Choose the gig date below to see the reviews:
21/3/00 The Wellington
1/4/00 The Fox And Hounds
22/4/00 The Balloon
23/4/00 The Fox And Duck
30/4/00 The Woughton Centre
8/7/00 The Mulberry Bush
13/7/00 The Oasis Bar
29/7/00 The Butchers Arms
11/8/00 The Cornerhouse
21/10/00 The Mulberry Bush
22/10/00 George and Dragon
22/10/00 The Woughton Centre
12/11/00 Fleur De Lis
17/11/00 Zak's Bar, Milton Keynes
19/11/00 Arena Tavern, Letchworth
26/11/00 Watts Arms, Hanslope
19/01/01 The Cornerhouse, Bedford
27/01/01 The Mulberry Bush, Kempston
21/3/00 The Wellington, Kempston
Well, here we are again, at The Wellington, and what joy it is to be back! We actually all turned up on time, and immediately moved a couple of disgruntled punters out of their seat. OK, that's the audience gone. Now time to set up. Marks got his new Marshall VS100 amp, which is far smaller than his previous head and speaker set, and actually gave us room to move about. Sound check was good, with a fine sound coming from the band! Marks' Marshall makes the world of difference, and I've started to play with a lot more bass, rather than the trebley sound I used to use. So, checks finished with, 8.20pm, and time to just sit and wonder whether anyone will turn up! Darren says he's just going out for 10 mins. He does this everytime! Some odd ritual he has! Polar explorers, anyone? Anyway, maybe he's missing Roy, since he doesn't return until 5 mins before we start!
So, plug in, and turn on. Face the crowd and ready to go! Great. There goes another couple of people! Maybe we'll get the hint one day and not actually bother turning up! Anyway, we said we'd use this gig as a warm up for next weeks one, since Macs only played with us during practice, and not in a live arena!!
As we said to Mac…Welcome to the world that is Spare Parts live!! My wife, Marks girlfriend and couple of friends. Hmmm, we did predict that the band may actually outnumber the crowd, and we weren't far from the truth!!!
The whole set went OK. As I've said in previous reviews, it does make a difference to the drive you put in if you have a crowd enjoying the music, so this gig was a little cold. But even so, the noise our little entourage was making, probably gave the impression that the place was packed!
Now time to score the cock-ups!! Mac "New Boy", well, as a drummer, you can only really hear mistakes if he overruns in breaks in songs, which there were a couple, so on the cock-up scale, probably a lowly 2/10. Mark "listen to my new jangly sound for Living On An Island", to be honest, didn't hear any! But we can't believe that, so I'll give him a 2/10 also!! Darren "The Oracle", the odd blooper, and a mighty big brain block during DWMT, where the solo just vanished! Score: 3/10. Any finally me. As ever, leading the way! Since I'm playing, I know what I was doing wrong, so am more aware of the little errors, and there were quite a few! As well as several major mishaps, especially during WYP, where the song structure just vanished! Score: 6/10. Wooden spoon and beatings from the band for me!!
And so onto The Fox and Hounds. Oooo scrary!!!!
1/4/00 The Fox And Hounds, Stony Stratford
As ever, what can you say? This has to be one of the best gigs we've played. What a contrast it is to play to a packed place, where everyone actually wants to hear the music you are playing! While its great to get any gig (well almost!) it feels a bit like a West Ham fan would when you mention Man. U, when you start playing to …er…not many punters! Bearing in mind we don't have any reputation (good or bad) at this pub, where no-one has ever heard of us. So to set up and be applauded for the sound check, all bodes well for the gig!
I was doing my builders impression, no, not the arse thing, (well, couldn't see, so maybe I was?), but lots of bricking! It felt like my first gig last year, very nervous. Probably due to the reputation the pub has, of having good quality bands, and being of bluesy, country type stuff. Hmmm, how well will we go down?!
As we sit and wait, the place just fills up! Not used to this! It was packed! The landlord reckoned on about 80 people squeezed in, I won't argue with that, since it sounds good!
Not much room for us to play,it must be said, with Mac squeezed into the skittle shelter! Being the pro. that he is, he wants to hear everything, so my bass amp is stuck down behind him. After the sound check, he says, shaking his head, that he can't hear a thing, apart from bass!! My amp must move! So a quick re-arrangement and all is better. Me , Mark and Darren all stand in a very tight line, with little room for movement, but so what?
9.00pm arrives, and we are away! Not sure if the crowd knows what's hit them! It probably sounds as though the 78 button's been hit instead of the 33! But sound is good, Darrens vocals are great, esp. with the new mic. And we all seem to be playing a blinder!
A special mention to Mac, since he played Friday night up in Scotland with the Bullfrogs (his other band), then caught a train back to be here tonight! Tired? We think so! But needs must!
Mac decides to take control of the set, after much deliberation from mine and Darrens camp. He's played here many times before, so knows the crowd, and decides to play some songs in a different order. Gerdundula popped up in the first set, completely putting me in the proverbial dogs do-do! My leads for the guitar are not set up, and stuffed out of the way behind mine and Marks amps. So the crowd wait patiently while I try to un ravel black leads, in the dark, behind amps, where I can't reach, with all our other leads in the way, and Marks wireless system hanging precariously off the back of his cab! Oh boy, what pressure!! Living On An Island also went well, with this time being the first time I think we all played it note perfect! Darren has at last a smile on his face, not the usual scowl of "cock that up one more time and you're out!".
