So, the start of a new year, and a quick look at the gigs page will see a distinct lack of shows until March. Why? Well, hopefully and with all the best intentions, we can get some new songs sorted for this year. So, we break cover to do this one off charity gig, with little time together since our last gig just before Christmas.
How did we get involved with this? Well, its all about who you know, and Macs’ business partner in their shop was organising this event. I guess over a few orange juices and a handful of cancer sticks, Mac managed to persuade him to include us on the list. However it happened, it is nice to be asked to participate in something good, that will raise money for a severely disabled young girl. As time went by, little info. was forthcoming, and we started to get decidedly worried when we were asked to bring along our lights. Hmmm…a large community centre and stage, and they want our 4 flashing lights? This is going to be interesting! Maybe bring our own torches to?? Anyway, the bands were eventually sorted, chosen to give a variety of music: ourselves for the heavier Quo rock; a Hank Marvin tribute; Last Resort, a guitar-y pop kind of thing covers band; and Java, a covers band doing many decades of music.
We agreed to go on first, and with no other information, assumed that we would get there, get set up, sound check the PA and do our 45 mins set. Then swap equipment with the next band and continue like this. This approach would give us all about equal billing and time. Oh no. We were wrong. I got there finally, to be greeted by Darren and Mark just standing about, with all their gear piled infront of the stage. And no, it wasn’t being raffled! So my kit joined the queue, and we just waited. And waited…. Big place and reasonable sized stage. But not any more! Blimey, how much stuff does a band need? This was obviously not an equal billing gig, more a Java one, with the rest of us supporting. Half an hour later, and we were still waiting, eyeing up the row of mics and music stands, piles of wires everywhere, and various amps. OK, so where are we, and the other band, expected to get set up? Another 15mins later, finally sees them finish their sound checking, and we are politely asked to get our stuff set up. We find a small piece of unadulterated stage floor to drop my amp and Darrens AC30, while Mark puts his ontop of some elses. We literally were on there for 2 mins, before the bloke doing the PA asks Darren if we are ready to sound check??!! We just laughed shook our heads and continued to set up. It’s about now that Darren asks which mics we are using. Oh no, you can’t use them, they are ours, comes the reply, didn’t you bring your own? Luckily he had bought one, but we weren’t told to bring anything! So he then asks which stand to use….you guessed it! We eventually get one stand that has the right fitting for the Shure mic, which means that I’m left without any. (Bonus!!). I check if we are being DI’ed or mic’ed up, but no, just play out. Yes!! time to ramp up the volume! So Don’t Waste My Time is given the once over as our sound check song. Darren finds himself miming to half the song, before the PA man finally turns the mic on. Time for the solo, and half way through, we are told to stop and let the next band on. So that’s about 10mins total time before we are ushered off the stage!! Pseudeo-Hank does his stuff, followed by Last Resort with another 10mins. We have no idea how we sound out front, it could be awful for all we know! During the sound checks, we see someone jump onstage and pick up Darrens guitar which had fallen to the floor. Nice to see others on stage respecting our kit!
Time for the music to start. Java do a semi acoustic intro number, dedicated to the young girl for whom this has been organised, then we are on! We clamber up and before we do anything, find we have to start to clear the stage of mic and music stands, which have been left in the playing area! Finally get to my bass, to find another load of wires wrapping it up. OK, carefully does it, try and unravel it while maintaining some degree of professionalism! Sound bloke walks by and says the mic is on, so we go straight into Caroline. Then my worst nightmare happens! The lights go out and I can’t see where I’m playing on the fretboard! I freely admit I’m a “by-sight” player, and need to see where I’m playing, and the only lights we have are the 2 sets of 4 stage lamps flashing away at the back of the stage. So careful turning around allows me to catch some light, and play reasonably trouble free! Darren then jumps to the mic and starts singing…..no wait….miming again! The bloody mic is infact NOT on!! Sound guy twiddles some knobs, and half way through the 2nd verse, finally gets Darrens vocals back. By this time, we just look at each other, and , well, a shake of the head says it all! Anyway, we rock through the set, with the occasional sound problem, my bass cutting in and out as I stamp on my lead, Darrens’ guitar also cutting out, as I also stamp on his leads, and Marks radio system tuning into Beelzebub 66.6FM again! We finish on Rockin All Over The World, (accomanied by Javas’ keyboard player, who did the intro spot on…cheers for that!), with some guests up and dancing, which is pretty good this early on in the proceedings.
With time moving on, we make way for Hank Marvin. He does about 25mins I think, and is an excellent guitar player. He used the same lights as us, and with this format, it is quite obvious the lights aren’t good enough, basically all you see is a silouhette. This is changed as Last Resort come on, with the main stage lights turned back on. At least you can now see them! They did another 45 mins, good, pop-rock covers, REM and that kind of thing. Went down well, with more people now up and dancing. They then leave, and we have some other stuff, prize draws etc, before Java hit the stage. Immediately the sound quality is right there, loud clear and punchy. Drums sound great, obviously now they are mic’ed up to! Clearly you can tell where the time they allowed themselves to set up went! As they are headlining, we see them do nearly an hour and a half before they finally draw the evening to a close. Excellent musicians and singers, they were really very good, not all to my taste in music, but still can’t deny how good they were, even had a cover of Kylies “Can’t Get You Out Of My Heeed”.
So finally we get to start taking the kit down, and as I get up onto the stage, I say well played to the guitarist. He is an excellent player, almost as good as our own Mr Woodhall!!! I get a half hearted “oh, thanks” back. OK, I won’t bother complimenting you next time! So with that, we hump our gear out of the way, say our goodbyes to the usual friends that come along to see us, and disappear. I hope the people who payed for the evening enjoyed the musical variety, all the performers were very good and the evening seemed to be a success. I guess it just would have been nice had the 3 other bands been allowed time to set up and sound check properly, rather than been given 10 mins! But I presume the evening raised several thousand pounds for the charity, so the winner is the young girl, who can only benefit from the generosity of the people who attended. Thanks.(AA)
First ‘real’ gig of the year, sees us return to our ol’ favourite The Cornerhouse. Expectations were not high, a change in management means that all advertisement seems to have been pulled, so crowds have seriously dropped. Darren has managed to get some posters in, which, surprise surprise, the pub have actually put up, even on the street! I get there and as ever, 5 people are standing around…. oh…..4 actually, one of them is the landlady! I tell her we’re here and can we move the pool table, just as a couple start a new game. OK, we’ll just have to wait. Darren pulls up, followed by Mark, and we stand….and stand…..and stand a bit more…finally they finish! We turn round to go out, when we hear the pool balls drop again! They obviously aren’t letting their entertainment get in the way of a band setting up!
