Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Can you (afford to) see the real me?

The Who have finally announced British and European dates for the 'Quadrophenia' show that they're currently touring America with, and unlike the Wilko Johnson farewell shows tickets seem to be reasonably easy to obtain - well they are as long as you join the fan club on the band's official website. And it's even easier to obtain a V.I.P. package although with standard ticket prices edging ever nearer to the £100 mark I dread to think how much these would be. Actually I could just brave looking them up couldn't I? Hang on... oo-er - the Emerald Package is £245, the Ultimate Fan Experience £375 and the Signature Fan Experience £495. Am I the only person that thinks that this has all gone too far? 'Quadrophenia' is one of my all-time favourite albums and I guess I'll be at one or more of the shows, but it's all getting far too corporate for me. Maybe that's just how things are going these days, but I for one don't like it. Then again perhaps I should cheer up and go along and enjoy the music? It is the mighty 'Quadrophenia' after all...

Friday's Good Old Boys gig at Hayes Working Men's Club turned out to be a highly enjoyable affair on several levels. It was a rather longer evening than I for one was expecting, with three 40 minute sets meaning more than a few 'we-haven't-done-this-one-for-a-while' songs appeared among the expected material. This of course made little difference to me as I didn't know any of them! I played a few numbers with the band back in 199-something at a birthday party for ex-Episode Six drummer John Kerrison and did a show around 2003 in a very big house out in the sticks but other than that I was, as I think the saying goes, 'flying by the seat of my pants'. Simon was very helpful, Hud made all the endings slightly more obvious than usual, Alan was as authoritative as ever out the front, and Nick - well, standing a few feet from him I was all too aware that this really was the bloke out of Johnny Kidd And The PiratesDeep Purple and all those other bands. I'd not really met him before bar a quick hello here and there but he was a thoroughly nice chap with some amazing stories as you might well imagine. We played 'Shaking All Over' (shame we didn't play 'Hush'!) and as the solo approached Simon gestured over at me with a smile - at the end of the song Nick said something like 'Johnny Kidd would have been proud of that solo'. I have rarely stopped smiling since.

The Upper Cut returned to The Half Moon in Harrow on Saturday evening for a show that was definitely a game of two halves. Terry vocal microphone wasn't working properly from the word go - the P.A. amplifier had just come back from Roger the amplifier repair man so we knew that was (hopefully!) working properly so it had to be a mic problem. It's a radio mic so he changed the batteries but with no improvement he used my mic for the first set, which was a somewhat scrappy affair - maybe we were a bit unnerved but a couple of songs went wrong and the whole thing was a bit of an uphill struggle. During the interval Terry discovered that the output level in the transmitter was set lower than usual - thankfully turning it up cured the problem and we went on to play a second set that was the polar opposite of the first, with everything falling into place and an encore of 'Route 66' bringing the proverbial house down. We're back at The Dolphin in Uxbridge this Saturday for a birthday party - hopefully we'll carry on where the second set left off.

Sunday saw the first Back To Zero get-together, in which Sam, Andy and myself ran through arrangements for eight songs which should make it into the live set at our upcoming Mods Mayday show. Using the 'It's All Relative' album as a reference (it features Sam and original singer Brian in home studio mode with programmed drums and overdubs a-plenty) we split guitar parts between myself and Sam while Andy, who is actually the drummer in the band, played along on bass. It all sounded pretty good to me, and another meeting is planned to run through the rest of the proposed set before full rehearsals with a bassist and keyboard player in the not-too-distant future. There's lots to look forward too here, and there is already talk of more gigs and possible recording sessions. Excellent!

And last night it was up to The 12 Bar Club with Esso and Nigel from GLM (and previously The Lurkers of course; incidentally there's a great article on the Nuzz Prowling Wolf blog about GLM which you can read here) and their mate Scottish Stuart to catch a solo show from Tug Wilson. When I was a lad Tug was in a band local to us called The Injections, and these days he plays with Nigel in Pack Of Lies. His 35 minute set showed that he's not lost the knack of writing good songs (I saw The Injections a couple of times back in the day including a support slot to Wild Horses at Brunel University, the band's material was mostly written by him and very good it was too) and it all went well especially considering it was as far as I know his first solo gig. Also on the bill were Alpha Earth Light and Boss Caine - the former are a Austrian guitar and drums duo (now there's something that you don't find yourself writing every day!) which made a fearsome sound for a two piece while the latter (on this occasion a chap called Daniel Lucas, although I think there is a band line up too) had the chap next to me calling him a 'British Tom Waits' which isn't a bad thing if you think about it. In the meantime much drinking and jollity ensued - a good evening all round.

This week there's the afore-mentioned Upper Cut gig along with Big Al and co. at The Admiral Nelson in Twickenham on Friday - and then things start to get very interesting indeed. More about that next time.

1 comment:

Musky03 said...

Hi Leigh! I take your point about VIP ticket scales. I was always of the opinion that to meet a band was all part of the deal. Hence there was a time that after a gig you could go round to the stage door for a chat if you so wished. Paying for such brief encounters on a sliding scale of priveledge is all wrong. I am sure that it is not the artists who are the architects of this scam but artist management have latched on to the idea.

Hugh Cornwell has done something similar... No More Heroes?!

How much is a Ruts DC VIP Superfan ticket?