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Blog: Totally Acoustic RETURNS!

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Last Thursday saw the glorious return of Totally Acoustic just in time for CHRISTMAS. It also saw the glorious return of me WALKING there from work, which has not happened for several YEARS. It only took me SIX minutes to get from my desk to the bar, it was FANTASTIC!

I arrived to find various members of A Little Orchestra also arriving so we went upstairs and started getting set up. With tables placed I went downstairs to find Mr FA Machine rolling in and then, almost immediately after him, Mr T "Tiger" McClure and Ms C Birkby. Here something STRANGE happened - Tom took his coat off and put his bags down. "Why don't we just take it all upstairs?" I said and he looked at me PERPLEXED, as if he had never even BEEN to The King & Queen before. I was astounded - I had assumed he had, but NO, apart from Frankie this was to be the first time ANY Validators had been there! KRAZY!

Upstairs Tom was invited to join A Little Orchestra for the evening as they were a couple of violinists down, and he did NOT take much persuading! Myself, Frankie and Christina went back downstairs for the next half an hour while he practice with them, and we were joined by a VARIETY of pals, including The Hewitts and, before too long, The Pattisons. Tim entered wearing his new CAJON drum on his BACK - EVERYONE had come on TRANES to the gig, another FIRST in YEARS of gigging. If we could do ALL gigs like this it would be AMAZING - think of the BEER we could get down us!

Soon we were all gathered, all except for Mr B Bailey, AKA The Boy In The Cupbaord. Ben lives in BRIGHTON, which means of course that it is IMPOSSIBLE for him to get trains due to Southern Rail being UTTERLY USELESS. He sent an apologetic message detailing his various THWARTED PLANS to get up to the big city, including a trip to HOVE. It was a right shame, but we'll get him back another time!

The night kicked off, as ever, with The Theme Song. I didn't notice at the time, but The Notes In My Melody later pointed out to me that the TUNE had subtly CHANGED. It was fine when I demonstrated it, but then when we did the practice run through some people sang a note differently towards the end which changed the whole final line. AMAZINGLY everyone else went along with it as it was happening, and then everyone repeated the changed tune when we did the "proper" version for recording! As she stated, it was FASCINATING the way that everybody ADAPTED as it was going along and (including me) just accepted that that's how it would be. MUSIC everybody!

After that it was my turn to do a couple of songs. I'd brought an actual MUSIC STAND so that i could do a NEW song -
  • Cheer Up Love - without panicking over the words. It seemed to go OK, so then I did a couple from The Back Catalogue: Red and White Sockets and Hey Hey 16K, neither of which I'd practiced AT ALL but seemed to get through pretty well. Maybe NO practicing is the way forward, or perhaps it is the simple PRESENCE of a Music Stand that makes me remember WURDZ better?

    After a short break A Little Orchestra introduced me introducing THEM and we were off for a GLORIOUS half hour of songs, featuring a tribute to Mr L Cohen, some jewish folk music, and the inevitable (at this time of year) CHRISTMAS SONGS. It was utterly utterly lovely - they always are, that's why I asked them to play the Christmas show!

    Their set concluded with the first of two collaborations with US i.e. The Validators. We did a version of "Merry Little Christmas Time" that was pretty darn MAGICAL. We'd worked out a whole STAGING of it which involved other Validators strolling in for the second verse and then handing out MINCE PIES. It all went really well except that you can hear quite a LOT of Mince Pie taking and eating through the middle of the song! As the aforementioned Pie In My Tin said later on, it felt and sounded a bit like a SCHOOL PLAY i.e. SUPER CHRISTMASSY. It'll be edited and released as this year's contribution to the Christmas Selection Box SOON!

    Finally it was time for The Validators to take to the stage - here's what we did:
  • One Last Party (with A Little Orchestra)
  • (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock
  • Can We Be Friends?
  • Mental Judo
  • In The North Stand
  • Easily Impressed
  • It Only Works Because You're here
  • The Advent Calendar Of FACT
  • We Did It Anyway

  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • It went really well! There was singing along, there were a LOT of remarks and there was... PLAYING MUSIC! I'm sure you're thinking "But Mark, surely that's what happens at all Validators gigs?" and you would be correct, but this time, with everything at audible, correct levels and no pre-determined way of playing the songs it felt like we were all LISTENING to each other and reacting, like some kind of MUSICIANS. It was sort of beautiful!

    There was also a lengthy discussion of which 'Parks And Recreation' characters we would be, a break for STOLLEN (which I think was probably better for the band, who were eating stollen, than the audience, who were perplexed), and a GLORIOUS bass solo during In The North Stand. It WORKED, basically, it really WORKED and when it was all over we all agreed that we would have to do it this way again!

    The only thing even vaguely moving towards "wrong" during the evening was that there were almost TOO MANY lovely people there and I didn't get a chance to TALK properly to lots of them e.g. Mr R Kirkham had come and I hardly got to say ANYTHING to him!

    Other than that all was delightful, including WHISKY before heading home. It's really really good to have Totally Acoustic back, the next one's in January, the first Thursday in 2017 - you should come along!.

    posted 5/12/2016 by MJ Hibbett

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