10 mins later, we finally get the table moved, unload and get set up. Mac eventually saunters in, dumps a drum or two, I hear one of the other two say do you want a hand?, turn around and see all of us carry on setting up! Well, he does have a bad shoulder, and could do with loosening it up!
We have a sound check, and all is not well over in the The Meastros’ court. He’s had the urge to fiddle of late, and decided to play with his valves in his ‘60s AC30. The verdict? Well none were replaced (no spares) so he put them back, but not necessarily in the same sockets. Apparently the amp has lost some of its grunt and tone. Oh well, he’ll just have to turn up!! Darren also decides to play with Mark, so grabs a mic and shoves in his rear. No, not that rear, the back of his amp. So we now have the vocals, Macs bass drum and Mark all running through the PA. It’s a small pub, but they’ll certainly get a good sound tonight!!
9.00pm approaches, and we get to work. No practices at all (Macs shoulder cancelled this weeks one!) means we are a little nervous (OK, I am!). We get going with Caroline, and BLIMEY GUV! we played pretty dammed well! Only about 15 people line the bar, a bit dissapointing, but expected. Caroline hears us shake out a few cobwebs, but the rest of the set was very very good! I had the odd problem with the lights, trying to use them by sound rather than foot power, means ever now and then they change program and decide to go into strobe effect overdrive!!! By the time the first half draws to a close, I count a good 30-35 people in here now, pretty good apparently for recent gigs.
We take a break, for 15mins, then rock through the 2nd half. Rik from Rubberneck joins us again for some harmonica during Roadhouse, before we rattle to a close. Good applause from the crowd (thanks for the support) and shouts for more, but we did a long set tonight, so at about 11.10, we shut down. Must say though, don’t know what Mac The Stick was doing tonight, but he sounded excellent! A new bass drum, and new skins may have helped, but he seemed to be a bit more aggressive, and it really showed! Long may it continue!! Well played to all of us, for actually pulling this one out of the bag!
Highlights of the set? The thrash version of 4500x, the solo just got quicker and quicker , and the start of the 2nd half where Darren upped Marks feed in the PA, but went a few dB to high and the pub quakes to the rhythm of Walsh! (AA)
Well the first full gig of the year, and the first set of problems!!
We’d set aside January and February to work on a new set, but as things prevailed a series of illnesses got the better of us. Firstly Mark came down with a particularly bad chest infection, that meant he was on steroids for a bit. Then my back gave out again!! Followed by Mac having back and shoulder problems!
So we were very close to having to cancel this gig, but decided to give it our best shot. I arrived shortly after Andrew to be greeted by the sight of a couple engaged in a particularly poor quality game of pool. After completing yet another game they finally moved on to allow us to set the gear up. Now the Cornerhouse has changed a bit since we last played there, Michael the old landlord has moved to pastures new. So the brewery have rented the pub out to an agency until they can find a suitable tenant to run the place. The upshot of this is that the large green ads that once appeared in the local papers have disappeared and so have the punters!! With this in mind we weren’t expecting too much of the night.
We finally get set up with Mac arriving at around 8.00pm, and have a bit of a sound check. Instantly I have a problem with my amp, it’s much to quiet!! Seems that the valves are on the way out. Anyway we quickly run through a view numbers and decide that the sound ain’t gonna get any better!!
Onto the gig, we start at the usual 9.00pm with a few punters in the pub, we decide to kick things off with Caroline. Have to say it sounded pretty damn good, better than it has for a while. As the set progresses the pub fills up reasonably well, by the end of the first half we have quite a decent audience. The set seemed to go well, with excellent versions of “All over” and “Proud Mary”. By the second half we’re really into it, everyone is relaxed. Rik from Rubberneck joins us on stage for Roadhouse Blues adding some excellent harmonica, and even Gerdundula is played well! We seem quite tight, maybe because we’re concentrating so much.
Well what can I say? I reckon the whole band deserves a pat on the back for this one, Mac had one of he’s best gig with us, he was sooooooo loud!! Mark just rocked!! Andrew didn’t put a foot wrong all night!! The punters seemed to enjoy it, and apparently it was one of the best crowds for a few months. A Relayer score of about 3.5 for the crowd me thinks, where were you Rob!!(DW) br>
New pub tonight. Frog + Rhubarb. It looks a real nice place, although in such a small village I did wonder if there would be anyone actually turning up. Fear not though, it was actually a busy pub, more of a restaurant where we were setting up! But James, the bloke running the place, has it set up well, a good area for bands, raised wooden stage, power (the number of pubs we go to that have about 1 socket for the whole band to use!!) and even some coloured spots! Credit to the bar staff to, the music in the background was turned off as soon as we tried to play, back on when we weren’t, the lights were on and off at the right time to! Again, the number of places where we have been playing, end a song, and you hear something like Westlife coming through the jukebox! Its not us, honestly!! Or every single light in the pub is left on, you feel like you’re playing in the mid day sun!!
We’re almost set up, when Mac The Stick decides to turn up. We are all finally ready to sound check, at about 20 to nine, when all the lights go out, the jukebox is turned off….. I think they thought we were going to start! Nope! Just checking in our usual way. 2 mins later we retire back to the bar.
9.00 sees us crack on. Mac has done a drone effect for the intro to Caroline, and must say, made a whole lot of difference. Sounded very good, leading into Mark with a cracking intro to Caroline! Darren has just fitted new valves into his Vox, and the crunch is back! Although Mark was very loud, and I couldn’t really hear Darren. I don’t normally condone Darren turning up (he is normally bloody loud anyway!), but this was one time when I did! And the sound from the bass was storming tonight. The wooden floor really makes a tremendous difference!
