Diesel Do

April 9, 2014

The last gig of March was a return to The Malthouse in Ironbridge. As ever the room was full and the crowd were great. Our pet photographer, Dave “Matthew Thomas” The Camera, brought a group of friends from work. At first it seems they didn’t quite understand what he’d brought them to, but it didn’t take long for them to relax and join in the fun. I think it was the act of throwing the ducks that did it.

Ed in action

Ed in action

This last weekend was a bit different. Once again we were heading for Aberystwyth for a weekend of drunken debauchery and rock ‘n’ roll. Well, some rock ‘n’ roll, at any rate.

On Friday we were at Rummers, a regular for us. The band always starts at 10:00 here as it’s a student pub and they don’t tend to wake up early enough to get to the pub any earlier. As it turns out, someone had switched their alarm clock off, as the pub was still pretty empty as we saddled up to hit them with everything we’d got. It’s always a worry when this happens, especially when it’s a pub where the audience is normally too large for the room, but things soon switched round. It was almost as if they had been waiting outside for us to start. It wasn’t long before we had no room to move and all we could do was play. Another cracker.

Rummers Rammed

Rummers Rammed

We started Saturday with a walk along the beach at Ynyslas, Paul’s wife and daughter and Matthew having joined us for the weekend. The weather was lovely as we set off, warm if a little overcast.

The Beach

The Beach

As we reached the mouth of the river and started to return we spotted a car on the river’s edge, stuck in the water. A group of “Youngsters” had decided to drive onto the sand, not realising how soft it was near the water’s edge. After half an hour or so of taking the mickey, we decided to go over and help them. After we’d had an ice cream. By the time we reached them they had got the car moving, selfishly allowing us to walk all the way over to them first! You can just about make them out on the far left of this picture of Paul being amazed at the fact that he could read a sign unaided.

Stranded Car

Stranded Car

Instead, we turned round and headed for home, only for the rain to start. From this point we had about a mile to walk in steadily increasing levels of rain. We should have taken this as a sign of how the weekend would progress from here…

At 5:30 we left for Scholars, a pub we last played almost a year ago. The management has changed, but that wouldn’t cause us a problem. Would it?

It turned out the landlady had double booked us. The other act had already dropped all his gear in earlier in the day, so we decided that discretion was the better part of valour and headed home for a curry and some wine, inviting our landlady for the weekend, Jood York, along for the ride. Despite not playing, we had a great night. Not what we had expected, but the perfect way to spend an evening.

The next day, however, was far from perfect.

It all started with breakfast. As his family were here, Paul decided that he’d stay on and follow in the car, while Ed and Si took the van home. Whilst supping tea and munching on toast, the issue of re-fuelling the van came up.

“Remind me, is it petrol or diesel?” Asked Ed.

“Petrol” replied Paul, “Only the finest.”

“Unleaded then!” from Ed.

“No four star!” from Si.

We packed, loaded the van and tidied up before leaving Paul and his family to enjoy the Welsh Coast a few hours more.

We drove into Aber again to pick up Matthew to drive him home to Telford. Although he’d got a return train ticket, a ride with us would be more fun. It started with a barracking as he was 15 minutes late at the designated meeting point, but this was soon forgotten. We pulled into the petrol station and manoeuvred past a van at the first pump. Si jumped out to watch Ed reverse, guiding the van back far enough to allow him to put the petrol in easily.

We jumped back in the van, Matthew opening bags of sweets as an apology for his lateness and we were off!

For about 2 minutes. Halfway between two mini roundabouts, which stood about 15 feet from one another, the engine died.

A couple of fruity words and then silence as we digested what had just happened and all came to the same conclusion simultaneously. The van’s a diesel.

After reversing it to a (relatively) position, Ed rang Paul. Who thought he was on the wind up and hung up.

Paul rang Si to discover very quickly that it wasn’t. “But you know it’s a diesel!!!” he protested.

“We asked you this morning to be sure!” we both protested back.

Happy

Happy

Long story short, we had to get the van towed and the fuel system drained. Last night we hadn’t earned the money we expected and this afternoon we ended up with a £300 bill of petrol, draining and diesel. Ah well.

We could discuss who was at fault, who put the wrong fuel in, who gave the wrong information and who didn’t detect the wind up until we’re blue in the face, but it wouldn’t change what’s happened. We don’t work a blame culture at Plot Towers.

