Monday, November 14, 2011

I swear I was there

I'm bound to say that the worst thing about leaving something on a train isn't leaving something on a train - it's feeling like an idiot. Well, it is for me anyway. On Monday morning I called The 12 Bar Club to check that I hadn't left it there (even though I have a recollection of struggling through the front door with both hands full and my bag over my shoulder) and then attempted to call the London Transport Lost Property Office. After what felt like ages on the phone waiting to get through I decided to try their website - it didn't take too long to fill the form in so let's hope it's as easy for them to find my pedal board...

In the meantime I spent most of Sunday attempting to do very little - I actually managed to run through a fair few songs for next weekend's Ash Bash show so it wasn't a completely lost day although I also fell asleep on the settee... I felt a bit better in the evening and so made it down to the Load of Hay to see The Bullet Blues Band, and very good they were too. I even managed to join them for a few songs at the end of their performance - I got up from my seat to go to the bar and Eddie the singer said something like 'let's get Leigh up to help us with this one'; it's difficult to say no in situations like that (well maybe it's more accurate to say that it's difficult for ME to say no in situations like that...) and it was good fun to say the least. They're a great band, and they deserved a bigger audience than the one that they had. It's Steve Simpson on the 20th then Pimp My Jazz on the 27th - if you're in the area why not come along?

Tuesday it was back to Brixton for the last Ruts D.C. rehearsal before the upcoming gigs. I arrived at Jamm just as Dave was finishing setting his kit up; Seamus arrived soon after me (Molara sadly couldn't make it) and with Segs marshalling the troops we were set up and playing in no time. There were a few last minute arrangement changes here and there but it all sounded good to me - the first show is in Manchester this coming Thursday followed by Bristol on the 26th then December 1st in Bournemouth and Kentish Town on the 2nd. With the album still to be finished Dave from Balcony Shirts has done some design work on the 5-track sampler CD that will be available at the gigs, and we're also making some t-shirts to sell at the shows - it's all getting nearer by the minute. Excellent!

A long day Wednesday saw The Briefcase Blues Brothers return to Bibi's Italian restaurant in Leeds. I travelled up with Adam the drummer - we arrived to find Rob (keyboards) and Kylan (bass) more-or-less set up, with Mario and Matt (Jake and Elwood) getting the P.A. system up and running. After a quick soundcheck it was time for some food - I certainly ate far too much but it was so nice I couldn't help myself! We then walked around to Becketts Bank for a drink (As we passed The Queens Hotel Matt and myself reflected on the fact that if we'd been there a day earlier we could have seen Jimmy Saville lying in state) before returning to the venue for a boisterous show in front of an audience that danced a lot more than I would have been able to after the amount of food that I'd eaten. A good gig.

A fairly quiet Saturday in Balcony Shirts (the calm before the storm methinks... hopefully...) was enlivened no end by a visit from Big Al Reed who (a) bought some strings and (b) asked the ever-interesting question 'are you working tonight?' When I said that I wasn't he said he needed someone to do a duo gig with him in Chalfont St. Giles - was I interested? Of course I was...
When we arrived at The Feathers we were greeted by a barrage of shouting and swearing from a chap sitting at the bar. 'He's a bit loud' said Al, eyeing him suspiciously. Well that was one way of describing him. Meanwhile a somewhat over-refreshed but very cheery Irish lady asks if she can sing a song - we're hardly set up before she's wowing her friends and the sweary man with 'Summertime'. Al takes it all in his stride, singing a few swing numbers before inviting me to join him for a few songs. He plays some on acoustic and others on electric guitar, some with backing tracks and some without, and he was excellent. I don't think he needed me there, but I'm glad he invited me along. Then again we were invited back in December so we must have done something right.
As we were leaving we met the over-refreshed but very cheery Irish lady out at the front of the pub. She loved us, as did John, one of the locals. 'Did you meet ''Tourettes''?' he asked with a smile. It was fairly obvious who he meant. 'We call him "Tourettes" 'cos he's got Tourettes'.
Ah, that explains it.

And Sunday it was Ash Bash 5 - as previously mentioned I'd missed last weekend's rehearsal so had been attempting to learn the songs on my own but was glad to have a run through with Simon on drums and most of the band (fellow Flying Squad members Andy on vocals and guitar and Mike on bass with Tina on vocals; Max joined us on keyboards at the venue) before heading off to The Forest Suite at Bracknell Leisure Centre. After loading in and setting up we had a quick (and I mean quick - a verse or two at most) soundcheck with each student before Simon introduced the show. The idea of the event is that some of Simon's drum students get chance to play one or two songs with a live band (us!) and as such it's a very enjoyable event to be part of. In all too many cases the students knew the songs much better than the band (!) but we managed to get through it all without too many mishaps; at the end Simon joined us for a very enjoyable romp through 'Children Of The Revolution' (oh yes!) to bring a splendid event to a close. Great stuff.

Right. My next gig is with Ruts D.C. Here we go...

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