Saturday, October 10, 2009

'I love that dirty water...'

Me and my big mouth- as soon as I say that I'm doing two gigs with T.V. Smith the second one of them gets cancelled. Bugger! What's that saying about counting chickens? Still it was a great gig last night at The Dirty Water Club at The Boston Arms in Tufnell Park where we supported the excellent Goldblade (T.V. has been with them for most of their current British tour; he invited me to join him for the London and Brighton gigs but the latter now features the magnificently named Anal Beard rather than ourselves) with Johnny Casino and The Secrets opening the evening. The Boston Arms is a great venue (The Price played there which shows how long it's been going!) and The Dirty Water Club puts on some fine music, and is something of a labour of love for the organisers and as such seems to me to be well worth supporting. (Rather a spurious justification for buying a venue t-shirt don't you think?!?)

When myself and Big Andy arrived Goldblade were about to do their soundcheck; T.V. arrived just as it began, and commented that John Robb put as much energy into the soundcheck as a lot of people do during a gig. True- he certainly doesn't pull any punches... then it's our turn. As I'm playing a few chords for the soundman I realise that I'm actually feeling quite nervous, we play a verse or two of 'Good Times Are Back' and I almost don't feel as though I know it even though I was playing along with a recording of it only a few hours earlier. As we leave the stage to make way for Johnny Casino and The Secrets T.V. says something like 'a couple of odd chords in there- was it me?' Yes that comment was very diplomatic and no, it was definitely me... I mumble something about feeling more nervous before soundchecks than gigs as Johnny and co. warm up in the background.
We're due on at 10 o'clock and by 9 the place is filling up nicely- good to see Max Splodge along with punk promotess Sarah Pink as well as the legend that is Gaye Advert (soon to have an art exhibition in London- details on her MySpace page here) among the familiar faces. J.C. and the band are on at 9.30, they play great trashy rock and roll and go down well- afterwards I say to Johnny how good I thought his guitar sounded and he replied ' a 345 straight into an AC30, you can't go wrong with that.' He just might be right!
Just after 10.20 it's our turn, and as we kick off with 'No Time To Be 21' I'm still not feeling right 'though I've no idea why; as we get to the first chorus people are moving towards the stage, singing along and nodding approval (thank God!) as they do so. The song ends to tumultuous applause and suddenly, instantly, I feel better. Weird! From then on it's 40-odd minutes of acoustic mayhem with T.V. on top form and the audience response getting better and better. After we play three Adverts songs ('Gary Gilmore's Eyes', 'Bored Teenagers' and 'One Chord Wonders' in case you were wondering) a guy comes up to the stage, he looks a bit out of it and is shouting something at us but we've already started 'Good Times Are Back' and can't hear him. (T.V. was accosted by him later- apparently the gist of his message to us was 'when are you going to reform The Adverts?' Hmm- he might have rather a long wait on that one!) We finish with 'Runaway Train Driver' and the place goes mad. Remind me why I was so nervous again?
No sign of nerves from Goldblade who delivered a thunderous performance with John Robb as deranged a frontman as you will ever see and the band (with only one guitarist rather than the usual two) and audience with him every step of the way. Halfway through their set I go over to see T.V. on the merchandise stall where he's doing a roaring trade; I get my hand shaken by all and sundry and am told it was a great gig by virtually everyone. I really must try to cheer up before shows!

As we're leaving I grab a few words with John Robb- I tell him how I was the rehearsal guitarist for the Ruts/Henry Rollins gig two years ago (he was the compare for the show) and we speak of what a fabulous night it was. As we're talking about it a couple of chaps come over, I recognise them but can't place them- it turns out that they were friends of Paul Fox and that they saw me playing with Foxy's Ruts at The Crown And Treaty in Uxbridge a couple of weeks before the Ruts 'n' Rollins show, and that they're organising a tribute night for Paul (the 24th of this month at The Breakspear Arms in Ruislip in case you're interested) and would like me to come along. I say something about not being 'in with the in crowd' (I stopped any involvement with Foxy's Ruts when they decided that they wanted to continue using the same name after Paul had died; I might have lost a friend or two in the process but I think I made the right decision) but they tell me that I'm in with the in crowd as far as they're concerned and they'd like me to be there. It might not seem like much written down here but it's a subject that's caused me a lot of upset over the last couple of years so it's good to be invited along. I might even go!

It's been a funny couple of months, what with losing the work at the shop, not too many gigs about, money too tight to mention, insecurity replacing what little confidence I have- but nights like last night make it all seem worthwhile As he was leaving T.V. shook my hand and said that he hoped we'll do many more shows together. Perhaps the good times are back, as someone once sang...

And our Adverts trilogy is on YouTube- click here for acoustic punk rock nirvana! Hurrah!

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