Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sing something simple

Since the euphoria of Thursday evening (yeah, sorry for getting a bit carried away but, well, you know how it is...) The Upper Cut have played two very different shows, united by, for want of a better word, 'oddness'...

On Friday night we returned to Patrick's Bar in Crystal Palace a little over a month since our first visit there. When we arrived the atmosphere seemed a bit strange, maybe more serious than last time - upon saying hello to the guv'nor he immediately began telling us not to play too loud. This never gets things off to a good start - joking aside it is very hard to play the type of music we play with conviction when you're worried about the guy in front on you telling you to turn it down every 90 seconds. Actually thinking about it, it's hard to play any type of music under those circumstances. As a result I found our first set to be probably the least enjoyable performance that I've given in absolutely ages. I found my mind wandering at one point to such an extent that I went completely wrong, and can't even recall which song it was in such was my disinterest. This has bothered me ever since - having spent much of the last blog posting blathering on about how lucky I am to do what I do I then spend part of my next gig with my mind somewhere else entirely and as a result play badly. Not good frankly. I went to the bar feeling very low indeed - whereupon three lads told me how great they thought we were sounding, and another chap came over to ask for some Rod Stewart, a lady requested some Free and Bad Company - yes, you've guessed it, the second set was a stormer with a full dancefloor and a great audience reaction. And at the end the guv'nor came over and told me that we were the best band that they'd ever had there, I was the best guitarist that he'd ever seen (!) and if he gave us more money would we play until 1am.

Sometimes I don't think that I will ever understand people.

Saturday it was time for our friend Simon the DJ's birthday bash, at The General Eliott in Uxbridge. Although I've been to quite a few gigs at the pub the band had not played there before - when we arrived (in the pouring rain!) Simon was still setting up his DJ equipment; although we were due to go on at 9.30 we eventually started a quarter of an hour late. Once again our first set wasn't without problems - Terry was suffering from a bad throat meaning that we had to be careful as to which songs we chose, and having had something of a bad hay fever day I suddenly found that couldn't hear out of my right ear. I often get earwax / sinus problems at this time of year, but halfway through a show is not a good time for them to develop! Once again I found myself approaching the bar at halftime with a long face - whereupon Simon played 'Roxette' by Dr. Feelgood and suddenly all was right in my little world. It doesn't take much sometimes does it? Our second set couldn't have been more different from the first - Terry's voice seemed to improve, I found a way to hear through not being able to hear (if you see what I mean!) and the band rose to the occasion to give a fine performance. That's better. And after we'd finished Simon was pressganged into singing 'Baby I Love You' with Terry on bass, Roger on drums and some of his young lady friends on backing vocals. 'Can you make it sound jangly?' said he as I handed him my Gibson SG - I didn't like to tell him that I wasn't really sure how it had sounded during our show so I wasn't much help to him now...

During the course of last Wednesday evening I had mentioned to Pete 'Manic Esso' Haynes that I was intending to attend the open mic / jam session on Sunday at The Crown and Treaty in Uxbridge; as we talked about it he surprised me by expressing an interest in coming along and maybe even playing; I then surprised myself by expressing an interest in singing - yes, singing - a song or two with him... so it was then that I found myself on stage with him and Upper cut bassman Terry playing and indeed singing 'Around And Around' and 'Pills'. Now that's something that I didn't think that would ever type! I must admit that I really enjoyed it - I can't see myself fronting a band but it just goes to show what you can do if you try. And I don't think that the chap who told me that he really liked the band (!) and asked how long we'd been playing together was taking the mickey?

And last night I found myself in what for me were the unfamiliar surroundings of Madame Jo Jo's in Soho for the first in a series of 12 Monday club nights being hosted by The Duel. Broadly speaking the nights will feature reggae and punk (not sure about calling it 'Reggie' though!) and judging by the first night it's going to go very well. Dave and Segs from Ruts D.C. were Dj-ing, The Duel played a great set, and people were still arriving as I was leaving - clearly the night was young, although sadly I'm not and I had decided to leave early enough to get a train home. Ooh, I really do sound old don't I?

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