Saturday, December 29, 2007
We used this one to try out a few new songs we've been working on, plus a revised set-list without any gaps, which seemed to work out pretty well apart from not giving me enough time to slurp beer, which was probably just as well.
The most people we've ever seen in this venue tonight; clearly everyone has had enough of Christmas and is ready for some serious drinking - so serious in fact that we don't leave the pub till gone one a.m., the landlord having gone to bed.
An excellent night all round - and judging from my head this morning, I must have managed to slurp more beer than I supposed...
Oh well, good practise for New Years Eve (otherwise known as Amateur Night). It's been a few years since we had a gig on that date, and once again I'll be spending it watching Jools Holland & his soddin' Hootenanny on the telly. Whoopdedoo!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
You'd think it would be easy to mime to one of your own songs, wouldn't you? Think again... this was filmed in around 1995 (it's a bit hazy) for a now-defunct cable TV station that operated out of some Portacabins at the back of HTV West, who I suspect had an extension cable going out through their toilet window that they knew nothing about. The production values of this video have been much admired, particularly the 'no expense authorised' visual effects...
We were still called the Brew Band at the time (later on, Chris got fed up with our being constantly mistaken for the infamous 'Brew Crew', which probably lost us quite a few gigs), and this line-up includes the original drummer 'Old Man' Pete, Lenny on the whistle and Tim on mandolin, who kindly sent me a DVD of this. Tim was well known for making himself as inconspicuous as possible at gigs, usually hiding behind a speaker stack if possible - this explains the somewhat panicky expression he wears in the video. In fact, we had to tie his foot to a drainpipe to stop him from running away.
I've inexpertly chopped off the start & end of the song, as the worryingly 'perky' presenter kept leaning into shot to update her 43 viewers on local traffic reports and lost pets...
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Shocking evidence comes to light of what happens when you move to France & go into 'showbusiness'! Apparently Gavin is now performing with these other leggy lovelies in a lap-dancing joint in downtown Marseilles, for the gratification of visiting sailors.
Full marks to Gavs for accessorizing though - the belt & hat combo does it every time. I'm slightly worried about the guy to his right - perhaps he did a bit of shopping on the way to work and couldn't find anywhere to stash his legumes? Either way, I'm sure he's a hit with the sailors... Not sure how this affects the 'which Simpson is better looking' debate, but if you think I'm posting a picture of me in my pants, you've got another think coming...
Sunday, November 11, 2007
An inauspicious beginning though; Nige rang before we left to let us know he was returning home to throw up, so one man down before we started. A long drive later, we arrive in Portsmouth with our usual back-of-envelope instructions and proceed to get so lost we actually have to leave town & come back for another try...
We eventually find the pub, and I manage to slice my finger open unloading the van. So far, so good.
A large group of punters in flagrant breach of Government guidelines on alcohol intake were noisily abusing each other as we set up - one gent, honking like an elephant seal at the object of his affections, stuck in my mind particularly: "MAUDE! I'M GONNA DUST IT OFF FOR YER, MAUDE!" (repeat, ad nauseum)
Soundcheck done, everyone retired outside for a fag, while I kept an eye on the gear and seriously considered taking up smoking...
The gig itself went OK and we even got a festival gig out of it, but as we packed down the gear a Dean Gaffney lookalike made an ill-advised comment on the physical charms of another bloke's sister, and the whole place erupted into a vicious bar-room brawl that wouldn't have looked out of place in a spaghetti Western... chairs & glasses were flying, bottles were smashed over heads, and if it was the kind of place that had chandeliers, someone would have been swinging on them.
Eventually the various enormous, shaven-headed chavs & their attendant flotilla of shrieking harpies left, leaving the monumentally bored looking barmaid to sweep up the glass while the harassed landlord dealt with the Police, who had sensibly been waiting round the corner until it all died down before putting in a appearance.
In fact the landlord wanted to come with us when we left, and I can't say I blame him.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
We'll be back in March, apparently.
Monday, October 15, 2007
In response to an earlier comment (you know who you are, anonymous!) I present photographic evidence that I am clearly much better looking than Gavin - just take a look at his hastily assembled disguise: the cheap sunglasses, the obviously false beard, and where did he get that hat? Plus you can tell from the shape of his earlobes he has criminal tendencies.