People singing, raptuous applause and the first half ends.
The second set went along the same lines, but more people had now squeezed in. I was being battered by some women dancing on the end of the bar, with red wine going everywhere, but I didn't mind, since it was Marks pedal board on the floor getting wet! We had people (young and old) up on the seats at the back, and much more chorus singing and clapping during the songs!
And after it all ended, a quick encore of Bye Bye Johnny, to close up the night! Another word to Mac, (we'll blame him, since he is the drummer!) for the thrashing pace of several of the songs! Darren had to plug in his oxygen tank, and charge up his pacemaker after these!
Evening over, and many compliments, wrap up a great night. If only they could all be like these! Lets hope we get invited back!
Next gig is back in Bedford, at a pub we haven't played before, The Balloon. See anyone there? (AA)
22/4/00 The Balloon, Bedford
Quite looking forward to this one, since the landlord seemed to be keen to get us to play there. It was another one of those "you want us to play where?!" pubs. The pub itself was a reasonable size, but L-shaped, and we were placed right in the corner. Er…not much room! Setting up took a while, since the space was so limited, but as long as The Oracle has his room, he's happy! Which is fine by us, since he sweats buckets, and sprays everywhere. Oh, the sweat, that is!. Mark is quite content to get set up, and then bugger off to drink beer! Cheers matey! A few people are hanging around as we finish getting ready, and things are looking hopeful. That is until 9.00 approaches, when there (as usual) is the mass exodus! Great! I am also heard to comment "this is the last time I play Bedford!". But as we crank up, there is a sudden influx of people! Cor blimey guv! Even a mini bus turned up, and let out a handful of rabble! It actually turned into a pretty good night, I reckoned on a good 40 or 50 people hiding in the woodwork! The set went OK, but its quite worrying at times, when we can practice songs almost note perfect, but come the night, why does your memory suddenly go blank?! It was nowhere near our best performance, but still pretty good. We all had our cock-ups, with the highlight being Darren trying 2 or 3 times to start The Wanderererer, when the rest of us were starting The Way It Goes! The usual glance of "what are you lot playing, it should be like this!" was doing its rounds, but this time, we were correct! YES!!!! A bit of crowd singing, and a dancing was thrown in as well, to round off another good evening. (AA)
23/4/00 The Fox And Duck, Wootton
Half asleep, we all pile into the pub during the early afternoon. Amazingly, Dave the landlord has already prepared the room, ready for us. And it seems like a palace, compared to last night! Space! We take our time setting up, since we'd said we play a 2 hr set (basically 'cos we only know 2 hours worth of songs!), even though Dave had initially wanted us to do a 3hr slot. But as it turned out, we were "persuaded" to carry on and do 2 and three quarter hours anyway! It seems odd playing during the, everything is so bright, and very little atmosphere. Most people weren't that interested, with the 2nd bar next door, and the outside seats, full. Surprisingly, we actually played better today, than last night! We also had one of our youngest fans making an appearance, all of about 1 years old! A couple of other kids were seen to walk through the bar area, with hands clamped firmly over their ears! Trying to tell us something? Anyway, onto the second half, and as we get set up, a lady with baby sits down right next to us. Question: how long will she last for? Answer: about 2 seconds, as she jumps up and burns out of the bar, as we start into Can't Get Enough. Second half was better, simply because of the good old British weather! Its raining! So all the young lads have to take shelter in the bar, and are forced to listen to us!!! And going from one extreme to another, we had the oldest lady in the pub dancing away, all of about 80! And as she told us later, "I really enjoy music"!! We call it a night (or afternoon), but landlord Dave is having none of it! "Don't you DARE put those guitars down!" he growls over at us. OK, so we do another couple, repeating them from earlier. That's definitely it, now, Darrens throat is hurting, and he has a blister on his playing fingers. But wait! Dave suddenly appears, with a beer mug half full of a whip around from the other bar! And to be honest, there looks to be a lot of money in there! Maybe we weren't that unappreciated after all! So how can you refuse, especially when Mark The Salesman jumps in and straight away says yes! So a further 2 songs, with Mark even adding some vocals to RAOTW, rounds up another gig. Phew! We turn off, and look round at Mac, to see him already, bent over his stool (no not that kind), and counting the money pot! He didn't waste any time!! It was a long hard slog, but cheers to Darren and Mac, who have the hardest jobs in the band. So, next up is the big one, at The Woughton Centre. See you there? Oh, go on. (AA)
30/4/00 The Woughton Centre, Milton Keynes
If someone last year had said that we'd be playing on a large professional stage to an enthusiastic crowd, through a 5Kw PA, we'd have replied : and pigs might fly!
Hey look! A joint of bacon orbiting Planet Earth!
We came, we saw and we conquered! Apart from "ice-cool" Mac, I think it was fair to say that the rest of us were nearly … how can I put this politely… touching cloth! Boy was I nervous! Biggest gig of our lives and being recorded for a live CD as well!
