Tuesday, July 02, 2013

'What's that funny noise Pete? And it smells like something's burning...'

I have just - just! - returned from RnR Studios in Uxbridge where myself and my good friend Pete have spent a couple of hours comparing my new-ish Marshall Vintage Modern Combo with his old Fender Twin. Well that was the plan anyway; after only a few minutes of splendidly noisy noise a valve in mine blew. Bugger! I called Roger the amplifier repair man who suggested that (a) even though it would still work it probably wasn't a good idea to continue using the amplifier with a valve down, and (b) if I dropped it round to him he'd put a new matched pair of valves in as well as re-biasing the amp and checking it over generally. More expense! Oh well - these things happen... and at least up until that point it'd sounded great. Still we carried on using Pete's amp as I also wanted to try a few things with my pedalboard - which promptly made a funny noise and stopped working. I think the power supply has gone wrong. Yet more expense! Do you ever get the feeling that it's not going to be your day?

At least things went a bit more smoothly last Friday when I depped with The Repertoire Dogs (whose regular guitarist Mick Ralphs was unavailable) at Nettlebed Village Hall. No I didn't know where it was either... Nick's at the helm on vocals, Bob's on drums, Dick's on bass, Simon's on guitar and Freya and Ann are on backing (and fairly frequent lead) vocals - we all got there early enough for a reasonably long soundcheck which allowed us to play through a few songs and check a few beginnings, middles and endings. This stood us in good stead come showtime as a fair-sized audience had gathered to witness our efforts. They were an energetic bunch, in the mood for dancing from the word go and making a lot of noise throughout our performance. A good and very enjoyable evening.

Saturday Big Al Reed and The Blistering Buicks played at The Dolphin in Uxbridge. The afore-mentioned Pete had depped for me in the band the night before and joined us for a few songs at this show, which began with a surprisingly heavy version of 'Green Onions' and ended well after time with a raucous 'Born To Run'. The band is sounding better and better every time we play (which doesn't always happen in groups let me tell you!) and with more songs being added to the show on a regular basis and gigs coming in throughout the rest of the year this is definitely a good band to be part of. We've got three gigs this coming weekend - that's nearly a tour! And there's also a Back To Zero rehearsal to fit in on Sunday - busy times...

Sunday evening I ventured down to The Crown And Treaty in Uxbridge for their once-a-month open mic / jam night. As previously discussed I find myself at quite a few of these gatherings these days, and this one certainly seems to be growing in popularity. Overall I think this is a good thing as it gives people who don't usually get a chance to play or sing on a stage an opportunity to do so, although inevitably the quality of performance can vary dramatically. And there are quite a few mad moments here and there too - I really must write a blog piece about it all sometime soon... anyway I played bass with Simon the DJ (wielding a splendid Rickenbacker guitar) and my old drumming mate Grant on 'Baby I Love You' and 'You've Got To Hide Your Love Away' and jolly good fun it was too. (Which reminds me - The Upper Cut are playing at Simon's birthday bash on July 27th at The General Eliott in Uxbridge which should be a good night, and they're also playing at The Dolphin on July 19th, which is my birthday gig. If you're in the area it'd be good to see you!) 

I'm off to Brighton tomorrow to try some effect pedals. Mind you, I'm not sure that I can afford to buy them now...

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