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Sunday 6th March 05                                                                                                                                          

Palace Theatre, Newark.

They say that the people of Newark are not too keen on anagrams.  Richard Stilgoe, evidently, has very poor ticket sales here.  It is odd that someone whose name re-arranged spells 'Ricarle Dogshit', should make a living out of anagrams....  what a newark !!
Arriving at 5 o'clock, the town appeared to be completely deserted.  There was not a soul to be seen on Appleton Gate, and the kebab shop proprietor seemed genuinely surprised to be getting some business.

The dressing rooms at the Palace reminded me of that quirky film, "Being John Malkovich".  They were clearly designed so as not to give people of diminutive stature an inferiority complex.  Anyone over five foot ten must either quickly learn to develop a stoop, or end up with lumps all over their heads. This narrator, should've worn a hard hat!  They were also situated directly underneath the stage, and the noise from above gave the impression that the theatre was infested with very large rats, as the crew walked about before the show.

We learned tonight, that the second 'half' of the show is 85 minutes long.  No one had actually realised this before and we are now concerned that this is too long.  I have no clue what we are going to cut out though, seeing as we have taken the axe to a lot of tunes already.  Looks like there will have to be a production meeting on the way to the next show.

Roy's reading today was "Target Rolling - A History of Llanbedr Airfield".




Wednesday 9th March 05                                                                                                                                  

Aimee Mann  .....   New Album!!
Oooer....up to me old tricks giving Aimee's new record a plug.

Aimee Mann songs have a literary quality to them--sharp, short stories set to music--so it was probably inevitable that she would one day make a concept album, the musical equivalent of a novella. The Forgotten Arm, her fifth solo release, is exactly that: a dozen songs that tell, rather loosely, the story of John and Caroline as they meet, fall in love and road trip across America.
The Forgotten Arm is in stores May 3rd but if you pre-order at aimeemann.com you will have the option to receive a limited edition large format oversize 32 page lyric book with all the illustrations and photos from the album.

Friday 11th March 05                                                                                                                                          

Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl.

It's been almost sixteen years now, and there is no sign of any let up in the almost ritualistic disagreements between Derek and Rick.
Friday morning 11am:
"Hiya Derek, come in, its freezing out there"
"No... its quite mild"
"I've just been out....the wind's perishin'"
"It's windy, but it's not cold"
"Yes it is"
"It's not"
And so this carried on for about 5 minutes and the tone for the day was set.

As the traffic on the M6 slowed down around Walsall, we had the briefest conversation with Gerry Marsden through open car windows.  He was off to do a show in Swansea.  This was the first time we'd bumped into him since the Town Hall gig in Liverpool last July.

At a Costa coffee and all day breakfast sandwich stop at Strensham Services, we received a phone call from Ade....  
"You ok?.... good..   ..    oh yeah everything's fine.... erm...well there is one problem.....  We are at the bottom of the M50 and the van has been impounded by the MoT and they won't let us go."
We take the news very calmly under the circumstances, have another sip of coffee and wait for the promised return call for an update on the state of play and whether of not we will have any equipment at this gig.
Ten minutes later, Ade is back on the phone telling us that the inspectors have revised their decision and decided to let the van go on its way.

Hurtling across the M4 listening to Victoria Wood's Archers episode on Radio 4, Roy pipes up....  "Was that Ade going the other way?".  A quick phone call to our sound engineer confirms that he is, indeed, travelling east on the M4 heading away from Porthcawl.  After a splash and dash at the services, Ade has come off the exit in the wrong direction, and is oblivious to the fact that the sun is on the wrong side of him and he will shortly be negotiating the Seven Bridge toll.

We arrived at Porthcawl ages before the van, and settled ourselves in the dressing rooms which were located in the basement and reached by stairs that resembled a ladder with greasy rungs.  Roy found the temperature in them the most unpleasant, as he suffers from heat more than any of us...with the built-in long johns 'n' all.

Derek and Rick braved the high winds to stroll along the prom, it was a wild day.  What visit to a seaside town could be complete without fish and chips?  In Porthcawl, they were excellent in spite of us having to hike a mile to get them.

The gig was set up in a Cabaret style with tables and chairs put out.  This slightly dismayed us, as it is not our preferred set up.  Half the audience have to crane round to see the show and there is inevitably a load of chatting going on, which is fine, but a bit off putting in the quiet numbers.
We were all much more pleased with the Shea section now that we have tightened it up a bit.  Dizzy Miss Lizzy rocks!!     Derek tried hard.....  but couldn't agree!



No shit Sherlock!

Saturday 12th March 05                                                                                                                                     

Marine Hall, Fleetwood.

A remarkably similar venue to Porthcawl and again set out in a cabaret style.  This time though, the seating arrangements resembled something like a beerkeller.  Last time we played here, there were two other acts on the bill and we only played an hour.  Tonight, we did the full show apart from cutting about 9 album tracks to make it a bit shorter.
Great turn out, which surprised us a bit. All the seats taken and people standing at the back and round the sides.......marvellous!!!



Wednesday 16th March 05                                                                                                                                

The Bridge, London.

Warning!!!   Don't be conned by the offer that Kentucky and BK have on at Warwick services...- UPGRADE to a Prima coffee for only 30p when you buy a meal.  Ok...so they put the coffee in a Prima cup, but it still tastes like Camp chicory dissolved in warm piss.  Hmm.... maybe a restaurant guide would be interested in me doing some reviews for the down to earth.