Sustained with scampi fries & pork scratchings, we Disturbed the Peace for a couple of hours to general acclaim, and even managed to line up a possible gig in a forest next June! Although that may turn out to be an elaborate ruse to lure us out into the wilds before butchering and eating us, of course. I really must stop watching those films...
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
So pleasant in fact, that I can't think of anything to say about it that I haven't said already.
Now, where's the loofah..?
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
The Cornhill stage is in an area that's usually a covered market, backing on to what used to be the Pelican - scene of many a raucous night in the band's early years, including the time the first bassplayer had a lurcher vomit over his foot. Ah, them were the days...
Our personal cloud of misfortune was evidently hovering over us once again, as the previous band on had made an enviable job of clearing the entire area of human life whilst leaving the buildings standing. Rather like a musical Neutron bomb, by all accounts.
Still, they all came filtering back as soon as we started, and it turned out nice again in the end.
Last year, an unfortunate roadie fell down a set of steps with my bass amp on top of him, but he didn't seem to be there this time. Wonder why?
Monday, August 27, 2007
Respec ( as the Yoot have it) to the geezer who bought one of our CDs to take to the Canaries - I've already packed my bucket & spade in anticipation of the tour...
Two gigs at this festival: first spot on the Friday night on the New Music stage, which went off extremely nicely as far as we could tell from behind the blinding stage lights. I was even asked by an enthusiastic Younger Person if they could have my plectrum when we finished - I had to explain that I only had the one, and I needed it for tomorrow night... in retrospect, I should have given it to him & basked in the momentary glow of alcohol-induced fame & glory, but where was I to get another Jim Dunlop .73mm pick in a muddy field in Wales at that time of night?
Did I mention the mud? Overnight (an uncomfortable one for me, spent as it was in the boot of my elderly Nissan with Joe's microscooter as a pillow) it rained like it only can rain in Wales, and by the time I woke at the crack of noon on the Saturday (a traumatic awakening, involving an urgent pressure on the bladder coupled with a complete & utter inability to extricate myself from the aforementioned boot) the site had been transformed into a reasonable facsimile of the Somme. All vehicle movements on site were banned, which left us with the interesting problem of how to get all our gear to the stage for our next gig in the Beer Tent...
Over the years, I've arrived at gigs in many and varied forms of transport, including motorbikes, buses, taxis, helicopters & an amphibious landing craft. This was a first, though - never before have I arrived backstage with a fleet of commandeered wheelbarrows. Gave the performance an extra frisson too, keeping one eye on our transport to make sure no-one nicked 'em...
Terrific gig - you can't beat playing your heart out in front of a tentful of people who are 100% with you - that's the reason we do this, after all - as I've said before, if we were in it for the money, we'd all have starved to death years ago.
I'll draw a veil over the horrible scenes the next morning - suffice to say I was towed off site by an enormous forklift which sprayed mud all over my windscreen as it pulled me through the mire towards the exit; with hindsight, perhaps it was a mistake to wind the window down at that point...
Monday, July 23, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Luckily, Shirl has got there already & located the stage, and brings us in for a landing via mobile phone - and just in time; we pile out of the van and throw the gear onstage while Shirl heroically goes to get us all a beer. Lovely stage, too - nice PA, swarms of cheerful sound guys, loads of lights... no audience, of course, but you can't have everything - where would you put it?
Ready to go in double-quick time, all we need now is that beer - alas, the beer tent is fenced in behind a silly little picket fence, which no-one is allowed to take any drinks out of, thanks to some arcane Council regulation - we can see Shirl sitting there with 5 pints, waving frantically...
There's no time left - we have to plunge straight into our set with no lubrication, which is never a good idea...
At one point, around 200 foreign students materialise stage right - an audience at last! But despite (or possibly because of) our earnest entreaties, they march straight through and exit stage left. This leaves us with several sullen Yoot in hoodies, a brace of bemused elderly ladies and a retired Colonel with a video camera - doubtless collecting evidence for some future prosecution.
We soldier on regardless, and all credit to the soundcrew, it sounds fantastic onstage - it's also extremely hot thanks to all those lights, especially with no beer... the last 3 songs are performed with indecent haste and a mad scramble for the beer tent ensues, where we collapse into a sweaty heap and watch the next band, who do their best to enliven an even smaller crowd with some Snow Patrol covers. A drunk Welsh couple dance.
Monday, June 25, 2007
"Tell Mr Eavis we'll be there! Is it the Pyramid Stage or the other one?"
