Sunday, February 03, 2008

North and South

It's been a l-o-n-g 48 hours; I'm not sure what I'm doing up this early to be honest with you...

10.30 Friday morning and I'm meeting Mario and Tracy at Richard the sax player's house. Mario (Jake in tonight's show) has picked up an 11-seat bus and we're off to meet the rest of the lads at a service station near Duxford- from there we go to (gulp!) Newcastle for a show at the Journal Tyne Theatre. Bad weather is forecast but it's a nice day for pretty much the whole journey; it starts raining an hour or so from Newcastle but the heavy snow that we were fearing that we'd encounter doesn't materialise although we see a few cars with snow on them so maybe we were luckier than we realised? We arrive at the theatre just before 5 o'clock- Ian's already set up the P.A. and after a quick load in (it was COLD!) we set up and soundcheck in no time. Ian says to me he's got an amplifier that he'd like me to try that he's just bought on Ebay- it's a Gallien-Kruger combo and it sounds pretty good (and agreeably noisy) to my ears.
There was a fire at The Tyne Theatre Christmas 1985; it was renovated and re-opened on the 12th November 1986 which I suspect is when the word 'journal' appeared in it's name. I know all of this because I read it on a plaque in a wall whilst I was stumbling around trying to find the bar... upstairs there's a lot of dressing rooms, so many in fact that I ended up with number 4 all to myself; on the landing outside was a poster advertising a poster for a performance of 'Tosca' featuring Sarah Bernhardt on Thursday 22nd July 1897. Another poster advertised a show that Placido Domingo played there in 1983- these places have the most amazing heritage.
7.30 Friday evening and we're ready to rock. It was Conor's 13th birthday; I know that because him and his friends and family were in the box to the left of the stage as you look out from it, going mad from the first notes to the last of a generally good show. Marc's still reading the set from his notes but doing an amazing job- the odd missed cue here and there and a rather fast version of 'I Feel Good' being about the only clues that he's still a 'new' member of the band. Mario got down into the audience for 'Do You Love Me?'- I for one wasn't sure how easy it would be for him to get back up onto the stage but he made it (just!).
10.30 Friday evening and we're getting ready to leave for home; there's a gig tomorrow night and as so often happens in these situations it was impractical for us to stay the night away. Squirrel's behind the wheel and it's a long way home but the atmosphere's good and people drift in and out of sleep as we wind our way south; in one of my 'awake bits' Dave Land plays me a couple of tracks by the wonderfully-named A Is For Automatic Weapons who feature his son Henry on bass- my bleary ears decide that there's some very clever stuff going on with time signatures and that they can all play a lot better than I could at their age...

10.30 Saturday morning and I'm in the shop- we've been open 45 minutes or so and I'm going to need rather a lot of coffee to get through the day. Saturday boy Ian takes a fair bit of heat off me, and Paul the guv'nor's in for the afternoon but it's still a busy enough day with the computer seemingly refusing to add up the sales figures correctly- or was I doing something wrong? Who knows... no time to worry about that now as myself and the long-suffering Shirley are off to Maidstone for a show at The Hazlitt Theatre; after an unusually easy journey I'm set up in record time for another 7.30 show. Pete's back as Jake after one of the shortest retirements from the theatre stage ever, and Bob's in for Richard on saxophone; the audience are a bit subduded despite Pete and Mike's best efforts to get them up and dancing but it's all ok in the end with 'I Feel Good' back to normal speed and Pete's costume changes are as amusing as ever.
10.30 Saturday evening and we're in the bar after the show. Spirits are good- it looks as though we've got a new agency which bodes well for gigs this year and beyond, and Pete has officially staked his claim for the Frank Sinatra Multiple Comebacks Award by retiring yet again. Excellent.

Yes, it's been a l-o-n-g 48 hours; I'm not sure what I'm doing up this early to be honest with you...


Anonymous said...

Frank Sinatra Multiple Comeback Award indeed! I'm going for the Frank Sinatra, Spice Girls, Take That, Westlife and, soon to be, Amy Winehouse Awards all in one!!!!
Just a shout to the lunatic on guitar..... as most of you would know he is one of the most underestimated and modest chappies around. He understates his talents immensely and is a massive part of the Chicago Blues Brothers. I truly believe he is Steve Cropper's unknown love child!
Anyway,here's to the next time that I can dust of the blacks, hat & glasses! Yours retiringly, Pete Tobit ( Him who used to play Jake for a while.... and might again!)

Anonymous said...

Henry sings in A Is For Automatic Weapons, he doesn't play bass.... And you are right they are awesome and have a very talented songwriter, the lead quitarist, Jakc Burden, is friend of mine and he writes the main part of the songs.