Music-wise it's back to basics after the two best gigs I've seen in ages - Friday night it was down to The Dolphin in Uxbridge for the first time in a while to see Awaken. When East and myself arrived they were halfway through 'Come Together' which is never an easy song to play but they were making a very good job of it. Guitarist Pete cajoled me into making a 3 song appearance during their second set ('Play That Funky Music', 'Sweet Home Chicago' and 'Hard To Handle' in case you were wondering; incidentally he didn't have to try too hard - I even took my own guitar this time!) in what was overall an excellent performance that easily wiped out the memory of last month's rather peculiar evening in Ickenham.
For the first Upper Cut show since February we journeyed to Richmond on Saturday evening for a gig at The Fox and Duck (you have to be very careful how you say that haven't you?!?) With Roger busy elsewhere Geoff 'Rockschool' Nicholls returned on drums for a show that was understandably a bit loose in places but which overall went very well. Pete from Awaken turned up with his wife Elaine, Big Al Reed joined us for 'Hoochie Coochie Man' and 'Sweet Home Chicago' and the landlady celebrated both her own birthday and 5 years of live music in the pub - a fine night all round.
And on Sunday The Duplicates made a very welcome visit to the Load of Hay; featuring the drumming talents of Dave Ruffy alongside Seamus Beaghen on Hammond Organ and Matt Percival on guitar they gave a fabulous show that featured an amazing selection of material ranging from the theme tune to 'The Dave Allen Show' (do you know the title? Answers on a postcard please, usual address) to the Jimmy Smith classic 'The Cat' with a healthy amount of Booker T. and The M.G's thrown in for good measure - all witnessed by something like 20 people. Ok so it was Mother's Day - but I don't mind admitting that it's starting to get difficult to keep up the enthusiasm for putting shows on when so few people turn up for a band that's as good as this one. Then again look at the two gigs I saw last week - both The New York Dolls and The Adverts faced adversity, even hostility from an audience, yet both came good by keeping going - after all they'd have got nowhere if they'd have just given up would they? Hmm... life is all questions sometimes isn't it? See - there's another one...
As I was walking home from the shop I saw the man in the light-coloured suit, looking a bit lost. There was no sign of the busker.