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Blog: The Tour Begins!

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On Thursday night last week the 'No Headliner' tour began, as all major international ROCK tours should, in Croydon. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: it went pretty well!

I took the exciting new(ish) Thameslink route there, which goes DIRECTLY from underneath St Pancras and is DEAD handy. It's also not hugely busy, partly because TfL seems to be keeping SCHTUM about it. When I tried routeplanner it told me all sorts of long ways round to get from where I work to East Croydon, but the national rail planner had no such problems. I wonder if that's on purpose, to stop to many people using it? I ended up coming back that way too, on a train that was going all the way to PETERBOROUGH! THRILLZ!!

The gig was at the Urban XChange Bar, which I'd not been to before, so I diligently researched it and found that a) I had to leave through the SIDE entrance of East Croydon Station (i.e. on PURPOSE rather than ACCIDENTALLY as I have before) and then b) go through Croydon's Hotel District. I wasn't aware that Croydon HAD a Hotel District, but it does make a lot of sense, location-wise, and sure enough it turned out to be a district full of HOTELS. It was also a bit confusing, with me ending up back near the main entrance of the station before I eventually found my way back to the correct venue, wherein I found Mr M Tiller and Mr T Eveleigh, ready to get things going.

The venue is part of a HOTEL (see above re. District) which meant I could order my TEA directly from the Hotel Restaurant next door, which felt quite fancy. I continued my experiments drinking BEER again rather than Lager too, which again worked dead well as, SCIENCE shows, I do not get quite as DOOLALLY drinking Session Ales as I do drinking LAGER BEER.

Various delightful people rolled up, not least Mr B Parker who I'd not seen for AGES, and soon it was time for the SHOW to begin, with Big Tim doing the introductions and local ARTISTE Mr D Sears on first. Dave mentioned several times in his set that the audience was "quiet" during the songs, as if it was something he wasn't used to - he is one of them FOLK musicians, so maybe people at those sort of gigs CHAT throughout? I always remember being confused seeing folk music played in a pub with the singer apparently unbothered by people YACKING, so maybe that's how it works?

Next up was Matt who OBVS was GRATE - he did some fab NEW songs including a dead good one about being CLUMSY, but my favourite bit of his set was when he did the French Lorry Driver one. This is where he gets someone on stage to "translate" his French story, and starts with him asking for someone who can speak French to come on stage. The first volunteer was eating a pizza, so couldn't spare the time, and nobody else wanted to do it until a chap at the back decided to help him out. He'd shouted things out a couple of times already and practically strutted on stage, so I wondered whether he was one of those people who want to mess things up and/or be difficult, but he was actually BRILLIANT! He read the whole thing out properly, except for one line which he DID A JOKE with, and was all round MARVELLOUS. I love it when that sort of thing happens, it was An Theatrical Moment!

Then it was my turn to go on, and this is what I did:
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock
  • You're A Tory Now
  • In The North Stand
  • Mental Judo
  • Two Nights, One Pub
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • It Only Works Because You're here
  • It seemed to go all right - it was a bit difficult to tell because the stage lights were quite bright, so the only people I could see were the members of The Plymouth Argyle Supporters Association (London Branch) who'd come to see Matt. They looked happy, so I took that as a good sign!

    I must admit I was a bit nervous as this was my first gig of the year, and my first actual full-length PUB-based solo gig since I last played in Croydon, nearly ten months ago! This meant there were a couple of ERRORS (notably getting the verses mixed up and occasionally re-written during Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid) and I think I rushed through the CHAT a bit (although nobody seemed to complain - just being polite, I expect), but otherwise if felt GOOD. I very much enjoyed singing Mental Judo, and was ESPECIALLY proud of myself for doing You're A Tory Now, which I had only actually finished writing the day before!

    It was a GRATE first date of the tour, and hopefully a sign to ME that doing new songs is FINE. I have a list of about 38 potential HITS to bring out over this string of dates, and hopefully I will try and DO most of them, rather than what I usually do i.e. chicken out and do the same UBERSET on every date! If you're in London, Leicester, Sheffield, Bristol, Manchester or ENVIRONS then do please come along to one of the tour dates and see how I get on!

    posted 11/2/2019 by MJ Hibbett

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