Saturday, March 05, 2011

Caravan club

Just one gig this weekend, on Friday at The Hilton Hotel in Park Lane. They don't normally let people like me into places like that...

It being Friday afternoon I set off in good time to get to the venue for a 4.30 soundcheck, although I also set off early to give myself time to visit (a) the H.M.V. shop on Oxford Street (I've still got some vouchers left from Christmas) and (b) Sister Ray in Berwick Street - unsurprisingly (b) turned out to be a far more interesting option, with your humble narrator heroically resisting various Sex Pistols live recordings (not all of them entirely legal methinks - excellent!) in favour of a 'Punk: Attitude' DVD (for only £3.99! I got one for myself last time I was there, this one's for Dave at the shop) and a CD of the legendary 'Nuggets' album which I've got as a double album on vinyl but have been meaning to get on CD for ages. Great stuff. From there it was down to Green Park on the Victoria line to meet up with everyone in the hotel ballroom, where we're playing at Caravan Diamond Ball charity event. Matt returns as Jake, Tracy's back for the first time this year on backing vocals, Chris is on keyboards and Ian's on saxophone - other than that it's the usual faces in the usual places. Also on the bill are Carwash - I spoke to their guitarist Simon the night before who very kindly let me use his Mesa Boogie Mark V combo, and very fine it sounded too. We've got The Hartford Suite to use as a dressing room, it looks out across Park Lane and it takes a bit of finding but we get there in the end.

We're not on until 10.30 and food is at 8 o'clock so Squirrel, Chris and myself decided that we were actually tourists and that we'd walk down to The Hard Rock Cafe for a visit to The Vault. The first time I visited I chanced upon it when we were playing at one of the other hotels in the area and I managed to have a go on some very rare guitars - these days they're all in cabinets but it's still great to see them. From there we walk to The Kings Arms for a drink or two before returning to the hotel at the allotted time for food in The Harvest Suite - coleslaw sandwiches for me (no vegetarian option! How much does it cost to stay at this hotel?!?) with chicken curry for everyone else. Mine doesn't take quite as long to eat as everybody else's (!) so I decide to take the lift to the 28th floor to visit the Galvin at Windows restaurant (I wonder if there was a veggie option on the menu?) where you can see out across town - it's a clear night and it has to be said that the view is pretty extraordinary. From then on it's 'hurry-up-and-wait' time - it often is at these sort of events - there's a dance troupe on before us, a similar type of thing to 'Stomp' which seems to warm some of the audience up and intimidate others, at least judging by the looks on their faces. We play a short (45 minutes) set which goes down very well, with a fair amount of dancing and a breathless encore of 'Jailhouse Rock'. Simon and myself spent a large amount of time discussing Eric Clapton's guitar sound (he's thinking about bidding for the 1980's Soldano set-up in this Wednesday's 'Crossroads' auction! Good man!) through the ages, Matt spotted Phil Tufnell in the bar and we finished in time for me to get the last train home - a good night all round.

1 comment:

Snaggletooth said...

True story - Phil Tufnell signed me into a private members bar in Lahore once, top bloke considering he'd never met me before (and still hasn't); he had an awful lot of friends that night!