Monday, October 21, 2013

Flight of the rat

It's Monday evening and I'm tired - methinks it's time for an early night. Still it's been a busy few days in mad-guitar-land :-

Sometime mid-afternoon on Wednesday I received a phone call from Upper Cut drummer Roger asking me if I'd like to go with him to see Deep Purple at The Roundhouse. Roger used to roadie for the band back in the day - I thought about it for a good second or two before saying yes... we arrived just in time to get a couple of drinks before classical music played over the P.A. system, the lights went down and the band started with what I assume was a new song. 'Into The Fire' and 'Hard Lovin' Man' followed - I last saw them play something like 20 years ago, they sounded great then and they sounded great now. I said a couple of postings ago that I was always a fan of the band, and for me there's something about Deep Purple that I always thought set them apart from many of their contemporaries. They were always amazing musicians, and time certainly hasn't dimmed their powers - I'd not seen Steve Morse before and his fabled alternate picking really was something to behold. I found it impossible not to enjoy 'Lazy', 'Space Truckin'', 'Perfect Strangers' - and let's face it, 'Smoke On the Water' really does have one of the ultimate guitar riffs doesn't it? And it was great to have a word with Roger Glover afterwards - I've told so many people the story of him playing at The Dolphin with us a couple of weeks ago!

Thursday it was off to The Purcell Room on London's South Bank to see Viv Albertine. Arguably it would be hard to find a greater contrast to the previous evening's entertainment - but I've never been one for only liking one type of music, or not liking something because I like something else if you know what I mean. Ms. Albertine certainly looked great (as this clip shows!) and with a band that included two violinists (!) she ran though a compelling set of songs that had the audience - and indeed me - enthralled throughout. Great stuff.

Ruts D.C. played their last show until the Damned tour support in November and December on Friday evening, at The Exchange in Bristol. A raucous performance was bought to an abrupt halt a few seconds into 'Staring At The Rude Boys' when Segs was hit in the face by his microphone. We restarted the song a few seconds later and the same thing happened again - 'once is a mistake, twice is a choice' as the old saying goes, and Segsy wasn't happy, even getting into the audience to try to find the person or persons responsible. I remember things like this happening all too often back in punkier times, and I guess it could then have been put down to youthful exuberance (or immaturity!) but with at least some of the audience being old enough to be grandparents it's a real shame that it still happens now. It certainly soured an otherwise enjoyable show, but with the afore-mentioned Damned dates on the horizon the band is in an optimistic mood and is not about to let something as daft as this change that. Well, I'm certainly not!

Me on guitar,
Rat Scabies on drums.
Oh yes!
I got home around 4am; 5 hours later I was in Balcony Shirts saying things like 'this is the sort of day that takeaway coffee was invented for'. No time to worry about that now though, as it's off to Wealdstone Football Club (better known to many as Tropic At Ruislip) for the 6th Annual Paul Fox Social Club. With both the Metropolitan and Piccadilly lines off due to 'planned engineering works' numbers were down a bit on last year's gathering, but there were more than enough people there to make the evening work. I made a guest appearance with The Members - playing 'The Sound Of The Suburbs' with Rat Scabies on drums was certainly something for me to remember - and I'm told that the evening raised several thousand pounds for The Michael Sobell Hospice, which can only be good news if you think about it.

The next morning I was at RnR Studios by 10am for a Back To Zero rehearsal. We'd not played together for several months, and with a show coming up at The Railway Hotel in Southend next month a get-together was definitely overdue - pleasingly it only took a couple of songs for us to get back into the swing of things, which was good news as we are obliged to play two sets at the gig and so are adding several cover versions to our repertoire alongside a new song or two. We've got another rehearsal booked before the Southend appearance as well as a planned recording session so hopefully we should be on good form for the gig. 
I don't mind admitting that I was flagging a bit by the end of the session, and when I got home went back to bed for a couple of hours. I'm sure I didn't have to do that when I was younger! Ah well... still I was sufficiently revitalised to return to Tropic At Ruislip for a blues evening that featured Big Dez and Storm Warning - both bands played well but once again there wasn't much in the way of audience numbers which was a real shame. I guess people aren't too keen on 'rail replacement buses'? 

I've got no shows this week so I suppose there will be plenty of time to catch up on some other things... whatever they are...

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