"It's the Dursley Arms in Trowbridge."
Well, a gig's a gig... as it turned out, a jolly fine one too - lots of room to play with and a small but enthusiastic bunch of locals who actually listened, and by all accounts loved it; one chap came up afterwards and told me "That was the best bass I've ever heard in here!" What a nice man - either that or he doesn't get out much.
Nick also made an impression - another gent asked him if he was married; apparently "a friend asked me to ask you." Yes mate, a friend - of course it was...
Even Ruth was looking revived by the end of the night - no mean feat, as she was by her own account "Perrified"- a condition brought about by excessive consumption of pear cider the night before. Apparently it had 'ectoplasm' in it, which probably didn't help.
And at the end of the night, we didn't even get our boots muddy - who needs Glastonbury anyway?
Monday, June 18, 2007
Ahh... the fresh sea air, the extra-cold Guinness and the unmistakeable whiff of skunk as we hump the gear through the front door - I love this place!
Not a bad turnout either, considering the landlord and most of the regulars were off on a bike run for the weekend (some people will go to any lengths to avoid us, apparently) - nice to see some familiar faces, and even better we had some lovely new CDs to sell them! Yes, the many gruelling hours of labour in the studio have finally ended, and we've got a brand new bouncing baby album to play with. It's called "An arrangement with myself", and we're rather pleased with it. I'm currently uploading the whole thing to last.fm (see posts below), so give it a listen and let us have some feedback.
Friday, June 01, 2007
Still, an umbrella would have been bloody useful on the night, as we transferred our Precious & Unreplaceable Vintage Equipment (that's what we tell the insurance company, anyway) from the van into the venue; the Gladstone Arms in sunny Chippenham.
The original plan here was to play in a marquee in the back of the pub, but it was immediately apparent that Jacques Cousteau & his Swinging Squid would have had trouble setting their gear up in the Biblical Flood that the carpark had become, so we got busy in the back room instead.
Turned out nice in the end, though - we triumphed against adversity and got a nice big pubful of punters jumping around like... er, like a large contingent of drunks, really. Job done.
Special mention must go to the trio of luvverly young Laydeez at the front - we couldn't have done it without you (well, we could, but it wouldn't have been so much fun).
All in all, best gig we've played in ages, and no small thanks to the landlord, a lovely fella who plied us with drink.
There's a hint to other landlords there...
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Last.fm is a 'music networking' site, which works by looking at which music you play through your computer (e.g. on iTunes), then uses this information to build a profile of your listening habits.
This profile is then compared to that of other people, to see who has similar tastes as you - tracks or artists can then be recommended, clips or full-length preview tracks can be listened to, etc.
Think of it as a MySpace for musos...
Needless to say I've uploaded some BITL stuff, which you can listen to right now by scrolling right down to the bottom of this page & hitting 'play', you lucky people!
Thursday, May 03, 2007
If you've never heard of them, do yourself a favour and follow the link above to their main site, or the banner link to the album microsite, down there on the right -->
(See, I like 'em so much, I'm even advertising them on my own site!)
Friday, April 27, 2007
Word of our imminent arrival had evidently preceded us, however. The village (when we eventually found it) was entirely deserted, save for a one-eyed Irishman who directed us to the pub - yippee! No plasma screens! Decent beer! A friendly landlady! Food! There must be a catch..?
Well... apparently the whole village was in the pub last night, carousing till the early hours, so they probably won't be in tonight. And there's a beer festival on in Dursley. Bugger.
Oh well, we've literally played to one man & his dog before now (we had to buy him drinks to get him to stay, mind), and in the end we had an audience of six - hey, it's one more than the band, so not bad! Sold 2 CDs as well, which is a pretty good percentage out of 6; shame there weren't a few more in, but there was a good atmosphere and we enjoyed our little selves.
We'll be back here later in the year for a rematch, so fingers crossed...
Monday, April 16, 2007
I'm no fan of football myself, but why on Earth should anybody in a pub in Dorset care whether Man U or Watford win? Plainly they did though, and we waited outside until the match finished, fearful of arousing the ire of the massed hordes if we attempted to barge past them with all our gear...
Still, they'll turn off the screens over our heads when we start playing, won't they?
