Sunday, February 20, 2011

Surprise surprise

I was correct with my 'no gigs this week' assumption until Wednesday morning when I got a text message from Upper Cut singer Terry asking if I was free on Friday as there was a chance of a gig for us. Heroically resisting sending back 'I'm not free but I'm cheap' (sorry!) I instead sent a 'yes-where's-the-gig?' reply and awaited further instructions. After a short period of time (presumably while Terry waited to hear from Terry the bass and Roger the drums, then got back to the agency who was booking the gig) I got the 'it's on' message along with the news that it was a return visit to After Office Hours in Barnet. This was a bit of a surprise since we only played there last month, and since it wasn't exactly our greatest ever performance (we were too loud and there wasn't much of an audience) I for one wondered if we'd get another show there - still with everyone available it was perhaps a chance to make amends for last time. Then, on Friday morning I got another text message from Terry to say that there had been a mistake and the gig was actually at Sweeney's in Ruislip. Well, at least we found out before we all went to the wrong venue...

Upon arriving at Sweeney's I remembered that the only other show that we'd played at the venue (also a short notice event) had not been particularly enjoyable - the audience didn't take much notice of us and there was a fight in the interval. This time the audience didn't take much notice of us (or so we thought at the time) and there was a fight after the show (nice variation on a theme don't you think?) Still it was good to see Stuart the guitar repairman and Pete from Awaken, both of whom left after the first set (we played 2 sets, the first from 10 - 11 p.m. and the second from 11.30 p.m. - 12.45 a.m.) saying that it was nowhere near as bad as we were thinking that it was. It turned out that they were probably correct as we were asked for contact details by 3 different groups of people who were interested in booking us for private parties so maybe we were all being a bit negative? But it felt like hard work, not least when a young man stumbled up onto the stage saying that he'd just split up with his girlfriend, and she'd turned up there tonight, and could we play 'that Bryan Adams song, you know the one, the one that goes ''der-der-der-der-der-dum'', it'll be the only thing that might win her back'... and some lads asked for Oasis, and some more wanted something by The Kings Of Leon, and there was another request for some Bob Dylan, and, and, and...

We didn't play any of them.

Still in a burst of 'let's-go-out-and-get-ourselves-some-gigs-at-places-that-we'd-like-to-play-at' enthusiasm myself and Terry the bass spent yesterday evening visiting 2 venues that had been recommended to us by friends in bands. First stop was The Sportsman in Croxley Green to catch the first set by Awaken - with Ken and Russ busy elsewhere Dave is depping on bass with the legend that is Mac Poole is on drums. There's a million things that could be said about Mac who was in Warhorse among many others - put his name into Google and be amazed! They sounded good and were going down very well when we left - I'd like to think that my guest spot on 'Sweet Home Chicago' and 'Play That Funky Music' (yeah, those 2 songs again; Pete very kindly bought a longer guitar strap along for me to use - I'll bring an even longer one along next time!) at the start of their second set contributed to the positive reaction although I think they were doing fine without me. From my point of view it was the only time I've ever faced an audience wearing a jumper (I forgot to take it off!) which didn't seem to hamper my playing too much - I might have to try it again!
From there it was off to The Kings Arms in Harefield to see the second set from Midnight, a West Drayton - based soul band who have been going in one form or another since the 1980s. They feature a 5 piece horn section (alto, tenor and baritone saxes with trumpet and trombone) and include Big Al Read on vocals and alto sax (not at the same time obviously!) Al's an old mate of Terry's who's got up and sang with The Upper Cut a couple of times; I don't think he wasn't in the band when I last saw them - mind you that was about 20 years ago! Their set was enthusiastically received by the assembled multitude, and rightly so as they sounded excellent. And I'm not just saying that because Al got us a gig there, honest!

I've got 2 gigs this week. At the moment.

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