The Start of 2015

March 10, 2015

Life’s been a little hectic since Christmas, although we stayed fairly quiet as a band so that we could recover from the last couple of months and get a break from one another.

Eleanor Rigby

Our first gig of the year was at The Malthouse to a surprisingly respectable crowd – Paul had been in the night before on a works’ outing and said it had been very quiet, but although it wasn’t full when we played, the crowd wasn’t far off capacity and were in their usual crazy mood.

We followed this with a new venue – Condover Social Club.  It seems that an old act prevents the village of having a pub, so they get round this with a social club instead and it was a lovely room with a great crowd.

The Barley

The Barley

A birthday party at The Barley in Newport rounded off January before a welcome return to the Oddfellows in Wellington at the start of February.  After Sam left The Wrekin, we wondered how a new venue would work out for us.  The simple answer is fantastically. Some of the old crowd, some new faces and a large collection of Scooby Doos filled the pub.

Scooby Dooby Doo!

Scooby Dooby Doo!

Another party followed in Sutton Coldfield.  If you read this regularly, you may be aware of Den York, who plays with us on occasion.  This was a party for an old mate of his and we are currently in negotiations to play in his pub, so we assume it went well.

The final gig of the year was a return to the Dun Cow in Shrewsbury, not a regular, but certainly a favourite for us to play.

More important than any of this, though, was the band outing to Liverpool in January to visit the Beatles Experience.  A whole day devoted to one of our collective favourite bands was a great way of spending a Saturday.  One of the exhibits was an interactive computer used for collecting statistical data.  Paul decided to have a go and took it very seriously indeed:

It should also be mentioned that Ed took his Unlawful Men folk act out on the road during February, but only because if we don’t, Ed will get grumpy.  They played some folk and Paul & Si controlled the sound at some of the gigs.  If you want to know any more have a look at the Unlawful Men FB page – we’re here to talk about Lost The Plot, not waste time on them!

Check out our March gigs here and we’ll see you soon.

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The Calm Before The Storm

October 7, 2014

Only one gig to catch up on here and that was at The Kings Arms on 26 September.  It’s regularly been a fairly quiet affair here and this gig was no different, with the exception that a fight broke out as we took our break.  At first we assumed it was because people weren’t happy that we had stopped playing, but it became clear that it was more likely due to the fact that we would be starting up again soon.

Behind You!

Behind You!

Ed discovered a brand new way of drinking – beer flavoured with whisky, his two favourite drinks in one glass.  Apparently the effect was quite good, although the effect it had on his sobriety was more questionable…

I’ve got this far through the blog and started wondering whether anyone actually reads it.  I’m sat here talking rubbish about our gigs, posting it to the ether and sitting back, awaiting time to write another.  I wonder what would happen if I started talking rubbish here, rubbish that’s totally unrelated to the band or gigs?  Let’s try it and see.

If you’ve read this far, add a reply to the post here on the blog site.  The 21st unique reply will win a prize.  By that, I mean that if you add 21 replies yourself, they’ll only count as one.  Then I’ll know whether it’s worth me doing this!

Anyway, back to the band.  Ed asked Si to help with a couple of Unlawful Men gigs this last week, first on sound duties, then as dep bass player when Jon was unavailable.  The second of these gigs was for the Whitchurch Blackberry Fair.  It seemed to go well, with a great crowd gathering, but the highlight of the afternoon followed…

Unlawful Men

Unlawful Men

Ed had seen Ash Mandrake at the Dorset Steam Fair and had raved about him.  He followed the Unlawfuls on and was just stunning.  I won’t go into detail here, as anything I say couldn’t do him justice, but please check him out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ashmandrake and http://ashmandrake.com/ and get along to see him live.

Ash Mandrake

Ash Mandrake

We’re back at The Old Post Office this Friday and you can check out all our gigs at http://www.losttheplotband.co.uk/gigs or check out our new monthly lists on this very blog.

Things are about to get busy…

So, September. We did a few gigs. Here’s a run down.

Friday 5th – Molloys, Bury.

We’ve played at Molloys about half a dozen times now and it all comes down to one thing – chicken tikka kebabs on the journey home. The gig is fairly predictable inasmuch as the pub almost always fills to capacity and everyone gets drinking and dancing. How well the journey is rated by us all comes down to whether Ali’s Kebabish is open. Despite some excellent chicken tikka kebabs elsewhere, we have yet to discover anything as good as theirs. The shop looks like the sort of place you shouldn’t enter unless extremely drunk and hungry, but was our only option after an early Bury visit and we discovered that the old maxim of not judging books was true.