All in all a very good set. Maybe not quite as tight as last week (others may, and probably will, differ!) but still sounding great and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. COSP struck near the beginning of the set, but a good crowd stayed, and appreciation was shown (applause in other words) all the way through. At the end, we wrap up with RAOTW, and turn off, but quite a few shouts for one more, eventually persuaded Darren to don his axe and relive his Rossi moments again. Living Doll is given an airing, quickly followed by a rendition of the ol’ classic Bye Bye Johnny, which hasn’t seen the light of day for a long time. 11.10, and we finally turn off. All in all a very good evening, enjoyed playing here, and we are back in July I think. (AA)
Another new place for us, The Melting Pot in Bedford. This has been gaining in reputation over the last year, with many of the top local bands gaining regular spots. So it is with much accolade that our very own Mark talked (many may say bluffed!) his way into the landlady (Liz) giving us a gig. Having just re-read that last sentence, make sure you finish it! First hurdle came several weeks ago, when we find the place had double booked. Mark swaggers in, and gets them to give us the nod over the other band. Well, they had played there before, so it is only fair!!
It’s a miserable evening, wet and drizzling, as I make my first pass of the pub. To my amazement, I spy Macs car already parked up out front, which makes me miss the parking and have to drive around the block again! Just as I pull over for the second time, Darren pulls up to, which later, we decide, counts as a same-time-arrival, for the League Table. Mark pulls up 30 secs later, but … to late!… he is the Last To Arrive today!
We head into the pub to survey where we will be playing. It is a very smart pub, but long and thin, which means (in time old tradition), the bands play down the side in a very limited space. The end would have been great, apart from the ususal problem of the loos! Half a dozen people sit by the bar, but we are told that if/when the place gets busy, it isn’t normally until about 9. So off we go, unload all the gear, and then look at the tiny wooden stage (about 2 inches off the ground). How the hell are going to get all this on there??? Me and Mark decided to go tall again, and used good ol’ Duck Tape to hold the stack together! Macs kit basically cut the stage in half, so there was me and Mark huddled together on one side, with Darren on the other. In the end, we managed it though, and swaggered through the sound check. Sound was actually pretty good, the wooden stage area reverberating to sound of the bass! Both Mac and Mark wanted to be mic’ed up again, giving Mac that extra bit of punch. I turn the PA speaker down the pub, and duly get told not to do that, ‘cos they need to hear the punters ordering their drinks! Darren has bought along a small amp to act as a monitor, but resting it against the light rig, makes the lights slide over the polished wooden floor! So out comes the magic Duck Tape again…. Is there no end to its uses!!!
So we settle down to a 20 min wait. 9.00pm arrives and not a lot of people in here! We know that a very popular Irish band that don’t do many gigs is also playing tonight, literally a hundred yards down the road, so we suspect that many of the punters that would normally be gracing the charms of this place, are probably down there (that’s our excuse anyway!). So 9.15 arrives, and we start up. Only probably about 25 see us get going. It was hot, me and The Maestro sweated as normal, while the 2 aliens are found not to a sweat gland between the two of them! In a few songs, we get some loud booming feedback, layed firmly at my door… I know not why!….scapegoat anyone??….. but lst time we had this it was Macs bass drum mic. Anyway, problem sorted (Darren twiddling his knobs again), and we finish the first half. Much applause from the assembled crowd, means we are enjoying this one!! A few more people wander in during the break, and the total head count I reckon is about 40. We do the 2nd half, Darrens says thanks, and starts to de-robe, shouts for more, and he re-robes and we do 2 more.
It all seems to have gone down very well, and we pass the acid test, ‘cos Liz-The-Landlady gives us 2 more gigs straight away! We start to pack up, and when we get to Marks mic in the back of his amp, we notice the reason why he sounded quiet through the PA…..he hadn’t turned the mic on!! Well, you live and learn, so next time he’ll have to learn how to flick that switch!
So, overall a very good gig, hardly a bum note all night long and sounding pretty good! Everyone seemed to enjoy it, and we even had a owners of another pub come over to see how we were. After tonights performance, they have booked us immediately for next Sunday, and judging by their eagerness, we may get a handfull more there to! Looking forward to getting back here, and hopefully our gig won’t clash anyone elses on the next booking!(AA)
Short notice this one, Mark got us this last week. His powers of persuasion are limitless! This is an afternoon gig, one of those 4ish til 7ish kind of things. The only unfortunate thing, is that Mac-The-Stick works until 4. But the landlady and landlord (Chris and Dave) are so keen on us, they don’t mind that we plan to start later. So I get there at 4, and drive round the block 3 times looking for parking and even somewhere to stop! I eventually stop in a public car park down the road and plod into the pub. This is a first. There is actually NO-ONE in the place! COSP strikes even BEFORE we arrive!!!! I stand around for a minute, before Chris-TL comes out and has a chat. There is parking, but not theirs, but then the dental practice is not showing any lights on on a Sunday afternoon so we can abandon the cars there!
Mark gets here, fresh from his Sunday roast (I have not had dinner, so tales of roast pork are going down a treat!), and we get to work setting up quickly. The Maestro pulls up, with his missus in tow, but unfortunately for Nicki, mine isn’t here! Oh well, maybe next time. (Next time? What next time??) We are virtually finished when Mac pulls in, and he gets work setting up in his usual speedy manner. If HG Wells’ Time Machine actually worked, I think he would have made a killing by selling these things to drummers….they could then set up within the same time frame as the rest of the band! Come half five, we finally do a quick sound check, then as tradition would have it, we stop and rest. Mark points out that we should be careful jumping around ‘cos the floor is old and wooden and flexes easily, as highlighted when we give it a go! The lighting rig starts swaying and the amp stack rocks backwards and forwards! Shalln’t be doing that then! There is probably only about 15 people in the bar, compounded by the fact that 2 of the most popular bands in Bedford are doing gigs round the corner!! Dave-TL is very helpful, almost waiting on us, taking things back and forth, even fixing Marks plug when he found he had no power to the pedal board. But at about 5.40 we finally get going. 55mins later, a few more punters have sneaked in, and we are enjoying ourselves. Now that it has got dark outside, the lights are making more of an impact and its looking good.