Eventually got there, and went in. It was bigger than I remembered it. PA system was being set up, as well as the mics for the amps. What a great change to have people doing things for you! All we had to do, was put the amps up and plug in. Wonder how much to hire some roadies? If its anything more than 3p, then the band coffers won't stretch! After set up, we all sound checked individually, to get levels correct both for the PA and for the recording going on behind the scenes. Darren and Mark fiddled as usual, getting great sounds, while I was much the same as usual, play a few notes, yes that's OK, and finish! The sound check sound excellent, and we all had monitors running on the stage so we could actually hear what was going on elsewhere! Macs kit developed a rattle, but couldn't track it down, but the sound engineer reckoned that his sound was very good anyway!
So, we then sit and wait. Not many people here, so we were told to wait until 1.15pm to start. Come about 1.00, and suddenly people just appeared, who knows where from. The bar? Very probably! Anyway, we crank up, and set off! Comments later that we were very loud were had, but to be honest, on stage, behind the main PA speakers, it didn't seem to me to be any louder than when we played in a pub. Apparently not so out front! We get applauded after each song, and get people joining in. The first set finishes with Roadhouse Blues, minus the normal jig, but with a friend of Macs, Andy Powell of his other band The Memphis Plates, playing the harmonica. What a great sound, and brings the first set to a close. The second half goes much the same way, but we also have some people dancing down at the front and at the back! Darrens doing a great job of being compare as well, and persuades the powers to be to let us do an extra number at the end of the set. Well, you know, the crowd was baying for it!
What an afternoon! Cheers to Mac for getting us the gig, knowing the right people in the right places does help! I think we all enjoyed it immensely, so much so, that we just want to do this now! If only! Apparently the lady who was running the show, commented that usually, after the bands start playing, a fair number of people go back to the bar, but for us, she said the bar was unusually quiet! We managed to keep most people entertained! We had a lot of compliments after, which are always nice, but no offers of "come and play here". Pity. But!! Stop press!! Hold your horse Tonto! Great galloping horny rhinos, Batman! We do get a repeat gig back at The Woughton Centre! Hoorah! So, we will be back, at the end of October, and can't wait!
Apparently, the recording went really well, and we will try and get the CD sorted very soon. So, get your coppers (of the money kind) at the ready and order your copy now! They'll cost about a fiver, which will allow us to cover our costs etc.. They should have about 70mins of music packed on, so we will have to loose a few songs, but you'll get the best instead!
If anyone who is reading this was there, please put some comments onto the guestbook, since it is rather empty! If it doesn't work, email me instead, and I can always include your comments on the web site elsewhere! And if anyone has any suggestions of pubs that we could try and play, let me know.
That's enough for now. Next gig is in July. See you there. (AA)
8/7/00 The Mulberry Bush, Kempston
Sat. 8th July: The Mulberry Bush
A gig at last! Never been here before, so no idea what it was going to be like. But rest assured, just like the many others!
Nice raised stage area at one end of the room, even if it does face a wall, and not the pub! Anyway, we stuck "Fingers Woodhall" on the end, so everyone could see him, while I was behind one of the PA speakers!
Special mention (yet again) to Mac The Stick, who but a few hours previous had bashed through a set with the Bullfrogs (or was it Memphis Plates?) at a festival over in Milky Spleens. Ta very much, 'cos without his effort, we would be drawing lottery tickets to see who would be playing the dustbin lids.
Lets mention Mark, shall we, since we always do! Sound check. Is this not a time, when aspiring young bands play before a gig, to make sure that the band sounds good? Hmm, thought so. So, we plod through a song, Mark wonders off and says, "yep, great sound! I like it!". We try another, and I decide to go for a walk, to see what it sounds like in this pub. Equal sound?! I think not! Mark was about twice as loud as Darrens playing! No wonder he liked it! So we ask, politely of course, to turn down a little. He duely obliges, buy about 1/1000th db! So while he wonders of for a fag and a pint, young Fingers and myself, crank his sound pot down! A little stiff, since the only way is up, apparently!
Anyway, it came, and it went. Peacefully and uneventful. Shame. At least the landlord appeared to like it. Seems he's keen to get us back on a more popular night. It appears Saturday night is "test the band" night, to see which one's float and which one's flush. I think we floated, to return once again!
13/7/00 The Oasis Bar, Milton Keynes
We're all looking forward to this one! Mac The Stick got a call recently, about doing an evening here. Well…how could we refuse?
We all turn up, and find the organiser running around, complaining about our support not being here on time. Yes! Support! Big time here we come! Anyway, they eventually turn up, happy looking bunch, trailing a stack of wires and a computer. Hmmm…us and them? Oil and water? They get set up, and we notice the lack of bassist and singer. But it seems their moody looking Gallagher brother type is taking on the responsibility of singing, while the computer does the rest. They get going, with synth music and bass lines broadcasting over the PA, while drummer keeps a steady beat and guitarist, well, strums. We of course clapped politely, since no one else was! Anyway, they finish, and are ushered off.
Not before, Mark "The Human Chimney" has his amp up on stage and ready to go! How does he do it?! Amp out, effects out….oi! other band….OUT!
We calm him down, he has another fag, and let the blokes clear up. Now we can get going.
A bit about the bar. Big place, next to the Point cinema complex, with the potential to hold a lot of people. And we get to use the same PA as at the Woughton Centre, which means VOLUME!!!
