Tuesday, December 26, 2006

'A Bentley at Twenty' and other stories

2 good gigs on the 2 days before Christmas is a nice thing to be able to write about:-

Saturday 23rd and the last 'A-team' gig of 2006 (we're playing on New Year's Eve but I've no idea who'll be in the group that night!) was a Christmas party in the wonderfully named Crook Suite at the Webbington Hotel and Country Club near Weston-super-mare. I'd never been there before but have seen it up on the hill when passing by on the M5. After a quick-ish soundcheck Pete suprises us all by handing round envelopes of cash- he was paying us for recent gigs and had ran out of cheques in his cheque book!
After the good news that we were all getting a meal at the venue (you sometimes do, you sometimes don't) we decided to do the decent thing and go for a drink at the hotel bar. Everyone's in good spirits and on fine form with John the drummer's stories of his early gigging in Essex being particularly entertaining, if rather unrepeatable in parts.
Gigtime and there's people up and dancing pretty much from the word go. We play a straight (i.e. there's no interval) 80+ minutes including a, shall we say, interesting version of 'Mustang Sally' which finds it's way into 'Jingle Bells' and 'Silent Night' and back out again. Good stuff.

Christmas Eve and myself and Gary are out with The Briefcase Blues Brothers (Mario & Matt) at Butlins in Skegness. We played with these boys a couple of months ago (see 'Depping Blues' posting) somewhere in Essex; this time the rest of the band's different- Kes (Kez?) is on bass and a different Adam from last time's on drums. When Adam and myself get into Matt's car he's listening to The New York Dolls- a good sign methinks, though playing me B.B. King's 'Live at Cook's County jail' on the way to the gig doesn't seem to help my inferiority complex... we meet the rest of the lads at the venue (Centre Stage) and get the beers in.
Now- the number of people who laughed when I mentioned that I was playing at a Butlin's camp on New year's Eve were only slightly outnumbered by the number of people who had major league hysterics when they found that it was in Skegness (everyone else just kind of shuddered) so it's with no little amusement that I can say that it turned out to be a really great gig- a bit loose here and there but any errors were more than made up for by the energy of the band and the reaction of the audience; this was probably the most 'up for it' Butlins crowd I've encountered which made for a highly enjoyable show. Afterwards there's time for a drink and a mince pie or 2 (nice one Kes) before a drive home accompanied by Billy Bragg on the CD player and good vibes all round. Happy Christmas indeed.

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