We get the second half over in much the same style (as if it ever changes!) and get pursuaded to carry on. Down The Dustpipe gets an airing, complete with harmonica from Darren. Dave-TL then has further words, and we return again, to crash through Mean Girl (haven’t played this in a long while – and it showed!!). Bye Bye Johnny completes the night, with me and Mark swapping instruments. During the 2nd half, Dave-TL brings out roast potatoes (I guess they are meant to be potato wedges, but the wedge shape was not quite there!!), cheese and nibbles, which kind of distracts us, with the smell of free food calling!! Greasy fingers are not good when playing the guitar!
But overall, what a great afternoon/evening. OK not a great number in the crowd, but then we weren’t expecting it and the applause etc from those here makes up for the lack of numbers. New place, other bands on round the corner etc., but we all enjoyed it oads. Chris and Dave are excellent hosts, the best we’ve dealt with, they just couldn’t do enough for us! What a stark contrast to a lot of places, where you are just a commodity – turn up, work, get paid and go. With these 2 at the helm, this place deserves to do well! Hopefully we will be back, and gain a regular Friday night slot, where the crowd is much more bulky. And maybe next time, we will get to have a go on the Drummer Trap Door – there is a floor door, right where the drummer sits! Now where is that handle……….? (Oi! There isn’t one for the bassist – I know, I’ve checked just in case!!)(AA)
Yet another new pub for us to play in. I get there about 7.30, only to find the rest of them there already. Wasn’t expecting that! A quick sortie inside shows that it is a quite big pub, with a small area for the band to play. And stuck right in the middle is a thick pillar to hold the roof up. Oh well, Mac The Stick is going to have an interesting evening tonight! We offered to hang a mirror on it for him, so he could admire himself playing, but he surprisingly declined.
The ceiling is very low, so the PA speakers and lights sit at head height, with the lights literally 6inches away from my face! But then the other side sees Darren next to the door leading to the gents, so no complaints really. Setting up took its time as usual, but tonight, Mac has “borrowed” a monitor from his shop, so Darren has another toy to play with. The sound check sees a group of people up and leave quite smartish. Too loud, obviously! During the rest of the time waiting for 9.00 there are quite a few more people coming into the place, but only a handful make it to our side of the bar. Still not sure how this is going to go.
Oh well, lets get going then. Darren is just back from a bout of flu and I’m heavy with hayfever, so this may not be one of our best ones! The Maestro gets going with The Drone, and rips into Caroline….while Mac completely forgets the beginning and starts to hit the drums randomly in the hope of pretending he knows what he’s doing! After that intro, things can only get better! And it does, with the set progressing more punters drift in, with a fair few perched infront of us, enjoying the set. The odd cock up by yours truly matches those of Mac, but hopefully they are hidden out of site of the locals! The lights are blazing hot, and the left half of my face is soon starting to melt, but Mark is unwilling to swap places….I wonder why?!!
We break for the obligatory 15 mins, enough time for us to see that the pub is now heaving. We get going into the 2nd half, which sees us do another 50mins. Something went missing during Summer of 69, not sure what, but it sounded a bit odd, but as ever, we’re used to it (!) and we crack on! Darren gets his organ out for Down The Dustpipe, and The Chuckle Bros get the song right…..see, we can learn something!! We call it night, something about having to stop at 11 on the dot, but shouts for “you gotta do Rockin All Over The World” gets Darren to crank up one more time. And we even get a response to the chorus to! At last, somewhere where the locals will sing along!! Well done you lot.
So another one draws to an end. Apparently some good compliments, with comments of we’ll definitely be back to see you again….yeah, heard them all before!! But you never know!! Also, this was one of the busiest nights the pub has ever had to, so we get paid the full whack (they must have been pleased!!) and offers of more gigs. This looks like it could become one of our regular haunts! All in all, a very good night (although I wish the extractor fans would work occasionally!) and look forward to the next gig here. (AA)
What a night! This gig turned out to be a crowd bonanza! Hen night parties obviously liked a bit of Quo to get them in the mood!
Right, back a couple of hours, sees me drifting through Towcester, thinking that a lot of the pubs along the high street look pretty good, but unfortunately, none hung the name of The White Bear. It was only as I was getting to the outskirts of the town, that a run down, what used to be white, pub comes into view. Hmmm. Parked up near the resident kebab caravan, I go over to the pub, and the landlord says wait 15mins, while the Man U match finishes, 'cos we'll be playing where the big screen is. A few punters are obviously fans, cheering on every touch. Now the question is, will they stay, and cheer on us just as much??
Looking around, we're advertised as a tribute band, which we deliberately try to avoid, but as we were booked through an agent we didn't have much choice this time. This prompted several people to ask if we'd played a pavillion type place near by, 'cos some people had seen a Quo tribute there a few years back and were very good. Er no mate….comes our reply! Not sure if they stayed!
Its actually quite a large pub, with a reasonable playing area, and we notice the hose clean rubber floor - perhaps for those more…..entertaining nights?? First (and only) problem comes when trying to find power points. Eventually, we force back some of the wall seats, to find 2 sockets. The one nearest me and Mark is OK, but Darrens' one is hanging off the wall, with the mains wire all that's preventing it from dropping onto the floor! But it still works, and that's all that matters for us! The pub is fitted out with a lot of its own lights, but we still set up ours. As it turns out, the landlord is a bit of a DJ, and the room is used as a function room, so at about 8.45 after our sound check, lights go out, disco lights come on, and he gets going with his DJ routine. When we start, he keeps the lights going, and it makes for a great atmosphere.