We get set up, with me, Fingers and The Stick lagging far behind The Chimney. If he could run as fast as he sets up, he'd racing ol' Linford (but without the lucheon meat!). The whole evening is running late, so we don't get a sound check, and rely on Mike the sound bloke, to do the mixing and get the levels right during the first song.
So, we ramp up the volume, and start. Cor blimey guv! It's a bit loud! But it sounds sooo good! We are playing a shortened set, and are asked to go straight through for the 75 mins. It seems like we are racing, probably the adrenalin, but by the end it is all timed well. With a few encouraging shouts, we get to do an encore, before we are finally shut down. The support band (still can't remember their name) are still here surprisingly, carefully watching and staring at Darren. New parfum tonight?
It all went well, it was well appreciated and a handfull of people jigging up front. Not quite as good as Woughton, but certainly better than most of the pubs we play in! Let's have some more!!
29/7/00 The Butchers Arms, Bishops Itchington
Oh dear. Nuff said.
I ring up during the week to check on the place. Ask for Pete, the guy that booked us only to find he's not there anymore. Speak to the new landlord, who confirms we are still booked. He asks what type of music we play, and when I explain, I hear this long sigh and a "hmmmmmmmmm". Well that bodes well!
We turn up, eventually, after asking where it was.
Local pub for local people?
Mac arrives, followed by Mark and Darren. Darren has reluctantly accepted a lift from his good pal, but by his body language when they pulled up, he was wishing he hadn't! The place itself isn't too bad, access by a resemble corridor, into a quite big room, with lights for the band. They have done this before!
And isn't it nice to have the place sorted for you! We are late, so was expecting the playing area to be clear, but no! A nice family were just tucking into their evening meal, in a nice quiet country pub. And then in we come, we a stack load of equipment, while the landlord is busy trying to clear tables and chairs! They eventually get the hint, and move their table to the other end of the room, along with booting the young lads off of the pool table and moving that out of the way.
A clear bit of ground, and The Chimney has staked it! Its mine!! He's heard to shout madly, while rolling his eyes and foaming at the corners of his mouth. He lights up, and the symptons subside. The landlord gets a foot control for the lights, and we find ourselves with another toy to play with.
9pm arrives, and….only a few punters, of which 3 are family (wife, M+D). Oh what fun! We make a start, and immediately things aren't going well. This sets the tone for the rest on the night, as we all crash and bash our way through a usually successful set. We put in 2 new songs, Pictures of Matchstick Men, and Sweet Home Chicago. SHC was OK, but POMM lost its rear end! We all came back in after a break, but our skinsman decided no! OK, we'll end here then!
The second set finds us playing to, wait a second……about 10 people! Comments have been heard from the other bar (which is packed!), saying where is the disco! Great! Oh well, time to play with the toy. Lets press this button…oh dear..blackout! Frantic stamping of size 10's leads to lights coming back, but flashing madly in a different combination. After a few songs, we eventually got the hang of it. Verse had the static lights, then into a solo or bridge and hit the effects switch! One problem though. Can't quite co-ordinate my foot and fingers very well!
Right, times up, no-encore (don't remember though!) and start to pack up. Quickly. We found a handly chippy across the road which sold very good chips! Best bit of the night really. Got our cash, said our goodbyes, and departed.
Don't think we'll be asked back there!
And Darren's still got the trip back with Mark! Poor bloke!
Next up is the Cornerhouse in Bedford, where we have tended to enjoy the place and have gone down pretty well. Looking forward to this one!
11/8/00 The Cornerhouse, Bedford
Always seem to look forward to coming here, not least 'cos its our last gig for a little while. The skinbasher was already here, unloading with enthusiasm. But, as usual, where were the terrible twins? But with Starsky and Hutch style tyre squealing, the Rhythmic Guitar Slinger announces his arrival. The Chuckle Brothers' mentor then arrives; the Parts are back.
Nice place to play, apart from the pool table taking up about a third of the playing area. It's a bit of a squeeze getting everything in but we've been in smaller, so can't complain. Mac's setting up, while Marks pedal board is straight down in the middle again. No hanging about here.
Sound check was OK, but a little longer than usual while Mark tries to make himself heard on Matchstick Men. That's another 2 minutes gone!
It was a little disappointing to see so few people there to start with, but as we got into it, quite a few more came in from the streets (shouts of free booze were completely false). One or two mistakes on my behalf, but then that is expected, and wouldn't be a Parts gig without them! As the songs came and went, the crowd seemed to be getting into it more and more. By the end, we had the place pretty full and people cheering and getting behind us. Felt good! Mark was by now semi paraletic and not doing us any favours by forgetting the songs and cocking his rhythm, but then we all have bad nights, so only a light beating afterwards!
And a face from the past, Mr Burns…er sorry….Roy the previous drummer came down. He didn't stay long, must have had some "other" business to deal with, as usual!! Hope you enjoyed it mate!
Right, that's it, 'cos no-one wants to book us, until The Woughton Centre in October. See someone then? (AA)
21/10/00 The Mullberry Bush, Kempston
The first of a six gig stretch 'till the end of the year. The last time we were here, it was ok, but not exactly, how can we put it, crowded? And once again, we turn up, and there were three people in the bar. 2 of those were the owners of the pub, and the third was just asking directions. Well, he was bought a pint and politely asked to stay on (!).
