A couple of interesting (hopefully!) gigs to report on but first things first - Thursday night The Godfathers played a 25th anniversary show (everybody's doing it!) at The 100 Club. When I first saw them back in 1986 the dual guitar attack of Mike Gibson and Kris Dollimore was truly something to behold - these days they feature original Sid Presley Experience guitarist Del Bartle alongside the Coyne brothers (Peter on vocals, Chris on bass) and drummer Grant Nicholas. New songs like 'I Can't Sleep Tonight' and 'Back Into The Future' sat well alongside classics like 'I Want Everything' and the inevitable 'Birth School Work Death', and the audience went suitably mad throughout; they still make a wonderful rock 'n' roll racket although if I've got a criticism then it's that it was all sounding a bit 'samey' by the end, possibly due to the lack of the second guitar - maybe I should put myself up for a job with them?!?
Friday night saw The Chicago Blues Brothers travel down to the wilds of West Sussex for a outdoor show at Wakehurst Place. We were due on stage just as the England vs. Algeria game was starting, a fact which perplexed a few of the band members (not least because we thought that we wouldn't have much of an audience!) although given the nature of England's performance it seems as though we got off lightly by not being able to watch the match. Jeff's in for Marc on drums and Pete's partnering Matt in the hats 'n' glasses but other than that it's the A-team all the way; we're on first with The Magic Of Motown following us, and it's all part of the first Wakehurst Music Festival. Arrangements on site were strict - we were allowed to drive to the backstage area to unload our gear then take our cars back out amid dire warnings of fines if any grass was damaged (£250!) and a 5 m.p.h. speed limit at all times. It's the first outdoor gig for us for a while, and I'm using my Fender Blues DeVille rather than the usual Blues Junior - it sounds great but I'm too loud onstage so I have to turn it down. Bah! After soundcheck it's over to the mess hall for some food (bangers and mash, or in my case, mash as the vegetarian option was cauliflower cheese. Urgh!) before returning backstage to get ready for the show. By the time we go on there's a good crowd gathering although it starts raining just as we start to play - there's no sign of Tracy who's been rehearsing with Boy George all day and has fallen foul of the M25 in all it's glory. She eventually arrives 10 minutes or so into what turns out to be a good, well received show (albeit one that we had to cut short as we ran out of time) which given the adverse weather conditions is something of a relief all round. Ah, the British summer - it's the middle of June and it's freezing cold and raining. Global warming anyone?
And it was time for your humble narrator to do some depping on Saturday, with The F.B.I. Band at Stoke Park. We're in Blues Brothers mode, and there are some familiar faces among the band members (F.B.I. regular saxman Ian is joined by CBB stalwart Dave on trumpet; Carl, Mark and Richard are on bass, drums and keyboards with Tom playing the role of Elwood) but with Tony away the role of Jake is taken by Stuart who hasn't worked with the band before... actually he's not worked with any band before as he usually sings over backing tracks. We're playing at a party (something to do with this I think) that's being held in a marquee that's adjacent to the main building - as everyone arrives they're not ready for us yet so there's time for tea in The Orangery (how middle class is that? Needless to say I gave it a miss!) before the stage is set up and soundchecking can commence. Stuart knows a few songs that the band haven't played for a while ('Messing With The Kid' and 'Hey Bartender' among them) and needs some of the other songs to be in lower keys than usual - after running through a verse and chorus of each everyone seems to be happy. There's time to go out for a look at the site of an extremely famous film scene (this one to be precise) before we go to our allocated room to await further instructions from the very helpful Nicola. Before long some food had arrived - in direct contrast to the previous night I had an enormous bowl of tagliatelle - and with the evening running late (as usual!) our 2 x 45 minute sets became 1 x 75 minute set starting at 10.30. Nicola was a bit worried that no one would take much notice of us (it happens!) but the dancefloor was full by the time we started our third number and stayed that way for the rest of our show. Stuart did well under the circumstances and although there were a few odd moments from our point of view nobody in the audience seemed to be too worried about them which I guess is the main thing.
No gigs this coming week - what will I do with myself?