For me, the first half of the first half, wasn't great, I felt a bit out of sync with Mac, almost like we were playing different rhythms at times. I'll put it down to us not playing for 3 weeks. Quite a few little mistakes from me doesn't aid the confidence greatly, but that soon builds, as the about 30 crowd readily applaud every song. Its pointed out later that there must have been a few Quo fans there, 'cos they were singing along to most songs, air guitars flailing to! Then the hen party arrives, and the evening just takes off! The place is now packed, and they just go straight to the floor in front of us, and get straight into the boogying! It's a pity that we are just about to end the first half, but the landlord carries straight on into his DJ routine, and keeps the atmosphere boiling. During our break, the bride to be, comes up to me and says shes been set a task to get blokes pants! I point out that the wife is just behind her, and deflect her attention to The Maestro. He later tells her that she can't have his, 'cos hes not wearing any for tonight and she can check if she wants! Surprisingly, she declines, and doesn't speak to us for the rest of the night!!! A lot of the pub is now up and dancing, and still going strong when we are introduced for the second set. We get rocking again, and play through to nearly 11.30. The main air guitar guy, can't see us through the mass of partying people, and I soon spy him off to one side and standing on the comfy seats with an elevated view continuing his Quo-esque gyratings! We eventually call it a night, big applause, and several handshakes to confirm that we've gone down excellently tonight! We even had Russ and Buscuit up and dancing at one point, which I've never seen before!!
A quick thanks to our usual rent-a-crowd for coming along, Russ, Buscuit, Julie, Corrine, Mr+Mrs Bandit and Martin P. At the end there was probably a good 60+ packed in, with me and Darren dripping buckets, and even found Alien No.1 with a few beads of perspiration on his forehead!!! Wow!! Hopefull we'll be back, the landlord says he only really does bands once a month or so, and wanted us back around Christmas. Watch this space!! (AA)
What is it with Kettering? This had the potential for a good gig, apparently. Well, few came, few clapped (thanks to those who did) and a few left. I don't think they'll be ringing us, and we won't be ring them.
We thought a good sound, the punters obviously didn't, by staying away (as per usual!) First Friday night here, and we were hoping for a good crowd. Oh well. The set went pretty well, probably the best we've played for a little while, although the lack of practice still shows, with
even Mark saying that in some songs we didn't seem to gel. At least its not just me! Thanks to the people who did turn up and offer support, including Ben again, all the way from
Potters Bar! Even with not many in the pub, we oddly got alot of compliments, so we obviously pleased those that were there! We've got a few snaps, so I'll post them when I've got time to sort it out. (AA)
Its only been 2 weeks and already the memory fades! Reasonable sound, good all-round performance, reasonable pub crowd. Special guests included Mr Martin Parsons, Mr Ben, Mr Bill (Piledriver/Counterfeit Quo "roadie") and Mr Andy (Art Malik look-a-like).
Cheers for your support, it helps lift the atmosphere! Full marks for bravery to us, Claudie and Big Fat Mama crept into the set at the end, after only one evening of practice! What stars. (AA)
Another with a beeg potential. After scouting the premises (read pub) and being shown the floor area for the marquee in the car park, we decide that it is small enough not to hire a PA system. The Walsh boy and myself turn up on Monday afternoon, to be faced with a rather larger tent. Oh. We get taken inside to a see 10 men, 9 women 3 unknowns and a bunch of kids. Kids? At a beer festival??
An old geezer (60ish) is sorting the afternoon "disco" (snigger) with absolutley no-one paying him any attention. We ignored him to. Over the noise being blasted out of the rig, we ask about power points. All I make out is one in a corner next to where we are playing. We look around, and it looks like our PA is going to struggle. We'll let Darren worry about it though!
Anyway, eventually we all get in, and a shrug of shoulders says well its to late to worry about it now and get on setting the gear up. As we tune up and strike a few chords, apparently the "Old-Geezer" turns up his 80's disco tunes, to cover our noise.
A few squeals of feedback pass by, then we sit back and wait for a suitable time to sound check. When it arrives, the "Old Geezer" reluctantly gives ground and we get adjusting. Mark and Darren are cranked up, while I'm on full everything!! And still it could do with more. A quick sound check reveals an OK sound, it won't get much better so we turn off and leave it.
Now this is where it starts to get interesting! "Old Geezer" turns his fun disco beat machine back on, to the high pitched squealing of monstrous feedback! Now of course, the band gets the blame.
Oh no! says our Darren, its you!
Oh no its not me, you're a band, it must be you. Its your amps. Says "Old Geezer".
Look mate, replies Darren, we're turned off, it can't be us.
Its your amps, says "Old Geezer" forgetting he'd just said this.
Darren at this point wants to be Lewis, with the Old Geezer his Tyson. But he resists the primeval impulses, and just says to the bloke to come over to the amps with his microphone and see. He then explains that it is hisown fault for being too close to his own speakers!
And since this exchange of pleasentries, .... guess what.... no more feedback....and guess what.....no apology either!!!!
So the time comes.....and what a crowd! After being told "we had 500 people yesterday", we find they have 25 today. Well business as usual for us! We get going but this is but the start! 2nd song, Softer Ride, see the power go off. Stoney silence. Lots of looks at each other. Oh-oh. Its that power socket we were told to use, which just so happens to have one of those trips switches on it.
I sheepishly reset it, and we have power. So on we march. The Wanderer is OK, then into Backwater. And...no power again! This brings the landlord out, only to be told why are we using that socket, use the one over the other side, hidden behind the disco! So franctic re-wiring leads us to continue unimpaired! Polite applause from the few brings the first half to a close to a bemused audience, who have enjoyed a steady weekend of disco pop and soul covers.
During the break, I propose we change our name to Lead Balloon. Darren dashes off to collect his other half, from Milton Keynes, and he only has an hour to do it in! As it happens the next act over ran anyway, so his late return was covered! By this time, there is actually a reasonable gathering, I count about 130. We get into the 2nd half, and give a sterling performance, with a couple of encores before we hand back to the next DJ, a much more pleasent younger bloke.
So, overall? To be honest, didn't really live upto expectations, but still OK. Not sure if we were the right band for the job, but its what they wanted! Cheers again to Mr Ben the Potters Bar Man, who seems to do a lot of travel to see us. Cheers mate!! Onto Dunstubble next then...(AA)
Fresh from Englands win over Denmark (before their demise from the world cup) we descend onto The Wheatsheaf. Loads of tanked up punters eventually filled the pub.A couple of Quo message board regulars (CrapModem, TMK and Dom) were there, for their first taste of the Parts.Along with regulars Martin and Ben.
