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Friday 3rd March 06                                                                                                                                            

Grosvenor House, London.

We've done many performances in the Great Room of the Grosvenor House.  Last year we did a run of four for an American client, and we installed the PA....they were great!
As Dirk and I stood behind the star-cloth waiting to go on, we said: "That PA sounds awful!"  Dirk explained it was all sub-bass....the room had satellite speakers flown from the ceiling and sub bass speakers behind the stage.  As a result, none of the sound that we would really want was hitting the dance floor...and frankly we thought it sounded atrocious.  We went down reasonably well and the dance floor was packed for most of the 70 minute set, but it was not a very satisfying performance. On the plus side, the hospitality was excellent and we did get the chance to chew the fat with Tracy.


Friday 10th March 06                                                                                                                                          

Thameside Theatre, Grays.

It is really difficult to describe the dread that we feel when we have to venture down towards that London on a Friday afternoon.  With a sound check scheduled for 6pm, we have to set off at 11am to be sure of making it.  Today is wet...very wet...pissy pissy wet, and the M6 looks more like a canal than the most insanely busy road in the UK.  In spite of it all though, the traffic keeps moving, and our progress is actually better than on a 'normal' Friday.  Even after a leisurely stop at Corley Services, we manage to arrive as Ade & Dave are loading in, so there is plenty of time to change strings on 3 of the guitars and fix a broken snare drum.

It's a really nice little theatre on the 3rd floor, quite intimate and good acoustically.  Roys concerns over the stability of the drum riser are seen to and we have a really decent sound check, trying out old tunes like Come Together.

We get a warm reception from the sell out crowd (well apart form 5 spare seats), and chat to some of the audience in the bar after the show.

A 40 minute wait in the Kentucky across the road, was not what we wanted before setting off home, but we were all hungry and needed something to sustain us on the journey home.




Pic...Dave Bryan Pic...Dave Bryan Pic...Dave Bryan Pic...Dave Bryan
Pic...Dave Bryan Pic...Dave Bryan

Saturday 11th March 06                                                                                                                                     

Prince of Wales Theatre, Cannock.

Another good attendance at this new venue for us.

Nothing particularly remarkable about this performance, apart from a remarkable "Long Tall Sally" and a particularly remarkable "Here Comes The Sun".  The latter of which was remarkable in a particularly bad way...  but I'll get over it.

As we got home...it started snowing.  Now there's lucky!


Pic.. Ashleigh Pic.. Ashleigh Pic.. Ashleigh
Pic.. Ashleigh Pic.. Ashleigh Pic...Dave Bryan Pic...Dave Bryan
Pic...Dave Bryan Pic.. Ashleigh Pic...Dave Bryan Pic...Dave Bryan
Pic...Dave Bryan Pic...Dave Bryan Pic...Dave Bryan
 
2 videos uploaded to YouTube by Ash.

Thursday 23rd March 06                                                                                                                                    

The Winding Wheel, Chesterfield.

After a visit to the dentist this morning, I was faced with an entirely new experience; shaving with one half of my face numb.  I'm not sure I liked it!

The journey across the Pennines takes 3 of us two and half hours, thanks to plenty of traffic around Stockport.  The journey, however, is full of wonderful things to look at.  That old classic, Stockport Viaduct and the wonderful Ferrodo Brake Lining Factory at Chaple-le-Frith, being just two "must sees" for any vistor to these Isles.
Derek had come the longer but quicker way on the motorway and had already settled himself in a cubicle when we arrived.
The acoustic properties of The Winding Wheel are less than ideal and the hollow stage was causing a lot of bass to surround us.  Ade did the best he could to combat the problems, with there was still a lot of swirling at the sound check.
Once the audience was in, the problem was less noticeable, and we put on a good show.  To see Dirk and myself in the dressing room at half-time, you'd never know that we had just gone down very well, we looked like the condemned men.  We realised this, and laughed.  Sometimes it's just like that.
Roy nearly lost his 'tache in the second half, after I rejoiced in hitting the sweet spot on the Revolution intro.  Roy was tickled and had to play one handed, whilst gripping his muzzy with the other.


You wanna 'ear 'im do Lennon!!........WHAAAT!!!
 

Friday 24th March 06                                                                                                                                          

Pocklington Arts Centre, York.

With Derek spending the night in the Sheffield Days Inn with Ade & Dave, the other three of us make the slow journey across the M62 to Pocklington.