We were having a bit of trouble finding the venue and getting several bum steers from cab drivers and doormen.  Paul Weller was right..."When you ask in a strange town.... they say, don't know, don't care and I gotta go mate"
We knew we were in the right area, so we parked up near Vinopolis and had a bit of a walk. Eddie was gasping for a smoke.  He is not allowed to smoke in the car in case he sets fire to the upholstery, which would, as sure as eggs is eggs, be bound to happen. We took in the stunning views of the river and the replica of The Golden Hind.  This sparked a conversation about ships, and we were buggered if we could remember the name of the other boat apart from the Pelican and the Santa Maria, that made the 1492 voyage to America....answers on a postcard.* 
As we headed back to the car,  Ed decided to adjust his trousers as he presumably had become afflicted with a wedgie during the journey.  Any normal person would do this in a stationary position, but Eddie preferred the mobile approach.  Unfortunately, he rather clumsily tripped on a kerb, letting go of his belt as he put his arms out to recover his balance, resulting in young mans trousers slipping ungraciously round his ankles.  We howled as passers by watched in bewilderment.  The Bank End Flasher strikes again!!

As it turned out, we were right the first time, and the venue was on the other side of the London Bridge, tucked away under the arches.
We've played a few venues like this before, old railway or bridge arches converted into clubs and function rooms.  They have a great ambience when they are dressed and lit well,  The Bridge was no exception.  The only drawback to these places is that the sound is usually awful.  Again, the Bridge was no exception.  We had left the sound check to Ade and Dave, but we knew as soon as we got in the room that Ade would have his work cut out to make the band sound half decent.
We had a fair while to hang about as our on stage time was put back and put back.  The guests were listening to Andy McNabb giving an after dinner speech.  It's always evident when Dirk becomes bored....  he starts picking on people's apparel.  Dave was the unfortunate victim tonight, and he stood open mouthed as the venom regarding his jacket and general attire was spat from the lips of our bassist.

A quarter to midnight, and we slope onto the stage to begin playing to an empty room.  A frequently used tactic at corporate functions is to ask the guests to move to another room for the bar and the entertainment after dinner.  Halfway through From Me To You, the guests begin filing into the Blue Zone, looking for the bar but having to run the gauntlet of a Beatle band en route.  Some stopped, some just walked through with the body language people use when passing a "Big Issue" seller on the street, and made their way straight to the bar.  So, for 70 minutes we were like a bowl of nuts on a bar, ( no! not tainted with urine ) with people dipping in and out of us as the mood took them.  We noticed quite a few of the guests stayed put all night and seemed to enjoy the show.
All in all though, not the most enjoyable gig we've ever had.

4am...Hilton Park services...  good coffee...at last...Melton Mobray's and a flick through 60 plus.

* Historical note:
1492.  The Pelican was the original name of the Santa Maria and the other 2 ships were the Pinta and the Nina.  Nice to get this sort of detail right!!!
Another note of arguably less historical significance, is that Eddies first gig with the band took place in an almost identical venue, The Arches in Glasgow, on 13 March 2001. Spooky?





For blog readers only, here is a Real Player file of I've Got A Feeling, recorded at Harrogate in January.
Click the link just once, the file should play within a few seconds.  Audio quality is compromised with the compression used for these files.  You will need Real Player on your computer to play them. Download it for free HERE!

Saturday 19th March 05                                                                                                                                     

Number 8 Community Arts Centre, Pershore.

I've woken up with a hang-over, but in spite of this, it really is a beautiful day.  Spring is definitely in the air, it's actually warm...ish and the sky is blue.  The show had sold out a couple of months ago, and we always look forward to shows like that....who wouldn't?  Yeah! I feel good and quite looking forward to driving down to Pershore, which for the uninitiated is about 10 miles off junction 7 of the M5.  

The feelgood factor took a knock at 12.30 when the phone rings from Dave to say that the van has broken down on the M56 not far from Chester.   No chance of a repair, Ad Lib PA have all their vans out on jobs and none of the hire companies have anything left.  It seems that the only chance of being able to do the show now is for the RAC to take the van down to Pershore and worry about getting it back later.  As it turns out, Dave and Ade would've had to wait so long for a recovery that far south that they wouldn't be in time for the show anyway.  Rescue was found in the shape of Dereks dad, who thankfully has a luton van.  He was able to unload the van and get it over to Birkenhead just in time for Dave and Ade to reload it with the gear and set off on the journey.  It was touch and go but we were all at the Arts Centre in time to assist with the load in and even get a sound check done without having to hold the doors for the show.  A big thank you to Phil....who really pulled us out of the brown and nasty!

The doors were able to open at 7.30 as arranged, and the day was starting to look more as it had when the cock first crowed.  We went on and did a good show.  There is still a problem with the length of the show though, and we are really struggling with the decision of what songs to cut out.
The audience was definitely one of the most appreciative so far this year, so a big thank you to them for making us feel so welcome, and we look forward to coming back next year!




 

      S H O W  R E V I E W     
Number 8, Pershore
Review by Steve Evans in ThisisPershore.co.uk

OKAY, so we chaps may not be able to twist so low these days, and the ladies may be more likely to cultivate wisteria than hysteria but boy, did we baby-boomers have a great time on Saturday night. Number 8 was rocking to the sound of our youth.

If there is a better Beatles tribute band, then you'd better believe in ghosts. The impersonations are uncanny and the Beatles sound recreated to perfection. Then, of course, there is the catalogue - hit after hit, memory after memory.

For one night we're allowed to forget that we're mums and dads with mortgages and creaky bits. From the first chord, we're teleported back to those heady days of hope and pointy shoes when wide-eyed schoolkids and tentative teenagers were catapulted from post-war austerity into the new culture of youth. As cultural icons, the Beatles stand on top of this era like gods on a mountain and this reincarnation is a fitting tribute to their status.

Was this a fab night out? Yeh, yeh, yeh.

REVIEW BY STEVE EVANS.

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