Not all was well, with PA trouble. Not really sorted through the night. The sound was pretty naff, but then what do you expect in a small pub?! A pretty good night, not the best from my playing point of view, but the crowd seemed to enjoy it, lots of cheering etc.. Perhaps the En-ger-land victory and a smidgeon of alcohol
helped?? Thanks to those that came and supported. Hope to see you again. (AA)
Sunday afternoon gig + Spare Parts + Cricketers = not too many in the bar! We get set up as per normal, wait for the crowds to flood in, as per normal, see none, as per normal, and start playing to maybe about 15, as per normal. The lights are completely ineffectual, since it is almost the longest day of the year, with bright sunshine. PA is working OK today. My mind is half empty, with many songs going for an early bath!
After we close the first half, we get told that I look funny mouthing along to the words! We then find out Darren forgot to turn up the volume to the PA speakers for my mic, so we could hear OK through the monitors, but no-one else could ! Bonus!!Second half much the same, with a few more people wandering in. Dave, the landlord (?) gets his guitar out during Roadhouse for a bit of air guitar, both in and outside of the pub! Various songs take a bashing, and we grind to a halt. Thats it, and we shut down. Its now that we get coerced into doing some more, especially Summer of 69, which gives us the
opportunity to play the thing again, but this time properly! 3 more songs later, and finally call it a night. At least we have finally released Mystery Song medley, Claudie and Big Fat Mama. Claudie went well, the medley was OK, with BFM trailing in a miserable third. I've said it before, but could really do with a band metro-gnome sometimes! "OK, play this one steady..." click, click, click and Macs away, with us in hot persuit! If only we could pull back on the reins occasionally, then some of the songs would sound so much better!
But with the adrenalin flowing, it can sometimes be difficult..... Well, 3 weeks off now, then straight back into it at Luton. Better get practicing again! (AA)
Holidays, illness and no practices, means, boy, we're soooooo looking forward to this one! Rusty? Us? Nowyou know why we changed the colour of the web site to the lurvly orange!! Rumours of "lets just go home" were completely...er...true, but
being the true professionals (?!) that we are, we persevere and start to unload. Slowly. At this point in time, no drummer. So, whats new? Well, nothing really, the usual setting, the normal half dozen
people littering the bar, and no sign of anyone else!
Still no drummer. What made this even better was that he rang Mark "I'm getting a V" to ask are we playing on Friday. This was the day before. And then confirmed the pub, but it was in fact, the wrong pub. So with this track
record, we are getting a bit nervous! Everything is up, and we're just tuning up, when we hear a screech and look who's turned up!! Yep, a drummer. So at last we're all here, and wait until he is sorted.
And mentioning the V, GO ON MARK......VEE!!!! VEE!!!! VEE!!!!
And onto the gig. It always seems to be the same, few people to start with, means, I for one, feel pretty underwhelmed about getting going. No adrenalin. So we plug in and get going. Or at least we try, Mac has the usual expression of "do I come in now?"!! Annnnnnnnnnddddd....we're all off at last!! Caroline is played really quite good! And we even get some applause, which lifts my spirits a bit, at least there are some
people listening! Surprisingly, the set went pretty well, maybe the break did us some good! Highlights.....
...smooth link from The Maestro introduces both the website and the song 4500x. Was that off the cuff, or had he been practicing???
...delicate intro to 4500x, leading into......silence.....Mac's forgotten what comes next, Darren just continues, Mark follows suit, I wander if we're going to try again, then carry on with the others, with Mac coming intothe song eventually!If it wasn't so bad, it would not have been funny!
...new songs: medley went very well, well done Mac on that one for getting the songs. Not well done for my constant miss timing and out of tune singing on Again Again!!
...new songs: Claudie went almost flawlessly. Makes a nice impact to change the tempo etc in the set.
...new songs: Big Fat Mama went OK, a bit quick, but again, well done Mac for being almost there, esp since he doesn't really know the song!
We finished late, which meant that the lights went off. Darkness reigned, which meant packing up was...er...interesting! As various people left, we got a fair few compliments,
which I wasn't expecting. Nice to see that we were appreciated, and at the end of the night, I think we enjoyed this one quite a bit!(AA)
Waited along time for this one. 2 and a half years to be exact! After our first conquering, and rave reviews from the punters, KenBloke didn't book us. It then took several pestering
phone calls to get us back into his diary....and this was this time last year!! So, I get there, KenBloke is friendly enough and I get unpacked. The rest eventually arrive and view the empty pub. Great.
Bank holiday Blues. As it transpires, we find out later that Ken wasn't really expecting anyone, since there were other "festivals" on, and all the regular muso's were supposedly down at those. Double great.
We are then convinced that we shouldn't use our lights, since Ken has just fitted some new spots, and thinks they are enough. So, out go the lights back to the car! Sound check sees us turn DOWN, 'cos it is quite small
and Ken doesn't want to annoy the locals. Lets just clarify the scene a little...this is a well known music place, where alot of very good bands play, but much more in the realm of country and bluesy kind of stuff. So loud rock band is not the
usual forte!! Soundcheck over, and Ken is happy with the noise...sorry... sound level, a few suggested adjustments and we are ready.
Shame the crowd isn't! Maybe eventually 30 ish, see us crank up and get going. A bit on the fast side, but yours truely had one the best gigs... almost a perfect performance!! Don't know what was happening, but hardly a wrong note played! Must have been ill!!!
Half time arrives, and sees Mac decide that we need the lights just before we start. So he gets me unload them and set them up...cheers for help you lot!!!...Mac buggered off and the others stand around watching! Mac has a word with Ken, and he reluctantly
turns off his prize and joy, and away we go into the next 55mins. The lights made a great deal of difference. As the others said, maybe for the quieter, less energetic bands the spots are OK, but it does add a bit of atmosphere to the procedings! Several encores are forthcoming, with Ken being co-erced by the
shouting and cheering crowd!
..Mark and his accident with the soap in the shower!!! Oooer....lets explain....apparently he reaches out for the shampoo only to grab hold of the bleaching bottle. Voila...he is now bright blond and white rather than black and grey!!! He is now the shiny beacon of the band, lighting our way in our never ending quest .... (whaaaaatttt????)
..Ken saying thanks thats enough at the end of the night, only to be shouted at that everyone wants more...so he lets us do another...
..and then more shouting, so another one....not sure if he was expecting this response!!!