Sadly, our post on Facebook the next morning says it all:

Ali's Kebabish

Ali’s Kebabish

We’re back on November 7, so we’ll try again.

Still, the next day we were heading to Bayston Hill for a return to The Beeches. We had a great time on our first visit in January and this was no different. A great crowd (including Hilary Doyle and her husband) made it a great evening and we returned home far happier than we had the previous night.

Friday 12th – Private Function.

You know you must be doing something right when people try to book you for a birthday party and end up delaying the party by 2-3 months so they can ensure you’re the entertainment. This was a 40th in Shrewsbury in a hall that none of us knew existed.

Morris Hall is accessed through an easily missed gateway next to a flower shop in Bellstone, along a path, up a stone staircase and through the hall. The get in wasn’t fun, but what a beautiful building. Don’t ask us to play there again. Ever. The beauty of the building doesn’t offset the fact that two of us had asthma attacks carrying the gear in and the other had a small coronary.

The crowd, however, did offset the pain, they were great. I don’t know how it’s taken this long for someone to realise it, but throwing ducks one at a time doesn’t work. Throwing a full bucket’s worth in one go, however…

Friday 19 September – The Barley.

We love a nice intimate gig.  A small pub with 15 or 20 people where we can get right in their faces and get them involved is manna from Heaven for us.  10 people (6 of whom are family) in a pub the size of a small town, however, isn’t fun.

If you play in a band, these gigs happen from time to time.  They’re never fun, but they do remind you of how good the good ones are.  Next time we play at the Barley, we hope to try something a little different in order to pull people in…

Taking away the positives from the gig, Ed used his new mic stand for the first time.  His old one is struggling to do the ‘stand’ part of the name these days, so he invested in a smart new one with a quick release clip.  We have no idea why you’d want to quickly release that particular part of the stand, but if we should ever need to, by golly it’ll be apart in a fraction of a second.

The Quickly Released Mic Stand

The Quickly Released Mic Stand

The difference between this gig and the next night were like the difference between night and day.  We love The Malthouse in Ironbridge (this is our official band view).  We’ve not had a duff gig here and this was fantastic.  The pub was full to bursting with people up for dancing, singing and throwing ducks.  Friends and work colleagues came along and so did some temperature.

Discussing the gig afterwards, we agreed that we couldn’t ever recall playing such a hot gig.  Our clothes were as wet as if we’d been doused in a bucket of water.  It was that bad, that Paul even changed into a dry shirt afterwards – a rare occurrence.

On Tuesday we popped along to the Newport Open Mic at the Navy Club.  We’ve visited a few times over the years, but rarely play there as LTP, so we decided to do a few numbers, just bass, drums and mandolin – no ducks, toys or hats.  The reception was good and we even got invited to back a guitarist who’s just moved back into the area, Dave White.  We did about 4 numbers with him, including Fisherman’s Blues, which was filmed by Dave The Camera:

This Friday we’re back at The Kings Arms in Tipton and Ed will be taking his Unfastened Trousers folk act out for another airing on Sunday.  There are 6 tickets left if you’re quick enough.  On their FB page they have posted the following:

Very nice if slightly unorthodox gig coming up this Sunday …. Salt village hall staffordshire …full 2 coarse roast lunch then an afternoon set by the unlawful men. Its virtually sold out already but the organisers tell they could manage one more table max of 6 people if there is any one who loves folk music and hates cooking !
Proceeds from the event are going to fund vaccination supplies to africa.

See you at a gig soon!

Wellies Ahoy!

September 5, 2014

Last week saw our return to the Great Dorset Steam Fair. What a change from Last year!

12 months ago we were sat in a field of dust, the sun blazed down and we started off to an “intimate” audience for our first performance. This year, however, things were completely different…

Day 1, Wednesday – Arrival.

