Well it seems that it's not just the gigs that I play that clash - this Friday I'd like to have gone to see Slim Chance at the 100 Club, and Saturday The Newtown Neurotics and Attila The Stockbroker played at The Gaff, not to mention The Lee Ryder Band (featuring Upper Cut drummer Roger) at the Load of Hay. Mind you this gives me chance to mention something that bought a smile to my face for obvious reasons - there's a Facebook campaign to make 'Kick Out The Tories' by Harlow finest the Christmas number 1. Now that's got to be a good idea hasn't it? Click here to get involved... but it was a roaringly good night on Friday when local-lads-made-good Awaken played at The Dolphin in Uxbridge. Myself and East stumbled through the front door in a 'oh-gawd-my-glasses-have-steamed-up-'cos-it's-so-cold-outside' haze just as 'Free Fallin'' came to a close, with Martin the singer saying 'hello Philip - oh sorry Leigh' as I made my way unsteadily to the bar. Pete's on guitar, Ken's on bass and with regular drummer Russell off with a bad knee Drew's depping on drums. A few songs into their second set Martin said something like 'We're going to get our friend Leigh up to do a couple of songs with us after this one' - I thought Pete had been joking when at halftime he said it would be good to get me up to play. He let me use his very - make that very - nice Les Paul; when I put it on I realised that he uses a much - make that much - shorter guitar strap than I do which felt really awkward although the guitar was so good to play I didn't notice after a while. Martin introduced 'Sweet Home Chicago' then said 'over to you Leigh' - after that it was 'Play That Funky Music', and after that it was back to the bar. I was just getting going! Still the return to the bar saw much merriment with myself and East eventually leaving sometime after 2 o'clock in a state of no little confusion...
I woke up at 8.30 Saturday morning realising that (a) I'd forgotten to set an alarm, and (b) I didn't feel very much more sober that when I went to bed. Not good frankly. I must stop doing that! Still all things considered I didn't feel too bad although was flagging by the end of a day in the shop that was more than busy enough to take my mind off my rather fragile condition. No time to worry about that though, as myself and former Price manager Eddie were off to The 100 Club (let's face it, I couldn't have gone 2 nights running could I? Actually my mates The Sex Pistols Experience were there on Sunday so I could have gone to that too!) for a tribute night dedicated to the memory of the late and undeniably great Mick Green who sadly died earlier this year. And a cracking evening it was too, with spirited performances from The Animals (drummer John Steel was snowbound up in Newcastle so Dylan Howe depped) and a predictably brilliant Wilko Johnson (joined by Johnny Spence on vocals for 'Going Back Home', a song Wilko wrote with Mick Green) ushering in the main event of the evening - The Green Brothers. Mick's sons Brad on guitar and Lloyd on bass were joined by drummer Mike Roberts and Johnny Spence on vocals for a blast through some of the best loved Pirates material. And 'blast' was very much the operative word for a thunderous performance with Brad reproducing his dad's guitar parts with unnerving accuracy and Spence in full Sweeney villain mode throughout. At one point he said that Brad had only started playing in January, which if true is absolutely astonishing - maybe that's when he started taking it seriously but I think he must have picked one up before then?!? But it was weird to see so many of Mick's mannerisms both while he was playing and at the end of the gig when he shook hands with members of the front row just like his dad used to. A great evening, and a fitting tribute to Britain's greatest rock ' n roll guitarist. And The 100 Club is still one of the great London venues - surely it's not going to close?
And now for something completely different, as Squirrel and myself braved a journey to Birmingham on Sunday evening to catch a show at The Alexandra Theatre by - wait for it - Marc Almond. Yes it does look like it just said 'Marc Almond' doesn't it? As often happens the explanation is a simple one - Dave Ruffy is on drums, and invited us to the gig. Oh and Carl who plays bass for The F.B.I. Band (who both Squirrel and myself have depped with) is in the band too. And I have to say - and I'm only going to say this once - it was a great show; not really my type of thing but you can't deny Mr. Almond's considerable stage presence and indeed vocal prowess, despite suffering from laryngitis. A fine version of Scott Walker's 'Jackie' closed the first half, and the night ended with a brace of solo and Soft Cell hits. A good gig all round. No really!
Right- back to work, or to be exact, an Upper Cut rehearsal due to start in just over an hour. We're playing at The Load of Hay this coming Sunday (5th December - Terry the bassman's birthday gig!) and I've got 3 gigs with T.V. Smith (details on his website) before then. That's more like it!