Thursday, March 03, 2016

Hats off to Harefield

...except that continuation didn't quite continue in the manner that I thought it would - the Dollis Hill gig was cancelled. Bah! Al received a text from the landlord of The Ox and Gate saying words to the effect of 'the brewery isn't sure if the want us to continue putting on live music, we'll let you know about the other gigs that you've got booked with us later this year' which I for one suspect is landlord-speak for 'we've stopped having live music, but just in case we decide to start it up again we'll attempt to keep you vaguely interested in playing here'. Cynical? Me? Maybe... still at least the Big Al Reed and The Blistering Buicks gig at The Kings Arms in Harefield took place on Saturday night as planned - it's an interesting venue at the best of times, but I knew we were in for a memorable night when, if I might use a word beloved of Sherlock Holmes, a 'singular' gentleman parked his wheelchair-bound mother approximately half an inch away from my amplifier during the interval with the words 'I see that you have stolen my look'. He was wearing a spangly trilby-style hat - mine was spangle-free but that didn't deter him. 'I've been wearing this hat for over five years, how long have you been wearing yours?' In a brave but ultimately doomed attempt at humour I replied 'I put it on just before 8 o'clock this evening' to which he retorted 'see - you've only been wearing yours for a couple of hours, I've been wearing mine for over five years'. It almost goes without saying that he undid virtually all the buttons on his shirt whilst dancing wildly to the first song of our second set - after which somebody stole his hat. As he went off in pursuit of the criminal mastermind responsible I noticed that a chap sitting not two yards in front of us had fallen asleep sitting at a table. No, I can't think of an adequate punchline at the moment either - I'll let you know if I ever do. 

As we unexpectedly found ourselves with no gig on Friday night myself and fellow Buicks guitar man Pete went to Tropic At Ruislip to see noted Jimi Hendrix tribute act Are You Experienced?. Pete saw the man himself play several times and so was an interesting person to attend a show such as this with - it was clear that a lot of work had gone into putting the act together and their two sets featured all the hits alongside less obvious songs like '1983... (A Merman I Should Turn To Be)' and 'Freedom'. Guitarist John Campbell is obviously a big fan and managed to go a very long way towards recreating the legendary Hendrix guitar sound; we was also an excellent player (which helped!) and, yes, he set fire to his guitar at the end of the show. Well to be pedantic he set fire to something like lighter fuel on his guitar which then (thankfully!) went out within a few seconds but the overall effect was there if you know what I mean.  A good gig, as was the previous night's performance by The Ska Faces at The Horns in Watford. They feature my old Price band mate Huggy Harewood on bass, and as their name suggests they play a mixture of ska and mod material. On the surface this is an extremely attractive prospect, and for the most part it worked well although it did all get a bit disjointed in places - 'Won't Get Fooled Again' followed by 'Pressure Drop' anyone? Add to this the fact that the singer seemed to be having monitor problems throughout the first set (which disappeared as soon as he switched his radio microphone for one of the venue's - use a cable boys and girls!) and you have a show which Huggy described as 'not one of our best nights'. I suspect he was correct, but it was good to see him play.

On Sunday I went with my Dad to see Liverpool play Manchester City in The League Cup Final (ok, I know that they call it The Capital One Cup these days, but if you're my age it's The League Cup and it always will be!) at Wembley Stadium. Tickets for events such as these are of course very hard to come by - I got some via Bug / Department S guitarist and all round good guy Phil Thompson who is a Man. City season ticket holder, and bought my Dad his one for his birthday. (He was 84 last Sunday. 84!) It would of course have been a better day if Liverpool had won the game, but I thought City deserved the honours - and as our tickets were smack bang in the middle of 21,000 or so of their fans that might have been the best outcome if you think about it... and I'd not seen a penalty shootout before - ooh they're nerve-racking!

And it's been a busy week this week as although I've got no gigs I've been working in Balcony Shirts every day. I thought that I was getting a day off tomorrow but it's too busy for such behaviour so I'll be in the shop then and Saturday too. Hmmm... this is a bit too much like having a real job! But don't worry Leigh - it's back to the guitar next week...

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