Here's a pop quiz question for you -
What song title do Wreckless Eric and The Temptations have in common?
Any idea? I have to hurry you... no? It's 'I Wish It Would Rain', five points if you got that one.
They're both really great songs too, as you can hear here and here...
Actually I for one don't wish it would rain, but it feels as though everyone else does. Aren't people moaning about the hot weather a lot? They'll be complaining that it's cold soon. Mind you my hay fever is approaching new highs - or perhaps that should be new lows? Hmmm... maybe the heat is getting to me...
With no gig of my own on Friday night I decided to catch a couple of local shows, starting with Covered In Skas at The Carpenters Arms in Hayes. I'd heard a fair bit about the band (a couple of their biggest fans Kate and Tony get band shirts printed at the shop) and had been trying to see them play for what feels like ages but their appearances always seemed to coincide with my gigs so it was good to catch them at last. They play everything from original ska classics to material from the Two Tone era and on the evidence of their first set on Friday they play it very well indeed. From there it was off to The Crown in Cowley to see the second set from Tiny Tina. I've known their singer Miri for a while - she's sung a couple of numbers with The Upper Cut from time to time and it's great to see her out with her own band now. As you might expect there are a fair few Tina Turner songs in their set, and the band made a pretty good job of things especially considering that dep drummer Mark only got offered the gig earlier in the day. A good evening all round.
Having seen two bands on Friday it was time for me to play in two bands on Saturday, starting with Back To Zero at The Borderline in London at The 'Summer In The City' all-dayer. We were originally due to play at 4 o'clock in the afternoon but that was changed to 6.40pm earlier in the week - as amps and drums were provided I went up on the tube and got to the venue around half past five in time to see an excellent set from The Aardvarks. Well let's face it, any band that plays 'Run Run Run' can't be bad can they?
I'm pretty sure that the venue had air conditioning although as we went on stage it was so hot that it was difficult to tell. Squirrel's bass cut in and out during the first number - the sound engineer apparently said to him that it was due to vibrations making the lead come out of the back of the amplifier and that it was 'always happening'. Eh? If it's 'always happening' then why not do something to, er, stop it, er, always happening? Or is that just me? Given these sorts of problems I thought that we played very well under the circumstances, with Craig again joining us for several songs (including 'London's Pride') and our encore of 'Land Of 1,000 Dances' bringing the proverbial house down. There was time for a drink after the show (good!) and to see a song and a half from Squire before wending my way to The Dolphin in Uxbridge where Big Al Reed and The Blistering Buicks were playing a set at guitar dep Pete's wife Elaine's birthday party. Again it was ridiculously hot but again the band played well. It was a long evening though...
I spent a fair bit of Sunday asleep. What with the heat and the hay fever I just couldn't keep my eyes open. Ooh now I'm moaning about the weather... still I made it back up to The West End with John King and Pete 'Manic Esso' Haynes to see The Crows at the 12 Bar Club. We got there at half past eight just as they were starting - Richie from Biteback on acoustic guitar and Jennie (one of the people behind The Rebellion Festival) on vocals (joined for the first time by Sarah Pink on harmony vocals for a few numbers) gave an engaging performance which was well received by all concerned. And afterwards there was time for much drinking and conversation - always a good end to the weekend don't you think?
And there's just time for a quick plug for this Friday's Upper Cut show at the aforementioned Dolphin - it's the Friday before my birthday (that's on the 24th) and in my world is the nearest that I get to a birthday party - if you're in the area then it would be good to see you. The night after that Big Al and co. play at The Rowan Arms in West Drayton and on Sunday The Upper Cut return to Colnbrook for a 5pm show at Ye Olde George Inn - another hot weekend's gigging in prospect then. Good!