Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hair guitar (sorry!)

I've just got in from playing one of the more, shall we say, unusual gigs of my dubious career- in a shop window. Let me explain...

There are quite a few barber shops in Uxbridge, but there's only one like Horsepower Hairdressing. It's owned and run by Adam (easily distinguishable from the other shop owners in the area thanks to his red and black mohican haircut) and it's perhaps best described as a 'rock'n'roll hairdressers', with 'Kill Bill' posters on the wall and non-stop MTV on the screens, not to mention some very nice young ladies working there (sorry Shirl!) Obviously I have what's left of my hair cut there- where else could I find somewhere as mad as this?!?- and it was during the course of a conversation with Adam one day that he mentioned that he was having a party to him taking over the shop (it used to be called Toffs) and would I be interested in playing at it? It took me all of a split second to say yes... so it was then that The Pete Tobit Experience (a.k.a. PTX) took to the stage at The Clubhouse on Stockley Park last night. Earlier in the evening The Unknowns had played their second-to-last gig (their last show is at The Ace Cafe on September 12th) and very good they were too, mixing rockabilly standards with original material and getting plenty of dance floor action in the process.
So- how were The PTX going to follow this then? Very well as it happens- with Pete on acoustic guitar and vocals, Squirrel on bass, Ian on keyboards and Marc on drums we played a fair bit of our CBB material (Ian playing the horn riffs excellently) and with Pete in full 'Mr. Showbiz' mode we also managed to find our way through the likes of 'Brown Eyed Girl' without too many problems. Someone called out for some rock'n'roll- Pete was straight into Carl Perkins's 'Honey Don't' without missing a beat, with us boys in the band not too far behind. I must admit that I'd wondered how well we'd go down with The Suicide Shifters (a rather scary looking group of hot rod enthusiasts) and Adam's biker mates, but it was great to see them all getting into the show, even singing along with 'Knock On Wood' with Pete in their midst with a radio mic. When I'd originally talked to Adam about the gig he'd said that he thought we'd be ideal for it as there'd be quite a cross-section of people there including his mum and dad, and it turned out that he was correct (thank God!)

In addition to the 'big' party at Stockley Park Adam told me that they were having a smaller bash in the shop itself the next day. 'Let me know if you want me to do something there as well' said I, little believing that he actually would; having over-committed myself yet again (Shirley's always telling me off!) I immediately implicated my old mate Andy Cross with the question 'do you fancy a gig in a barber's shop window?' There's only one answer to that, as they say...

Arriving at the shop just after midday we set up in front of the sinks, parked Andy's battlebus in The Chimes car park and, pausing only to watch a few minutes of the fashion show taking place in the shopping centre, (yes, you read that bit right) we returned to the shop to find the bar open (yes, you read that bit right as well; Adam really is the man who put the bar in barbers!) and people arriving on assorted motor bikes and hot rods. Better get on with it then- starting with 'Before You Accuse Me' and armed with Andy's Big Book Of Songs we ducked and dived our way through twenty-something songs throughout the afternoon. The Suicide Shifters provided much merriment with some splendid old cars (including a Ford Consul; we had one of those- it looked a lot bigger when I was a lad!) and haranguing your humble narrator about the previous night's show ('you're not playing knock knock knock on wood again are you?') Meanwhile Harley Davidson's mixed with Oldsmobile's much to the astonishment of passers-by, and Andy changed many-a lyric to suit the occasion (either that or I'd never noticed the line 'Sunday I sit and play in a barber's shop window' in 'Stormy Monday' before!) A genuinely unique performance- until the first anniversary party next year that is. Excellent!

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