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!

Four gigs over three days. Over the hottest weekend of the year so far. If nothing else, it’s cheaper and more fun than joining a gym.

Friday was a return to Burton Borough School for one of their music and food evenings. Last time it was curry, this time hot dogs and burgers. The evening started off with their junior band (junior? They sound better than some experienced bands!), before their concert band took the stage. Well, most of them, anyway. Saxophonist and friend of ours, Phiz Jr, was returning from a trip to South Wales and arrived just in time to take her seat for the second number! We took the stage at 8:16 and played our little hearts out – we didn’t want to be outdone by some pesky kids. We were, however!

Clavstock

Clavstock

It was Saturday where things got a little silly. In August, we’ve been invited to play at the Great Dorset Steam Fair, alongside such artists as The Wurzels and Chas Hodges of Chas ‘n’ Dave. Tickets are available from www.GDSF.co.uk. In readiness for this, the promoters asked us to play at Clavstock, a small festival in the Shropshire village of Claverley, just East of Bridgnorth. We only had an hour’s set, so we went light, stripping our act back as far as practical… It’s not the instruments or amps, it’s the suitcases of ducks, soft toys and hats that filled the backstage area prior to us setting up. It was great fun playing on a full sized stage in the sunshine and the crowd seemed to love it (one audience member even e-mailing us as we played to book us for her wedding next year!).

As soon as we cleared the stage we were in the van heading to Shrewsbury to one of our favourite venues, The Telegraph. We normally play there on a Sunday afternoon, But Alan asked if we’d do a Saturday night. It’s a different crowd and a different feel to normal, but it was still a great night. The pub was rammed, the temperature was up and the ducks were flying.

The Telegraph

The Telegraph

Finally, to Sunday. The Bull’s Head in Whitchurch has recently been taken over by Erin and John and they got in touch via our contact page to see if we could play there. Sadly for them we could, so we headed there on a Sunday which seemed even warmer than the previous couple of days.

On arrival Erin asked if we’d like to set up in the corner of the bar or whether we’d prefer to play in the beer garden… No Brainer.

What an afternoon. I’m sure they had no idea what was coming, but the audience were just brilliant, with ducks flying aplenty. In a small change to the normal run of things, rather than being hit by a wet dog returning from the audience in Irish Rover, WeeMann emptied the bucket of water over himself to cool down mid-set. The benefits only lasted a few minutes before the heat of the sun dried him out, but it was a welcome and worthwhile few minutes.

In The Sunshine!

In The Sunshine!

We’ll be back later in the year. let’s just hope it’s still warm enough to do the same again.

This weekend we’re even busier. We’re off to Rummers and Brynrodyn Caravan Park on the Welsh Coast on Friday and Saturday, before returning to The Wrekin on Sunday afternoon, then onto Stone in Staffs for the evening. What doesn’t kill us will only make us stronger.

Or so they say.