Anyway, everything was set up, by which time, surprise surprise, there were actually a lot of people in the pub. Not used to this! Well, we sound checked, and Mark decided that Darren wasn't loud enough and just stopped playing. Darren didn't, and launched into his solo, with us standing and watching. He eventually got the message, and wound up, looking puzzled. Mark let him know, he turned up, while I sneaked him down a notch or two on his amp! He does like playing loud!
The whole night went pretty well, and I think we all seemed to enjoy it. It was a novelty to see a lot of people, and for them to stay!! The whole lot went down very well, and hopefully the glaring errors were not noticed! Me and Darren hit a few bum notes, but its part and parcel of playing live, while Mark just seemed to forget some bits! As in Summer of 69, where he seemed to be playing the bridge during the choruses! And Proud Mary had, how can we put it, an interesting start! Darren finished his quiet intro, and Mac is meant to count 4 and we all come crunching in. The count was missing, we all looked at each other, waiting, when he just launched into the song! OK, lets all start as well. Hmmm rough. Overall though, very good!
22/10/00 The George and Dragon, Bedford
Right, next one. Never been here before, but Darren + Tony (read Mark) have played here many years ago. So, turn up at the agreed time, and as usual, where's the rest? Oh, Tony is here but no drummer or singer. Hmmm. Introduce ourselves to the barstaff, who plead ignorance to our playing here today. Great. So where do we go, assuming we are playing here? Oh… over there will do. Over there meaning a little bay window, with no room to swing the proverbial cat. Maybe a mouse. But then that sounds stupid. As does most of this ! Anyway, they move the settled punters and we start to unload.
This is when the "Curse Of Spare Parts" (COSP) hits. The steady stream of leavers increases. The once thriving Sunday afternoon pub is now more like a deserted Hollywood Western set. You may laugh, but I swear we saw several tumbleweeds roll past!
After half an hour, Darren and Mac eventually arrive. Darrens face says it all again. You're joking! Play there?
So, we set up, with me playing the part of Mr Clumsy, tripping over everything and knocking things down. Took us ages, since there was zero room. Eventually got there though, and had a two minute sound check, and then launched into the set. There goes another handful of people. COSP.
But to be honest, it was pretty good. A few people stayed on and seemed to enjoy it, as we stomped through the set. At half time, we wandered down to the Fleur (where we are playing in a few weeks time) to see what was going on there. Oh dear. It was full! But it seems the Fleur is the pub to go to for Sunday music, so it was not surprising to see more people in there. (yes,yes, any excuse!). Well, we crack on, and complete the second half, to wrap up a pretty enjoyable weekend.
So, next gig is Woofton. We are all looking forward it…
29/10/00 The Woughton Centre, MK
Sun 29th Oct.: The Woughton Centre, Milton Keynes
Cor blimey, guv., another big stage! We can get lost in here, if we're not careful!
Right, review time. Wet and windy, and the weather to. Strangely, the centre feels smaller this time around, but still looking forward to it though! Tell you what though, time really belts past. Over an hour and three quarters to set up our equipment, stage, and the PA equipment, and then sound check, left only about 15 mins before we went on. Mac seems happier with a larger drum kit, he bought and refurbished for SP. Apparently he wasn't too happy at having to play his other kit a fair bit harder to be heard over the rest of us! Well, mainly Mark, he seems to enjoy things loud!
Anyway, the time arrives, and we get ready for the start. Mark and Darren have a special intro of Nelly The Hefalant to play. But unfortunately there were no lighting operators for our set, so we couldn't even dim the lights for the start. Maybe next time!
Then we are off. There certainly seemed to be more people here than last time, which was good to see! And why is it that on "standard" numbers your mind just sometimes goes blank? I was convinced the 2nd number was The Wanderer, while the rest of the band played the correct one, which was ROLD! I was nearly sacked on the spot!! Hmmm….
The rest of the first half went well, and we round off with Sweet Home Chicago. Half number 2 kicked off with Juniors Wailin, and all was going great guns, until Darrens blunder of capo-ing the wrong fret for Gerdundula! For once it was not either me or Mark!! Miracles do sometimes happen!! As more numbers went by, more people got up and danced the afternoon away. Good to see this, since it makes up for the hecklers over to one side of the hall. As Darren said, "if you don't like it, you know where the door is". Seemed to quieten them down a bit, but not for too long! Oh well, you take the good with the bad. We rounded off another set with Bye Bye Johnny, which went well apart from Darrens guitar packing up half way through it. More was called for, but without the rhythm and lead Mr Woodhall, we politely declined. Don't know what it was, just one of those things, that 5 mins later, everything was working well again!
I enjoyed it, and it was good to see so many others enjoying it as well.
Must say thanks to several people: Mike for doing the PA and sound again, luvvly jubbly, and Macs mates (Dougie and Co.) who set up a lot of recording equipment to record the set again. Cheers! (AA)
BELOW: pictures of the Woughton gig...
