Back to Blighty, and back to work- Friday night saw your humble narrator depping in Mario's function band (what is a function band? It always seems to me that it's a euphemism for 'well paid covers band'. Am I missing something here? Answers on a postcard please, usual address...) The Jansons (great name!) at The Richmond Hill Hotel at an event for 'the ladies of the Harlequins second XI'. Mario had e-mailed me a set list which looked a bit scary- quite a few medleys (I'm not a big fan of medleys; I've come to the conclusion that, for what my opinion's worth, they tend to 'cheapen' songs if you know what I mean) including one with (gulp!) 3 Queen songs in it. He also gave me a CD of one of their gigs which didn't play too well despite me trying it on pretty much every player in the house, which put me at a bit of a disadvantage... still at least I could check the chords to the Queen songs by looking at the music at the theatre on Thursday morning. Much of Friday was spent attempting to make sense of it all- nothing like leaving it all until the last minute eh?- before myself and the long-suffering Shirley made our way across to Richmond for a 5.30 soundcheck/rehearsal. After initially going to The Richmond Park Hotel ('it doesn't look as nice as it does in the photos does it?') we eventually found the venue- as we pulled into the car park I couldn't help but notice the house opposite was called 'The Wick'... hmm... that'll be the house that Pete Townshend bought from Ronnie Wood then won't it? I helped him buy that- well, I bought all his albums...
We met up with everyone in the function room- Mario's on vocals, Kylan's on bass, (I did a Blues Brothers show with him and Mario ages ago) Matt's on keyboards and, with Mario's regular man elsewhere, Marc from the Chicago Blues Brothers band's depping on drums. We get set up and run through as much of the set as we can before we run out of time; we could have done with a bit longer but at least we got to play the Queen stuff, and the tricky pairing of 'Summer Of '69'/'Video Killed The Radio Star' (yes, you read that bit right) as well as a Beatles medley that wasn't on the CD and was therefore new to both Marc and myself. We've got Studio 1 to use as a dressing room (actually a small-ish boardroom, as opposed to an actual studio) in which the organisers have provided us with rolls and sandwiches, as well as telling us that we can order drinks at the bar for free. Excellent! After a bit of setlist discussion myself and Shirley decide to go out to look for something a bit more substantial to eat- Marc joins us and we walk down the hill to The Roebuck pub which turned out to be a very good choice.
Back at the hotel our first set is at 10 o'clock- the dance floor's full from the second number which is a good thing to see, and it's possibly the only time I'll ever play a medley of '500 Miles' and 'Hi Ho Silver Lining' and enjoy it. Mind you 'Video Killed The Radio Star' didn't go quite according to plan (not sure what went wrong- quite possibly everything!) and there was a couple of other, shall we say, unusual moments... the second set was even better with a guy calling out for a Jimi Hendrix song (I played the riff from 'Purple Haze' for him in 'Do You Love Me'- he seemed pleased) and Shirley got chatted up by men for once (it's usually women!). During The Beatles medley I looked across to my left and out of the window- I could see Townshend's house, the lights were on, I had a sudden thought that he could burst in through the door at any minute bellowing 'who's that four-eyed twerp on stage and why has he nicked all my moves?'
But he didn't. So that was ok.
Saturday saw the Chicago Blues Brothers in Nottingham for a corporate event at The Crown Plaza Hotel. Myself & Shirley met up with Mario & Tracy for the journey up the M1- in no time we were heading along Brian Clough Way (really!) into the centre of town; with a bit of help from Mario's sat. nav we found the hotel just as Squirrel & Marc were arriving outside. We were in the rather grandly-named Royal Suite (it wasn't bad, but it wasn't that good!) playing at a conference for, wait for it, physiotherapists. And that got me thinking...
What is the collective noun for a group of physiotherapists? You know, like a murder of crows or a hand of bananas; in a possibly ill-advised attempt at audience participation I thought we could see if any of the (ahem) many readers of this blog can come up with any ideas- what do you reckon? We could have a competition- the person who in my not-so-humble opinion comes up with the best answer wins... something. I'm not sure what yet, but something. Get those answers in! Go on, it'll be a laugh. Tell you what, I'll start it off with an exercise of physiotherapists. Right, now it's your turn...
After soundchecking it was off into town for something to eat. Nottingham seems to have a bit of an odd reputation- at least two people told me to 'watch myself' there- and it certainly seemed to be busy enough for early evening; there was a Thai restaurant across the road from the venue but Shirl and myself didn't fancy that so went for a pizza instead. Life in the fast lane eh?
Back at the hotel it's time for a drink or two (the barman looked like the drummer in Green Day; it probably wasn't if you think about it but it did look like him) before going onstage more-or-less on time. For the second night running the dance floor's full- it thinned out a bit mid-set but was full again by the end-and it's rare to get an encore at a corporate gig but we got one here. I must admit I'd amused myself before the show wondering if we might see some mad dancing, assuming that a physiotherapist must be reasonably flexible- of course I now realise that I was thinking of a contortionist... oh and Dave the trumpet picked up my spare guitar and posed around next to me with it during my solo in 'Sweet Home Chicago'. I'll get him for that.
How about a spasm of physiotherapists? Ok, so it's not very funny- but can you do any better? And I wonder what the collective noun for a group of contortionists is..?