We’re at The Dun Cow in Shrewsbury this Friday and, after a private function on Saturday, back at The Wrekin on Sunday afternoon.

See you soon!

Idiot Who Was at Fault But Won't Be Named

There is no reason for this photo to be here. It’s just a nice photo.

March Roundup

March 27, 2014

It seems that our equipment doesn’t enjoy sitting quietly when it could be making noise. Following our break in February, we went through a weekend of gear breaking down. It’s times like these that test your mettle.

On Thursday the 6th we were invited back to play for the Headteachers’ Association’s annual conference following a successful appearance last year. All went well for this evening and we even ended up with an impromptu band forming after we left the stage:

The Band

The Band

On Friday we returned to The Barley in Newport. We don’t play in Newport very often, so it was going to be interesting to see how we went down. The good news was that the pub was full, particularly the area where we were playing. The bad news is that this is where our equipment woes began…

We had quite a complicated PA setup for this one so that we could throw sound back into the corner alongside us and, amazingly, everything here worked fine. What didn’t work, however, was Ed’s monitor. Then Si’s monitor. We got Ed’s working and Si used a spare, but it knocks the confidence when something goes wrong. On the plus side, the sound going out the front to the audience isn’t affected, but it seriously affects our ability to hear ourselves when there’s a problem with the monitors.

Saturday and we were playing for the first time in Tipton’s Kings Arms. We set up, we started our soundcheck and got about 30 seconds in before the PA speakers failed. We changed the speakers, soundchecked again and set off on the gig. Halfway through it was the turn of Paul’s monitor to go down. He struggled on, but being at the back it’s even harder for him to here what’s going on than for Ed and Simon when a monitor fails. The gig went down well, however, and we’ve been asked to return on 10 May.

Tipton

Tipton

We headed out to Shrewsbury on Sunday afternoon to The Telegraph again. It was 6 Nations time and Wales were playing England. Si was one of only about 3 Wales supporters in the pub so started the gig in a bad mood. Ed played on this by starting the set with Swing Low Sweet Chariot. Si stood with his arms folded as the pub joined in. Paul quietly ignored his Welsh heritage.

This time it was the turn of one of the PA speakers to play up, although we pretty much got through the set unscathed.

The following Thursday we headed out to Stone in Staffordshire to play at Langtrys ahead of St. Patrick’s Day. The mid-week crowd was appreciative and the set ended up with a game of Drummer Buckaroo. Si had to balance as many hats, trays and toys as possible on Paul’s head while the band played their final number.

One more week and we headed to Bayston Hill for a charity event. Local school teacher Hilary Doyle was diagnosed with Breast cancer last summer. She’s been battling since and the evening was set up in her name to raise money for local cancer charities. The evening was a sell out and Hilary was guest of honour, spending the evening dancing and generally having a good time. Our love goes out to Hilary and we hope she beats this cruel disease.

Bayston Hill

Bayston Hill

This Friday we’re playing at The Malthouse in Ironbridge.

After a weekend off we returned at full strength to Shrewsbury’s Dun Cow in Abbey Foregate. When I say full strength, all I mean is that Clatter was with us again. He’s not yet fully recovered, but is well enough to play.

Last time we visited the Dun Cow was last August bank holiday weekend – it was tipping it down and there was something big going on in town, so we ended up playing to about 5 people (bar staff included). This time, however, the place was full to bursting and the crowd loved everything, including a couple of new numbers which got their first airing tonight.

Patting ourselves on the back, we decided to stop at McDonalds in Wellington for some grub on the way home. As we moved between the Drive-Thru windows, Ed commented on a funny noise from under the bonnet. We decided to pull just round the corner to check it out, which is when Ed discovered the lack of power steering. “Let’s pull up over there,” said Paul, pointing at a lay-by. We went sailing by. Turns out the brakes had gone too.

When we finally pulled up (all of us with our feet dragging on the ground, Flintstones-style) we quickly found the problem – a shredded auxiliary belt. On the plus side, the breakdown truck was pretty quick, but on the downside, he only had room to take two of us. WeeMann had to call a cab to travel the last few minutes home. Good old Moby Dick.

The Broken Belt

The Broken Belt

As a result we had to take two cars to Saturday’s gig at The Green Man in Milwich, Staffs. A tight squeeze, but we got everything in, including our pet photographer, Dave:

Dave The Camera

Dave The Camera

Our last gig here was our last gig of 2012, where a coach party stopped off halfway through the first set and didn’t leave. This time the locals had heard about us and filled the place. Rather than try to describe how it went, here’s a video that Dave has put together from the night:

This weekend we’re off to Welsh Wales again. On this visit we’re playing at Brynrodyn Caravan Park on Friday and Scholars on Saturday. Fingers crossed that Newspaper Man doesn’t come along again. If he does, we’ll bloody well get him involved this time!

