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Blog: Leicester

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I set off once more for the Midlands yesterday afternoon, for a band practice and then GIG in Leicester. Me, Tom and Emma convened in Stayfree for the first time in AGES, and were gladdened in the heart to find it hadn't changed at all - the microphones still STANK of phlegm, things that _did_ work were clearly labelled, and the front desk was staffed by EITHER someone LOVELY OR by an arsey twonk who obviously viewed me as a SCION OF CORPORATE DEGENERACY because I didn't know that the loo had been moved to a different floor. It was nice to be back!

Anyway, we set to our Quiet Rehearsal i.e. one for the more delicate sorts in the band, as opposed to the FEISTY and BRUTISH Rhythm Section. We ran through a few songs, picking out who'd play what where, but we spent MOST of our time working out "Mental Judo", and mostly which bits Emma and I would sing. It was REALLY WORTH IT i must say, as by the end it was sounding GRATE, Tom had a CRACKING bit for the choruses, and the song was sounding like a ALBUM HIGHLIGHT. We'd also had a Thorough Discussion about the theoretical implications of Emma singing certain lines or not, it was GRATE!

Job done we headed over the Bar Firefly, which used to be The Lamplighter's but has had an ASTONISHING refurbishment done, so now it is LOVELY, especially upstairs where they've Knocked Through in ALL directions and changed a dirty, gloomy, Top Room Of The Pub into an AIRY LOFT. It was AMAZING, and best of all they'd invested in DECENT SOUND (and a really nice sound guy too), so everything sounded SMASHING.

Sound CHECKED we went for GRUB - again, in contrast to activities with aforesaid Brutish Rhytmn Section, where sitting down to eat your chips is considered effeminate and effected, we went to a RESTAURANT. Mirch Massala was closed, so we went to ZIZZI for Delicious pasta/pizza/salad, and shared a DELIGHTFUL bottle of Pinot Grigio between us. OH YEAH! GET US! Sophisticated or WHAT eh?

Back at the venue it wasn't long before Tim turned up, and suddenly the absence of Mr Fleay was felt rather keenly. I found this to be rather MOVING, in a daft sort of way, that we're so used to being a Proper Band these days that when one of us isn't there it just doesn't feel right. I was forced to use BEER to nurse me through this period of uncertainty, so don't worry, I pulled through.

People ARRIVED, which is always nice, and whilst chatting in the beer garden i got a TXT from Sorted Supremo Dave Dixey to tell me that he was upstairs watching someone do Billy Bragg cover versions. I thought this was his WRY, CUTTING way of telling me there was someone bellowing over an acoustic guitar (i can scarce imagine what THAT would be like...) so was SURPRISED to find it actually WAS someone doing a set almost completely made up of Billy Bragg songs. It was ACE!

Then it was time for US to go on - i knew this because Emma had put on her Gig Frock. This, for me, is the single downside of having her in the band - she shows us UP by actually bothering to get dressed up for the occasion, while the rest of us lurk in the usual black shirts and jeans that we spend the rest of our lives in. Anyway, i went on and did the first song on my own, with the rest done in the Threesome Format, and this is what we played:
The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
The Lesson Of The Smiths
Hey Hey 16K
Mental Judo
Breaks In The Journey
The Fight For History
Billy Jones Is Dead
Things'll Be Different
Dinky Doo
Easily Impressed

It was a VERY UNUSUAL SET! It felt very strange playing it too - I'm used to either playing on my own and doing UBER SETS where every song is going "HEY! LISTEN TO ME!" or playing with The Vlads where audience don't usually have much choice BUT to listen to us, so it was a little disconcerting to be playing a fairly RELAXED and OPEN bunch of songs like this, which didn't GRAB people and DEMAND they pay attention. If I'd been on my own I'd've PANICKED and switched to "Fucking Hippy" and all that, but we held our nerve and i was GLAD that we did so. After we'd finished we were all BACKSTAGE (yes, it really HAS poshed up there) saying that it had felt "Nice", when Dr N Brown came in and say "Wow! That was... NICE!" and we agreed that it was, and that this was the UNUSUAL THING ABOUT IT. As he said, "NICE" is a word derided by the foolish, but something rarely found in the world of ROCK. And actually, as we found, it takes a lot more NERVE to play that sort of set than it does one of LOUDNESS. We'll be doing it again some time anyway, have no doubt!

I then leapt out to hand out flyers, and had a quick chat with Kev Hewick, who said he'd been amazed on Local Discussion Forums to find people a) had HEARD of us and b) LIKED us! I know what he means, it had FREAKED me out a bit to see people in the room who i DIDN'T know who knew the words to songs - it's STRANGE to see this anywhere, but especially so in LEICESTER where until recently familiarity has bred much CONTEMPT of our OUVRE. Apparently tho there is now a Rich and Thriving Music Scene in Leicester, and Kev says it is GRATE, so hopefully we'll be going back to play there a bit more often now.

Anyway, JOB DONE we relaxed and enjoyed healthy life giving BEER. Me and Dave discussed the gig at The Victory on the 18th, and when Tim heard we'd not got a PA sorted he calmly took three steps to the right and SORTED it out for us, as John The Soundman, who'd DONE us at Woodhouse Eaves, was rather wonderfully there and willing to help. HOORAH! We retired to the BEER GARDEN for a bit, then nipped upstairs to see Abi Titmuss Is Missing, the band featuring STEVE who had put the gig on in the first place. He is a lovely chap, tho it was a little disturbing how well the blond curls and evening dress suited him...

All in all then, it was a LOVELY day, and hopefully it'll set the TONE for our return in a couple of weeks time. That's a couple of gigs in a row in Leicester that have been dead good - I don't think i EVER managed that when I actually lived there!

posted 31/5/2005 by MJ Hibbett

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Comments:

dinky doo makes an appearance! i love dinky doo- it properly slays me when i listen to it.
does he really bite his toe nails??
posted 31/5/2005 by ray k

Thanks for the lovely comments about our venue & I'm glad you enjoyed yourself :)

I'm still coming to terms with adding "done the sound for Hey Hey 16k" to my lifelong achievements, I gotta say I sang along and grinned my way through the entire song :D

All the best,

Alan
posted 2/6/2005 by Alan the Sound Lackey

I've only just found this bit about Monday....

Glad you liked the new look of the place, its hard to remember what Lampies was like, but then again I am in Firefly more often than home sometimes now...

Was a pleasure havin you on the gig, thanks for thinking I'm a top bloke!!!
posted 3/6/2005 by The Afformentioned Steve!

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