12/11/00: Fleur De Lis, Bedford
Looking forward to this one, since the last time we played here, last year, it went down very well. But, early afternoon, the phone rings. It's the band figurehead, the infamous Mr Woodhall. Well, his "missus", Miss Ledger actually. Just to report that they may be a little late, 'cos they are returning from a '60's weekend at Butlins in Bognor Regis. Lots of floods but very little roads! Apparently you can't drive a submarine very fast down the M25.
With 3 of us there, we set about getting the gear in place. The landlord, who turns out to be a pretty good bloke, tells us that he has started to shut the door to the loos, to give the bands more room and to stop people knocking into the playing bands. Because of this, we decide to mount Darren…err rephrase that…set Darren up by the door, giving him a fair bit of room to perform. The landlord was even apologetic about getting a small crowd, since a pretty popular local band were playing in the pub opposite! Well we plodded on, with Darren turning up not too late, in an area the size of the proverbial matchbox. For some reason, Mark had decided to bring along the worlds largest golf ball. After removal from his kit bag, and subsequent inspection, it was found not to be the innards of a golf ball, but his vast collection of leads in "one-hell-of-a-" tangle. How did he manage to get them like this!!?
OK, set up and ready to rock! The usual SP sound check of a few bars of this, and a few bars of that, and we are ready. I'd sneaked my Zoom effects into the equation, with a bit of effect for POMM. Haven't tested it, so lets see how it goes.
And we're off…. Well, Mark and Darren are, starting Caroline…waiting for Mac to come in…..to come in…..come on!….aaaaat last…..and now we are ALL off!! Its hot in here, but all the better for it! And surprisingly, the COSP hasn't happened tonight! There is actually a lot of punters still staying and enjoying the set! We've put the medley of LOAI/Break the Rules/Something 'Bout You Baby/Don't Waste My Time back in, but with zero practice! In fact it very well, and we'll keep it for now. A storming rendition of Roadhouse brings the first set to a halt, and time to ring out the shirts! Second half went well to, with the bass flanger working wanders with POMM, the whole song sounded much better than all the other times we've played it! Mark and Darren did a duet on Living Doll, and probably got the biggest applause of the night!!
In fact the whole gig was very good. Thoroughly enjoyed it! The only real down side was the fact that many people didn't get the fact that the door to the loos was shut for a reason. They were constantly being redirected round the outside by the landlord (cheers for your efforts), but there is always a handful of prats that insist on doing it their way. So much so that one tit staggered past Darren, tripped over the the mike stand sending into Darrens' marf then smacked into his guitar just for good measure. No apology. Arse. Next time, a couple of bear traps strategically placed should help deter him!
OK, that's it. Next couple are at Zak's in Wolverton, Milton Keynes, then Arena Tavern in Letchworth. (AA)
17/11/00 Zak's Bar, Milton Keynes
Mac got us this gig a while ago, probably through playing here with his other band, The Bullfrogs. It's a bar with a decent reputation for music, with many well known bands having played here. So, we were looking forward to this gig, and maybe with a good crowd. So, all was arranged to get here at 8.30, and to start playing at 10.00. Well, I arrive, to find Mark has just turned up. Bearing in mind we live a fair way off, with Darren and Mac living in Milton Keynes (not together, I hasten to add!!), where were they? Darren then eventually turned up at 8.45, and we all had a drink, to calm the nerves (although how a diet Coke does that, who knows?!). Mac, where are you? Only an hour to go before we are due to start, so Mark tells the barperson who we are, and we promptly get a bollocking! Were have you been? What are you doing in this bar? You should have been here along time ago! We open the doors in a few minutes. You should have been set up and sound checked by now! Another couple of minutes and we would have cancelled the gig.
Jesus! Got out of bed the wrong side and landed on something unpleasent?! The bloke even started to have a go at our ladies! A bit out of order. The short of it was we were told half eight, not seven-ish. Oh well, on with the show. Everything was rushed out of the cars, and hurriedly set up. It was the quickest we have probably ever set in! Mac had been in earlier to set his kit up, so no worries there. He usually takes an eternity to put his scaffolding up. If he was employed as a scaffolder, he would not be getting much work! He eventually comes in, with stories of woe. His car had broken down, but had luckily enough got a ride over here. Not sure where he had abandoned it, but with so many dumped cars, lets hope it was there the next day, and not pinched, trashed, burned out or crushed!
We were using the house PA, so the sound man got everything set up. After everything was set, it was 9.45. Er where were the paying hoards? Oh hallo! Here comes….5 people. Great. Landlord says don't start till 10.30, to get some more people in. At 10.30, he then says start at 10.45. I think he is a little hopefull! So at 10.45, Mark cranks up and launches into Caroline (the song that is), to a paying audience of…now let me count…. About 10!
Oh well, lets just enjoy ourselves. Er Mac…you coming in or what?….yeeeees… and we are off!
The stage is very small. Nice place though, done up very well. My mike is off to one side, with Marks pedals just below it, so making singing pretty awkward. We then progress into ROLD, with me hitting the wrong note to start with. How many times will I do this?! Anyway, the set went pretty well, yes there were some bum notes, but so what? My amp started to intermittently cut out. I suspect it was the wireless system, must sort it out. We rap up the first half, and take a break. A hand full of people have now wandered in, and they all seem to be enjoying it.
