Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fox & Hounds, Coaley

Once again we turned up far too early to this place, forgetting that we have to wait around for people to finish eating in the restauranty-type bit before we can get on with soundchecking... still, we lugged all the gear in, overlooked apprehensively by the Saturday night dining crowd, and Chris, Nick & Nige all retired to the bar to gawp at the unprecedented spectacle of England actually beating France at Rugby. Apparently this is of interest to some people.
Ruth & I contented ourselves with hiding behind the drumkit, peering out at the merrily noshing punters like a couple of malevolent goblins...
Time ticked on, and the prospect of a reasonably early night was gradually receding so Chris took an executive decision & we started playing anyway. That put paid to any polite after-dinner conversation, but amazingly most of 'em stayed, even the couple bravely cowering under one of the PA speakers, determined to finish their tiramisu in the face of the aural assault.
Cor, makes yer proud to be British, dunnit?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Scallys, W-S-Mare

Ah, Weston Super Mare... home of the International Helicopter Museum, the Lambretta Scooter Museum and, last but not least, the Weston Miniature Railway! And during the summer months, home to thousands of sunburned & drink befuddled Brummies, for some reason.
No sign of them in Scallys tonight - nor anyone else, come to that. Where are the usual crowd of happy bikers (you can tell they're happy, from the flies stuck to their teeth!)? Possibly they're all at the Lambretta Museum? No. Probably not.
Save for a jolly hardcore who disconcertingly seem to know our material (and back catalogue) even better than we do, punters are a bit thin on the ground tonight, which is a shame 'cos we get the best sound we've ever had down here, due in no small part to the lovely bass amp I borrowed from Ali - a truly monstrous beast that takes four grown men to lift it out of the van. Or just me & Chris and a lot of swearing...

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Fiddlers, Bristol

After a gap of about 10 years (where did the time go?) a welcome return to my favourite Bristol venue, the excellent Fiddlers club down in Bedminster, still run by the avuncular Joe Cleary & his son Dan, and apparently unchanged apart from a new monster PA suspended from the ceiling above the stage - woo hoo! Last time here was as support for the Oysterband I think, but tonight was a triple-header with old mates The Dolmen, a terrific pagan folk band from down on the South coast, and the John E Vistic Experience from Bristol.
The Dolmen kicked proceedings off in fine style - since I last saw them they've had a few line-up changes and are now much harder edged than before, but still with their infectious sense of fun that has the crowd up & dancing straightaway. They've also got a very good blonde bass player who, as was pointed out to me on several occasions, is much prettier than me... honestly, I brushed my beard especially, what more do people expect?
John E Vistic started their set with a couple of quiet, introspective songs, then gradually increased the pace - great, driving songs with a voice that put me in mind of Tom Waits or a young Johnny Cash. And he's not putting it on, either - he sounds like that offstage as well!
By now, time was starting to run away with us somewhat... in fact it had blindfolded us, bundled us in the boot of a car and driven us out to the middle of nowhere. By the time we took to the stage it was 12.30, and waayyy past our bedtime, but the hardcore had stuck around and we had a blast. Nice to catch up with so many people we hadn't seen in ages too, especially Ally our old sound engineer, and old mate Rick.
Only fly in the ointment for me was that at some point in the evening my wheezing old amp coughed it's guts out & died. A minutes silence seems appropriate, broken only by snaps, crackles, pops & ominous fizzing noises...