So, last night, we played our first gig in Second Life...
The night started off with a number of bad omens: the gig was brought forwards a few hours, which in retrospect (given the sort of time it started thinning out) was absolutely the right thing to do, but meant that I was less prepared than I'd intended to be. In SL (hark at me, abbreviating already, as if we wuz old chums), you have a basic repertoire of animations and objects/props can be obtained freely or cheaply, but like the real world, if you want to entertain, you need to buy some kit and, in this case, some moves, too.
Jason had picked me up a mic which, when worn, animates your character as if singing, and via a little shopping, social networking and friend-making earlier in the week, we had picked up guitars, mic stands and a few "ooh, toughguy" type poses. We ran around for a bit, grabbing a few more things we needed. In the end, though, I was able to do quite reasonably out of a few guitar moves, a singing move and a sort of aloof arms-crossed sulky pose.
The next MAJOR issue was that we couldn't get in. The teleport system was fucking up and the club was so popular that people were no longer able to enter that zone of space (the 'sim'), as it was literally at its user-capacity. Back in real life, too, Adam was discovering that the PC he was going to use this evening didn't like Second Life, so we were going to be a two-man affair.
Eventually, though, things calmed a tad, we all got into the room, I checked the stream was ready and we began the set.
I had a second PC running the sound stream - this consisted of a mic of my own, with an echo-effect on it (to sound like a club mic), a skype conversation with jason's laptop, so he could talk to me, winamp to play the album tracks, and the shoutcast plugin to upload this all to our recently-primed shoutcast server (kindly organised by the Fair and Bounteous Bob at Line Out Records).
The 'gig' took the form of me and jase talking a bit between tracks (more in a radio DJ format than anything), dropping in appropriate ads/URLs and information about the albums and the songs, then playing music from the album on winamp. While the music played, we animated our characters, walking around, using a few effects, rocking out with our little animations, walking and flying around. We were on fire! Banging out tune after tune! No, I mean, we were actually on fire. The club owners had set up a stage for us and made an animated background with images from our website and the album next to their own Club Wraith theme.
In the chat bits, we dropped in stuff that was happening in the club while we'd been playing, gave a few shouts and namechecks to people we knew and me and Jase basically being a kind of comedy double-act. Lots of fun.
People seemed quite genuinely enthralled to have some aspect of live-ness to the audio stream and both the club-staff and the punters seemed to have a great time, dancing, messing about, using their own audio and visual effects
Moments missed on 'camera' include Jason turning into a fucking enormous zebra for a few minutes, some guy with a fantastic wolf avatar on the dancefloor (and later, joining us on the stage with his own guitar) and, after we made a gag about transformers in one of the chat-bits, the same guy breaking out a fantastic Optimus Prime avatar. Grim worked the room giving out free DeathBoy T-shirts for us, and completely freaking me out during the costume competition by turning himself into an enormous tentacled plant, occasionally shouting "FEED ME".
Quite apart from the genuine fun this turned out to be, we realised afterwards: hey, we just played to in-the-region-of 50-100 different people (there was maybe 30 on average at any time with folks coming and going all night), who enjoyed the music, were actually sat in front of a browser, so they could look for more if they liked it, and seemed genuinely appreciative.
That's better than half the goth gigs we play, and we don't have to spend hours on the motorway!
In future, we've got plans to create objects that will stream tracks (or perhaps whole albums), more T-shirts, and the possibility of a live streamcast where we actually play the tracks.
This all seemed like a very daft, geeky idea at the time, but realising how many extra people we had the chance to expose to the music, and the enthusiasm of the response, we're definitely going to do it again.