On the way home we’re popping back into The Wrekin Inn in Wellington for a party. We’ll be on about 3:00.

See you soon.

Attack Of The Clones

December 17, 2012

There’s a phrase that’s become popularised since the advent of texting – WTF? This is a phrase we found ourselves using most of the weekend, as we played a couple of the most bizarre gigs any of us has been party to.

The weekend started innocuously enough with a quiet evening at the Music Club Millenium Hall in Moreton, just east of Newport.  An old haunt of Edcase’s, this is a private members club in a small village’s community centre.  Due to the layout of the bar, we could see everyone and thus everyone could see us.  As a result this made it quite an easy gig for holding their attention (something that you generally struggle to do in the average pub) – once they were onboard (some point during the first number) we never lost them.

The Invisible Drum Kit

The Invisible Drum Kit

Saturday was, at first glance, going to be a different story.  This was our third gig at The Talbot Inn.  Last time we played there Moby Dick broke down and as we pulled up, Clatter pointed out a strange noise she was making again, just as she had in the run up to that gig…

We climbed out and went into the pub wearing our Xmas hats to meet a bemused Alan.  “Are you playing tonight?” he asked. “I’d forgotten.  I haven’t promoted it, so it may be quiet tonight.”  Not a good start.

Once we’d set up, we sat having a drink and a chat with some friends brought along by our long time friend, Sarah.  Judging by the conversation, and despite them not really being aware of what they were about to witness, we figured they’d get our sense of humour.  On the downside, as we chatted, more of the already small crowd were leaving the pub.  This wasn’t looking good.

Still, we thrive in adversity, so we plugged in and went for it.  As is often the case, despite a quiet start, the pub did start filling up as we played.  Granted there weren’t as many as at the previous 2 visits, but we ended up with a respectable crowd, nonetheless.

Where things started going strange, however, was towards the end of our second set.

As a band, we have an official stalker.  Shelley comes to a few of our gigs.  Well, when we say a few, we mean pretty much every one.  An old workmate of WeeMann’s, Shelley is a fan of live music and spends most weekends visiting live music venues.  The last few months have seen her trailing the band round the Midlands and beyond in the hope that we’ll one day impress her with our show.  Last week she insisted on taking some photos of us after our Wrekin gig; proper “Sensible” photos.  Little did we know what she had up her sleeve (apart from her arm).

As anyone who has seen us will know, we enjoy using masks as a way of making ourselves look prettier – Katy Perry, Ant & Dec and, most recently, Jedward have all made an appearance.  Last night, as we kicked into eighties classic, Don’t You Want Me, we noticed Shelley moving throughout the crowd.  Thinking nothing of it, we motored towards the chorus, ready to impress with our faultless three part harmonies, whereupon a sea of familiar faces started moving towards us like a zombie apocalypse.

WeeMann found himself staring at Edcase, Edcase at Clatter.  But these were people in the audience. How…?  Wha…?  Whe…?

It dawned on us – the audience were wearing masks with our faces printed on them.  This was one of the most surreal moments in our collective gigging lives.  We were all laughing so hard we struggled to keep going.  Clatter had an asthma attack from laughing so hard, WeeMann was crying and couldn’t sing, Edcase considered stopping the song to allow us to compose ourselves.

?!?!?!

Disturbing!

We carried on and made it to the end of the song, having to take a few moments before the next.  It was generally agreed that we couldn’t remember a funnier moment from any gig any of us had played before.

On top of this, one of our ducks has been taken away for a holiday.  We were approached during the break by Merv, who had been the recipient of a flying duck during the first set.  He asked if he could take the duck as he travelled abroad in the new year.  As a result, Biker Duck will be visiting Russia and Italy, amongst other destinations, next year.  Merv has promised to send us regular updates as he travels, so we’ll keep you updated on his journey.

Sunday saw our first trip out to Baschurch, north of Shrewsbury, to play at the grand opening of Cafe Saffron’s new curry restaurant in the Admiral Duncan.  The evening started with the crowd unsure of what they were witnessing, but before too long they started getting into the spirit of the event.  As we sat down during our first break, the landlord approached with a couple of ladies, discussing arrangements for backing music.  What was going on?

