Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Early morning cold taxi

Another busy few days in mad-guitar-land - good! I'd be lying if I didn't say that it's also been a rather tiring few days, but it's better than having nothing to do...

In the wake of the Vive Le Rock article and album review there were two Ruts D.C. shows late last week. Thursday night saw the band visit The Brook in SouthamptonSupport came from Miss Jewels who sounded good to me although I did spend much of their set behind the merchandise stall and so didn't hear as much as them as I might have liked. I do remember them playing 'Heat Wave' though which is never a bad song to hear. For our show I used a Marshall Vintage Modern combo courtesy of my great friend Paul Cope (there were amplifiers supplied at the next night's show so I'd decided to travel light) which sounded absolutely fabulous to such an extent that I'm going to keep my eye out for a second hand one should I ever make any money (there's not much point in keeping an eye out then!) There's a review of the show on the excellent Aural Sculptors blog which also includes some video clips from the gig - overall it was a boisterous performance that saw the first appearance in the set for 'Something That I Said' (oh yes!) and a great reaction from the audience. 

But if that was a boisterous performance then the next night's show at The Great British Alternative Music Festival at Butlins in Minehead took us to new heights of, er, boisterousness. (Is that a word?!?) We were on Centre Stage at 10 o'clock (which sadly meant that I missed Eddie And The Hot Rods who were on at Reds at the same time - bugger!) and played to what looked to me to be a capacity crowd of around 3,000. An extraordinary incident took place about halfway through our 60 minute set when a couple of girls decided to shout something (I'm still not sure what!) at Molara who reacted by putting them down in no uncertain terms. It seemed to spur the band on, and our set (which had already been going well) finished to scenes of audience hysteria that wouldn't have been out of place in 'A Hard Day's Night'. I went out to watch The Members (who featured the irrepressible Rat Scabies on drums) play after us and must have shaken hands with 100 people. Great stuff all round, only tempered by the fact that we had to leave at 7.30am on Saturday to get the van back to London in time for us to avoid paying for an entire weekend's hire...

I woke up just after 5pm. I'd got home sometime before midday, had a shower and then fell asleep. Rock 'n' roll eh? Still no time to worry about that now, as The Upper Cut are playing in Colnbrook at Ye Old George Inn and I've got to get my things (and indeed myself) together - except, er, we're not. I was just getting changed for the show when I received a text message from Terry the bass telling me that the gig was cancelled. I called him straight away - apparently someone who likes our band (don't laugh, there are a few of them around!) had called the venue for directions and no one there knew anything about the show. Bah! Oh well, at least we found out before we got there - that's fortunately only happened to me a couple of times and is rather depressing. The gig has already been rescheduled for Sunday 12th May (unusually we're on at 5pm) so it does look like a genuine mistake was made. Oh well!

Sunday saw the final Back To Zero rehearsal before this week's gigs - Sam, Andy, Squirrel and myself were joined by Craig on vocals (he's one of the singers from the first time around and is singing lead on three songs at Saturday's show) and Stuart on keyboards for a session at RnR Studios in Uxbridge. Things were sounding so good that we finished the session early - now that's something that doesn't happen very often! After dropping my gear back at home I made my way down to The Crown And Treaty for the latest open mic / jam night. Such was the general jollity of the occasion that I found myself at a similar gathering last night at The Three Wishes in Edgware. It's interesting - not that long ago I'd never attended such an event but I must admit that I've enjoyed the ones that I have been to. That said they almost always have the odd peculiar moment - but perhaps they're the best bits? Hmm... maybe more about that another time...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Back to Back To Zero