The Arts Centre is an acoustically superb little venue with a seriously bad get-in.  Having a coffee machine in the dressing room is a very good idea, but I can't say that I was particularly impressed with Milky Bar bites.

We all enjoyed this gig I think, we played well and it sounded great in this room.



Saturday 25th March 06                                                                                                                                     

Number 8 Arts Centre, Pershore.

This show apparently sold out a few months ago.  We had received a great response here last year so it was a welcome return for us.
Everyone is now bringing their own food on the road rather than pay the stupidly high prices in Mway services for the unhealthy shit they sell.  Before too long I can see us sitting in lay-bys with a tartan rug and wicker picnic hamper.  "Another glass of Chardonnay Eddie?"

After another well received show, we set off down the M5 and stopped off to get some hot food.  Eddie in particular is getting fed up of sarnies.  Camp for the night was at Chievely Services on the M4/A34 junction.  The room Roy and I shared, smelt like a dog kennel.  It had to be one of the mustiest rooms we have ever had.  I complained to Roy that my bed felt quite damp as we settled down with our late night fag, café creme and individual sachet of coffee.  I was about to find out that Travelodge have been criticised for using duvets filled with synthetic materials which actually retain "body moisture", and do not dry out quickly.  What a gorgeous thought!....Every time you sleep in a Travelodge, you are sleeping in someone elses sweat!


Sunday 26th March 06                                                                                                                                       

Theatre Royal, Windsor.

No point in setting off for Windsor too early, parking is difficult and expensive, so we slump around the services for a couple of hours.  No one seems put out by the fact that we have lost an hour with clocks going forward ...in fact it's a relief.  

A short sound check which included "I'll Cry Instead" was all that we needed.

After the first half, there was quite a bit of despondency in the air.  We didn't feel we were going down very well and put it down to the performance being a bit limp because we were playing a bit too nicely.  The on-stage volume was a bit polite and lacked balls, so we went out for the second half determined to put a bit of umph into it.  At least we felt better about it. 

We drove home without stopping.

Oh God...I nearly forgot.....Roy just reminded me!  We were playing Paperback Writer, and I heard that the snare drum was off.  I figured it was broken, so was screaming to Dave in the wings to get the spare out.  What actually happened was this.....  Roy had forgotten we were doing Paperback, and was halfway up the stairs to get changed when he head it introduced.  He legged it back to the stage, in just enough time to hit the first beat, but not in quite enough time to flick the snare back on.  The three of us had started the a capella bit to the song, oblivious to the fact that we had no drummer behind us.  We didn't find out till after the show.



Pic. Neil Pic. Neil Pic. Neil Pic. Neil

Thursday 30th March 06                                                                                                                                    

St. Andrews Bay Hotel, St. Andrews.

To quote Dave and Ade: "The Fuji Finepix E550 digital camera is quite a nice piece of kit".  They own one of these cameras, and so do I.  They have been responsible for most of the pictures on this blog for the last 10 months.  On this trip up to St.Andrews, we were accompanied by neither Dave, Ade or a Fuji Finepix.  The first two were otherwise engaged at Pontins, Ainsdale and the later, was run over by a Land Rover on Wednesday and is consequently fucked!

With the PA being provided up in Scotland, it is a convoy of 2 cars which transports the band, a drumkit and a couple of AC30's up the M6 to golfers paradise.  It's windows open most of the way along the A91, as Dirks lunch makes a most unwelcome re-appearance in the form of toxic vapors.  With the "Arse Canary" driving the other vehicle, it is altogether safer to leave a two inch gap in the window. We both agree, there has been nothing like this since I hit the Guinness back in 04.

At first sight the St. Andrews Bay Hotel looks a little like the Overlook from The Shining.  Even the "Atrium" where we will be playing, looks as perfect for a scene for Mr. Torrence to do some typing.  It's a quick sound check and then a look for somewhere to spend the next 5 hours while we wait for our performance time.  Derek found a couch and Eddie hid himself under a table to try and get some sleep.

Our hour performance was reasonably well received with the dance floor well subscribed.

For the journey home, the GPS system couldn't seem to make its mind up which way to take us, eventually settling for a route which would take us over the Forth Road Bridge.  The famous rail bridge next to it looked especially eerie in the fog with the sounds of Ravi Shankar coming over the car stereo.  We never tire of such sights!  Unfortunately, we made the classic mistake coming off the bridge.  Getting in the wrong lane, we ended up on the Edinburgh ring road. At this point we switched the GPS off and relied on the best navigation method of all...the good old £2.99 map....never fails!.  This was a long day.


 

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