I really must remember not to go to Wunjo's Guitars after our theatre session; it's such a good shop! There's nearly always a interesting guitar or 2 that wasn't there the week before to tempt your humble narrator into a 'I don't really need it but' situation. This week's winner was a Gibson Les Paul Junior previously owned by a member of a Green Day tribute band- '60's neck. T.V yellow, played and sounded like a dream. If it had been a double rather than single cutaway model I would have really had some explaining to do...
If it's Good Friday it must be time to go to Portsmouth (no I don't really understand that logic either but sometimes this stuff just comes out, if you know what I mean) for a Chicago Blues Brothers gig at The Colonial Bar. An otherwise uneventful journey down the A3 suddenly became a bit like something out of a disaster movie when Shirley observed that the car we were about to overtake had it's driver door window open- unusual on such a cold day. As we passed it I looked across to see the driver asleep with his glasses on top of his head. Well, that's what it looked like anyway... I looked back after a minute or so to see the car rather unsteadily making it's way into a service station which was something of a relief to say the least.
The Colonial Bar turned out to be an excellent club albeit with a rather small stage for a band of our number- Mario, Mike and Tracy ended up singing from the dance floor in front of us. I had a 'new' amplifier to try, a Fender Blues Junior that I've borrowed (hi Dave!) with a view to buying if it sounds good in the band. Sound check went well with a version of Ace's 'How Long' somehow finding it's way into proceedings and old mate and fellow guitar bore Paul Cope arriving just as we were finishing. The dressing room was a bit rough but they gave us all a meal each so that more than made up for it- mine was possibly the spiciest pasta that I've ever tasted so a drink was more than overdue. The club started filling up early, probably due to the 'all drinks 2 pounds before 8 o'clock' sign above the bar- I couldn't help noticing that the ladies of Portsmouth seem to be rather, shall we say, well built, and are not shy in advertising this fact (sorry Shirl!). Distractions aside it's showtime at 9.30 for a 90 minute set and by the time we go on the place is sold out with a great gig in prospect. It'd been a while since we'd played a club show- it's been mostly theatres and corporates this year- and I'd almost forgotten how well the Blues Brothers material comes across in such a venue. It was a slightly loose show here and there- something went amiss in ' Shake Your Tail Feather' meaning Richard had to count us all back in at one point- but it all went down a storm which is the main thing. And the Fender combo sounded terrific (there go the wages AGAIN) with sound man Ian Bond saying as much, 'though he also commented 'more Tube Screamer for the lead breaks' (for those of you that don't know the Ibanez Tube Screamer is a near-legendary effect pedal used by a lot of blues guitarists, notably Stevie Ray Vaughan, which I'd been using to boost the levels of my solos) which is a very useful observation from my point of view and one that I'm looking forward to trying out at Windsor later this week.
Saturday in the shop turned out to be sporadically busy with rather more money being taken than myself, Paul the guv'nor and Ian the Saturday boy had thought, so much so that I for one was rather surprised by the end figure. After closing up it's off to Ditton for a gig with Austin in his duo Liquid. We found the Cobdean Sports and Social Club without too many problems and arrived to find Austin all set up and working out a set list. We can play either 3 40 minute or 2 1 and-a-quarter hour sets- we decide to see how we feel 40 minutes into the first set. It'd been ages since I'd played with Austin (oo-er missus etc) and I'd not had as much time as I'd liked to revise the songs but things didn't go too badly for me although I did only remember the first guitar solo in 'Sweet Home Alabama' around halfway through the second one... with people requesting songs by the likes of The Rolling Stones and Gary Moore things took a rather rockier turn than either of us had originally thought it would 'though there was still time for the inevitable 'Mustang Sally' in amongst the madness. A highly enjoyable 2-rather-than-3-set gig ended with a conversation with Clive- that'd been him shouting out for the Gary Moore songs- asking why we hadn't done anything by Steve Vai; he told me he used to play guitar, played on a Kylie album but then cut the end off his second finger of his left hand- presumably not deliberately. I mean she's not that bad- is she?!?