Tuesday, May 14, 2013

'...but it helps...'

I've been listening to 'Aladdin Sane' by David Bowie a fair bit lately (well to be pedantic I've been playing it in the background while I've been doing other things) and I'd all but forgotten what a great album it is. To my ears there's not a bad track on it, Mick Ronson is in 'guitar god mode' throughout and the songs are some of Bowie's best - mighty stuff. Track one side two (in old money) is 'Time' - it caught my ear a couple of minutes ago as I reflected on how busy the last week has been and how little time I have to do things like write a blog piece at the moment. So here is an edited (sometimes very edited) version of the highs and lows of life in mad-guitar-World since last we spoke, taken from scribbly notes made along the way and some rather blurred memories. Maybe one day I'll get chance to write the 'full' version, but in the meantime...


With a London gig looming on Friday our heroes return to The Music Complex in Deptford for a session that should have seen us joined by Tenor Fly and Rob from The Alabama 3, both of whom will be appearing with us as special guests at the show, and both of whom had called to say that they couldn't make it before we'd even started playing. Hmm... a chance setting of 'slapback echo' on the P.A. system had Segs singing in a spoof rockabilly manner - we then spent much of our time playing attempting to play our songs in said style before adjourning to The Little Crown and deciding to form a group called Rockabilly Solution. No, really, that was what happened. Even I couldn't make that up.


After a day at Balcony Shirts (yes, I'm still working there in between all this other stuff) I should really have gone home and got an early night in preparation for the afore-mentioned London show. Instead I went to The 100 Club. I really must try to look after myself a bit better don't you think?

T.V. Smith - analysis is futile. Simply brilliant
Interval - meet up with T.V. and Gaye, Tara and Andy from The Duel, various Phobics, my mate Tom, Coppo and Lynda, arch Price fan Romford Dave and more. Excellent.
The U.K. Subs - analysis is futile. A punk rock institution.
After the show - meet up with all of the above again and introduce myself to U.K. Subs guitar hero Jet who turns out to be a very nice chap. Excellent.


Over 200 tickets sold and a good walk up is expected for our 'Rhythm Collision Volume 2' launch gig - no pressure then. I'd not played at The Underworld before - great support sets from Electric River and Dirty Revolution before a potentially classic Ruts D.C. show is interrupted when Molara gets hit in the face by a plastic glass thrown from the crowd. (Yeah I know the term 'plastic glass' makes no sense but you know what I mean I think.) Aside from that the show goes brilliantly well and my old mate Big Andy copes manfully with utter chaos on the merchandise stall after the show. I shake hands with the entire audience (well, it felt as though I did) and ponder why anybody would buy an overpriced watered-down drink and then throw it or the empty (plastic) glass that it came in at a band that they've paid to see and therefore presumably enjoy listening to. Fail to find a satisfactory answer so go across the road to The Mango Room where Segs is DJing. When we got there he was at the bar - he was still there when we left...

And here's 'Mirror Smashed' from the show - even though I say so myself, we played well!

Seamus after breakfast
 outside the venue -
'nice friendly atmosphere'...

Arrive at The Box to be told that all but one of our rooms at the adjoining hotel were 'trashed last night' (their words not mine) and so most of us were now staying at The Ramada Encore but would be coming back for breakfast in the morning. Strange but true. Soundcheck a bit fraught due to a lack of local crew (cue 'no crew in Crewe' gags) and a lack of microphones which resulted in a bit of rearranging of various things already on stage (we were supporting Spear Of Destiny) and meaning that I ended up not having a vocal mic. There's a fully signed 'Live At Leeds' album above the sound desk - if I had one of them then I'm not sure that I'd let it out of the house. Our show goes well until a rather peculiar chap starts shouting abuse and making various well-known gestures at Seamus from the front of the crowd. He copes well but once again a potentially excellent show gets a bit soured. The guy finds him in the bar afterwards and continues winding Seamus up until he loses his temper and slaps him. A scuffle ensues - where are venue security when you need them? We get back to the van to discover that we've got a flat battery. Bugger.

And here are the last two songs from our set - and why not?


We eventually got a jump start from one of the venue's security men (I decided not to ask him where he'd been earlier!) and got to the hotel to find the bar still open. Good. Buy some drinks and meet some lads who were at the show and who loved our performance. One of them spots my Dr. Feelgood badge and announces that he's a big Wilko Johnson fan - much jollity ensues, as eventually does nowhere near enough sleep. We make it back to the venue for half past nine - breakfast there has previously been described as 'legendary' by several sources and has since been described by some other less complimentary words by various band members. My namby-pamby poncy vegetarian egg on toast is fine-ish. Spend much of the journey South drifting in and out of consciousness before arriving home with an hour to spare before leaving for a 5pm Upper Cut gig at The Olde George in Colnbrook. Yes, I thought it was a bit if an odd time for a gig too. Play a rousing (if slightly jet-lagged from my point of view) performance to an enthusiastic audience who include a man who spends a fair bit of our set singing along whilst using a chair leg as a microphone. As the leg is still attached to the chair this is a somewhat dangerous concept... get home sometime after 8 o'clock, have a sandwich and think that maybe I should have an early-ish night, but instead go to The Load Of Hay to meet East for a drink. Or two. Or three. What was that about 'looking after myself'?


After a busy day in Balcony Shirts I met John 'Football Factory' King at Chalk Farm tube station before going at The Enterprise where I saw Romford Dave (who'd also been at the Ruts D.C. gig on Friday - 'we can't go on meeting like this' etc etc) and spent £3 on a portion of chips and quite a bit more on two drinks. No, I don't know why either. Got to The Fiddlers Elbow, said hello to Lee from Infa Riot and then realised that I was in a room with an almost endless amount of very scary-looking skinheads. As I went to the bar to get some drinks (obviously!) I heard the words 'Is that a Tootal?' I turned to see a giant man pointing at my scarf; I then said the words 'yes it is' in a voice that sounded to me to be at least two octaves higher than normal. 'Looks good mate' said he cheerily. Meanwhile, in the background, an Oi! band was playing...

Angry Agenda - aptly named as they all seemed to be very annoyed about something. Very good though.
Control - initially had trouble getting the bass guitar working. Got there in the end. Also very good.
The Old Firm Casuals - roared through a blazing hour of melodic anthems. Great stuff.

Considered staying for another drink with John and Lee after the show as they were hoping to get a word with Lars but I was flagging (perhaps unsurprisingly!) a bit and so decided to leave after the band finished so as not to be worrying about missing the last train. Woke up as my train pulled in to Pinner station -  in my delirium I'd got on the wrong train and now had to get back to Harrow-On-The-Hill in time to catch the last Uxbridge train. Only just made it - but at least I made it. I'm bloomin' tired now though...

...and I expect I'll be bloomin' tired this coming weekend too, when Ruts D.C. play at The Globe in Cardiff on Friday evening and The Bearded Theory Festival in Derbyshire at 3.30pm on Saturday. Can't wait!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Was at the Ruts DC gig at underworld and must congratulate you on a brilliant set. Shame some idiot decided to throw the drink. Segs summed it up well when he said that behaviour belonged to 1976 and the thrower probably wasn't around then. My Newcy Brown was £4.80 a pop so someone had more money than sense.