Sunday, August 08, 2010

Celebration day

Behold this photograph of the sign above the door at The Bulls Head in Barnes - I thought I'd include it here because (a) I like it and (b) I nearly got run over while I was taking it. Well - there were no cars for miles when I started!

Last Monday saw a return to said venue for The Ali Mac Band, or The AMT Band ('Ali Mac with a Twist') as Ali now calls this larger line-up version of his band. Sadly we couldn't get a full rehearsal for the gig - Ali, Simon, Bob and myself managed a couple of hours together at Simon's house a few days earlier - and that coupled with the low turnout and slightly odd sound (the monitors weren't too good and the overall sound seemed a bit 'muted') meant that overall it wasn't as good a show as our debut there back in March. Still I did get to meet Laurie who was running the gig in place of George who wasn't feeling too well; Laurie used to work as a backstage security man for Led Zeppelin and as you might imagine has quite a story to tell, none of which can be repeated here - suffice to say that in his opinion many if not all of the legendary tales told in books like 'Hammer Of The Gods' and 'Stairway To Heaven' had been as he put it, 'toned down for publication'. Oo-er! Oh and there was a bloke off the telly in the front bar but he didn't come in to watch the band - a bit of a shame, as we could have done with another audience member...

The Upper Cut had an excellent rehearsal on Wednesday, when we spent 3 hours at Bush Studios in Shepherds Bush ironing out a few shaky moments from the current set as well as attempting some additional material - our next gig is at The Dolphin in Uxbridge on Saturday 21st August which I'm looking forward to already, not least as it's Horsepower Hairdressing supremo Adam's birthday; if it's anything like June's 'Loose Goose' event it should be an interesting night... I took everybody copies of Big Tel's recording of last month's Load of Hay gig (and here is a clip from from East's film of the event, it's a bit dark but hopefully you get the idea) so we've all gone away to have a listen and see what else can be done to improve things. It's a good band to play in, which was reflected by Terry the bass's comment afterwards that it was 'great to be at a rehearsal when you're not clockwatching' - how right he is.

And it was an unusual gig last night, at Griddles in Uxbridge. Organised by Jon Davies a.k.a. Jonny Guitar (not sure I'd give myself a nickname like that but there you go!) to celebrate Aden the landlord's birthday it featured THE FRAUD SQUAD - myself and Andy from The Flying Squad with Jon guesting on guitar. After a quick rehearsal (another one!) at Jon's house it was over to the venue to get set up and await further instruction. I'd spoken to Andy 'Chicken Legs' Weaver earlier in the day (he's got a amplifier for sale if anyone's interested) who arrived just as we were about to start; Jon had quite a few friends coming along as did Aden - by the time we went on for our first set at 9 o'clock the place was getting mighty crowded with all the restaurant tables booked (it's a steakhouse-type of place although when they offered us some food it was great to see a vegetarian option of pasta, and very nice it was too) and plenty of people at the bar. Minor panic ensued when Andy's harmonicas fell off the amplifier that he'd left them on (we weren't THAT loud were we?!?) and Jon's guitar started emitting a rather unpleasant crackling noise (he should get that looked at! He also caused some consternation on Andy's part by using a wha wha pedal...) but overall things went well with our second set including the inevitable 'Happy Birthday' and our third (third!) set ending with a somewhat impromptu version of 'Honky Tonk Women' to the general approval of all concerned. A good gig.

At our AMT Band rehearsal Bob had remarked that his daughter's father-in-law had Motor Neurone Disease; when I said that my mum had suffered from it for 18 years he looked shocked and then apologised for having mentioned it. As we were leaving I told him that he didn't have to feel sorry... at the bar in the venue I asked him how things were going and he said that since last week's rehearsal the chap had sadly died. It was my turn to apologise...

It's my mum's birthday today - I really wish that she was still here to celebrate it. Happy birthday mum. Miss you.

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