Of course all this self-righteous jabbering about how I'm going to 'make more of an effort to get out to the smaller gigs as well as to the bigger ones this year' is all well and good- but actually doing it is another matter; you can't be in 2 places at once (I've tried it, you can't!) which means that if I'm out gigging I can't be out watching. This might be an obvious point to make but it's still an important one- I've lost count of the number of gigs that I'd like to have attended but couldn't because I was out with my guitar (ironically an upcoming 'casualty' is the Ruts evening in Shepherds Bush later this month- I'll be out with my Blues Brothers buddies rocking the good people of Weybridge that night). Still I've managed to do some watching-and-gigging this weekend which is a good start to things...
Talking of The Ruts, Friday it was back to Bar Sonic in Deptford to see drummer Dave Ruffy in The Duplicates. Myself and Mark Wyeth arrived just as they were starting 'Green Onions' and the place was packed; it was almost a relief when the interval came and half the audience went outside for a smoke. Esso and his mate Nigel arrived just as the second set started and immediately set about complaining about how crowded the venue was... still, the band sounded great and much merriment was had by all (except Esso of course) with the band's 'Hammond and rhythm jamboree' getting through to everyone by the end of the show (except Esso of course).
Mark offered the lads a lift home- I told them we were parked 'in the excellently-named Friendly Street'. 'I know where that is' said Nigel, 'I used to go out with a girl who lived down here. One of her mate's got mugged there.' As we walked to the car I remarked to Esso that that the car was opposite a pest control company called 'Speedkill'. Well, it's only a street name isn't it?
After a not-too-busy Saturday in the shop it was time for my first guitar gig of 2008, depping in The Pistols at the Nag's Head in High Wycombe. If I remember rightly the first time I played there was with The Price supporting Glen Matlock of all people- we played there a couple of times I think, and I did a few shows there in the late '90's with The Informers. It being a fairly local gig to me Big Andy came over, as did Stuart the guitar repair man and Pete from The Cane Toads; I always find it a bit odd when friends come to see me play, especially when I've spoken to them about the band that I'm playing for- you never know what they're going to think ('I thought you said they were a good band...').
After a quick load in (it was pouring down!) I got my first surprise of the evening- the venue was unrecognisable from my last visit there with The Informers. The Price gigs had been upstairs (they're hoping to re-open that part of the pub soon) and The Informers shows were in the downstairs bar, on a small stage on the left as you walked in. There was a horseshoe-shaped bar in front of you in the centre of the room as you came through the front door and the whole place was very brightly lit. Now the centre bar has disappeared as has the stage on the left hand side; there's now a wooden stage across the front right hand corner and a bar along the left hand wall. More worrying perhaps was the large temporary steel construction in the middle of the place that appears to be holding the ceiling up. It's dark, it's dingy and there were 2 large dogs roaming freely around. It looked perfect for The Pistols.
And it was- a fine raucous performance with Paul/Rotten fending off the hecklers well and the band blasting through 2 sets of advanced punk rocking with a vengeance. Without sounding too big headed here I was very pleased with my guitar sound- my Marshall combo was turned up so loud that the sound from it practically knocked me over (there aren't many guitar sound problems that can't be solved by using the volume control in the upwards direction) which seems to me to be the best way to get somewhere near to Steve Jones's wall of sound 'though I still can't get the solo sound quite right; I trod on my 'get-louder-pedal' for the guitar break in set opener 'Holidays in the Sun' and I seemed to get quieter not louder, though how much this had to do with the fact that I'd set my gear up in near darkness whilst wearing sunglasses (for my public, darling!) wasn't documented. I'll get it right next time...
As we were leaving one of the locals was 'playing' with one of the dogs- he was down on all fours with a rubber ring in his mouth. I'll leave you to guess what the dog was doing.