Monday, September 07, 2009

Welsh wedding weekend

I had an 8 hour rehearsal yesterday. 8 hours!

Sam on guitar and Andy on drums joined myself on bass (!) at Ruff Rockers Rehearsal Studios in Uxbridge in an attempt to put together 2 sets of songs to play at next weekend's wedding gig (in case you're wondering what the hell I'm going on about go back 3 or 4 postings for the background to this momentous event) and it all went very well in my not-so-humble opinion. Mind you I've just received an e-mail from Andy which contains a couple of suggested songs from a girl singer who's apparently performing with us- with no more rehearsals scheduled (or indeed possible given the obvious time constraints involved) this should prove interesting to say the least... and I'll be in the same rehearsal room tomorrow night with The Flying Squad as we've got a gig next week supporting the excellent Larry Miller- no doubt there'll be more shameless self-publicity for this nearer to the day but in the meantime you can click here for the venue's website where you can get cut price advance tickets if you say that you're coming to see us. Pretty good eh?

The weekend just gone saw 2 wedding gigs for The Bootleg Blues Brothers (i.e. The Chicago Blues Brothers in 'we're-nowhere-near-a-theatre-stage' mode) the first one probably in Wales and the second one definitely in Wales... Friday we wound our way up to the village of Hanmer (near Whitchurch, which is definitely in England... probably...) which is a village that could politely be described as 'out of the way'- there was almost as much grass growing in the roads as in mine or your back gardens! I travelled up with Richard who'd just got a new iPhone- by the time we'd reached the M6 toll road I'd managed to download various applications for him including a metronome, a spirit level and Jazz FM. These things are getting so clever- then again, don't you think that what we really need is mobile telephone that works as a phone rather than some kind of pocket cure-all? Answers on a postcard please... mind you I've got an iPhone too so what do I know?!?
Band-wise it's the A-Team barring Adam who's depping for Dave on trumpet; Phil's back on the P.A., and we're playing in a tent in the garden- maybe that should be the 'grounds'- of a farmhouse. Soundcheck is curtailed when a bedraggled-looking gentleman comes into the tent to tell us that we're upsetting his cows in a nearby field- faced with this frankly unprecedented reason for stopping playing we decide to go into town to check into our hotel, which turned out to be a good move...
As we were leaving for the hotel Richard noticed that his oil light had come on, and so suggested that we went into Whitchurch to look for a motoring spares shop. While we were in the process of doing so I received a call from Matt giving me directions to the hotel- 'you can't miss it, 'though you may wish that you had'- and when we got there rebellion was in the air, with no one too happy about staying there. In the interests of not wanting to get sued I suppose that I'd better not actually name the establishment, so I'll just say that it's named after a large black crow-like bird often seen in the area... there are holes in the not-particularly-clean sheets and a distinct lack of en-suite facilities, and although both Matt and myself both admitted that we'd stayed in worse places we both agreed that it was pretty rough. After much phoning around and contacting Pete about how much money we had to spend on accommodation we found some rooms at The Premier Inn at Oswestry, a few miles South and on the way to tomorrow night's gig.
Back at the gig things are hotting up nicely, and by the time we go on everyone's up for a party. Wedding gigs can often be rather anti-climactic from the band's point of view, but this one was definitely among the better ones for us, with much dancefloor action throughout and the only down point occurring in 'Soul Man' when the P.A. went off (the generator got overloaded and cut out) although no one in the tent seemed particularly bothered by it.
After a short drive and checking in at the hotel (which I must admit was light years ahead of the other one!) we adjourned to The Oswald's Cross (part of the hotel) for a drink- Matt's getting married this month (hurrah!) and was having a stag night last night in London which most of us couldn't make (I'd like to have gone but came in from rehearsing and fell asleep!) so a few beers were even more of a good idea than usual. A good end to a rather unusual evening.

I'm sharing room 201 with Matt, who began Saturday by accusing me of snoring, an outrageous suggestion- which I fear was sadly true. Maybe those drinks weren't such a good idea after all... after breakfast we head off South towards Brecon for another wedding gig, at The Peterstone Court Hotel. Our 2-and-a-bit hour journey takes us through some truly spectacular countryside; I'm travelling with Matt, who plays The Price CD that I'd bought along for him for most of our journey which was a bit weird from my point of view (I hardly ever listen to anything that I've played on) but he seemed to like it. We arrive at the venue just as Phil's finishing setting up the P.A., and there's just time for us to get set up before the wedding party comes in for their meal. With a couple of hours spare we head into Brecon for a look around- many spend some time at The Wellington Hotel while Richard buys a leather jacket at a charity shop and I buy a small adjustable spanner from a market stall. Well, they're always handy aren't they? We return to the venue for a swift sound check before retiring to The Cathedral Room to await further instructions. I read most of the latest edition of 'Guitarist' while 'The X Factor' is on T.V.; fortunately common sense prevails and the telly gets switched over in time to catch some of The Beatles documentaries on BBC2.
The hog roast is served at 8.30- I got some potatoes and coleslaw. At 9.30 we're on at last, and for the second night running the dancefloor is full for the great majority of our show, with much merriment all round and plenty of compliments from the guests afterwards. With my Telecaster still suffering from a broken switch I used my Relic Strat for the second night running- it sounded good but I still prefer the Tele for CBB gigs. I'd better get it fixed then!

Two good wedding gigs in a row- now that's something that doesn't happen all that often often!
Let's hope it's a good one next weekend when I'm on bass...

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