Well I may not have played any gigs myself last weekend but I did manage to get out to see a couple of very-different-from-each-other shows...
Friday night was punk night at The Peel in Kingston courtesy of Rat Scabies and Brian James playing 'Damned Damned Damned'. I saw them at The 100 Club back in June which was a great night but this show was if anything even better, despite James breaking a string a couple of songs in and his replacement guitar having what sounded like a problem with the jack socket. None of this stopped his playing sounding like an air raid - which brings me to the ever-amazing Mr. Scabies, who battered the hell out of his kit as he only ever does, and distinguished himself by counting as least one song in with the words 'one-two-three-GO!' Texas Terri handled the vocals well, Austin made a good job of the bass parts (and I managed to find his name this time, when I bumped into him outside!) and the audience loved every minute of it, as did I. Great stuff - and they're playing at the upcoming Paul Fox tribute night as mentioned in last week's posting, which should be one to remember.
On Saturday evening I ventured across to Tropic At Ruislip to see Irish guitar hero Pat McManus. As I arrived support band The Southern Rogues were roaring through 'Walking By Myself' - they played material by the likes of Thin Lizzy and Rory Gallagher but also had a few of their own songs which is always a good thing to see. And Pat McManus was as good (actually thinking about it he was probably even better) as when I saw him at the same venue two Octobers ago, still a bit 'rock' for my tastes but he's an undeniably excellent musician and one that I'm glad that I made the effort to see again. His band are pretty good too!
Only one gig for me this weekend, but what a gig it was, with Ruts D.C. at Fibbers in York.
We had a rehearsal at The Music Complex in Deptford on Friday afternoon - Segs had just flown in from America (he'd been back in Britain about five hours when we started at midday) and Dave had been away on holiday so it took a while to get going; that said we ran through our hour-and-a-bit's worth of live material as well as trying 'Dope For Guns' as a perspective addition to the show so we didn't do too badly.
The journey up to York from London took us about five hours including a couple of coffee stops. We had a splendid eleven seat bus which gave me plenty of space to change my guitar strings on the way up (I really must be more organised mustn't I?!?) and for everyone to have a bit of room to themselves meaning that when we arrived at Fibbers the mood was good and spirits were high.
We pulled up at the backstage area and those of us who hadn't been there before (including me) were immediately confused by there being two venues right next to each other. To the left it's Fibbers while to the right it's The Duchess which was playing host to Hazel O'Connor - a bit of a shame that the two acts were playing on the same night don't you think? Segs was just telling me that they'd played together at The Nashville Rooms (apparently the evening was interrupted by nazi skinheads) when Hazel herself came over and recounted the same story, adding that she'd got the part in 'Breaking Glass' after her performance that night. Interesting!
With everything soundchecked it was off to The Golden Fleece with Matt from The Chicago Blues Brothers (he lives nearby) for a pre-gig drink before going back to the venue to meet up with Jennie from The Rebellion Festival and Pascal Briggs and to see a few numbers from the support band Copasetics who sounded good, with some excellent trumpet work complementing their ska sound well.
9.15 and it's showtime - we sound very different with some people in the room (some venues are like that, I'm not really sure why) and it takes a song or two for us to adjust to things. Well, it certainly took me a while to get used to it... by the time we got to 'Staring At The Rude Boys' (roughly the halfway point of the set) things were really taking off - as we left the stage after 'Babylon's Burning' the place was going wild, and we encored with the afore-mentioned 'Dope For Guns' before finishing with 'In A Rut'. It was maybe not quite as euphoric a performance as the Birmingham show earlier this month, but the comments from people afterwards made me realise just how much the songs mean to people, and how excited people are to see Ruts D.C. back on the stage.
From there it was back to London (amid much jollity including Dave showing us how a monkey peels a banana - really!) where we met the long-suffering Shirley at South Mimms Services around 3.30am (it's been a while since myself and herself been there at that sort of time!) and I spent much of today asleep. Rock 'n' Roll eh?