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After I last REPORTED BACK I strolled back to my hotel room and had a NAP. ROCK AND ROLL my friend! I awoke with a START as my phone went off, had a shower and then set off for the venue, feeling TIRED and GROGGY, but also CLEAN.

I arrived to find things not started yet, so left my gear and went round to SURPRISE Mr Whitaker with my presence. We had a cup of tea and a chat, then I went back to SUMO to have another chat, this time with the lovely chaps who were running the evening, and then to do a quick soundcheck. There was only me and one other band on - the whole thing was a bit LASHED TOGETHER with STRING, as originally the gig had meant to be at another venue, so I was only playing because another band had dropped out, and the promoters had also only JUST taken over running gigs at Sumo, so they were honouring previous bookings and weren't sure what all the bands would be like, and which of them would actually turn up to play. There MIGHT have been another band playing this particular gig, for instance, but they didn't show up.

Anyway, that done i went back to fetch The Whitaker and we went to THE TAMARIND, a lovely Indian Restaurant just off the Narborough Road that myself and The Sauce In My Balti used to FREQUENT while I lived nearby, and also where we had several AAS Christmas Outings. We were both rather MOVED by the fact that The Proprietor remembered us and came over to say hello, and we had a LOVELY tea. I had BALTI, as is my tradition, and it was ACE. These days we tend to soundcheck a bit earlier and play a bit later, which is a BIT chafing in that you have to be more careful about what you DRINK and also means you get HOME a bit later, but the GRATE thing is that you DON'T have to just eat Hurried Chips when you is doing gigs, sometimes you can get a SIT DOWN TEA.

Once we were finished we headed back to Sumo again, there to be met by Messrs Dixey, Lawson, Sutcliffe and, soon, Dr Brown, and we had a RIGHT good time discussing many topics. The other band came on and we soon had to STOP, stand up, and go and LOOK at them, just to check they were really doing what they thought they were. They all looked about 17, and so of course I was expecting EMO or SKA PUNK, but NO: they were playing PROG! Let's be clear on this - I don't mean JAZZ PROG, nor old-school TWEE PROG of the CARAVAN ilk, no even the modern PROG PUNK of the Bearsuit/Retro Spankees kind. I mean STADIUM PROG, the 80'S kind,the sort of thing GENESIS or MARILLION might play. There were guitar solos, MANY tempo changes, PRECISE drumming and a HUGE keyboard - one felt for the LACk of smoke machines, and one felt that at any point KAYLEIGH would be sung.

We stood slack jawed watching in amazement - if they had been twenty years older we would have POURED SCORN and RAGE upon them, but there was something rather SWEET about it, and they were VERY good at it. It was also ChARMING to note that Some Things Never Change: two Girlfriends Of The Band were stood halfway down the room, looking proudly on, several PARENTS were stood near the band, wearing the Parents At A Gig uniform of Ironed Jeans and Nice Jackets, and down the front, i am OVERJOYED to report, was Mate Of The Band, mouthing all the words, dancing along, and generally REALLY WANTING TO BE ON STAGE. Come on lads, you haven't got a bass player, GIVE HIM A CHANCE!

It was all very lovely and we were in high spirits, which is possibly why we fell into THE VAN GAME i.e. shouting song and movie titles with one of the words subsituted with "VAN". Examples included "The van Who Loved Me", "On Her Majesty's Secret Van", "I Want To Hold Your Van", "How Deep Is Your Van", "Why Don't We Do It In The Van?" and so on, and on, and on and on. OH how we LARFED! It was all I could do to tear myself away, and, after a nostalgia-fuelled attempt to do "She's A Spaceman" which was ended by me not actually remembering how to play it, i did THIS:
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • The Story Of My Life
  • It Only Works Because You're Here
  • The Fight For History
  • We Only Ever Meet In Church
  • The Advent Calendar Of FACT
  • The Peterborough All-Saints' Wide Game Team (Group B)
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed

  • Red & White Sockets
  • Leave My Brother Alone

  • I had a FINE old time. There wasn't really many people there - apart from my CREW there was Glynn and some pals, including the Mighty JIM, and a couple of the parents of the other band, but that was about it. The other band stayed for a couple of songs, talked to each other LOUDLY at the front for a bit, and then left, which is a little NAUGHTY but HEY! they are YOUNG and will either learn or be taught. I didn't really mind though as I was having SUCH good fun singing the songs - including LOADS of new ones. There was no WAY I wasn't going to do an encore, and so It Didn't Take Much and when Mr Whitaker DEMANDED Red & White Sockets I realised that I had now done TWO of the THREE songs of mine that have appeared on Sorted Compilations, so might as well do the third, HENCE the two song encore. To be honest I could quite happily have gone on all night, as I was enjoying it so much, but thought perhaps I'd better not.

    With that all finished off we had a bit more chat, before I said cheerio to the Lovely Promoter Guys, Happy Christmas to the pals that had to get home, and "Oh, all right then" to the idea of popping over to The Orange Tree for a Quiet Last Pint, which we had with GRATE pleasure.

    I got a taxi "home" and went to bed very very happy that I've been able to do these Christmas gigs, CHUFFED that I had now CRUSHED my previous Personal Best for Gigs In A Year LIKE AN ANT, and RELIEVED that the two remaining gigs to take me up to FIFTY were going to be nice and near to home. It has been a MIGHTY GOOD FUN year for GIGS, and BOY have I enjoyed it!

    posted 15/12/2006 by MJ Hibbett

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