Well- that was a busy 4 days in mad-guitar-land...
Thursday it was time for a Flying Squad gig in previously unchartered territories, supporting The Vibrators at The Beaverwood Club in Chislehurst. It's a gig promoted by Pete Feenstra who I first met sometime back in the 1990's when I was playing in The Flame; he promotes at a lot of venues- have a look at his website to see what I mean- and has done a lot of work in keeping live music happening at a time when it wasn't a particularly fashionable thing to be involved with. Bearing in mind that it was Guy Fawkes Night myself and Andy (vocals) set off early, but I don't know how early we would have to have left to avoid the traffic chaos that we encountered in the course of our 3 1/2 (yes, three and a half!) hour journey...
We'd just about got out of town when Dave (drums) called to warn us against using the M25 as it was at a standstill from junction 10; we got to junction 12 before turning off and trusted the 'avoid congestion' option on the sat nav. which did a pretty good job until we neared Wandsworth Common where there were literally thousands of people on the streets, presumably on their way to a fireworks display. Traffic was at an almost total standstill and it took quite a while for us to discover the reason why- the cars couldn't move as there were so many people were on a Zebra crossing. Surely a policeman or even a lollipop lady could have prevented this from happening? Or would that be too simple?
We eventually arrived at the club not long after 8 o'clock. Fortunately Dave and Mike (bass) had been there for a while and were all set up and ready to rock- by the time I'd said hello to Eric on the door (I hadn't seen him for 10 years or more!) and introducing myself to Al the soundman I had something like 15 minutes to set up for an 8.30 start. Easy! Soundcheck consisted of checking that my amp worked (it did) and Al telling us that he didn't think the monitors were working properly (he was right, they weren't.) It took a song or two to get used to the sound and to get going for want of a better term, but we played well and went down a storm with the audience.
How well did we play? Click here to find out!
And The Vibrators were excellent too- they're another of those bands that an old punk like me watches and thinks 'oh I'd forgotten about this one' rather more times than he thought he would. With frontman/guitarist Knox still recovering from an accident ex-Members guitarist Nigel Bennett was the sole 6-stringer and very good he was too; he also did a good job of remembering the time I saw him play 'Babylon's Burning' with Ruts D.C. at The Fulham Greyhound all those years ago when I spoke to him afterwards. A top evening- and it didn't take us quite so long to get home (thank God!)
Friday and myself and East (who's asked me to mention that he was called a 'horny little devil' by not one but two ladies at last weekend's Bucks Golf Club show- well, he was wearing a pair of red horns for much of the evening...) spent the evening at The Dolphin in Uxbridge checking out The Side Project. They're a band made up from students at Brunel University who are interested in playing at The Load of Hay so we went along to see what they were like. Maybe the best word to describe them is 'quiet' as they didn't use a P.A. system (they sang through their amplifiers!) 'though anyone who plays 'Dreaming Of You' by The Coral is alright by me- I guess that means they get a gig then...
Saturday saw something completely different- a gig at The Old Bell in Enfield for a new band consisting of your humble narrator on guitar, my old mate Terry on bass (we played together in The Informers sometime in the 1990's) and ex-Chevrons Terry on vocals and Mick on drums. Currently rejoicing under the admittedly rather ironic name of YOUNGBLOOD we've managed a couple of quick rehearsals before this short notice gig came in. With a set that makes the most of Terry's excellent voice (somewhere between Rod Stewart and Steve Marriott in my not-so-humble opinion- yes, that good!) we managed to get held up on the way to the venue by, you've guessed it, a large number of people on a zebra crossing (presumably going to a bonfire party?!?) and we definitely need a bit more rehearsals if this gig was anything to go by (a couple of songs ground rather unceremoniously to a halt amid some confusion) although there was still a lot to enjoy (let's face it, if it had been really bad I wouldn't have mentioned it here!) and it'll be interesting to see how it all shapes up over the next few months.
Sunday and it's time for another Acts Less Ordinary night at The Load of Hay in Uxbridge, and they don't come much less ordinary than Attila The Stockbroker. John (his real name- yes I was a bit disappointed too!) was in fine form especially considering that he and his wife Robina have spent a great deal of time recently caring for his mum (who suffers from Alzheimer's Disease) and step dad (who's been diagnosed with bowel cancer and has recently broken his hip.) Indeed myself and himself spent a fair amount of time in an in depth discussion on the subject of caring for our mums (I spent years with my mum when she had Motor Neurone Disease) at various points throughout the evening.
East (yes, the horny little devil himself) was at the bar for much of the gig and reported 'jaws dropping' at strategic points during the show; this happens a fair bit at Attila's gigs- as the man himself says on his MySpace page, 'I don't mess about. I've got lots to say and I'm out there saying it' 'though the person who said to me that they thought he was 'politically incorrect' had surely got their wires crossed although I guess it depends on what you consider to be 'correct'! We could have done with a few more people in (don't come moaning to me that there's nothing to do when gigs like this are happening!) but it was still enough of a success for Grant the landlord to invite Attila back for a return gig next year. Excellent!