Thursday, August 29, 2013

Frocester Beer Fest and the Old Royal Ship

The third time we've played the huge Frocester Beer Festival, and a nice early evening slot with five and a half thousand beery punters ready to rock, splendid!
A leaden sky kept threatening to dampen proceedings as it did on the Friday night apparently, but our luck held, and it stayed warm and dry all Saturday.

As always, lovely big stage (Chris had difficulty seeing me from his end, as you can see), and terrific sound, probably the best this year - well done to the soundcrew, and well done to all the dancers going for it at the front - particularly impressed with the two guys dressed as Roman Gladiators, hacking enthusiastically at each other with plastic swords during the somewhat manic last number...
A corking gig, and I'm only sorry I was driving and couldn't make more serious inroads on the barrel of beer they provided us with onstage...

(Plenty of great photos as well as the two above taken by Lou, all on our website photo page)

What with the number of gigs we've been doing recently, it seemed a shame not to do one on the Sunday as well, so off we trooped to the Old Royal Ship Inn in Luckington, a nice little (well, quite enormous actually) pub in the country, for an early evening 'family' gig, which in practise means you get to take the kids along whether they want you to or not. Worked out well, as there was plenty for the kids to do, what with a massive climbing frame, loads of hotdogs and the like, and a bouncy castle, which was mostly monopolised by Lou, our photographer extraordinaire and wife of drummer DFP. It looked a bit dodgy weather-wise when we'd got all the kit set up, but a few drops of rain was all we got, the sun came out, and we had a cracking time. Thanks to the pub for the food, too, 'twas delicious!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Village Pump, 2013

This was probably our best (and certainly our most late-night!) gig of the year so far; we've done this festival many times in the past, and it's always a huge honour to be on the same bill as some of the most well- known and influential names in the Folk world. What sets this festival apart though is the friendliness and general air of bonhomie that pervades the entire site, from performers and organisers, to traders and punters. It's a lovely event, and its success is well-deserved.
It's nice to see that we've made it to the coveted position of being halfway up the T shirt, too! I think the first year we played here we were on the bottom line, but we're gradually working our way up...
Our good luck in the weather department continues to hold - last year was sunny and mild, but this year upped the ante a bit by being alternately scorching hot and reminiscent of a Monsoon... didn't matter though, people just got on with it. Another fine thing about the Pump is the opportunity to meet up with so many old mates who we don't get to see anywhere else - our old Mandolin player Nige Lloyd was there with the lovely Shirl, and it was particularly good to meet up with Martyn Cooper, alias Professor Eek - he played banjo with us (very badly, he'll be the first to admit) back in the 90s, and was here in his new role as children's entertainer. His show was bloody great by the way, and anything that can manage to keep adults as well as my two (13 and 9) amused is a winner in my book. His one-man-band version of 'Ace of Spades' has to be heard to be believed...

Easy to forget with all this jolly socialising that we've got a job to do, and it also means we can't get stuck into the beer too early either, which is doubtless a Good Thing. Our slot was the same as last year - 1 a.m. on Stage 2, which meant we caught the crowd leaving Stage 1 as the Proclaimers finished their set, which worked out nicely.
The band on before us were a fantastic, and worryingly young, outfit called Rusty Shackle - they were on the bill with us at the late-lamented Pontardawe Festival a couple of times, and have evolved into a formidable high-energy Folk Rock outfit. They left the crowd in a very nicely warmed-up state indeed, which made our job a lot easier, cheers lads!
The extremely efficient soundcrew got us up and running in no time, and from the off we could tell this was going to be one of those 'special' gigs... the whole place was up and leaping around from the first song (including the inevitable Lycraman, of course), and it continued all the way till the last note at 2 a.m. One of guitarist Simon's friends tried to get in to see us, but was told by a security guy: "Sorry, I can't let anyone else in - there's too many people in there already, and they're all going crazy..."
Absolutely brilliant reaction, and we were all so soaked in sweat when we came off that it was all we could do to stop Chris stripping off in the dressing room. Well in fact, we only half succeeded... no pictures, luckily. Actually no pictures of the gig at all - does everyone who owns a decent camera go to bed at Midnight or something? Oh well - at least we have a recording of it, but as it was taken off one mike at the front of the stage, it's a bit ropey to say the least - still, it gives an idea of the atmosphere in the place... enjoy!