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Blog: Validators Practice 2017

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Myself and The Validators consider ourselves a rigorously professional, finely honed squad of committed musicians, and thus we make sure that we have a practice EVERY SINGLE YEAR, whether we need to or not. This year's practice was booked for Saturday lunchtime in Leicester, which meant that I had to drag my hungover self there from Northampton via THREE (3) trains. Three trains, it is KRAZY! When I lived in Leicester I NEVER went to Northampton, despite it being REALLY close, because it is hideously difficult to get there. Three trains!

I had arranged to meet Mr FA Machine at the station but was delighted to find that the whole Family Machine had come, and the four of us thus relocated to THE SPOONS for a much-need pint of precisely the dog wot had bit me (CARLSBERG) and some GRUB. I am not super keen on Weatherspoons at the best of times, but it provided some much-needed succour on Saturday morning! It was lovely to see The Machines, and I was DELIGHTED to later discover that, when I went to the loo, a puzzled young Evan Machine had asked his father why nobody in the pub was pointing at me, as I am in a band and therefore FAMOUS.

I'm with Evan on this one - it's WEIRD!

Our dining complete Frankie and I hopped into a taxi and ZOOMED over to Quad Studios. Tim had recommended it from when he'd had Prolapse practices, and coo er gosh but it is DEAD POSH. It looks like just another Studio Inside An Old Factory from the outside, but inside it is all airy spaces, decent equipment and CLEANLINESS. It was SO clean that it felt like practicing in a CONFERENCE CENTRE or something, inside the practice room there was a SKYLIGHT and it didn't even STINK!!

Once we'd all recovered from the shock and got ourselves set up we settled down to the serious business of practicing. A few weeks ago we'd had a lengthy email discussion and agreed a MENU of songs which we all agreed, ratified, and then (as usual) CHANGED the day before we met up. The final menu was a good mix of HITS and a few we hadn't played for YEARS or, indeed, have NEVER played live. We worked through most of them (we don't really NEED to play Easily Impressed any more times, it's not going to get any better!) and then had another LENGTHY discussion about the best ORDER to play them in. There's a couple of songs that sound, SHALL WE SAY, hewn from the same cloth (despite being written nearly twenty years apart!) so WORK had to be undertaken to make sure they were kept a safe distance apart, and then of course we needed to apply the usual setlist rules e.g. two BANGERS to start with, "quiet" ones not too close together, and HITS ALL THE WAY for the final third.

When all that was finally agreed we pick up our instruments and performed the WHOLE SETLIST in order! We are like THE ROLLING STONES or something! We timed it all to make sure that it fitted into our timeslot, which was a good idea as, though we DID do the lot in under 45 minutes it did not leave much spare for Accidents or indeed REMARKS, so we agreed to DROP a song. I'd rather run slightly quick and be able to introduce the band (and impart various other WISDOMS, of course) than have to cut the final song because the soundman's giving us EVILS!

With our work complete we packed up, said our farewells, and then Frankie and I headed back into Leicester City Centre. It has changed A LOT in recent years. Whole chunks of town seem to have been knocked down and replaced by Student Flats, and everywhere still standing has been turned into a BAR.

Talking of which, I completed my tour of Pub Chains I Don't Usually Approve Of by visiting Brewdog where we met the rest of the Machines, I was interrogated about Marvel Comics by a small child (this happens a LOT) and then said hello to Charlie from The Retro Spankees, who happened to be there. Clearly it was Meet The Retro Spankees In Different Midlands Towns weekend!

Soon it was time to head back home, safe in the knowledge that we had successfully completed our Continuing Professional Development In ROCK for another year. You've got to keep yourself up to date haven't you?

posted 11/7/2017 by MJ Hibbett

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Looking forward to hearing that setlist in all its glory! :)
posted 11/7/2017 by Nick

Me too!
posted 11/7/2017 by MJ Hibbett

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