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Blog: Leeds

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The first batch of ROCK for 2006 ended this weekend with me heading up to LEEDS. On the way up I diligently proof-read the ANNOTATIONS for the songs on "A Fridge Full Of Nice Things", and so was ready for some ACTION by the time I got off the train, to find that, as usual, everyone in Leeds was DRUNK. Is there BEER in the water or something? Every time I've ever been to Leeds everybody there has been BOOZED UP, it is Quite Peculiar.

This sensation was only enhanced when I was walking towards my hotel (yes, i stay in hotels these days when I am out ROCKING, for LO! i am dead posh, yes i am) to find that the whole area REEKED of beer. "Has a beer lorry collided with an offy?" I wondered to myself... until I turned a corner and realised I was staying right next door to the Tetley Brewery. Aha!

My hotel was FILLED with women on Hen Nights, shreiking, and it seemed that the streets of LEEDS were also so filled, until the taxi driver pointed out that we were behind a former fire engine, which was now used for carrying round women on Hen Nights. In fact, the only people I came across up to this point who WEREN'T on Hen Nights were men on Stag Nights. LEEDS! City of BEER!

After a quick soundcheck I headed off to get some GRUB. I'd been told there were no chippies nearby, so went to McDonalds. Oh my - i had FORGOT what they are like, ESPECIALLY at about 8pm on a Saturday, when all over the country the fill up with TEENAGERS. It was like being in a really really really awful nightclub, but without the beer and MORE SCREAMING and NO BEER. ALSO it took about 20 minutes for my veggie burger to turn up, i could have DONE with a pint!

When I got back, however, things REALLY go better. The pub was RAMMED with LOVELY people, many of whom had come from far and wide to be there, including a healthy contingent from the might BOWLIE forum. Hey! I played at Bowlie you know! OK, on a table outside the pub on the Sunday afternoon, but it still counts!

Remembering my resolution to Vary The Set a bit I took COUNSEL from people, and ended up playing the following:
  • The Peterborough All-Saints' Wide Game Team (Group B)
  • Hey Hey 16K
  • Work's All Right (when it's a proper job)
  • The Fight For History
  • Clubbing In The Week
  • You Will Be Hearing From My Solicitor
  • Sod It, Let's Get Pissed
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed
  • Boom Shake The Room
  • That's the first time I've played "Work's All Right" for ages, and the first time I've played "You Will Be Hearing From My Solicitor" for YEARS - possibly only the second time EVER I've done it on my own, and I had to write out the lyrics beforehand to make sure I could remember them.

    It was a THOROUGHLY enjoyable gig, tho a bit hairy in places. Apparently Carpe Diem is a bit of a Mecca for The Younger Drinker - something we've certainly noticed when The Vlads have played there - and it appeared that many of them had been there all day, including one VERY enthusiastic young man who was down the front for my whole set. He was dancing around and shouting things out, and my Inner Grumpy Old Sod thought "Grr!" However, SENSE RULED and I thought to myself "He is a young person DRUNK who is enjoying himself, and he is also enjoying what YOU are doing - so what if he is a bit loud?"

    HOWEVER, a few songs in he OVERSTEPPED THE MARK by coming ONSTAGE and trying to grab the microphone. I STERNLY pushed him away, saying in a clear and firm voice "FCUK. OFF." and then carried on with the song - drunk teenagers, they are like unruly dogs, you have to be FIRM with them. Bless them, he and his large mob of Almost But Not Quite As Drunk mates were good as gold after that. I explained that we had to set some boundaries between us, and they accepted this truth. It was very much like being a Primary School Teacher actually, and I realised I was spending all my time on the NAUGHTY children, when there were LOADS of other people there (no, really, it was a Nice Big Crowd) who weren't trying to take over the GIG, and with that realisation i relaxed a bit and THOROUGHLY enjoyed myself. It was GRATE!

    Afterwards I took my flyers and went for a wander round the room. Handing out flyers is a GRATE excuse for wandering around the pub saying hello and seeing what people think, it was lovely. One chap had seen us at Half Man Half Biscuit in Nottingham (and informed me that they've just announced a new gig in Sheffield, which we are of course BEGGING for the support for), another couple gave me the low down on The Young Drinkers, and then I had a very nice conversation about Bill Bailey, Billy Bragg, and The Fantastic Four with some other people. Truly, I am a FASHION ICON - when I wore my "BOOKS RULE!" t-shirt everyone HANKERED for it, this time somebody tried to BUY my Fantastic Four t-shirt off me. If this carries on i may have to befriend Pete Doherty or something. I also spoke to the YOUTHS, who rather cheekily demanded I give them free CDs to reward their dancing, as I think they'd probably spent all their money on BOOZE. I declined the offer - it would be a LESSON for them in future to save some so that _I_ could spend it on booze instead.

    After that we watched SARANDON, who were BLOODY GRATE. 16 songs in half an hour, and all of them varied, catchy, and full of PITH and WONDER. They were ACE, and their bass player had an especially excellent retort for my drunken young friends, who mounted the stage once again. "Go and form your own band!" he said. Fair point! They were aided by Mr Steve Morricone, who it turns out is one of those annoying people who can play ANY instrument and PLAY anyTHING. This time he was playing the bloody SAXOPHONE for heaven's sake, and appeared on half the songs having only ever played with them for half an hour early on in the evening. The git, even worse than that it was REALLY GOOD.

    The evening then devolved into some beer, watching The Lodger (quite good, tho I did feel they needed a Charismatic Eyebrow Arching FOP as a fourth member), some more chat, and then even some DANCING. I had an asbolutely GRATE time, and hopefully we will be heading BACK there in a few months when we go on the Validators TOUR. Whoo!

    And now no gigs for four or five weeks, and none outside of London until the May Day weekend. I wonder if Midland Mainline will have finished mending their tracks by then? Somehow I doubt it...

    posted 6/3/2006 by MJ Hibbett

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    Comments:

    In a quite alarming bit of synchronicity or whatever the most appropriate word might be, I found myself where several of those bowlies from Nottingham would usually be, in the Rescue Rooms on Saturday evening.

    By some queer turn, us Nottingham bowlies who hadn't travelled to Leeds were treated to a spin of the aforementioned 'Work's All Right (When It's A Proper Job)'. What are the chances, eh?

    The Leicester treelights thing is relatively new isn't it? It never happened 3 years back when I was still a Leicester resident. Either that or moving Nottinghamwards has given me fresh eyes to look upon the wonders of Lestah.

    Looking forward to the Dressy Bessy support in a few weeks, adios till then.

    Some Leicester treelights for the uninitiated:

    http://moblog.co.uk/blogs/6558/moblog_59d912550ba50.jpg
    posted 9/3/2006 by boneyboy

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