We met with our entourage at Ed’s home in Newport. Ed wasn’t with us (he followed on later), but Paul and Si took his wife, the lovely Andrea, in the van with them. Following behind were Matt (our pet photographer) and his young lady Nichola. We left shortly after midday and had a good trip down. We knew that the weather wasn’t due to be as good as last year, but weren’t quite prepared for what we met on our arrival. Last year we’d heard rumours of the previous year’s mudbath and it seemed we were to encounter it for ourselves. We got in through the gate in no time, our passes all ready for us, and joined the queue getting from the gates to the campsite. This part of the journey was about 150 yards in total but took us about 45 minutes as vehicles slipped and slid in front of us. To give you an idea, this photo was taken at the halfway point between the gate and the campsite entrance – once through the hedge we travelled about the same distance again before turning left and finding a site to erect our tents:

Mud!

Mud!

Paul and Si hadn’t brought wellies…

We got the tents up and sat down to relax with a beer before Ed arrived, having taken about an hour for this same last part of the journey. Once we were all settled in we went for a walk round the site, discovering that wellies were essential (the liquid mud being up to 6 or 8 inched deep in places) and walking was extremely hard work! Whilst walking through the fairground, Matt decided to treat Nichola to a turn on one of the rides. They paid their money and made their way up to get seated. After a few moments of clanking, Matt moved to a different seat where the person running the ride attempted to lock the brace in place to keep Matt in his seat. After several more minutes with no success, they had to leave the ride – it seems that Matt was too “Broad shouldered” to fit safely!

Mud

Mud

It had rained fairly consistently all day, but the evening got so bad that the last act on the main stage, an Oasis tribute called Definitely Mightbe, had to be cancelled due to safety reasons. We retired to our tents for a night’s rest ahead of our first set.

Day 2, Thursday – The Shires Arms.

Today’s set was 9:00PM, timed to coincide with The Wurzels’ appearance on the main stage – they didn’t stand a chance!

We spent the day wandering round the site, looking at the various exhibits before keyboardist Simon Carswell arrived. He set up his tent and we bundled into the van to get to the venue. The journey took us back along the road past the entrance, so we knew the van wouldn’t enjoy it, although we did get there in a respectable time. Last year’s performance here was the best attended of the week and we had a similar number in tonight. The gig went well with the audience getting involved right from the start. Towards the end of the gig we decided to drown Scruffy with our performance of Irish Rover. As the boat sank, Si went out front to spin around. The ground was far better in the marquee than outside as it had been protected from most of the rain over the last few days, but there were a few ruts, and Si found one of them, his ankle twisting as he spun. The rest of the gig went by in a blur of adrenaline, but the pain set in during the night. Another victory for injury over Lost The Plot!

Tambourine

Tambourine

Day 3, Friday – The Black Bull.

Nurofen and a morning’s rest reduced the pain in Si’s ankle before Ed left us to perform with The Unlawful Men at The Countryman Stage. By this point we’d been joined by Ant (bodhran player for Ed’s folk outfit) and his lady friend, Becky. Ed tells us that the Unlawful Men gig was well attended and received, but a strong wind made it a little awkward.

While they performed, Paul and Si set off for the Black Bull for gig 2. We were joined by Ed and Si Carswell and went for it. Another success, this gig went as well as yesterday’s, although Si’s attempt at a conga failed in the most drastic way as he walked around the tent alone, people watching but refusing to get involved. The set finished at about 5:30, leaving us the evening to see a few other bands and take on some nourishment in the beer tents.

Beyond a couple of short showers, it hadn’t really rained today and, surprisingly, the ground was firming up quite well.

Not sure what noise that was...

Not sure what noise that was…

Day 4, Saturday – The Black Bull.

We started the day the same as we had the previous couple of mornings – emerging from our tents at various times, blinking into the bright new day, wondering whether the rain would hold off and taking on board breakfast. After our fill we split up, with Ed, Andrea and Si going off to watch the Monster Trucks and Motorcycle Stunt Team before returning and heading off for the 3rd and final Lost The Plot set of the week.

Flying Bikes

Flying Bikes

This time the conga went as well as yesterday’s had gone badly, people getting involved straight away. The Black Bull was full and the set went past in a blur.

Again, we finished and set off for an evening of bands, beer and curry. There’s a huge variation in music styles at the Fair, so there’s something for everyone (and too many to mention) and the range and quality of food is also astounding. We finished off the week by watching a Queen tribute act before disappearing into our respective pits for the last time.

Pals

Pals

Day 5, Sunday – Going Home.

