Monday, August 27, 2007
Sunday Night At The Alamo... er I mean Edwards
Well, you missed a treat. It was probably one of the most bizarre and yet strangely entertaining nights I've ever been involved in. First of all, many thanks to Alex, Andy, Kris, Haydn and Carole who made it out through carnival traffic, the maddest disco you've ever been to and, no doubt, some angry redskins to come along and support me.
I must admit I had a nervous feeling about the gig when I arrived to find no one there (load-in is supposed to be 5.30pm, I got there at 6.15). In fact no one appeared until 7pm ish, when I was starting to think I was in the wrong place. The arrivee was the outlaw Robbie James: sound engineer, money collector and, as it turned out, performer. He proceeded to throw chairs and sofas around as if we were barricading up the Alamo in anticipation of the arrival of the cavalry.
Needless to say soundcheck was delayed somewhat, but the other turns started to arrive and I introduced myself. I got chatting to a jovial fellow by the name of Wayne Myers... Don't I know you from somewhere? he asked. We went through a number of acoustic venues we'd been to recently with no matches. Perhaps you saw me in a band? No idea, so we left it...
[Funny aside 1: I guy wanders into the soundcheck looks around and then takes out his mobile phone. He dials. The guy sitting on the sofa just in front of him's phone rings. He takes it out. Hello? Hello? I thought you were playing at Edwards tonight. I am, wait I can't hear you. I can't hear you either... first guy heads to the door. I start to point... eventually he realises he's phoning a guy 3 feet away from him!!]
Soundcheck was completed somewhat hap-hazardly... with much PA popping and microphone placement. The punters began to come in and we looked at each other wondering what order or how long we were playing for... no problem, the outlaw had it all in hand... reverse soundcheck order, two songs each... then the whole thing again, three songs each. Here we go then.
First up is a chap by the name of Red Cesare I believe, who sang some of the most manic and amusing songs I've heard in a while... couldn't catch many of the lyrics due to the PA being a bit hit and miss, but it was fun anyway. Wayne was next up. Again very entertaining, my brother watches interestedly. Then turns to me and says, What was the name of that guy who used to record at 2nd Sense? No idea, I say. But bells are starting to ring. At the end of his set the sound engineer/outlaw is nowhere to be seen. What to do? Play another song? Yeah, why not... so he does.
Next up is me!! Sound engineer re-appeared, I negotiate my way through microphone cables and sofa cushions onto the make-shift stage. I play I Need Your Love and Minneapolis, Hungover, Tired, Awake. It goes well, I think...
After me is something else altogether. A young 19 year old lad called Chris Turpin (see Pic), wearing a BRMC t-shirt, who proceeds to play and sing like an 80 year old american blues player!! It's the most extraordinary thing. The voice appears to be coming from someone else, we all sit and stare in amazement.
Finally it's the turn of Jimmy Chan, a kind of urban protest singer, a bit like an acoustic version of The Streets. Wow, what a mix... and then we do it all over again.
In my second set I play, All I Want Is You, Vulnerable and Do You Want To Dance?, which seems to go down particularly well.
[Funny aside 2: In Wayne's second apperance he is accompanied by a flautist. I assume it's a band member, but it turns out Wayne met him 5 minutes before they played together! So what did you do, just name the key? I ask. Yep, he says. He was pretty good in A, but a bit dodgy in Bb!]
After Wayne plays his second set I sidle up. Did you ever record in Harrow? Yes. At 2nd Sense? Yes. Then you do know me, and more to the point you know my brother (I point) who played drums for you. Jaws drop, Haydn and Wayne haven't seen each other for about 20 years!! Told you it was a bizarre night.
To cap it all Robbie James plays a set of pure Americana blues... told you he was a genuine outlaw! And we swap MySpace details and CDs and wander off into the night slightly reeling from it all... I keep glancing over my shoulder feeling like an extra from Il Mariachi, is the Mexican army following me? Where the heck is my horse!?
P.S. Kris photographed the whole evening, here are his pics of me and Chris Turpin.