Back when I was a lad there was a band called The Jam. They were good. Very good. Actually they were a bit better than that, but we haven't got time to go into that here - their success in the late 1970s coupled with the release of the 'Quadrophenia' film precipitated a mod revival that saw sharp dressed bands on 'Top Of The Pops' and scooters and parkas everywhere. One of the bands that was part of this 'scene' (I believe that's the correct term for this sort of thing) were Back To Zero, who released one single 'Your Side Of Heaven' / 'Back To Back' (find out all about it here) and participated in the 'March Of The Mods' tour in August and September 1979 with Secret Affair and The Purple Hearts. They also played with The Lurkers, The Cure and Joy Division among others and were supported by U2  - yes that's right, supported by U2at a London show. So - why am I telling you all of this? Well something like 33 1/3 years after their last public appearance Back To Zero are, er, back - on Thursday 2nd May they are playing at The Fiddlers Elbow in Camden and are at The Mods Mayday 2013 in Cambridge two days later. But when I say 'they' I should really be saying 'we' as alongside founder members Sam Burnett (guitar/vocals/songwriting) and Andy Moore (drums) is my old mate John Sorrell a.k.a. Johnny Squirrel on bass and your humble narrator on guitar. We'll also have Stuart Bates on keyboards, and one of the band's original singers Craig Lappin will be joining us for a few songs - I'll be meeting them for the first time at rehearsal this coming Sunday. The songs are great, four-piece rehearsals have been going well and after these shows we're going to record all the songs we've learned so far for an album - great stuff all round. Oh and the Camden show is to publicise the recently-released Paul Fox tribute CD 'See You On The Other Side', which I think you'll agree is more good news. Oh yes!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Vive le 'Vive Le Rock'

Issue 12 of the always-worth-getting 'Vive Le Rock' magazine is about to be unleashed on the unsuspecting general public - this edition features a 4 page piece on Ruts D.C. as well as a rave review of our (our!) new album. As I say the mag is always worth a read but obviously this one is pretty special for me - I'm still trying to work out how I feel about seeing my name in the same publication as articles on Wilko Johnson, Iggy And The Stooges, The AdvertsBruce Springsteen, The Godfathers and many more. I'll let you know if I ever come up with anything... and talking of Ruts D.C. we (we!) are playing at The Brook in Southampton this coming Thursday 25th April before an appearance the next night at The Great British Alternative Music Festival in Minehead. That should be something to write home (or indeed to write here) about...

Back to basics this weekend with two local pub gigs - The Upper Cut in Uxbridge at The Dolphin on Friday and Big Al Reed and The Blistering Buicks (you know, that name sounds madder and madder every time that I type it!) at The Rowan Arms in West Drayton on Saturday. Friday's show took a while to get going - we'd had a rehearsal at RnR Studios on Wednesday evening at which we ran through quite a few potential new numbers, most of which we decided to try at the gig. Maybe we tried too many or maybe it had just been a bit too long since we last played a show - either way our first set was all a bit scrappy, although that said it went down well with the audience. The second set was a different matter entirely - the band hit top gear from the first song, and with the extremely rare sight of Noel the guv'nor dancing we finished well after time due to the audience literally not letting us stop playing. In the end the second half more than cancelled out the first, but it was all a bit odd there for a while. Saturday on the other hand went very well indeed, especially considering that it was a short notice show - I'd not been to the venue before but anywhere that has a wall of photographs of glam rock heroes The Sweet is alright by me! - with everyone playing on top form and a great reaction from both the punters and the pub guv'nor. The Blistering Buicks is turning out to be a really good band to be in, and I'm already looking forward to our next show on May 3rd at The Swan in Iver. And that show falls between the first two gigs from Back To Zero - but more about them next time.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The rough with the smooth

As Thatchermania grips the country (I'm with Brian Reade and Morrissey myself, as you might well imagine) here's a look back at the last couple of weeks in mad-guitar-land :-

Back To Zero have continued their Sunday morning rehearsal schedule (bloomin' tiring if you've done a gig the night before I can tell you!) to great effect - today's session at Soundlab Studios in Loughton carried on where the previous week's one at Southend's Mushroom Studios left off, with the band sounding better and better each time we get together. (Yes, I know that's what supposed to happen - but it doesn't always work like that, believe me!) Next month's gigs are getting closer...

As I wasn't gigging this Saturday evening I took the opportunity to see Steve Conte and The Crazy Truth at The 100 Club. (Yes, I know I should have had an early night but, well, I should do a lot of things but I don't!) I loved Conte's playing in The New York Dolls so a chance to catch him with his band was definitely not to be missed, and I'm pleased to say that it was an absolutely storming show. Most of the debut album was played alongside a new song or two, and some splendid guest appearances from various members of The Jim Jones Revue and The Urban Voodoo Machine pushed things to even greater heights. A cracking night.

Big Al earlier today,
contemplating his latest career move.
Gig-wise your humble narrator has worked with the always-excellent Big Al Reed three times over the last week-and-a-bit, twice with The Blistering Buicks (yes, he really has called the band that!) and once as a duo. Last weekend's band gigs (with Big Al on vocals, guitar and saxophone, Chris on keyboards, Terry on bass and Dave on drums) were actually quite different from each other, in that odd way that consecutive shows sometimes are. The Friday night show (the 5th if you're taking notes... incidentally if you are taking notes, why are you taking notes?!?) was at Hayes Working Men's Club, where I depped for The Good Old Boys back in February. That was the first time that I'd played there - it's very easy to be cynical about a gig like this (you'd be surprised what people say to you when you tell them that you're playing at a 'working men's club' - it brings out snobbery, spite and more) and I'd be lying if I didn't admit to having the odd 'bloody hell, this time last week I was playing 'Babylon's Burning' with Ruts D.C.' moment but overall the gig went well despite us being worried that we didn't have enough material to fill 3 x 40 minute sets. We featured quite a bit of slower, laid back material as befitted the venue, so you won't be very surprised to hear that I for one preferred the next night at The Dolphin in Uxbridge when the show was more uptempo (again as befitted the venue) and therefore a bit more fun from my point of view. (That's not to knock the other songs but.. oh, you know what I mean!) With Dave away gigging elsewhere Bob Pearce made a fine job of depping on drums, and for the second show in a row I found myself on the same side of the stage as Chris and was therefore able to hear his playing clearer than on previous gigs. It reminded me what a very fine musician he is although having said that everyone played well on both shows. And I have just - just! - got home from an afternoon duo show with Al at The Feathers in Chalfont St Giles. After initial hilarity from Al when he saw that he was billed with a meat raffle (I was somewhat relieved to have not been billed at all!) we loaded in, set up and then set off in search of food. Suitably fortified we returned to play a good humoured show where we were once again joined by Ekkie on saxophone for a few numbers (he always seems to be there!) and which went down well with all concerned. And in case you're wondering, Al presented the meat raffle too!

This week The Upper Cut return to The Dolphin on Friday 19th, and then it's time for some Ruts D.C. gigs - more about that next time, but before then it's that funeral on Wednesday. If like me you think that the money that it's costing would be far better spent in any number of ways then why not protest by reviving the ancient English custom of Rough Music. No, I hadn't heard of it either, but I don't mind admitting that now I have I rather like the sound of it - follow this link for the plan!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Start saving now!

My dear friends - it is with no little fanfare that I bring you the following news :-

'Rhythm Collision Volume 2' by Ruts D.C. is released by Sosumi Records on May 13th. The band will be playing at The Underworld in Camden on Friday 10th April with Dirty Revolution and Electric River (full details here) which serves as both a first headlining London show for the band since, oh I don't know, 1982 or 1983 (!) and as a launch gig for the album. To say I'm looking forward to it is to redefine the term 'looking forward to it'. And hilariously the album is now available to pre-order on Amazon as you can see if you click here - I never thought I'd ever see my name on there but, well, there it is. Excellent!

Monday, April 08, 2013

The Evil Dead

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died earlier today. I expect you've seen or heard about it on the newsI must say that I'd never wish anybody dead (not even her!) but as someone who remembers only too well the horrors of her evil reign of terror back in the Eighties and Nineties - the poll tax and the subsequent riots, the miners' strike, the Falklands War, the list goes on and on - and who has a dim recollection of the 'milk snatcher' from back in the Seventies, I for one won't be grieving too much. But lots of people will - I've just seen some bloated sycophant praising her 'warmth and kindness' (!) on one channel and then turned over to see that there's a tribute programme on another - so I guess that means we've got days, weeks, maybe even months of fellow Conservatives like Jeffery Archer (a convicted criminal remember) bleating on and on about her and what a great leader she was. Oh well, one can only hope that there will also be room for a more realistic view of things... and you never know, we might all get a day off for the funeral - after all, she gave all those three million or so unemployed working class people lots of days off while she was in power didn't she?

I'm sure that there'll be more ill-considered attempts at sarcasm from me on the subject another time, but until then here is some music. Enjoy.

Friday, April 05, 2013

I'm not free - but I'm Cheap

Good news my friends - 'Anthology' by T.V. Smith's Cheap is available now on Easy Action Records. It contains the band's posthumous album 'R.I.P... Everything Must Go!' plus outtakes, John Peel sessions and more. Hurrah! The package has some great photos of the band from back in the day alongside sleevenotes by T.V.'s biographer Dave Thompson and, incredibly, me. Why me? Well back in the dim and distant past your humble narrator made a very brief appearance as guitarist in the band - many details from that fateful evening are a bit sketchy (when I asked East to help me recall what happened his reply of 'you're asking me to remember something that happened in a pub that served beer over 20 years ago' pretty much sums up his and indeed my approach to things at the time) but it's an incident that I do get asked about from time to time, especially when I'm playing duo gigs with the mighty Mr. Smith.

So here, as far as can be recalled, is what happened...

Dramatis personae

T.V. SMITH'S CHEAP -   T.V. Smith- vocals 
                                   Mik Heslin - guitar  
                                   Andy Bennie - bass  
                                   Martin Deniz - drums

THE PRICE -                 Malcolm Andrews - vocals  
                                   Leigh Heggarty (me!) - guitar  
                                   Huggy Harewood - bass  
                                   Mick Francis - drums  
                                   East - roadie, merchandise man and probably some other things as well

The show in question took place at The Samuel Beckett (which I believe is now called The Three Crowns) in Stoke Newington in January 1991. The Price were supporting Cheap - I'd probably have been there anyway to watch the band but that explains why I had a guitar and amplifier with me - and as we arrived we were told that the evening had taken an unexpected turn. As you'd expect we were due to go on first, but as their guitarist Mik had become unavailable (his wife was having a baby, the timing of which is obviously unpredictable) T.V. was going to do an acoustic set, aided and abetted by Martin on percussion. From memory I don't think Andy was originally going to play as well; having said that I think he had his bass with him, although he might have borrowed Huggy's for what was to come? Anyway it was suggested (I think by T.V. himself) that we went on last as it would be a better end to the evening - I'm not sure that I agreed with him! - and after a short discussion about set times it was all arranged. We soundchecked, then T.V. strapped on an acoustic guitar (I think this was the first time I ever saw him play one) and ran through a couple of numbers. At some point around this time in proceedings I said something along the lines of 'I'd have learned your set if you'd told me that Mik wasn't going to be here' - although I hadn't been 100% serious (I don't think I had anyway) when I'd said what I said the moment was seized upon and what might politely be described as an 'intense discussion' between T.V., Andy, Martin and myself followed. Did I actually think that I could play some of their songs? Well, I'd got the 'Third Term' single so knew that song quite well; there was also a much-listened-to John Peel session to consider, and I'd seen the band play many times... Andy and I picked up our instruments and played the chord sequence to 'Third Term' - it sounded good, we could do this! 

T.V. Smith's Cheap
Mik, T.V.,Andy and Martin.
Or could we? Was it a bit of a daft idea? Much musing followed, culminating in a plan - T.V. would play his acoustic set as he'd planned, Martin would join him on percussion for a song or two and then Andy and myself would take to the stage for 'Third Term' to finish his show. All well and good - except... except... I really liked 'Luxury In Exile' (I still do!) and I know it, really I do, it's on the Peel session, I've heard it loads of times, let's do that one as well, please... ok, so we'll do that, then 'Third Term' - but what happens if they want an encore? 

It's nearly showtime and things are going well with the venue filling up nicely. East has set up the Price merchandise stall and is facing some controversy over his 'BUY BEFORE WE FRY' and 'PRE-WAR PRICES' signs (Operation Desert Storm in The Gulf War was looming!) although most people are taking it in the spirit that it was intended (whatever that was!) News was filtering out to the Price people as to what was going to happen - the fans were bemused and amused; I'm not sure that Malcolm and Mick were too happy about it but I don't think Huggy was too bothered. Either way I spoke to T.V. just as he was going on - Andy and myself were to join him and Martin on stage after 'Gather Your Things And Go', and whatever was going to happen next, would happen next...
These days I do a fair few gigs depping in bands that I haven't played or rehearsed with before, but in those days things was very different. I was the guitarist in The Price, and if you were in a band then you played in that band, and that was more-or-less it. I had an impromptu acoustic blues trio with my good friends Paul Cope and the late (and undeniably great) John Saxon called The Diving Ducks that did the odd pub gig here and there but that was all, and even that was seen as an unusual thing to do. (I don't think Malcolm or Mick liked that either, although again I don't think Huggy was too bothered.) However you looked at it, I was about to attempt something that I hadn't done before - get up and play in public with a band that I hadn't rehearsed with. I remember feeling a bit nervous but not to the point of shaking or anything like that. 
East and myself were watching from the side of the stage as 'Gather Your Things And Go' ended. I turned to him and said something like 'right, here we go then'. For a split second he looked as though he was going to say 'what - you're really going to do it?' but I don't think he said anything. And anyway, it was too late to turn back now.
I had always thought 'Luxury In Exile' was a great song from the moment that I first heard it. The riff is brilliantly insistent, the chord sequence is a killer - but the words are something else again. It concerns Nazi war criminals being protected thanks to wealth and power; not exactly a simple subject to tackle, but as with most things T.V. writes about, he makes it look easy. There's two lines in the second verse that still make me shudder, even when (or maybe especially when) we play the song together today - 'swimming pool by the black museum, a pile of bones to put your feet on' - how scary an image is that
I picked up my gold Gibson Les Paul Deluxe, the guitar I used for the majority of Price shows. It's a fabulous instrument. If you're about to play a song that you don't know with people that you've never played with before, that's a pretty good guitar to have in your hands. Martin counted it in, and three or so minutes later the song ended. Applause. Easy. Everyone on the stage smiled a relieved smile. 
'Third Term' had been issued as a single with 'Buried By The Machine' the previous year. I don't know how many copies were sold but I had one, and suddenly that was important. I knew the song. Good. We played it well. Applause. Easier. We took our instruments off and left the stage. More applause. We've got an encore. Now what?
We went back onto the stage, and got ready to play. But to play what exactly? Well - how about 'The Newshound'? I played the first few notes of the riff - T.V. said 'yeah, he knows it, let's go!' and before we had chance to even think about changing our minds we were off. Now this one we hadn't thought of earlier. I'd only heard it live. What did I think I was doing suggesting it?
The song ended. Yet more applause. Leave the stage again. Don't go back on!
T.V. shakes my hand. Andy shakes my hand. Martin shakes my hand. Was that alright? Martin smiles - 'flash c@*t!' - then bursts out laughing. I take that as a 'yes'... Malcolm asks what time we're on and Mick make comments like 'he's ours, you can't have him!' to The Cheapsters. I told you that they weren't too happy. Huggy says nothing, but he still doesn't look as though he was too bothered. I must ask him one day. Gaye Advert tells me that it sounded great. That'll do for me.
The Price
Leigh, Malcolm, Mick and Huggy.
Then The Price played. When you do a lot of shows with a band you tend to only remember the very good ones and the disasters. This one I can't recall as being either of those so I guess it was good. We were a consistent band around this time so it was more likely to be good than bad, but if you're reading this and you were there and can remember anything about our show (or indeed any other bits of the story that I've forgotten) then please let me know. Maybe what happened before our set has overshadowed the rest of that evening in my warped mind?

Eighteen years later The Price and T.V. Smith were playing at The Load Of Hay in Uxbridge. It was East's 50th birthday - you can read the story here if you'd like to. I joined T.V. for a couple of songs that night, and thus we accidentally formed the duo that we perform as today. We played 'Third Term' that night too. As we went to start the song I realised that I had no idea how the chord sequence went - well, it had been a long time. Halfway through I was playing it without thinking. Good. Again. I guess that means that I'm still a flash c@*t?

'Anthology' by T.V. Smith's Cheap can be ordered from the online shop on T.V. Smith's website by clicking here. Do it now - you won't regret it!

Monday, April 01, 2013

Three's company

I have just got hold of the new 4-track EP by Eight Rounds Rapid - you know, the band that supported Wilko Johnson at his farewell shows last month and who feature his son Simon on razor-sharp guitar - and it is, to use a technical term, bloody great. The item in question can be purchased from their website here - I suppose it's unlikely that I for one would have heard of the band without the Wilko connection (and it's very difficult for me to keep that out of the equation) but I genuinely think that they're a very good band well worthy of attention. Have a listen and see what you think... and talking of the mighty Mr. Johnson he has announced that following a guest appearance with Madness last Friday he has played his last live show. It's weird isn't it - since the announcement that he is suffering from terminal cancer he's played some extraordinary farewell shows, and I bet I wasn't the only person kidding themselves that 'he'll be alright after all'? You can see him playing with the band here and read the story here - let's hope he enjoys his time in retirement.

Last Friday saw a launch party for the new Ruts D.C. album 'Rhythm Collision Volume 2' at The Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath, Birmingham. There was a certain amount of confusion as to whether the band would be playing or not - Dave and Segs were always going to be DJ-ing, The Cracked Actors and the Black Bombers were always going to be providing live musical entertainment, I was (ahem!) always going to be behind the merchandise table with CDs and T-shirts a-plenty, but it was never actually advertised as a Ruts D.C. gig... a few days earlier I had a phone conversation with Segs which went along the lines of 'so if we were to borrow some drums and amps and play as a three-piece, what songs could we play?' Good question! 
My good friend Big Andy (who is!) joined me behind the merchandise desk while The Black Bombers (great garage-y rock'n'roll, definitely worth keeping an eye on) and The Cracked Actors (reggae/ska stuff, good but they played for a bit too long for me) did their stuff and Dave and Segs span some tracks in between times. We'd had a 'so what songs could we play then?' chat in the dressing room earlier in the evening and had come up with a rough plan - in the event we played (from memory so I might be wrong) 'Whatever We Do' / 'It Was Cold' / 'Backbiter' / 'Dope For Guns' / Staring At The Rude Boys' / 'In A Rut' and an encore of 'Babylon's Burning' to scenes of not-inconsiderable audience mayhem. Segs and Dave told a couple of very funny stories, I met Roland Link who wrote 'Kicking Up A Racket', a biography of Stiff Little Fingers and who is currently writing a book on The Ruts / Ruts D.C. and everyone I spoke to thought the evening was a great success. I think it was too! 

On Saturday evening The Upper Cut journeyed to Welwyn Garden City to play at Grant and Rachel's joint 40th birthday party at Panshanger Golf Club. It had been a while since I'd played at an event such as this - I always remind myself that the live entertainment is only a small part of the evening (after all, it's the person or people that the party is being thrown for that should be the centre of attention don't you think?) and that for that reason it's not a 'gig' as such, more a gathering of family and friends that happens to have a disco and a live band. I suppose this is all to make me feel better when the band is all but ignored which is something that so often happens at nights like this - we weren't ignored this time but you could feel people wondering why we were there and why the disco wasn't happening all evening. That said we did get some nice comments from a few people and there was no outright hostility so overall it was definitely a 'more-pluses-that-minuses' sort of evening - and the band hadn't played for a while so it was good to all get together again.

Sunday morning rehearsals seem to be the way of things with Back To Zero, and this week it was my turn for a local one - Andy, Sam, Squirrel and myself amassed outside RnR Studios in Uxbridge at 10am and waited...and waited... and waited... eventually a sheepish lad turned up to let us in mumbling about 'forgetting to put the clocks forward'. Well, I guess we've all done it haven't we? Over the next four hours we ran through all the material that we're intending to play at next month's gigs, and I have to say that it's all sounding rather fine. There's often a moment in rehearsals when you stop sounding like a band of musicians and start sounding like a 'band' - ours was somewhere on Sunday morning. There's still a keyboard player to add and one of the original singers is going to guest on a few songs but as it stands at the moment Back To Zero are already sounding good to my ears.
After a couple of late nights and an early morning I spent a fair bit of Sunday afternoon asleep - I'm sure that didn't used to happen when I was younger? Hmmm... anyway at 8.30 in the evening I was using the magic of Skype to talk to Rich, Tom and Ian of Music Scene Investigation, and from 9-10pm we all participated in the latest podcast of said programme. We had three good songs to review this time (that's not always the case!) as you can tell if you watch the show here - I still think that song 3 was the best don't you?
Of course after being asleep half the day I was wide awake at 10 o'clock in the evening, which meant that I was able to pop down to The Crown And Treaty where an all-day festival of original (as opposed to cover) bands was taking place. When I got there a rather scary black metal band were playing (sadly I don't know their name - incidentally if they ever read this and think 'hang on a minute, we're not black metal' than I apologise profusely!) and I'd arranged to meet my old mates Pete (still recovering from last week's SLF gig) Grant and Sam with whom I cowered at the back (it wasn't much quieter there to be honest!) before moving nearer to the stage to watch Frowser. I last saw them many (15?) years ago when I remember them being very impressive although it wasn't really my type of thing - Grant is a bit of a fan, Sam is less convinced and Pete missed them as he decided he'd had enough to drink and went home. I must say he did look as though he'd been there a while... anyway they were still very impressive although they're still not really my type of thing, although it must be said that it's great to see them still playing and indeed writing new material. However I have to agree with Sam's analysis that you 'watch them and think they're great but you can't remember a single song in the morning'. He's correct - I think they are, and no you can't...

Happy Easter everyone! Yeah!