Sunday morning saw the first time that people were forcibly ejected from their tents, woken unexpectedly, and generally pranked – the hard work had finished and we could get silly. Matt and Nichola woke to discover a huge pile of camping chairs atop the entrance to their tent, placed there by a mystery assailant, and Paul discovered a road cone on top of his van.

Tent

Tent

Breakfast eaten, we dismantled our tents and loaded the vehicles for the journey home.

That’s the Great Dorset Steam Fair finished for another year. We hope to be back again next year if they’ll have us, but we’d just like to thank Ryan and Lisa of Festivals 360 for inviting us and producing such a great music festival among the huge Steam Fair itself.

Now, to recover…

The Crowd

The Crowd

Recently we caught up with the head honcho of the Unlawful Men for a quick and uninformative chat.

We were going to transcribe this, but really couldn’t be bothered.

The second pressing of the CD is now available by sending a crisp £5 note to ed@losttheplotband.co.uk

May 2014

June 3, 2014

Lost The Plot, by Ed

Lost The Plot, by Ed

It’s been busy again, so time for a quick round up of the last few gigs.

On Friday 9th we were back to The Malthouse in Ironbridge. As usual, a great crowd with plenty of dancing and duck throwing. The Malthouse has become one of our most consistent venues with a good, responsive, crowd and fabulous, friendly staff (free beer next time guys?!). A couple of friends, Alex and Jason, turned up for the second half. During an ABBA rendition later in the set, Si took a wander to discover that Jason had lost control of his bladder all over the floor. Check out Si’s reaction at 2:40 in the video below.

Ed got into an interesting discussion with a member of the audience after the gig. She commented to him how much she had enjoyed the gig, but felt the humour was unnecessary, preferring the second set where we pretty much just focussed on songs that would keep people up dancing. Whilst hers is a perfectly valid point of view (and one we explored on Sunday – see below), Ed explained that if we cut the humour (hats, toys, hitting each other, etc) we’d be no different to any other pub band on the circuit. In fact, there are a number of songs that we feel would be almost impossible to pull off without the audience realising that our tongues are firmly placed in our cheeks. You can only go so far down the cheese route as a ‘serious’ band before people give up on you. By introducing the humour early, the audience are ready for whatever we decide to throw at them (metaphorically, as well as physically).

Stupid

Stupid

We left The Malthouse much as we found it, but with more empty glasses and bottles and went our separate ways until the next day, when we headed back to Tipton, to The Kings Arms for our second visit. Our last visit was to a quiet audience – we weren’t sure whether it was working until we finished, when everyone we spoke to assured us we were amongst the best bands they had seen there (we can only assume we were the first they had playing there!). We were ready for a quiet reaction this time, but were pleasantly surprised as the crowd started singing and dancing like the Malthouse had the previous night. A group of women who had seen us on our previous visit sat alongside us, snatching Paul’s hats throughout the gig. Ultimately one left with his favourite hat – Paul has been in a daze ever since.

Paul's Workspace

Paul in a daze

On Sunday we headed into Shrewsbury for The Telegraph. We’ve lost count of the times we’ve played here and we’ve never had a duff gig yet. So, following Ed’s conversation on Friday, we decided to tempt fate.

As our set has developed over the last 27 months, the amount of ‘peripherals’ has increased. Soft toys, hats, ducks, etc. What if…

What if we played with none of the rubbish, none of the toys, hats, ducks, etc.? No crutch, just the music. We ran the risk of regular punters being disappointed, but it would prove whether or not we could do it. So we went for it.

To be honest, the first half a dozen songs saw little more then a polite ripple of applause, mind you it can sometimes go that way on a Sunday afternoon. Before long, however, we hit our stride and forgot the hats and the crowd came along with us. The pub’s ever generous landlord, Alan, tells us it was one of the best gigs we’ve played there. We’re not sure, but we’ll certainly take the compliment.

The following Thursday was a return to Harper Adams University for a private party. In an almost unprecedented move for us we spent our time between soundcheck and gig working out a set list. Some took it more seriously than others and, in the process got quite grumpy…

Harper gigs are always raucous affairs and this was no different, with beer and vomit flying.

On Friday 16th it was the turn of The Old Post Office. What can we say that we haven’t already said about this place? The audience are great, the staff are great, the beer is great and we bring it all down.

