I presume you’re wanting to know how the first Strangefish gig went? After all the build up has been huge from my point of view. About 6 months since I joined the band and we’re doing our first big gig.
Ok so the arrival time was rather early, 2pm, as is always the case with these things. Bob was later than the rest of us but soundcheck went incredibly smoothly. We ran through my most nerve wracking song “Progress in Reverse” and then disappeared off the stage for John Hackett and then Encircled to do their sound checks.
At 9:30 we took to the stage for my first gig with the new band. I can honestly say I’ve not been as nervous to take a stage in years.
You know every so often you get a few days when you wonder how the hell you survived it? Well this was that weekend.
I can’t complain… It was all very much self inflicted by my being in three bands. Two of those bands had activity this weekend.
A full-ish day of work, follower by a gig in Sheffield. I picked up Odette at 7 and we proceeded to the venue to see John Hackett and Nick Fletcher play a classical concert. Not usually my thing, but I fancied a change.
At £10 I thought it was great value, so I paid, and because we were so close to the start arriving we took our seats at the back of a rather full room for what was to be 2 hours of beautiful music.
John was superb on flute as always, and Nick Fletcher’s acoustic guitar was beautiful and so skillfully played.
We were treated to a selection of Baroque, Classical and Modern songs, many of which I knew, although I was introduced to a few pieces.
After the gig I briefly talked with John, but we couldn’t hang around for very long because of the impending following day praying on my mind.
The second big day. A gig, but first, a shipping trip. Hannah’s Christmas and birthday present – a new tent with blow up poles. She’s been wanting one for ages! Not cheap, but apparently it’s a one man build.
After getting the tent we went to mum’s for a bit, before I headed home and gathered myself and my things ready for the first FTM gig in 6 weeks.
When we quit our previous agent he hadn’t exactly filled our diary for a few months. We’re now in the lull between his work ending and our new work starting.
Today, was Pennywell Comrades Club. A far flung gig – 120 miles away. A long way to go, but a fantastic place to play.
Arriving just before 6, we were set up and soundchecked before 7.
The stage looked nice…
As did we!
The gig itself was absolutely superb. Really well played. A great responsive crowd, and loads of dancers.
The second set finished at about quarter past eleven and we packed down and loaded out. Home time was 2:30am.
Friday night was a late one for me. Hannah was in Bridlington and I was called out. A great but busy finish to a hectic week.
Saturday was somewhat of an unusual day. A weather bomb was set to hit us from about 2pm, and sure enough it did. Rarely for this country we were forecast freezing rain and snow. We went to see mum. Her dogs are bonkers!
I had to go shopping for groceries before the weather bomb hit, and as I was on the way home it stated to drizzle. The roads became very slippery really quickly.
Thank God I got these…
Luckily we didn’t have to go anywhere else – although I had contemplated Asylum (our local fetish venue and a bit of a haunt for me), but the weather put me off. In the end I watched Krampus (great Christmas horror) and had an early night.
Sunday, Unusually, was gig day. It’s very rare we gig on a Sunday with the covers band. This week’s club was local to me (Firth Park).
Not a great load – upstairs – although there was a small lift. It helped a lot, but it could only take one speaker cabinet at a time so the load in and out took a long time but wasn’t too tiring.
We set up in plenty of time to rehearse the new song (Pink). We did it so quickly we actually managed to put it in as an encore!
The bad thing about Sunday gigs though is that all the members of the band appeared to be loaded up with sprouts. It was very windy backstage!
To wrap up a long evening, I arrived home at 1am to find a dickhead had parked overlapping our driveway by a good 18″. I consider myself to be quite good at reversing and I struggled with this one.
It might seem unusual to have a rock/pop band for an 80th Birthday, but the birthday boy has followed us for a number of years now so it seemed apt.
The hotel it was held at was a great place. Top end of Heckmondwike; a place called Healds Hall.
It was an early start as we had to be set up by 6. The load in was quite easy although I think the staff were very surprised when we kept loading more and more boxes into the place though.
Setup went well. It was the first full length gig for a while so we ran through a few of the songs we’d not played to just brush them up. Strangely, the last few gigs had all been around an hour performance time. We had to be silent at 6:45 as the special guest was arriving for a “meal in the restaurant” but he was then told the restaurant was very busy so they were in the back room…
The first set was a blue suit set. It felt a little tight on me and even though the scales show my weight hasn’t changed I need to keep an eye on that. It could be that my newest jeans all have stretch in them and I’m not used to a rigid waistband? After all the waistcoat and shirt felt fine.
In-between we had food. That, for me, wasn’t great. No detriment to the food, but as a vegetarian any mention of buffet or hot buffet fills me with dread. If it isn’t the mixed sandwiches cross contamination hell, or the “has it got meat in it” roulette with quiche, it’s the hot buffet “that’s your entire vegetarian choice” which contained aubergine. I don’t like aubergine.
The chips were nice though.
For the second set, after much threatening and teasing I wore the PVC suit. Dennis had been searching for one for himself and like many others who weren’t quick enough when I told them about it, he’d missed the boat. He then ribbed me about it onstage… Twat.
I combined with with the new shirt I got from River Island.
I looked good. Kinky good.
Sadly that’s where the good ends, as I’ll never wear that suit onstage with Face the Music again. 45 minutes in a plastic sauna suit under hot lights… Nope nope nope nope nope.
I suppose the one amusing thing was the stereotyping thing… Apparently shiny suits like that are usually worn by gay men.
I’ve got thick skin. I don’t actually give a toss.
So, back to normality for a few weeks. And next time it’ll be back to normal jeans for the second set.
Ok, so the room was bijou – and as a result the stage area was very limited, but we managed to load in and set up in less than an hour, with a little more time to run through some of the newer tracks.
For the first set I wore the light teal suit… And even though I threatened to wear the PVC suit for the second set, I decided against it just because I thought the atmosphere wasn’t quite right.
It was, however, not an amazing hotel. It felt run down and slightly sad. The carpets and furnishings were worn and the bar was poorly stocked and under staffed. Looking at the Google reviews it seems I’m not the only one with this opinion.
Backstage was a cupboard by the way, although being a hotel I don’t expect anything more.
Ah the legendary load (photo from last time we played there).
Cargo Fleet Club is a place hard emblazoned in the memories of all the bands who have ever played there. The steel fire escape; the rough gravelly ground at the bottom; and in the case of our band the 90 minute commute to get to the place.
Thankfully they wrap up the second set at exactly 11pm which does mean we can get on the way home before midnight.