Sunday, February 10, 2008

South and North

If you read last week's posting 'North and South' and thought to yourself something along the lines of 'what acid casualty booked a gig in Newcastle followed by a gig in Maidstone?' then you were not alone. A possible answer to your question might be 'probably the same one that booked a gig in Clacton followed by a gig in Rotherham'...

Friday saw The Chicago Blues Brothers visit the Princes Theatre in Clacton. Somehow- and I really must try to find out how- the show was being covered by the local B.B.C. programme 'Look East' (possibly because Mike and Dave are vaguely local?) which meant Mario & Mike (Jake & Elwood) and Squirrel had to be there at the worryingly early hour of 11 a.m. for an interview whilst the rest of us were due there sometime around 3 o'clock so that part of the sound check could be filmed prior to our performance. The long-suffering Shirley and myself picked up Tracy on the way; joining Ian on keyboards and Dave & Richard on sax & trumpet was, back for one night only, John Skelton on drums. His last show with us was at Windsor back in September- he's now in T.Rextacy. Myself and Squirrel celebrated his return by jamming 'Black Night' with him at the sound check- excellent!- and sound man Ian Bond bought along his recently-aquired Gibson Les Paul Custom for me to see which made for a fine hour or so from my point of view (I'm easily pleased!) though how much of it ends up in the programme remains to be seen.
With a couple of hours to go before showtime we had time to visit the local Prezzo italian resturant where Squirrel decided that although he wasn't really hungry he would stay and have a drink with us; he somehow managed to drink over a bottle of wine in the time it took for us to have a quick-ish meal. 3 or 4 songs into the show he came across to me and said 'I think I might be in a bit of trouble here' which I would say qualifies as 'understatement of the year so far'... John broke the head on his snare drum during 'River Deep Mountain High'- he managed to get the spare in place during the quiet section in the middle without half the band (and I suspect most of the audience) realising that anything had happened- and Mario made an excellent job of Pete's costume changes. A fun (if slightly chaotic) show.

Rotherham Civic Theatre might not sound like the most enticing place to spend a Saturday night but I for one enjoyed my time there immensely. Mario, Tracy and myself arrived there around 4.30 after a journey that had included a sighting of a van from the International Ferret Rescue and Welfare Centre (really!) and a stop in a service station that was playing Dr. Feelgood to it's unsuspecting clientelle. Marc returned to the drum stool and Andy and Matt replaced Dave and Richard; soundcheck jams included 'Honky Tonk Women' and 'Little Wing', and I took my old Stratocaster along for Ian Bond to have a look at- we guitarists do that kind of thing...
We took a walk down into town to find some food. Rotherham's a bit short of takeaway food outlets (well, the part we were in was anyway) but did have a pet shop called 'FISH AND CHEEPS' which advertised REPTILES NOW IN STOCK, and, even more peculiarly, an enormous T.V. screen showing News 24 in the middle of the town square. Myself and Ian did the decent thing and went for a drink in the only visable pub 'Disraeli's' before making our way back to the venue.
And Rotherham rocked! A great gig saw Mario sitting on a young lady's knee for the start of 'Do You Love Me', Squirrel's mobile phone going off as we were about to start 'Jailhouse Rock' (he'd forgotten that he had it in his pocket- it was Pete, wondering how the gig had gone) and someone coming up to me in the bar afterwards and saying that they thought that I was a better guitarist than Joe Walsh. Now there's something that I don't get told every day... and Dave Land's wife Lynn came over to say hello; she was up visiting relatives and seemed a bit mystified that Dave hadn't been playing!

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