Saturday was time for our first festival appearance of the year at Glenstock in Leicestershire, for Festivals 360 (who run the music for the Dorset Steam Fair). As this was only a 60 minute set we, again, turned to a set list for the gig, honing it in the van before hitting the audience with it. The sun was dropping as we played and the lights and smoke helped us create a great atmosphere. More of these please!

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Our final gig of May was on the following Wednesday at The Swan Inn in Stone. Normally a quiet night, there was a great audience in this time and they helped us by cheering anyone entering the pub and booing anyone who left. At one point two guys walked in to a cheer, looked at us in our silly hats, had a quick discussion and walked straight back out to a loud BOOO! 20 seconds later they returned to a huge cheer and stayed for the rest of the evening.

May also saw the release of Ed’s debut Unlawful Men CD, Rope Or A Ladder, a folk odyssey. Jam packed with folk songs, it’s Ed returning to his roots (and includes guest drunk vocals from Paul Crewe). If you want to buy a copy (the first run is almost sold out, so get in quick – only 2 of the original 3 are left unsold), drop us a line at edcase@losttheplotband.co.uk or come and see us at a gig. You can get more info at www.edconwayandtheunlawfulmen.co.uk and listen to some of the tracks on Soundcloud – here’s Ed’s own composition, White Horse:

If you’re not all folked out, you could also get along to see them in a rare live appearance on July 19th at The Wheatsheaf Inn in Chetwynd Aston with Paul and Adelle Parker. Go on, treat yourself. Tel;l them I sent you.

And that was that. May was finished. Half term saw the band go their separate ways for family holidays to return, relaxed, for the upcoming trip to Sussex, where Ed and Paul will learn what a proper accent is all about.

GlenstockGlenstock a success

Where did April go? One minute we were taking a long, arduous journey back from Wales, suddenly it’s May! Here’s a quick roundup of what we’ve been up to.

Fri 11th – The Dun Cow Shrewsbury. Almost a month ago. I have no idea. It can’t have been a bad gig or I’d remember.

Sat 12th – Private Function, Eccleshall. Only a day later, what do you want from me??? We were in a large room for someone’s 40th. There was beer and sausage rolls. And sandwiches. Always sandwiches.

Buckaroo

Buckaroo

Sun 13th – The Wrekin Inn, Wellington. Our last gig here before Sam leaves for pastures new (Bridgnorth). If you’ve seen one of our gigs here, you’ll know how it went. We decided to randomise the set a little, a trick which always keeps it fresh for us and those people who see us regularly.

Easter Weekend – Nothing. We ate chocolate and spent time with our families.

Sat 26th – Si travelled to Essex to play with his old band, Alchemy, for a one off fund raiser. Much louder than LTP, his hearing is still recovering.

Left Handed Si

Left Handed Si

Fri 2nd May – Ah, a little more recent! The crowd at Molloys are always great and security tell us that the pub was at capacity as they were having to turn people away. A sell out is always a great feeling. A sore throat, however, isn’t. Especially when it belongs to Ed, singer of all the songs. He got through it admirably, however.

Sat 3rd May – The George, Bridgnorth. Ed really not feeling well for our first visit to The George, but again makes it through brilliantly. Paul and Si have both played here previously in its previous guises as The Hollyhead and The Apple Shed, but the pub has had a (very classy) makeover in the intervening years. It’s not often we play in pubs where our feet don’t stick to the carpet – this was more like the carpet in your front room (you know, the good room that you only use when guests are round). On arrival it looked like a very small space to play in, but we fit in surprisingly well and enjoyed a good sized, attentive crowd. We’re hoping to be back next year.

George

George

This week we have three return visits to look forward to. Friday is The Malthouse in Ironbridge, Saturday is The Kings Arms in Tipton, and Sunday is The Telegraph in Castlefields, Shrewsbury.

As you may already know, May 19 sees the release of Ed’s first Unlawful Men album, Rope Or A Ladder. Keep up to date by visiting them on Facebook: facebook.com/EdConwayAndTheUnlawfulMen.

Rope Or A Ladder

Rope Or A Ladder

May the 19th sees the release of the debut album by our very own Ed “Edcase” Conway and his Unlawful Men.

Recorded during early 2014 in a small shack in rural Wales using some folk musicians, this is Ed returning to his roots.

To keep up with the latest news on the album and band, please check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/EdConwayAndTheUnlawfulMen

Rope Or A Ladder

Rope Or A Ladder