Wednesday, February 19, 2014

'Stoke adds life where there isn't any, so freeze man freeze!'

It's been a slightly quieter few days... sort of...

I saw Johnny Warman play several times with The Mods, and was always impressed. both with his not-inconsiderable vocal ability and his choice of songs - if you're going to have a covers band then you might as well play songs by The Who, The Kinks, The Small Faces... well, that's pretty much how we run The Upper Cut! His new band Magic Bus (great name!) were playing at Tropic At Ruislip on Friday, and expectations were high. Well they were from my point of view anyway... in the main the band lived up to them, being excellent musicians although perhaps a little 'heavy' sounding for some of the material (for example 'You Really Got Me' was more Van Halen than The Kinks - I'd have much preferred it to have been the other way round!) I also felt that they played the set in a slightly odd order - finishing the evening with 'Won't Get Fooled Again', 'Love Reign O'er Me' and 'See Me Feel Me' / 'Listening To You' is unlikely to disappoint a Who obsessive such as myself, but none of them can exactly be described as great dance songs, and since up until that point in proceedings the area in front of the stage had been heavily populated with people shaking a leg or two they somewhat dissipated the atmosphere. A good rather than great evening then, although I'll try to catch the band again as it'll be interesting to see where they go from here.

And talking of Tropic At Ruislip Sunday 2nd March sees a very special night there, when The Flying Squad and The Band Of Sceptics play a tribute show to the late and undeniably great Gypie Mayo - more news nearer to the day, but it should be a great night!

Saturday saw the first Back To Zero gig of 2014, at The Gardeners Retreat in Boothen near Stoke-on-Trent. Also on the bill were Robby Allen and The Kite Collectors and The Found, and proceeds from the evening went towards buying an FM licence for Alan May's 'Glory Boy Mod Radio Show' on 6 Towns Radio. With Squirrel away elsewhere Pete is depping on bass, and Stuart returns on keyboards - when we arrive all the bands are there but there's no sign of a sound man or indeed a P.A. system. They both eventually turn up around half past five, and with door due to open at 7.30pm sound check is therefore a rather rushed affair. Still with over 150 tickets sold for a 200 capacity venue a good evening is in prospect - we take the short walk back to The Plough Hotel where we're staying to get changed before coming back to the venue in time to catch the first band The Found. Introduced by Alan as 'a band from a small town in Sunderland called Newcastle-upon-Tyne' (cue a predictably raucous reaction from the band members!) they play a good set that perhaps owes a little too much to Paul Weller but that is very enjoyable all the same. Next up are Robby Allen and The Kite Collectors - I remember seeing Mr. Allen in The Mild Mannered Janitors back in the day, he was good then and he's good now, with his young band matching him move-for-move and the audience getting behind him from the word go. By the time we go on the place is packed - starting and finishing with our new single 'Love Like Suicide' (7'' vinyl available soon - oh yes!) we play a good set to a very appreciative audience, and we all agree that it's a great start to the BTZ year. Afterwards there's time for a few drinks with some of the audience before stumbling back to our hotel for some well-earned sleep. A fine evening - and here's 'Your Side Of Heaven' from the show. My guitar is loud isn't it? Good!

And yesterday it was back to Jamm in Brixton to continue working on the various Ruts D.C. projects currently being prepared for release - it's all sounding good but there's still work to be done... and The Upper Cut play The Kings Arms in Harefield this Saturday followed by a 4pm show at The Horns in Watford on Sunday afternoon so we're rehearsing tomorrow night - still busy... 

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