Well no, as it turned out. We were basically a sort of aural wallpaper, while slack-jawed punters watched Real Madrid v. someone-or-other on one screen & greyhound racing on another.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Top marks to Simon for turning up at all, as his new baby came home from hospital for the first time on Saturday morning, and he was looking decidedly grey and sleep-deprived! I can honestly say that on the two occasions I've been in that situation myself, the last thing on Earth I would have wanted to do was spend several hours in the company of a bunch of beer-fuelled chainsmoking musicians...
Everything went pretty well on the weekend, and we've got the drum & bass tracks for at least 10 songs in the can. Just got to add the other stuff over the top, and let Simon work his magic removing all the bum notes...
Thursday, March 08, 2007
At least, that's what they told Gavin; seconds after this picture was taken, he was carried off by the local constabulary after the temptation to empty his bottle of yellow paint over the bemused looking officer became too great...
Saturday, March 03, 2007
It's got it's own P.A. & sound engineer and everything always sounds great onstage, which gives us a bit of a lift. Place started out pretty empty (well, it was a Thursday night), but a decent crowd by the end, and very appreciative too, which makes up for the fact that it's not exactly the best-paid gig on the circuit. In fact, once my Guinness bill for the night was settled I was operating at a ruinous loss. Mind you, if we were doing this for the money we'd all have starved to death years ago - and a quick glance at us will confirm that we are all very well nourished, thank you very much...
Good to see some familiar faces there too, especially the trio who rushed their prawn curry to get there in time - I just hope they didn't rush the actual cooking part, or they may still be in A & E.
Oh, and cheers for the tequila, lads!
We're off to the studio to do a spot of recording next weekend, so hopefully there'll be some new CDs for Chris to forget to bring to gigs soon...
Sunday, February 25, 2007
All the familiar old fixtures and fittings are there, including several punters who never move from their places at the bar - they are in fact fully plumbed in, with their own connections to the beer pumps and the sewage system. At the end of the night, the landlady drapes beer towels over their heads and they instantly fall asleep. Actually, some of them don't last that long.
We used to play here on a Sunday night, when the place always had a slightly desperate atmosphere as everyone tried to forget they had to work in the morning - Friday night seems a lot busier, and we even managed to perform a miracle: Lo! The lame threw away their crutches and danced! Well, one of 'em anyway - I hope there was no-one from the Social there, or her disability benefit'll be stopped on Monday...
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Funny place the King William... nothing seems to have changed from the last time we played here including the punters, who range from toothless local farmers who'd win first prize in a gurning contest to tooth-grinding acid casualties who'd give 'em a good run for their money.
Nice friendly place though, and we even managed to negotiate the air-con being turned on, in exchange for turning down a bit... can't take it, eh? Too much for you eh?
Monday, February 05, 2007
My old mate Alan must also shoulder part of the blame, as I'd gone out to see his band Angel Up Front who were as loud and cheesetastic as ever (I hope me & Patsy didn't put him off his stride by showing each other pictures of our kids - not very Rock'n'Roll I'm afraid!)
Still, at least I proved I can still headbang, even if whilst sitting down...
All this excess took it's toll however, and thus it was in the early hours of Sunday morning that irate motorists driving through Old Market would have seen a huge swath of roadcones blocking off half the road with, apparently, nothing happening.
Some hours later, a stooped, shambling figure in a hi-vis jacket appeared, and with a heavy heart (and even heavier head) I started the work I'd completely forgotten about...
Monday, January 08, 2007
A new venue for us, this club, and it turned out nice in the end. The support band, a very friendly bunch called the Monuments, turned up just as we arrived and promptly had both their cars clamped. Luckily the venue owner sorted this out rapidly... it was a late booking for them, and they were missing a couple of their number so Ruth & Nige were rapidly deputized to help out. This they did with a will, and it was a little surreal to watch them, especially as there were more people on stage than off it at this early hour... a pity, 'cos they all did a sterling job. They even took loads of photos & even some film as well, which was very decent of them - I'll put it on here at a later date (assuming it's not totally embarassing).
By the time we came on, the place was filling up and we enjoyed ourselves hugely, especially those of us who didn't have to drive - we'd have done a couple more, but the DJ was so eager to launch into his '80s compilation tape that we didn't get the chance - still, we'll probably be back...
Here's one song they filmed for us - the others will appear on YouTube shortly ( see link on the right). Sound quality is less than brilliant, but at least you get a good view of the band, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your point of view...