..Ken's comment that he would like to congratulate the barstaff on quickly learning lip-reading (it wasn't really that loud, was it?!!)
Right, an enjoyable night, but not really a patch on the packed out previous time. Shame really. But promises of another return are heard to pass Kens lips, but we shall have to see....(AA)
This one was going to be interesting, with both us and RUBBERNECK playing here tonight. No-one seemed to be sure what was going on, apart from Rubberneck using our amps with Mac using Rubbernecks drums! So we get there, with no sign of the Rubberneck guys, and we start to set up. So we seem to be their roadies for the evening!!
As it goes, they eventually turn up, and things are sorted. Its getting late, and after a bit of fine tuning (whats that??) they take the ... floor, and rattle through half an hours worth of great covers. Its interesting to see our gear from a punters point of view! My amp seems quiet when stood near by, so much so, their bassist had to move away to hear it! Yet 20 feet away, where we were sitting,
the tables and chairs were shaking them selves to bits! Just shows how much the sound is projected!
A quick change over, and its our turn this time. Oh no...wait a bit...Macs not happy with a foreign kit...so 5 mins pass while he pushes and prods to get comfy. So, on we go with 30mins of Quo, all met with appreciation from a steadily growing crowd, gathered here to enjoy Chris (the landlady)'s birthday. The rest of the evening continues in the same manner, with the 2 bands swapping back and forth, doing a few songs each, with Buscuit and Rick helping out on several.
We crank up and do the last "official" song, good ol' Rockin All Over The World, with the Rubberneck also singing along, so the evening was bought to an end with the RubberParts/SpareNeck 7-piece band.
But wait!!! That wasn't all! Chris then starts with you can't stop now, do some more! So RubberParts continue, but with no drummer, into a 12-bar jam, with Buscuit again providing some vocals. So at around 12, with no-doubt deafened neighbours!!!, the plug is finally pulled.
Great evening, thoroughly enjoyed it, and would enjoy doing this kind of format again. The variety probably helped keep the punters interested, so you never know, we may do this again!! (AA)
The one we'd all been looking forward to. Sept. 14th had arrived!
Sat. morning sees me having a look at the map for the best way to get there. Infact, it sees me having a look for the first time. Mac and Darren were saying about going straight through the great capital city, so I tentatively have a look…..err……no way! I get lost in my driveway (that implies I'm crap at directions, not that I have a large driveway!!), so traversing London on my own without a clue seems…somewhat stupid! So the long way round it is. Now that's decided, it's onto how the hell to pack the car! As it turns out, its lucky the wife isn't coming since there's no room for her! Finally get going, and the nerves are building.
2 hours and 110miles later I actually…(repeat) …I actually find the place, the first time, and without a wrong turn!!!! Well bugger me! No idea how, sheer luck! So, trundle past, no parking…..find a street close by, free parking and a free space! So wander off to the place, and drift upstairs…..and surprise surprise…no-one else is there! Oh wait, TMK is already hid round the corner, up on stage, fiddling with his organ. And what a whopper it is to! So quick introductions, and time to bring the car round the front to unload. All sorted in 5mins, so back to the free parking…..oh no….no spaces! So wander off up the street, nothing on offer, and end up in a housing estate about a half mile away! Bloody typical!
Over the next half hour or so, Mark and his entourage arrive (Julie, Russ/Jo, Chris/Dave), Steve and Janet (organisers) a few others who I didn't catch names of and Mac! Yep, Mac wasn't last! Which leads us…….to tales of woe from the Maestro himself. Getting lost in London is not pleasant, since it took well over an hour and many….many….phone calls to get bearings and unravel the maze of roads. He and Nicki eventually arrive, and he sets to setting up in record time! In fact, he almost overtook Mac! Anyway, lets stand back and have a look at the stage. Hmmm….probably designed for midgets or for duos, since five people and all their gear did not fit very well! Large room and tiny stage, someone didn't do their calculations right! OK, tight squeeze, but we made it, and have a bash at the sound check. A bit of fiddling, and the sound is good out in the room, TMK is playing great, vocals are well up in the mix and both D+M are sounding good. But back on the stage and things are not quite so rosy! Seems my bass is JUST TOO LOUD!!!!. So, off goes the extension cab I was using, and down a notch or two. A little better, but still grumbles, esp. from the drummers quarters of "I can't hear ANYTHING apart from YOU!!" So, frank exchange of views….we either tune the sound to be OK out in the room and crap up here, or vice versa. So obviously we choose the former, which means we hear bugger all up on stage. The stage itself seemed to act as a speaker, which made it worse up there. Mac didn't need to play half the time, his drums seemed to be playing themselves!!!!
As more people turn up, we start to hear something frightening. Guitars practising from the room below! Warm ups? Pre-gig practice? What on earth are they?! Ohhh dear…..sounds good…..
So, come 8ish, after some rather good rockin toons from DJ Stevo, we are treated to Status Crap and The Crap Boys. Now lets be honest…..bloody good they were to!!! Virtually no time to be together, yet still come up with some good music and surprisingly together! Its during this, that we see Mac fiddling with the PA, not sure why, but kind of screws up the monitors for the rest of the gig! Anyway, it all ends to quick and its time for us to make noise! Oh yes….at the start of the Craps, Janet announces there is a buffet at the back of the room…..the rest of what she said was drowned out with the stampede as half the room surges to the rear! Very nice it was to…thanks to whoever helped prepare it!
Then its onto us. Smoke machine made a reappearance….this time I bought a fan to help spread the smoke, instead of it moving across the room in a cloud like something out of Scooby Doo! The only thing was, the only space for the smoker and the fan meant that the smoke flooded back towards Mac!!!!! He he he …. Now you have a vague idea what us no-smokers feel like!!!! First half went OK, couldn't hear Darren or TMK at all though, but Darren reckons he played a blinder (that's TMK, by the way). Couldn't hear any vocals either….just shows how much we have come to reply on using the monitors! Darren tries to turn them up for the 2nd half, but still couldn't hear anything. Oh well. Even more out of tune singing than usual then!!!!! Great crowd, those that were up and dancing, air guitars flailing too! Loads of sweat from me and The Meastro, but once again, the 2 aliens remaining a picture of calm and dryness. They wouldn't be able to get a job advertising Sure , would they!!!!