It transpired that we were one of two acts on this evening, the second being Emma, a belly dancer.  After sorting out their backing music, Clatter sat transfixed:

Emma

Clatter sits transfixed

Clatter

A Stunned Clatter

The audience suddenly seemed much larger while Emma performed, shrinking away again as we re-took the stage.  Not sure what was going on there…

We ended up playing three sets, finishing after 10 and ready for the trudge home.

This week we’ll be playing our last couple of gigs before the Xmas break.  On Thursday we’re at The Crown in Oakengates, a great little real ale pub.  Landlord John Ellis is a big fan of his ale, which is great by us, and also of entertainment.  This one should be a cracker as our friend, Chris Payne, is using the evening as an unofficial leaving party prior to moving abroad.

A night off on Friday for the end of the world (we’d rather not miss it by being engrossed in our set) before our last gig of 2012 at The Green Man in Milwich, Staffordshire.

We’ll report back on these gigs next week.

Heads

These people must not be allowed into the pub.

Autumn Update

October 18, 2012

So, the autumn is upon us, the clocks will be going back next weekend and the band are having a well deserved weekend off. Clatter is planning to use his time wisely, bringing Moby Dick back to life after she broke down on the way to our recent gig at The Talbot Inn and resting his damaged knee, WeeMann is heading south to become Godfather to his nephew, following an afternoon at a beer festival and Edcase will, doubtless, be figuring out what other songs he can play on Flash, his pet bouzouki.

Clatter & Moby Dick

Clatter & Moby Dick in happier times.

Assuming Clatter gets Dick working again, we’ll be heading north in a week’s time to commence our Scotch North Of The Border Tour 2012, taking in such prestigious venues as Legends in Dundee and the Chapter & Verse and Vine & Monkey in Forfar. Having learnt important lessons during the recent Welsh Tour Of Wales the band should be leaner, slicker and more professional. Time will tell…

Our diary is filling up rapidly for November and December, with the Non-Festive International Xmas Tour 2012 kicking off in style at The Bell & Talbot in Bridgnorth on Saturday 24 November, visiting Shrewsbury, Aberystwyth, Wellington, Moreton, St. Georges and Oakengates, before climaxing at our first gig in Staffordshire. Please have a look at the Lost The Plot Gig Page for details.

Finally, if you know of a pub, club or party that would benefit from the company of three idiots, please send us the details to edcase@losttheplotband.co.uk and point them in the direction of our website. We’re already working on filling the diary for 2013 and would love to be able to fit in some new venues.

If you can’t make it to Dundee, we’ll see you again at our next local gig on Friday 2 November at Shrewsbury’s Telegraph Vaults.

In November, we’ll be playing as part of an evening of music and curry at Burton Borough School, performing alongside the school’s much praised Big Band.  It’s a ticket only event priced at £10 for the evening.  Please e-mail us on info@losttheplotband.co.uk for details and tickets.

STOP PRESS:

MOBY DICK LIVES!!!  The Dick has been returned to Clatter’s home in a fully functioning state.  Clatter was unavailable for comment as we went to press, but was last seen stroking his beloved van, weeping quietly to himself and mumbling something about never forgetting to oil her again.

Fingers crossed we make it to Dundee and back…

In the last of our series of articles, this week we focus on WeeMann, bass and triangle player for the band. Find out what happened to the multi-million pound inheritance to which he was heir and what happened when he announced his dislike for cider.  All this and more on our Band Pages.

WeeMann

WeeMann

Coming soon we will have articles on our guest musicians. Keep your eyes peeled for more information.

A couple of successful gigs this week.  Friday’s first trip to The Old Post Office in Shrewsbury went very well indeed, with the crowd getting into our brand of stupid from the start.  Saturday started a little badly as our van broke down on the way to the gig at The Talbot in St. Georges. Landlord Alan kindly lent us his van to help get the gear to the pub while Clatter waited for the breakdown van, but once we got set up things went well.

These gigs saw the introduction of Edcase’s bouzouki, christened Flash, into the band’s arsenal. A different sound to the guitar, it’s basically a larger, lower tuned mandolin and gives a great new colour to songs like Irish Rover and Saturday’s new addition to the set, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.

We leave for our epic Scotch North Of The Border Tour 2012 next week.  If you’re in the Dundee area, check out Gigs Calendar for details of dates and venues.