterdark

When: Thursday 15th September

Where: Detroit Eastern Markets

Let the story begin…

TO THE RIGHT TO THE RIGHT TO THE RIGHT…the Cupid shuffle plays, the stalls are set up and the abandoned and disused buildings are reenergised. I watched people arriving in there 4×4 large cars coming to areas they don’t come. I watched families introduce there families to areas once upon a time were lost in the demise of Detroit. The buildings lit up – with joy at being full – the walls gleaming of art and the area buzzed. The event was a mixture of a few things. Eastern Markets: After Dark and the Murals in the Markets. Both events had the same objectives – to change the future of the area by boosting economical growth and usage of the area – simple. I watched the art on the way be engaged with by people who love art or have an interest in the stories. Small plaques positioned on the side of the art to tell a story about the artists and the magnificent art.


Five zones are positioning in the markets. Each market area has a different theme or approach. My most favourite zone was got to be where it was about mixing and coming together. The tunes were being dropped. The MC was off the hook and Detroit was dancing. Everyone wanted to join in – but some people were scared. Scared for coming out of there shell. But as time passed the dancing area got bigger. This is one of my points…

One aim existed – opportunity to mingle and engage with their city again. Detroit was lost. But this area and economical development agency has founded an event that has and will 100% give a momentum of character, moments of brilliance and opportunity to show flair. Music played loud as I watched people dance but further in I watched people buy scarfs, hand made soaps and other items. Everyone was mingling and chatting and it really was special. Detroit has a way of showing an extreme amount of resistance  and together can take on anything.

I met many organisations such as Let’s Detroit who has many priorities as getting people of Detroit involved and engaged in things that happen in Detroit. Community organisations directly engaging shows a urge to deepen the bonds that are created in the town for the future. Inside zone 1 artists sit and paint. They create live art which is absolutely astonishing to be part of. 

There wasn’t lots of food places but surrounding the markets are new restaurants who struggle with queues – but it works. The buskers, the art work and the restaurants have business due to an audience being brought to a unique product. The product grabs attention and then everything in the way is engaged with. Congratulations to everyone – because they are delivering an event not for tourists – it’s for locals. No tourists are here it’s more a “let’s party together…and live together…” I personally really think they are genius.


Murals in the markets will be something that will be in the area forever because of the art. So I’m excited for all for this event and for the future.

One thing to take away…

A community has came out of a storm. The people are happy in Detroit and I can see that all because of this event.


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Newark Symphony Hall…the hidden gem that just needs brightened

Newark Symphony Hall. WOW. I really wanted to write a blog to share my adventure that was through four floors of history and a venue that has a future unknown to them but beacons of staff who shine light of possibilities of darkness.Within five minutes of discussion I had already commended their passion for driving a venue that was currently empty of productions. The venue is a shell for possibilities and yes 5 miles from where the crow flies to Manhattan – its actually for me more impressive than some Broadway theatres. I get it. I understand this venue and here’s why.


A lot of people who work in venues – they just work there. But Jos and Ebony – of whom I had organised the meetings through – displayed an enormous amount of passion and determination to bring the community back into the theate. I want to share the story.

90 years ago this hall was full. It had noise echoing around the most majestic beams and roof I have seen. Performers including Whitney Houstonhad graced the stage – so this was not only a stage and a theatre. Revitalizing this venue is the biggest challenge. It’s got wrinkles – that’s called wear and tear but I am introduced to the walls as wrinkles. Genius. Firstly, on the outside – it looks like a closed bingo hall. It looks as if the shutters have been shut for years on the building. It looks like its lost. At the front it’s not a venue that is the beating heart of the street or neighbourhood. Its not popular. It doesn’t have a lot of shows. But it does have a pulse. A pulse of ambition that beats fast for all to see. Yes it has the small conventions, events and so on…but not what a theatre could and should have.


The venue, as I said looks lost, but the staff ain’t. They in the middle of it – like clogs that just keep turning. There job ain’t painting – but they paint. They are the ones that are driving the bus along the highway they might keep hitting roadblock after roadblock but actually for me it makes the pillars of this venue stronger. Pillars are not just the structural buildings it’s the team and this venue has just that. Strength from each corner. It’s true and pure Newark residents or those just out of university and wanting to impact there own community – I saw and heard it all. I fully believe in my arts body this theatre has two hidden gems – the rooms and the people. Both are not in every city but here in Newark they have it.

But let me tell you about Newark. It’s the biggest city of New Jersey. Newark rised high, it then fell and now its beginning to born again. Yes, the streets are troubled but do I feel unsafe no I feel welcomed by the staff – where at first they call me “Mr Lamb…” and by the end of the meeting – 2 hours later – we are singing “There’s no business like show business…” The piano sat alone in a studio surrounded by mirrors were music is the heart of the education programs that happen to increase the arts in the community. By nurturing the arts they potentially could find the next Whitney Houston, Frank Sinatra, Beyoncé or Dionne Warwick. The middle of Newark is a community. Is it a tourist attraction – not a chance. No one comes here. I was out of place as I strolled about looking like a double glazing sales man. Even the police officer who I asked for directions from queried my intentions – for my safety.


I haven’t wanted to help a venue as much as I do with Newark Symphony Hall. They need the global arts community to see the potential. It will change this city when the doors are revolving constantly. I promise that Broadway is missing an absolute treat by not coming to the community and performing on a stage with more history than any other stage. Musicians, artists and comedians need to bash heads together and get a new audience to come and explore the majestic class of Newark…

Check it out: