Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Fight for your right to party

Another busy few days then...

On Thursday work continued on the Back To Zero album. Not for us a multi-million pound budget in a huge expensive recording studio; oh no - myself and Squirrel overdubbed our guitar and bass parts in his kitchen as Sam sat at the kitchen table manning his computer. Isn't technology amazing? We've now recorded all the backing tracks and even though I say so myself it's sounding really good and I for one can't wait to hear the end result.
That evening I found myself at The 12 Bar Club with John King, Pete 'Manic Esso' Haynes and his mate Laurent. After a suitably entertaining evening myself and Esso left in good time (we've both missed our last train home after similar evenings at said watering hole) only to be thwarted by problems on The Metropolitan Line. We sat on the (stationary) train for what felt like ages listening to 'we're being held at a red signal' / 'a train up ahead has broken down' / 'there are trains backed up along the track' - type announcements - still it gave us even more time to put the world to rights...

I spent part of a rather bleary Friday running through some songs for the weekend's Big Al Reed and The Blistering Buicks gigs - somewhat worryingly I found myself with more than a few 'how does the middle bit go?' moments when I played the songs - maybe it was because I was tired or maybe I wasn't quite on the ball? Either way I fell asleep mid-afternoon - not something that I like to do, but sometimes you just have to don't you? Well it had been a long day on Thursday and I was aware that the next couple of days were going to be very busy; also my back was still playing up a bit. Not good!
I'd not been to The Chippenham Hotel in Maida Hill before - according to it's website Joe Strummer's pre-Clash band The 101ers used to play there regularly, and I must say that looking at it on Friday evening you didn't need to use much imagination to see that it could well have been quite a thriving venue back in the day. It's still a pretty good place now, and although there could have been more people in attendance those who were there were an enthusiastic bunch with a fair amount of dancing and general jollity all round. A good gig, made even better by the fact that we were rebooked for January 25th at the end of the evening. Excellent!
There were a lot more people at The Dolphin in Uxbridge the next night - when we arrived the party was in full swing, with plenty of young people looking as though they'd been there for quite a while... I wouldn't say that the atmosphere could have been called hostile but I definitely got the feeling that things weren't quite right. Then again our first set was well received, and I began to think that I was worried about nothing - but three songs into our second set I saw a couple of likely lads squaring up to each other at the bar just a few feet to my right. There were a couple of young ladies trying to separate them and maybe it was all going to be ok - but no, the shouty guy on the left won't let it go, I started to think that maybe I should say to Al that we should stop playing as sometimes these things get worse if people can't hear themselves - but then again if we stop it draws attention to the situation which could accelerate things... suddenly Noel the guv'nor stepped in and removed the shouty guy from the premises in no uncertain terms. It takes a lot of guts to do something like that in my opinion (like all six foot tall men I'm a complete wimp!) and Noel did it in seconds. He definitely knows how to run a pub! Thankfully the rest of our show proceeded without incident, and if anything the band played even better than they did the night before. Good!

It was an early start for your humble narrator on Sunday - after three late nights in a row (and Saturday in the shop) I was feeling rather bleary, and with a 10am kick off to contend with things were only ever going to get blearier. When Back To Zero arrived at Mushroom Studios there seemed to be some confusion as to whether we were booked in or not, but thankfully room 2 was available so we set to work preparing for this coming Saturday's show at The Railway Hotel in Southend. Over the next four hours we worked up a set of BTZ songs and an eclectic selection of cover versions, and by the end of the session pronounced ourselves pleased with our efforts. An amusing moment occurred when Barrie Masters of local heroes Eddie and The Hot Rods suddenly appeared in the room with us - he'd been told that Squirrel was there and as he hadn't seen him to talk to for many years he'd called in to say hello. Good job we hadn't been playing one of his band's songs eh?!?

And last night it was up to Madame JoJo's in Soho for the last of the Monday punk and reggae nights - myself and Esso got stranded in The Ship for rather longer than we thought we would meaning that The Duel were already on stage when we arrived. They were sounding good and there were plenty of people in the club - these nights seem to have been a success, which can only be a good thing for live music in my not-so-humble opinion. We left as Segs was getting going with his DJ set - well after Thursday night we were taking no chances...

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