Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Ireland life, Ireland live

Friday 13th January at 10.10 am, in seat 22c on Aer Lingus flight E1233 not long after take off from Gatwick Airport

I don't think that I've been in a plane that's taken off through snow before. Hmm... no, I'd remember wouldn't I? It was a good deal bumpier than I would have liked, but we're up in blue skies now thank gawd.
I really liked this poster!

Neither The Ruts or Ruts DC ever played in Ireland back in the day so tonight's show at The Voodoo Lounge in Dublin is definitely something of an event. Well, it certainly is for me - I first went to Dublin in 2001 with Neck and have played there a fair few times since then although not for quite a while so it'll be good to play there tonight.
Since last we spoke there have been no gigs for your humble narrator, although since I've not been feeling 100% fit lately that for once hasn't been a particularly bad thing. That said I have been to see a few bands - I kinda think that if you're not out playing then it's good to be out watching some one who is, if only to support the venue that putting live music on. Does that sound self-righteous? It's not supposed to, although maybe it does, or indeed is... anyway The Bluerays played at The Halfway House in Rickmansworth last Friday, and very good they were too - with Chris Hunt on drums the band offered up a good selection of cover songs (some obvious, some not-so-straightforward) to the appreciation of the good-sized audience. And it was great to catch up with Chris and to see him behind the kit, I've played here and there with him over the years and he's always excellent.
The now-annual Resolution Festival has been happening at The 100 Club - I've been to less shows than I'd have liked this year but was very pleased to catch a blistering performance by T.V. Smith and The Bored Teenagers on Sunday (sadly a tube strike meant that there were less punters than predicted but 'twas nevertheless a fabulous show) and an excellent show by The Sex Pistols Experience on Tuesday. 
In the meantime Britain is falling apart due to cold temperatures and the afore-mentioned snow - isn't this sort of thing supposed to happen in winter? Ah well - at least we're good at falling apart... anyway it was an early start so it's time to attempt a snooze...

Saturday 14th January at 1.15 pm on the road between Dublin and Belfast

Did you see what I did there? 'On The Road'. I always wanted to say or indeed write that, I sound just like Jack Kerouac don't I? Either that or I sound like a sad and lonely middle-aged man desperately trying to make his life sound more interesting and indeed romantic than it actually is. 
Well it's difficult to think how last night's gig could have gone any better than it did, although when we abandoned our soundcheck as none of us could hear what any of us was playing in didn't necessarily look as though a good night was in prospect. 'Don't worry' said Bob our soundman, 'it'll sound fine when there's a few people in here'. I've heard that a few ti...

4.00 pm in Room 315 at The Ramada Encore Hotel in Belfast

...at which point my pen ran out. Bugger!

As I was saying - the 'it'll sound fine when...' clause gets used by soundmen the World over with varying degrees of success, either because nobody turns up to watch the gig or because loads of people turn up and it still sounds awful. Happily this time Bob was proved to be correct as the place was pretty much full when we went on and the sound did indeed dramatically improve. It's good when that happens... with an audience that could politely be described as 'enthusiastic' the show went from good to great in no time at all - as our new friend John put it after the show, '2017 started here tonight'. Support came from local heroes Paranoid Visions who were probably the best that I've ever seen them which made it a cracking night all round. Hopefully we're in for another good one tonight - promoter Seamie used to play drums in The Bankrobbers who I remember seeing way back in 1981 supporting, of all people, Ruts DC. And if that's not a good omen then I don't know what is!

Sunday 15th January at 9.42 am in the same hotel room

Ooo my 'ead 'urts. Still I've only got myself to blame. As always. Well, that and the drinking

Breakfast I think...

4.14 pm in seat 18C on Flight EZY844 not long after take off from Belfast Airport 

Worrying. Very worrying. Well I think that it is. Well, it is isn't it? How much better an alcoholic drink makes you feel sometimes, especially when you've had rather a lot of them the night before. Maybe I shouldn't be saying that here. Maybe I shouldn't be saying it at all. Ah well - I just have. 
It was a long, long night, but a good one. If I'm honest (and I always try to be - don't you?) I'd have to say that we might have played a bit better the night before but not by much, although the sound seemed to be a bit better in Dublin (which is rather ironic if you think about it given how our soundcheck had gone) which resulted in me missing a couple of cues and accents in songs. Excuses excuses... maybe I'm being a bit over-critical as the audience loved it but you have to keep standards up don't you? Well, I think that you do. The Black Box Theatre seems to put on a lot of very diverse entertainment, and it's great to see such a good venue doing so well - and it was great to see my old mate John Ford who now lives nearby, and I must mention that Stop Stop Start Again provided splendid support too. Another roaringly good evening or indeed weekend - and there's another in prospect next week when we play The Ruhrpott Ska Explosion Festival in Dortmund. Excellent. 
Time for another snooze...

Tuesday 17th January at 2.37 pm, back in Blighty and at home

Somehow - and I for one am not sure how, given how knackered I was - I went to see The Lurkers playing the last night of The Resolution Festival on the way home from the airport. Strange but true. And if you're interested both the Stop Stop Start Again and Ruts D.C. shows are now on YouTube and can be seen here by clicking on the band names in this sentence. See what you think!

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