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Blog: Totally Acoustic RETURNS

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With a skip in my step and joy in my heart I headed over to The Lamb last night for the first of the NEW SEASON of Totally Acoustic. It's been AGES since we last did one of these, what with all the ALBUM and EDINBURGH stuff that went on over the summer so I was REALLY looking forward to it, especially as I'd got two such GRATE acts playing.

I arrived to find they were both there ALREADY, Mr Gavin Osborn and Mr Winston Echo. Full of GLEE I sorted out the room hire then went upstairs with Mr C Flowers to sort the room out. The Chairs At My Table arrived, Mr S Hewitt and Mr P Knight came upstairs, and then so did a whole HEAP of other people - a few lovely regulars but also PILES of people I had never even MET before. BOTH Mr Osborn AND Mr Echo had bought a load of PALS with them, making the room SO VERY FULL that some people couldn't find a seat! This had NEVER happened before!

Almost completely ON TIME I got up, heralded by Steve CLANGING a glass in the traditional manner, GABBLED ON for a bit, and then did THIS:

  • The Saturday Lunchtime Wrestlers
  • The Girl Who...
  • Please Don't Eat Us
  • Literature Search
  • A Little Bit
  • Breaks In The Journey
  • It Only Works Because You're Here
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths

  • As you can see, it features LOTS of songs I haven't done for a while and even a couple of new ones. This was my first gig in 5 or 6 weeks so I was always going to need to have a BIT of a practice, so I REASONED that in that case I might as well try and do a few DIFFERENT songs - I've been playing pretty much the same 2.5 sets for the past two years (My Exciting Life, the album, and Dinosaur Planet) so thought it would be NICE to do something different. I THOUGHT this would be a "bonus" (aka "blessed relief") for the REGULARS who've HEARD those sets so many times, but I didn't expect there to be QUITE so many people who'd never heard me AT ALL before.

    It seemed to go pretty well - going on first has the MASSIVE advantage that I can't drink too much before going on, so I managed to remember nearly ALL the words to EVERYTHING. I may perhaps have TALKED rather a bit too much between songs but HEY! It's my GIG, it's allowed!

    Afterwards, during the mini-break, someone who'd only wandered in by mistake a)said she'd enjoyed it (which made me very happy) and b) suggested getting in touch with a part of UCL that's looking to put on SHOWS. She was part of a group of GEOLOGISTS, so maybe it's a good thing they didn't find out what Dinosaur Planet is really about - it would surely have SHAKEN their entire BELIEF SYSTEM. SURELY.

    Anyway, then Winston Echo came on and was BLOODY GRATE. He started with "Winchester Cathedral Choir", a song I've seen him play MANY times but never really HEARD properly, so was amazed to discover the Actual Story. He was fantastic - he gives off an air of FRAILTY, at least at first, but it's linked to a huge confidence in the songs - after someone like ME has been GALLUMPHING about, SHOUTING and making with the LARFS it takes some SKILL to come on very shortly afterwards and confidently do such QUIET songs and then drag the entire room round to his way of thinking, charming them and having everyone LOVE him within minutes. BRILLIANT.

    We had the traditional MAXI-BREAK and I have to admit I was worrying - due to my EXTENDED SHOWING OFF things were running a bit late. "We're WELL behind schedule", I thought, looking at my watch. "It's nearly... oh. Nine o'clock."

    Gavin Osborn came on then and was FANTASTIC. As I may have mentioned, when I saw him in Edinburgh it BLEW MY MIND - he's got such brilliant, funny, heartfelt songs and does them perfectly, and he did it all over again last night, this time with added VIOLINS. As with Winston he looked the (by now very warm) room in the eye and TOOK it, especially when he did a couple of very LONG songs which flew by, involving everyone in the stories as they went along.

    We got him to do a MUCH JUSTIFIED encore - "Tank Park Salute" by Billy Bragg. It was BEAUTIFUL but did look to be ending the night with the whole room SOBBING, so thankfully he did his "Over 30" song which was as HILARIOUS, also TRUE, also MOVING as it had been the first time I'd seen him. I can't believe I'd not even HEARD of him before a couple of months ago, I shall be going to his gigs A LOT MORE.

    After that we settled down into the traditional post-gig BEER and CHAT (including exciting discussion of CAMPER VANS) before beginning the long journey home. It was a lovely night, and much as I enjoyed my month off it's nice to be back on THE ROAD again!

    posted 7/10/2009 by MJ Hibbett

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