I have just - just! - returned from playing with Ruts D.C. at The Fat Tuesday Festival in Hastings. And what a great night it was - we played three sets in three venues (The Dragon Bar, The Lord Nelson and The Carlisle - this timetable shows how well-planned the schedule was) and played a different set each time - it really was a terrific event to be part of. I must say it was quite an intense evening - as our first set finished the next band were queueing up to get on stage and we were being told that we had to get a move on to get to our next venue, which might not sound particularly 'intense' here but certainly felt it at the time. And in the midst of the madness Girlschool bass player Enid came over and introduced herself - I saw them play with Motorhead all those years ago. Mind you, so did lots of people!
We rehearsed for said Hastings gig(s) in the familiar surroundings of The Music Complex in Deptford on Friday. A jovial first hour or so some very unexpected oldies both from the band's back catalogue and elsewhere (did we really play 'Roxette'? Yes, incredibly, we did!) as well as attempting to put three sets together for the shows. After a coffee break progress was swift, although I'm still not sure how so many Spandau Ballet lyrics managed to find their way into quite a few of the songs...
Rehearsal finished at 4 o'clock - 2 hours later I was back at home readying myself for a Big Al Reed and The Blistering Buicks gig at The Paddington Packet Boat in Cowley. Due to other commitments it had been quite a while since I'd last played with the band (my good friend Pete Kerr has been dong a splendid job in my absence) and with this in mind I ran through a few songs on Thursday afternoon before leaving for The Brewery in Moorgate to see a Q&A session with Roger Daltrey and Wilko Johnson. This was an interesting evening (you knew I'd say that now didn't you?) with Daltrey bemoaning the amount of time people spend with their mobile phones held in front of their faces and Wilko telling a hilarious story about Lew Lewis attempting to syringe his own ears with a bicycle pump (!) among the many highlights. It goes without saying that I'm really - make that really - looking forward to getting their 'Going Back Home' album later this month but, well, I'll say it anyway - I'm really looking forward to getting their 'Going Back Home' album later this month!
Anyway back to the Cowley gig, which was, erm, ok... the band played well but I made a few too many mistakes for my liking. I always find this annoying although it didn't seem to bother anyone else (or if it did then they didn't say anything to me!) However the next night's show at The Three Wishes in Harrow was much more like it; indeed I'd even go so far as to say that it was one of the best shows that the band has ever played. That's more like it!
Back in 2010 The Band Of Sceptics and The Flying Squad played together at Tropic At Ruislip; on Sunday evening the two bands reconvened at the same venue to play a tribute show to the late and undeniably great Gypie Mayo who had played with The Band Of Sceptics at the afore-mentioned gig and who also of course played for Dr. Feelgood, The Yardbirds and many more. Joining myself and singing stalwart Andy in The Squad were Johnny Squirrel on bass and Andy Moore on drums, and with regrettably no chance for the band to rehearse before the show we all resolved to get to the venue early to run through as many songs as time would allow. When we got there John had already set up the (excellent) P.A. system, so all that remained was for us to set up and get going - we managed to play quite a few songs and work out some endings before time caught up with us and we made way for The Band Of Sceptics to soundcheck. By the time the doors opened it was raining heavily and there were fears that this would put people off from coming, but in the event there were more than enough people in the audience to make the evening work. The Band Of Sceptics were up first - led by the irrepressible Pete Sargeant their engaging West Coast-powered set found favour with the Tropic crowd. They very kindly invited your humble narrator to join them on stage for Captain Beefheart's 'Gimme Dat Harp Boy' - I ended up staying with them for the rest of their set, which was great fun to say the least. Our set started strongly with 'I Can Tell', and despite the odd mad moment here and there it all went well with a great reaction from those present. We finished with the Dr. Feelgood classic 'Down At the Doctors' before Pete joined us to jam on Howlin' Wolf's 'Killing Floor' which bought a highly enjoyable evening to a close. We raised several hundred pounds for The Dorothy House Hospice who cared for Gypie towards the end of his life, and we're doing it all again on Friday at Surrey Blues Club. Excellent!
This week's Reggae Punk Monday at The 12 Bar Club featured Bug on the stage and GLM at the bar - both fine sights to see. I'd not seen the three ex-Lurkers together for a while - when 'Shadow' came on over the P.A. I attempted to get them all on stage to mime to it, but sadly to no avail... Bug roared through a breathless half hour set before an increasingly appreciative audience. Frontman Phil described the band as 'Northern monkeys' on more than one occasion - maybe he was trying to get the put downs in before anyone else did, but if he was then there was no need as the band sounded great. And Monday nights at The 12 Bar Club really are getting better and better, which is a good thing to see in these troubled times.
Right, time for some food. Or some sleep. Or something. Hmmm... I think last night is catching up with me... I told you it was intense...