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The journey was FINE, i checked in to the B&B down the road where I'd stayed last time we played The Portland Arms (NB but NOT the one i stayed in last time I played Cambridge, as that one was A Bit Rum), and walked down Chesterton Road to The Loft. I discovered Mr Charlie Flowers already in residence, and we were soon joined by Mr T Pattison, the alloted VALIDATOR for the evening. Soundcheck was DEAD easy - the Loft, BRILLIANTLY, has in-house AMPS and DRUMKIT, a GRATE idea which, i would have thought, all venues would do well to take on board, as it cuts out TONS of worry about who's bringing what.
We then went off to reward ourselves with CURRY, which was very nice indeed, and discussion of various matters, some of which went into The Kids Deserve Better, which I wrote next morning. We wandered back to the venue, chatted further, then went upstairs to find that the gig was WELL underway. I'd been told that the evening would start at 8.30 pm and that there'd be three bands on before us, so i obviously expected us to be going on stage long after midnight, but as well as having the GEAR situation sorted it seems that The Loft has a ROD OF IRON which they utilise as well, as the whole night actually ran EARLY!! This is UNHEARD of!
The band I liked most during the evening were the ones who were on when we came upstairs, The Cougars, at that point doing a TERRIBLE cover version of, I think, "Should I Stay Or Should I Go". It was TREMENDOUSLY ropey, and their next song made me think "Oho, another band of THE YOUNG PEOPLE who want to sound like The Arctic Monkeys", for LO! there were many people Wearing Scarves Indoors, a trend emerging in Sheffield last year, i think, as a Northern equivalent to Wearing Sunglasses Indoors. HOWEVER, it was not LONG before I realised that, far from being a BAD thing, this was actually GRATE. I see bands all the bloody time who are SLICK and COMPETENT and have obviously spent ALL their time Learning Their Instruments, but rarely see bands who are MUCH more concerned about DOING songs, with ENTHUSIASM and EXCITEMENT and IDEA than about how many complicated Bar Chords they can get in. The Cougars, INDEED, seemed to be to be Indie How It Used To Be (in BYGONE DAYS) i.e. ramshackle but UNCONCERNED, bothered about having a GOOD TIME much more than being appreciated by musos. So yes, i LIKED them.
The next band, however, seemed to want to be Razorlight.
And then it was time for US to go on - EARLY! We were both rather surprised, but LURCHED on stage to do THIS:
The Gay Train
Hey Hey 16K
Billy Jones Is Dead
I Come From The Fens
If You're Too Turned On
We Only Ever Meet In Church
Better Things To Do
The Lesson Of The Smiths
Look - SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT songs from usual! As Tim had had to come so far on his own to do the gig i had FINALLY relented and agreed to do City Centres for the first time in years - he really likes it, but I'd never been keen. However, after doing a LENGTHY introduction about how annoying it is when people think it's saying the opposite of what it actually IS saying (i.e. it IS saying that just because different city centres have similar shops it DOESN'T mean that they're identical and that THINKING that betrays the person THINKING it as narrowly focussed only on commerce, rather than the broader aspects that make up a city), which was longer than the song itself, i really enjoyed myself.
LESS good, perhaps, was If You're Too Turned On, a song i REALLY like but which, i turns out, I am almost completely unable to play. We learnt the WORDS before going on stage but not, unfortunately, the chords. Oh well. Charlie, beautifully, described it all as "rough as old arseholes" and I later explained it to him as being because it was very much the PUNK ROCK AXIS of The Validators - 50% of the instrument playing musicians in the band are Classically Trained, whereas this was the 50% who learnt to play ON THE STREET. That, as I also went on to point out, is why me and Tim play and sing so LOUDLY - when you learn ON THE STREET it is difficult to make yourself heard above the passing traffic.
For me the best thing about the gig, apart from the several lovely people who'd come specifically to see us, which was MOST appreciated on such a grotty night for going out, was the LIGHTS - We Only Ever Meet In Church especially felt EPIC due to all the smoke and LAZERS and that which were whizzing round - as Tim said, you couldn't see that there wasn't a very big crowd, it felt like being on a STADIUM STAGE. It were COOL!
Afterwards Tim headed back to The Midlands, whilst Charlie and I nipped next door for lasties. That done he went off to find some other people and I returned to the B&B, KNACKERED, but pleased.
posted 8/1/2007 by MJ Hibbett
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