The second half goes much the same way, with a thrashing version of Proud Mary! We haven't played it that fast since last year when Roy (previous drummer) must have just had a shot of something, to make his slippered feet a bit of blur! Gerdundula came and went, with me cocking up one solo, and I think Darren cocking up the second! We do a small encore, and wrap the night up. Job done. Hot, sweaty, and good fun, shame there wasn't more people here though. Quo style stuff just doesn't seem to light many peoples' fires anymore. Shame.
So, not a bad gig, maybe 7/10. Will we be back? If the door takings is anything to go by, then no! We'll have to see, though! (AA)
19/11/00, Arena Tavern, Letchworth
Arrived in Letchworth on time, to the cries of "Huh? Where do I go?" With more luck than judgement, I stumbled on the one way system which seemed to be the town centre. Right. Many pubs, and many shops, but no Arena Tavern. After 2 trips round the one way system, I pulled out behind that boy Walsh. He had no idea where the pub was either! So round the one way system again, down a no entry road, through the paved town centre with no entry to vehicles, and, yes you guessed it, round the one way system again! This time we hit Mac and Darren, who finally led the way to the Tavern, which was about 3 feet away from where we had originally parked!
Nice place though, long and thin and very woody. We are stuffed right at the end, next to a rather warm fire! Hmmm. Mac's going to be hot tonight! Maybe it'll help with the arthritis!
Right, on with the show. Set up, crank up shut up. First half is underway, and all goes reasonably well. Big cock-up in Wanderer from yours truly, but this is countered by the rest of the band in other songs! Darren on the spur of the moment, announces he will do the first verse of In My Chair on his own. So…we all look at each other wandering when to come in….and we all three seem to drift in when we feel like it! Arrrr… the art of rehearsal! Sure that sounded good!! As ever, Roadhouse finishes the set, with Darren prolonging the agony, since he thought we had only played about 45mins, when we'd actually been on for about hour. A few appreciative people around, but at least COSP hadn't hit! Oh yes, and Mark "The Stud" Walsh pulled, much to the annoyance of his girlfriend! A young lady came and watched for a few minutes, then got up and casually placed a piece of paper into his pocket. A map! With address! What does this lad have? What is he wearing? "Horn"? "Stud Jooce"? or is the Grecian 2000 actually working at last, knocking years off of his appearance?
Second half was started, with The Mentor and Stud disappearing out through the fire escape and trotting round to the front of the Tavern. During this time, Studs' wireless system telepathically linked to Beelzebub FM, 'cos the kind of noises coming through his amp we simply not of this Earth! Then, bursting through the front door (which wasn't green), they cranked into Caroline and we hammered our way through half no. 2. Another hour later, we wind up, and pack up.
We must say though, how good it was to be in a friendly pub. So often you turn up to disinterested pubs, where it is more of a chore to accommodate you and even more to be polite. This time, we were welcomed by some very pleasant barstaff, chatted to and bought a drink. It would certainly be good to play here again, cheers! Score? Hmmm, a reasonable 7.5/10.
26/11/00, The Watts Arms, Hanslope
Excellent way to end the year! This was probably the surprise gig of 2000 for us. To be honest, we weren't expecting a great deal from here, after the opening round was anything to go by. Mac The Stick turned up one practise a while ago, to say he had provisionally got us gig! Well done that man! He had spoken to a landlord who was going to come and see us at the Woughton Centre gig, to confirm. Unfortunately he didn't turn up, so we thought nothing else of it and assumed another gig gone by the wayside. Then by pure co-incidence, The Mentor happens across The Watts Arms web site, and yours truly are booked to play on the 26th! A little confused, we worry that there is another band of the same name! Surely not?! Well, a quick call to the Stick, reveals that the landlord isn't a mate of Mac's, as originally believed, but some one who he had met in his music shop! So, on the phone to Griff at the Watts Arms to see whats going on. Luckily, the gig is an evening one, which gives me enough time to get back from a weekend break, and onto the pub. The Mentor is also a little shagged, having just completed the annual booze-crooze with working buddy Fletch! And The Sturd is simply shagged!
Right, we're on for the gig! Next thing is finding the place! Finally get there, and to our…lack of surprise, all the faces in the bar are people we know! Oh well, here we go again! But we were to be proved wrong! YES!!! It was one of those rare gems that turns out to be better than expected! During our time setting up, the place gradually filled up, and surprise, surprise (Oi! Cilla! NO!!!), no one was seen to leave.
Shall I repeat that? No one was seen to leave!
Sound checked, adjusted, re checked, all seems fine, but rather quiet. But then you have to adjust for the surroundings, and this place needed a more subtle approach. Does it sound like I know what I'm talking about? No? Didn't think so.
Right, clattered into Caroline to start the evening off. Check the door… no it hadn't opened to see people leave. Wow! Rattle through, and when I come to join in with the chorus, arrrggghhhh… I can hear myself!! The first time really, since the mike I use is an old one and pretty crap. But compliments from the wife who says hearing someone else back The Mentor up sounded much better than usual. So, on through the first half, with something we're just not used to….applause!!! Yes, real, unadulterated applause!! And not from our own rent-a-crowd! Someone actually likes us….
