Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hey Joe

Well it's the morning after the night before, and I've woken up with a cold. Don't you just hate it when that happens? I felt fine last night - let's hope it doesn't turn out to be the dreaded Manflu... but it was a good evening for The Upper Cut at The Dolphin in Uxbridge, which unless something comes in at short notice will be my final show of 2012. Still it's been a good few days in mad-guitar-world, and last night's gig was definitely a fine way to end the year. Roger returned on drums for a show that could have been tighter (the four of us hadn't played together for just over a month due to illness and other commitments) but that felt good and went down well with the assembled multitude. A young lady kept asking us to play 'Fairytale Of New York' - despite repeated 'we don't know it, and we don't really play stuff like that'-type comments from all the band members she persisted until long after the band's equipment had been packed away. As I was leaving she stopped me to ask if we could learn it for next year!

Rewinding back to last Friday Big Al Reed And The Cardiac Arrests played at The Admiral Nelson in Twickenham. We had a rehearsal the previous Tuesday (the 18th if you're counting) where we attempted a fair amount of unfamiliar material - Al is very good at finding songs with titles like 'Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy'... the gig was good but we took a while to get going. Al likes to start the show with a couple of slower songs to warm his voice up, but personally I wonder if we have too many ballads in our repertoire for pub gigs, particularly in the first set when it felt hard to keep the audience interested. Still we made up for it in a more rock 'n' roll-orientated second set which went very well indeed, especially when Chris the keyboard player suggested 'Green Onions' which we'd not played before but that I for one will be hoping that we play again. Al was pleased with the way things went, and with more rockier material promised things should hopefully go well for the band.

And then there was Saturday's Ruts DC show at The 100 Club. I'd been looking forward to this show since it was first booked several months ago, and I'm pleased to say that it didn't disappoint. We had a day in The Music Complex in Deptford on Wednesday running through the songs that we played at the October gigs, looking at some more songs from the band's back catalogue for next year's gigs (more about them another time) and working up a version of 'Bank Robber' to play as an encore at The 100 Club - Segs worked with Joe Strummer in Electric Doghouse and as the show marked the 10th anniversary of his death it seemed like a good idea to play a Clash song for the occasion. 
The evening itself was enjoyable but rather long - The Sex Pistols Experience sounded as good as ever (Dave the drummer told me that he's playing with The Godfathers next year - good man!) and Clash tribute band Rebel Truce played the band's first album in sequence with a couple of singles at the end. By the time we went on at a quarter past eleven many of the audience were leaving to catch their trains home which was a great shame - I know it makes it better value for money if there are lots of act on but surely it would have been better to finish the live music at say half past eleven then play music over the P.A. for the people who were able to stay late? Nevertheless we played well and the people who were there seemed to love it, although there wasn't time for an encore which means that 'Bank Robber' went unheard. Shame! 

Here are It Was Cold and Smiling Culture from the gig, and the Aural Sculptors review mentioned last time has a few other tracks as well as some photos from the show. Hurrah!

I returned to The 100 Club on Sunday to catch some of the second night of the Remembering Joe weekend, but not before I'd journeyed to Breakfast Studios in Clapham Common for an Atlantic Soul Machine rehearsal. I'd managed to get a copy of a DVD of their November show at The Bulls Head in Barnes which was a great help in learning their material, as although many of the songs were familiar to me they have a somewhat jazzier approach to things than most of the bands I play with, and I've always been lousy at jazz... still the band were very helpful, and I left there looking forward to the next night's show.
I arrived at The 100 Club just as T.V. Smith was going on. I don't mind admitting that I'd loved to have played the show with him, but I'd had a great time the night before so I guess it's best not to be greedy! He was as excellent as ever, and set the scene for Glen Matlock And The Philistines who gave a great show including 'Keys To Your Heart' in their encore. I knew it was a good idea to play one of Joe's songs... The Price played quite a few shows with an early version of The Philistines back in the nineties, and I managed to get a few words with Glen afterwards. When I said that I was playing in Ruts DC and that I used to watch the band back in the day and sometimes can't quite believe that I'm doing it he said that he could relate to that, as it was the same with him and The Faces. Strange but true! I also met Philistines guitarist James Stevenson for the first time who seemed like a very nice chap and who invited me up to Angel Music (he's a partner in the business) to check out some guitars and amplifiers. That could get expensive!

Christmas Eve it was time to see how much I'd learned the day before, as I was depping in The Atlantic Soul Machine at The Bulls Head in Barnes. All things considered it went very well, with a fair few people in attendance (Christmas Eve can be one of 'those' nights where you can find yourself playing to a near-empty room) and a good performance from the band. I remember seeing them back in the nineties at The Rayners in Rayners Lane - Pete the trombone player was there back in those days, and he's put together a good line up for this new version of the band. They all seemed pleased with my efforts, and Pete said he'd be in touch if they needed me again so I guess I did something right. 

Then it was The Upper Cut in Uxbridge last night - and that's it gigwise for me in 2012. A strange year. Some very good bits, some all-too-bad bits... which reminds me, it's time for some more paracetamol...

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