Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Shepherds Bush city limits

I met Kirsty MacColl once. I was at a music trade show at, I think, The Wembley Conference Centre sometime in the mid-1990's when I ran into ex-Ruts drummer Dave Ruffy who was playing for her at the time - we were talking and she sort of appeared from behind him if you know what I mean (he's a big chap, she was a small lady) and said hello. She seemed to be a very nice person, and we had a mock-argument over who would buy the last guitar stand from one of the stalls there (there was no argument, I let her have it of course!) as well as talking for a couple of minutes. I always enjoyed her music - great songs don't you think? - and was very saddened to hear of her untimely death back in 2000. On Sunday night I missed Delta Echoes at The Load Of Hay (I'm told they were excellent so we'll have to get them back so that I can see them!) as myself and Squirrel attended the Kirsty MacColl tribute concert at The Shepherds Bush Empire, and a very fine evening it was too. With a house band that included the excellent Gary Sandford on guitar the highlights were many and varied - I thought Alison Moyet was particularly excellent as was Billy Bragg who despite suffering from a heavy cold bought the house down with 'Free World' and 'A New England'. Compare Phill Jupitus sang 'Fifteen Minutes' and 'There's A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis' (!) although probably the most unlikely vocal of the evening was the duet between Amy MacDonald and Mr. Ruffy on 'Fairytale Of New York' - Phill announced that Shane MacGowan was 'ill' whilst barely able to keep a straight face before recounting how the event organiser had answered his mobile phone earlier in the day with the words 'oh it's Shane's agent, I wonder what this could be about?' Great stuff. We were invited to the aftershow party at the nearby Shepherds Bar (oh it's wild'n'wacky showbiz world dah-ling!) where Dave revealed that he'd been singing 'Fairytale' at rehearsal all week - just as well under the circumstances - while ex-Ruts bassman Segs sported a fine line in gangster suits and everybody ran off when Billy Bragg approached for fear of catching his cold. Oh and they didn't serve coffee which was a shame as Squirrel wanted one. Nice bar though!

Last night it was back to Shepherds Bush for an Upper Cut rehearsal, at Bush Studios on the Uxbridge Road. We've not played together since August so in addition to trying a few new songs we went back over some nearly-new material and ran through a few old favourites. For the second night running there was no coffee (maybe it's a 'Shepherds-Bush-thing'?) but the band sounded good, and with a worrying lack of Chicago Blues Brothers gigs next month it'll be good to get out and play something a bit rockier for a change. If you're in the Uxbridge area we're back at The Dolphin on Friday 29th October so come along and see if we've learned the songs properly. And is it just me or is there always a police car racing around Shepherds Bush roundabout with it's siren blaring?

Talking of gigs this Saturday 16th October sees the 3rd annual Paul Fox tribute night at The Breakspear Arms in Ruislip - I can't be there myself as I'm gigging elsewhere but I've provided some CD copies of some rare singles that Paul played on which will be played over the P.A. in between the bands, and if you're a fan of all things Ruts-related it should be a good night. Maybe I'll make it along next year? I might even take my guitar...

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