Thursday, September 03, 2015

'The hope that springs eternal...'

The word 'legendary' get overused these days doesn't it? It seems to me that you only have to get through the opening stages of a television talent programme to find yourself referred to as a genius, and if you get through to the final you're a legend within minutes, maybe even seconds. Ah well - at least that means that it'll never be applied to me...

The Hope And Anchor in Islington is, I think it's fair to say, a legendary venue. The Stranglers, Madness, U2, - they and many more played there back in the day, although you wouldn't know it from the pub's website. Have a look at it here - unless I'm missing something (which let's face it is more than possible!) there isn't one mention of it being a live music venue. In a way I suppose you could say that this is a good thing - there are so many people and places that have talked up what they've done to the point that it's either barely believable or just plain embarrassing - but I can't help but think that it's a shame that a place like this seems to be all but unaware of it's history. That said the walls of the staircase down to the basement venue are adorned with reproduction posters and tickets so perhaps I'm reading more into this than I should. Imagine that eh? I saw a few shows there over the years although oddly enough the only band I can really remember seeing there were The Gas; the last time I was there was to see Ipanema who featured former Mega City Four mainman Wiz and who played upstairs rather than downstairs - I'd never played there myself and so it was indeed a pleasure to play there with The London Sewage Company last night. Apparently the official capacity of the venue is only 80 people - sadly we didn't get near to that figure, but those that were there certainly made a lot of noise. With the Ruts D.C. Autumn schedule looming it'll be my last gig with the band for a while although there's talk of a single release in the not-too-distant future - more news as and when I have it, as they (whoever 'they' are) say.

Talking of Ruts D.C. we've been gearing up for this month's European gigs (full details on the Muttis Booking website) by spending some time at The Music Complex in Deptford. Tour rehearsals begin next week, but part of this year's PledgeMusic campaign involved us offering drums, bass and guitar lessons - nobody wanted a guitar lesson (!) but bass and (especially) drums proved to be popular, and as a band we decided to go a bit further by all turning up for the last hour of the session which gave the pledger a chance to play with the whole band. Somewhat inevitably this also involved us all visiting The Little Crown for some Guinness - it's a tough old life sometimes isn't it?

In the meantime Big Al and The Blistering Buicks played at The Kings Arms in Harefield on Saturday evening, an odd show which was marked by an unusually high amount of equipment malfunction. As we went to start the first number Pete's guitar amp refused to make any sound at all - fortunately Al had a spare but it wasn't a good way to begin the show. Chris's keyboards then mysteriously turned themselves off, and when he turned them back on he'd lost his pre-programmed Hammond Organ sound - and then my overdrive pedal went wrong. Towards the end of the Bournemouth gig earlier this month the overdrive sound had stopped working even though the indicator light was still lit - this, a classic case of 'the lights are on but no one's home', usually means that the battery has nearly run out so changed it believing that to be the problem. However it happened again at this show, something which I chose to attempt to remedy by jumping up and down on it in an increasingly futile (and indeed childish) display of anger. Not big and most definitely not clever, although it did give Al something to laugh at! Closer inspection revealed that the power switch on the back of the pedal was set for 18V rather than 9V (it's an Ibanez Tube Screamer TS808DX - this review tells the story should you wish to indulge) so I've since taped it in the 9V position which should hopefully sort things out. We shall find out this weekend as Big Al and Co. play at a private party in Uxbridge on Saturday night... and The Upper Cut return to showbusiness with a gig at Ye Olde George in Colnbrook on Sunday afternoon - which means that I've got from now until then to re-learn the songs. I'd better stop sitting here typing and listening to 'Album' by Public Image Ltd (it is bloomin' good though isn't it?!?) and get on with it then hadn't I?

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