Gig over, and lots of packing up ensues, and finally get off home. Its now that you start thinking…maybe I should have stayed over! Get around to the M11, when signs say closed! Bollocks! So follow the diversion signs, for what seems like ages, all the time the wall of sleep ever descending! Christ knows where I went, but added 20mins to the journey through rural back roads and behind bloody 40 ton lorries! WHY can't they go faster?!?!?! Arrrrggggghh!!! Eventually get home at about 3ish, and subsequently don't even wake up until 2 the next afternoon!
Right,some round ups.
(i) big thanks to Steve/Janet for organising it, and allowing us to play. We are not a tribute band, and I said we don't use the "T" word, so thanks to TMK for coining us a Ribute band instead!
(ii) TMK….what can I say? Great enthusiasm…and apparently great playing (remember, I couldn't hear him at all!) But Darren must have been well impressed, he has suggested that he can join us whenever he feels like it at any other gigs! So we become a 4-5 piece band! Not sure how we're going to squeeze him into some of the pubs though….!
(iii) Gaffa….cheers mate. Great T-shirt you had. Nice interview…(see below)…and we now see why you're called Gaffa. Do you EVER leave that tape alone?!!! Ta for the photos to.
(iv) Mr Parsons….didn't need his glass eye tonight, since he only used one eye the whole evening to do the videoing! Cheers for making the effort, and for videoing. Next time we'll bring the boot polish for the centuries old trick around the eyepiece!!
(v) Seconds before we go on, Gaffa and Martin say "Join us in the spare room for a little chat"….oo errr….. it turns out they want to do an "interview", but the dorr is locked. So, quick look around and the nearest room is the mens loos! So in we squeeze. Must have looked odd to anyone passing….Martin videoing the gents from the door…..!!!! Marks first inclination was for a leak, Martin tried to capture him on film, but even the zoom couldn't help!!!!! (Sorry mate, had to be said!)
(vi) Little kid (JimQuo's ?) just didn't stop dancing all night long!! What do you feed him???
Well, I think that's enough, there's bound to be stuff I've missed out, maybe someone else will give some more details. So, great evening, thoroughly enjoyed it and well done to TMK and his friendly Crap Band. Till next time (?) (AA)
We were not really looking forward to this one, not for the usual reasons, but because the Daddy of the Bedford music, Sid Worth, had died earlier
in the week. Rumours of other bands having cancelled during the week as a mark of respect surfaced. But, in all honesty, this guy was loved and respected by everyone that knew him, and also by people that didn't.
He was one of those guys that nothing was too much trouble. He'd lived and breathed music all his life, and it took us little time to come to the conclusion that
the last thing he'd have wanted was for music to grind to a halt because of him. If anything, he'd have insisted that bands continue to play. So we just get on with it,
and do the gig. Not a great crowd at all, but those that were there saw us do probably one of our best renditions. We played almost note perfect... it was uncanny!
So onto the other announcement. This was our first gig with the 5th Part, Colin "TMK" 'Arris, a smooth talking, fast living, multi talented instrument
player of the London breed. After muscleing his way into the band during the Greenwich do, Darren was duely impressed enough to ask this rising star to play his organ
in public with the rest of us. So this gig was his first, and an interesting job it was to, fitting such a large organ into such a small place. But it squeezed in, and the whole set sounded so much better,
with several songs further being bolstered by his keyboard breaks, harp playing and very good singing (I'm waiting for the instructions to SHUT UP, now that we actually have a 2nd member
who can ACTUALLY sing....its only a matter of time methinks.....).
So, a mixed emotion gig, which seemed to pass very well. Its just a terrible shame that Sid isn't around anymore to participate in Bedford's music anymore. (AA)
A new place to play, with a friend of mine having persuded the landlord to give us a go. I arrive late...(no excuse, apart from Razor performing in Robot Wars!!), to find The Oracle, Tufty (Cancer Twin No1 has had a haircut, leaving a tuft of blonde hair at the front) and Oi'Arris milling about in the unlit car park. Doesn't look good.
Further inspection reveals that it is of course, the England qualifier match, and the pub has a large TV sat right where the band plays. And not unsurprisingly, it won't be moved until the game is over (kerching....the sound of cash registers). So, undeterred, the group decide to shift some
gear in, which is a bad move, since the locals DO NOT like this, as we are walking infront of the TV to dump the stuff behind. Probably rightly, we leave half the stuff in the cars, and wait until the game is over.
Now anyone watching the game, will know that England were loosing until the 65th minute, so the atmosphere inside the pub was...erm....not great. Really not looking forward to being here if England lost!! Luckily (and seeing the goals, that just about sums it up), we won, so the
mood inside lifted. Phew!!!! But it was still an effort to get the rest of the stuff in, some of the "drinkers" were doing their best to be unhelpful! Landlord was good though, as soon as the game was over, in he dived, TV off, moved out of the way, cleared some tables and chairs, and let us get on with
setting up. Half 8 by now, so no way were we going to start at nine! So lots of setting up later, "Spagetti Juntion in Wire" in front of us, we have a go at a quick (i.e. 30s) sound check. Oh bollocks! The sound monitor was cutting power virtually straight away! Turn down.....does it again.....turn down again....does it again. Acoustic set anyone????
Then someone suggests that we use another set of plugs, hidden away behind a bit of furniture, so we duely make a quick change, and find we have everything running off of one plug now (but with the sound monitor bypassed!!)!!!
So on we start. A good crowd has stayed on after the footy, which is good to see, as well as friends of Oi'Arris and some friends of mine. For the first time, we do the whole set straight through, since we didn't start until about 9.25. And to be honest, I actually prefered it! Having a break, looses the adrenalin rush, and we all seem quite lethargic
getting going again. So we did 1hr 45mins, and finally calling it a night at 11.20. Rather ropey in places, POMM was truely awful, but overall not too bad. Oi'Arris did another Sterling job,
a great assest to the band. Thanks to everyone who came along, it makes a big difference having a receptive crowd. Enjoyed this one, apart from the rather too many bad notes! (AA)