Saturday, June 28, 2008

Another day off? What would I do with another day off?

Well- pretty much the same as I did with the last one i.e. spend most of it learning songs for tonight's gig with Mario and co.; I think I've just about done enough work on the songs- we'll find out in about 12 hours time!- but my chances of success were severely hampered by me falling asleep halfway through the second run-through of 'CD 1' of the 3 that he's given me to learn the songs from. I should point out that this is not due to the music sending me to sleep (far from it, there are some very interesting songs to get to grips with) but is more likely to be something to do with the previous few days catching up with me- which reminds me...

Thursday- T.V. Smith at The Bull and Gate, Kentish Town.

After a morning spent at The Dominion Theatre with Stuart the guitar repair man attempting to resurrect the 'We Will Rock You' guitars as quickly as possible before the seemingly never-ending auditions began at 11 o'clock (we failed!) we then took a recently-repaired-by-Stuart bass back to 'The Jersey Boys' at The Prince Edward Theatre. To cheer ourselves up we attempted to use up at least some of our wages at the HMV sale (we failed again!) before returning home before further depression set in. No time to worry about that now though as I'm meeting the legend that is Brian Kotz (a.k.a. Brian from Barnet, Brian from Back To Zero etc etc) at The Assembly House in Kentish Town at 8 p.m. to catch up with him after his recent visit to America. It's always great to see Brian (he makes my interest in music look almost half-hearted!) but this time he excelled himself by presenting me with a Stax Records Museum coaster ('not to be used as a coaster' warned the great man. I wouldn't dream of it!) and regaling me with stories of his time spent in Memphis (Stax Museum, Sun Studios, Gracelands) and Nashville (The Grand Old Opry, Dollywood) as well as us both agreeing that music can still reduce us to tears- him upon seeing Otis Redding's jacket at Stax, me earlier this week at the Buddy Guy gig- and that I should have a go with him in his pub quiz team.
Leaving Brian to catch the bus home I crossed over the Kentish Town Road to the Bull & Gate where T.V. Smith was playing a launch gig for his new album 'In The Arms Of My Enemy'. I got there in time to catch most of I, Ludicrous's set- I last saw them ages ago at, I think, Dingwalls and they're still as entertainingly irreverent as ever with a new song 'Highland League' standing out. There was just time to say a quick hello to T.V (doing a roaring trade on his merchandise stall) Gaye Advert (doing a roaring trade with her art prints, so much so that she said she had 'none left to sell at Camden Market this weekend') before Max Splodge's excellently mad 4 song set ('I wrote to Rolf Harris to ask him if I could do a version of "Two Little Boys"- he wrote back to say "Max, you can't." You think he'd be able to spell better than that wouldn't you?') preceded the mighty Mr. Smith. As expected the new album was heavily featured but there were plenty of oldies too with a request for 'Bombsite Kids' amusing Tim no end ('that would be like playing ''Gary Gilmore's Ears'' wouldn't it?') and a 'stepping-on-the-D.I.-box incident during 'Expensive Being Poor'. I went out to get a drink halfway through and bumped into punk promotess Sarah Pink- judging by her new hairdo she's considering a name change to Sarah Blonde!- and Max Splodge who both were on fine if somewhat over-refreshed form; meanwhile T.V. finished his set with 'Gary Gilmore's Eyes' and 'One Chord Wonders', encored with 'Runaway Train Driver' and looked very pleased with himself- and well he might, as he'd been brilliant.

Friday- John Mayer at The Brixton Academy, London.

So- not having a gig, working in the shop or working at the theatre counts as a day off in my little world, 'though as I said earlier I actually spent a fair amount of time working on material for my gig on Saturday i.e. tonight as I type this. Oh, and falling asleep over my guitar- it's been a few years since I've done that... maybe I'm overdoing it a bit..?
Still it was off to Brixton in the evening to see John Mayer. Myself and Shirley made the seemingly never-ending tube journey without too many problems before meeting up with Cane Toads guitarist Pete and his posse in The Beehive pub, where gig goers mix with old Jamaican gentlemen in zoot suits and trilbys whilst mad-looking young men stumble around trying to sell you perfume. After a quick drink we walked down to The Academy and met up with drummer extraordinaire and long-time Mayer disciple Dave Bateman, before attempting to find somewhere to watch the show from- we had 'downstairs standing' tickets and the place was absolutely packed, as well as being hot enough to steam my glasses up. With this in mind we opted for a spot near the bar at the back in the right hand corner of the auditorium- we were only there a few minutes before the lights went down and the show began. Initially the sound was terrible- it took a while to recognise the first song as 'Belief'- but two or three songs in things improved no end. I was struck by the audience who (mostly young and what I as an old punk would imagine to be trendy looking) all seemed to know every song word-for-word, and reacted with near hysteria to Mr. Mayer's every move. The band sounded excellent, Mayer sang and played brilliantly- but it was all a bit 'nice' for me. Maybe seeing Buddy Guy a few days coloured my judgement... then again 'Vultures' might well be the best song I've heard in years, and a between song comment about how tonight could never be repeated, it's all about energy between the band and audience, 'you can't do this on the internet'... would no doubt look a bit silly written down here but sounded so heartfelt and sincere when he said it that I couldn't help but agree with every word. And I've just played 'Continuum' again- how can someone so young and good looking, and with a full head of hair (I'm not bitter, honest!) sound that good?

Oh well- enough of watching people play guitars, it's time for me to have a go; with 3 gigs in the next 3 days let's hope it's quiet in the shop today...

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