Second half continues in much the same vein, but now with more people coming in! Its hot in here, but we're loving every minute of it! Come the end, and we wrap up with Bye Bye Johnny. But wait….an encore is called for! We look at each other in confusion….whats an encore? Wasn't it something bands play to appreciative crowds? Well we haven't had one of those for so long, it takes a while to re-adjust! So, Rockin All Over The World is had, and everyone did actually join in! We finish off, and turn off, but there is so much commotion, that we plug back in, and rattle off Battleship Chains and Lets Work Together, to round off an excellent evening.
Griff the landlord enjoyed it so much that we actually got a handfull of bookings for next year! So, we will be back, as Arnie almost said!
19/01/01 The Cornerhouse, Bedford
19th Jan 2001: The Cornerhouse, Bedford
2 month break, and the Parts are back! The start of a packed 2001, sees us start off at The Cornerhouse, which is turning out to be quite a local hot spot for us! As ever, nothing is ready for us, but then we have to work for our living! Pool table gets moved, table and chairs are shifted and the lights are hauled out of the way. Not that it upset the locals, since there were only 3 people at the bar! The Stick sorted out some lights with controller, and it seems I have been given the unenviable task of being in control! To see how this kind of thing went last time we came across lights, see the review for Bishops Itchington last year! Lets say, not very well!
Last time we were here, it was a bit tight, so we set up with PA and mics set well forward, giving us more room, and anyone watching … less! The Maestro turns up, with tales of woe, about stringing guitars and broken strings, along with proof, with puncture marks and cuts. We are all very sympathetic, of course, by getting on with setting up! We then notice that The Sturd is growing a 2nd face! Oh no! One's bad enough, but 2?! A large swelling is growing, and no, not that, from the bottom of his cheek. Unconvinced, The Maestro reckons he is eating something, but after much prodding, and now further swelling, it is real. But as long as it doesn't hinder his playing, why worry!
All set up, and ready to go. We crank up for a sound check, and it sounds good. Time to wait, and play with the lights. And no, I haven't broken them yet!
9.00 arrives, and time to go. A sizeable gathering has arrived, and during the set more people file in. Its getting packed in here, and is hot, just how we like it! We had a shuffle around with the set, and now start with Softer Ride. Not the easiest to get going with, but certainly wakes a few people up! Changed a few settings on the bass/amp, and it is now pounding! We all sounded good tonight, good sound, and pretty much together, which is a little surprising, since we haven't played in anger for 2 months. 2 relaxed practice sessions, and we are pretty much on the ball again! 55 mins later and we wrap up the first half.
The 2nd half gets going, which holds a little surprise for the regulars. As The Maestro says, a little song about sewing now gets an airing, Darn Darn. The ending was a little ropey, but it still got the biggest cheer of the night! Another 55 mins later, and Caroline brings the show to a close. Darren looks completely knackered, Macs' got sunburn from the lights, my hair is lightly singed and Mark now has a third ear on his cheek!
Great reception, thanks to anyone who was there, and we look forward to be back here soon. End of March, actually. Hope it will as good then! (AA)
27/01/01 The Mulberry Bush, Kempston
Hmmm..Mulberry Bush. Last time we played here, was a very enjoyable night. Loads of people, and singing. But dropping of some posters this time, showed the ways of things to come. Gone is the stage area, and wide room, and say hallo to "De Udder End Of De Pub". Oh dear. What seems to have happened is the owners have decided that the staging area takes up too much room and the pool table down the other end was too cramped. So whats it to be then? Bands or pool players? OK, take the stage away and move the pool table there instead, and stuff the bands down the other end. So…we now play in an area little wider than me and The Maestro standing side by side! Nowhere for the PA to go either, means one of the stands sits right infront of me and The Sturd. Oh well!
Once everything is set up, soundcheck reveals an odd sound to the band tonight. The bass is thundering as usual, but the guitars seem very directional, maybe something to do with the long thin bar we are playing into? Can't hear Darrens rhythm at all, but the lead is OK, and he says the same thing about Mark and me.
And talking of Mark, he appears with yet another guitar! Several pounds lighter (and we are talking money here, not the Michelin Tyre Syndrome, 'cos if he lost any more weight, he'd be thinner than the fags he constantly tries to kill himself with!) he now is the proud owner of an Epiphone SG! If it is anywhere near as good as the Les Paul Jr. he sold to Darren, it should be pretty good!
Anyway, the gig? Hmmm…a mixed bag. Not on top form tonight, but still pretty good. The odd howler thrown in for good measure sees us grind through the first half. The second half starts with a new one for us, Whatever You Want. Only had only practice at this sees us chucking it into the set. Not bad, but I'm not sure Argos would want to use our version for their adverts over Quos'! Down Down was still there, and we played it perfectly during practice, but come the live event, and The Stick again decides to end it early! For a laugh, well for The Sturd really, we plonk in Run Around Sue, which I have no idea how to play! "Follow me!" he shouts! I duely do, but since he plays the odd wrong chord, I do to! The tone is now dropping! But all is not lost, for we save the day with the ol' classics RAOTW and Caroline, to wrap it up. Not allowed any more, 'cos the landlady, she say NO!
Well, that wraps up another one. Big one next, over at The Red Lion in Stevenage. Lets hope we get Darn Darn right this time, since it one of the landlords favourites, apparently!!! (AA)