Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ash Bash 4

Last night saw 'Ash Bash 4' at The Wilde Theatre in Bracknell, which is part of the South Hill Park Arts Centre- I was last there as part of 'Ash Bash 2' a year-and-a-half ago 'though The Price did several recording sessions in the studio there back in the 1980's, including the 'So What About Love?' single sessions with Paul Fox. It's the brainchild of Simon Ash who, in addition to being a professional drummer and drum teacher has also written a book and musical based upon the music of Pink Floyd- check out this website- http://www.rexroman.com/ - for details on how the seemingly separate worlds of prog rock and poultry are inextricably linked...

The long-suffering Shirley and myself arrived at the venue to find Andy (vocals/guitar) and Mike (bass) loading their gear in through the stage door. Simon's musical was being performed at the venue for the next two nights and his band were busy soundchecking- we did the only decent thing possible and went to the bar, where we met up with Stuart the guitar repair man's mate Brian (I really must find out people's surname's sometimes!) who lives locally and was coming along to the show later. Our soundcheck was a bit chaotic to say the least, with 19 drummers each getting a verse or so of their song(s) with us; with so many different players it all became very confusing very quickly- I started asking 'which song are you?' as each player approached the drum kit. Barring the odd fraught moment it all went pretty well when you consider how badly it could have gone... there was just time to return to the bar to meet Chicago Blues Brother Mario (another local who, co-incidentally, went to school with Andy; when I said to each of them something suitably cliched like 'it's a small world' they both independently replied 'yes, but you wouldn't like to paint it'- presumably their school motto?) before the show began with Simon welcoming everyone to the theatre, introducing the band (which also included his girlfriend Tina on vocals) and explaining how the evening was going to work- the drummer's are all seated in the front row, with the 'next one up' at the left hand end; they'd each come up on to the stage, play their song, then rejoin the front row at the right hand end. And so the conveyor belt started, with 19 drummers each getting their turn with the house band (us!) before returning back to the obscurity of the other end of the front row. It is no understatement to say that everyone rose to the occasion superbly including, dare I say it, the members of the house band- Mike had done an extraordinary job of learning the material at very short notice, and Andy and Tina made short work of what were often very demanding songs. I sang lead vocals on 'Paperback Writer' (yes, you read that bit correctly. I can't quite believe it either, but I figured that if the drummers could get on stage and do something that they hadn't done before then so could I! I don't think a new career beckons, but at least I did it which overcame a lot of reticence on my part) and managed to use a wha-wha pedal without falling over (for once) but nothing prepared the audience (and indeed us) for the finale- 'We Will Rock You' featuring 5 year old Sam on drums (he's too small to reach the pedals so had to play a song that doesn't use the bass drum or hi-hat! With a jelled-up mohican hair-do, wraparound sunglasses and tiny leather bikers jacket I think it's fairly safe to say that he stole the show) with Andy as FAT FREDDIE (I'll leave you to wonder about how he looked!) and your humble narrator as BRIAN MAYBE (when I was a member of Neck we played a gig at The Spinning Wheel in Northfields during the 2002 football World Cup; as part of a promotional campaign on behalf of the Irish team they were giving away fooballer's wigs- I drank enough Guinness to win a Kevin 'Keegan'. I knew it would come in handy one day!) I fear all this was videoed- I may have to see about destroying the evidence... but the end the evening was all about the drummers, as it should have been. I hope they all enjoyed it as much as I did- here's to 'Ash Bash 5'.

http://www.simonash.com/

1 comment:

Snaggletooth said...

I've only gone and bloody bought it now, haven't I? Only because I never expected to see the words 'Pink ~Floyd' and 'Poultry' in the same sentence. Mind, you know what Raging Roger would say, don't you? "I wasn't even in the same ****ing room when he wrote it"!