This is how the end of 2014 went:

Ed

Ed Looks Happy

We don’t like cancelling gigs, it’s one of our pet hates, so it was quite painful to find that we had to do this for the second time in a month, with illness causing us to miss our last gig of the year at Bury’s Molloys on Friday 7th. What made this even worse was the fact that we’d very cleverly arranged a Saturday night gig in the town for the first time in order to make the trip work…

By Saturday we were back up to a reasonable level of strength, so headed up to play at Bury Bowls Club. On the very night that the local fireworks display was being held up the hill with plenty of bands on an outdoors stage. As a result, the audience wasn’t as big as the organisers were expecting, but it was still a reasonable size. The room was low ceilinged and intimate and we had a great time dealing with people who had no idea what to expect.

"We've Brought Ducks!"

“We’ve Brought Ducks!”

A week later and we were back in Tipton at the Kings Head. The pub has been taken over by new owners and the atmosphere was a little different, with a much louder, more appreciative audience than normal. Considering a large chunk of the people present had been to most of our gigs here, it seemed odd, but it turned out to be our favourite here so far.

Next was The Malthouse. The last time we played here was as hot as we’ve ever experienced, but it was the end of the summer. This time it should be cooler, shouldn’t it? No. Apparently not. Not quite as hot as last time, but that’s saying little. Another soaking wet, great fun gig.

And so, onto a pub we haven’t visited for a time. The Hen and Chickens in Bridgnorth (now renamed The Friars) is a very small pub and we always found it to be very quiet, but it has recently been taken over by a new owner who was adamant she wanted us to play there. We turned up to discover that the town’s Christmas lights were being switched on and the top end of the road the pub is situated in was blocked by vehicles dealing with this. On the whole this wouldn’t cause us a problem as we had our usual spot to park in, albeit on double yellows in front of a gated car park. Normally this isn’t a problem as the car park isn’t used during the evenings, and of course it’s legal to use double yellows whilst offloading, but this time there was a car inside the car park. Whilst unloading, we kept our eyes open for the owner returning, which he did as we were getting the last bits out. As we crossed the road, a group of girls came round the van complaining that Santa was being grumpy. Paul went to investigate to find him on the phone reading out our numberplate. Paul asked him whether he would like us to move for him and was met by a very rude comment in return. Si tried again. This time he was off the phone but still as abusive. We moved to let him out, but soon all received texts from Paul’s wife explaining that the police had received a complaint that our van was illegally parked. Christmas won’t be the same again for us.

Unlike last time, the pub was rammed. Seriously rammed. We barely had enough room for even a stripped down setup, but managed and succeeded in winning over a great audience.

Rummers

Rummers

A week later and we were back in Aberystwyth playing at Rummers. We were originally booked to play both Friday and Saturday nights, but were asked if we could cancel the Saturday night as local legends Aber Jazz were performing their final ever gig. We saw this as a great opportunity to go our for the evening to see some live music and enjoy some beer and food, unworried about having to play. After a curry we headed down to catch the end of the support band’s performance (some lovely harp and bass playing) before Aber Jazz took the stage. I’d recommend you catch these guys, but as this was their last gig, it would be pointless. The pub was rammed and we ended up deciding to move on as Paul and Si were unable to see a thing past the taller people. Whilst deciding where to go next we bumped into a group of students who’d come to see us the previous night and joined them for some more beer in another pub before catching the train home. Sunday saw us stopping of at The Telegraph in Shrewsbury on the way home.

Den

Den

The following Friday saw our return to The Barley in Newport to what was possibly our best audience there yet and then we were into the last week of gigs before Christmas.

Unfortunately, Ed has a habit of getting ill in the run up to Christmas and this year was no exception. Thursday at The Crown was as good a gig as ever and all seemed fine, but as we headed for The Old Post Office the next night (with tame keyboardist Si Carswell in tow for a rare appearance) it was clear that a cold was starting to manifest.

By Saturday at The Swan, Stone, Ed’s voice was starting to crack and finally became a tuneful croak by Sunday’s gig at The Green Man in Milwich. Fortunately the pub was full of caring friends and bar staff who kept his throat lubricated with whiskey all evening. Rumours that Ed consumed a full bottle of 1923 single malt unaided are greatly exaggerated – the whisky was far younger.

And that was it. Christmas was upon us. We had a get together after Christmas with our families for some curry, wine and silly games (and Ed was still ill) and before we knew it 2014 was over.

We’ve been together almost three years now and our diary for 2015 is almost full, so this would be a good time to tell you all that we’re quitting the music game and becoming a touring band of jugglers. Except that no-one has ever accused us of being musical.

See you in 2015.

Happy New Year from Ed, Paul, Si and Hugo.

x

Merry New Year!

Merry New Year!

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November Gigs

October 28, 2014

Some dates for your diary.

Friday 7 November – Molloys, Bury

Saturday 8 November – Bury Bowls Club

Friday 14 November – The Kings Arms, Tipton

Saturday 15 November – The Malthouse, Ironbridge

Friday 21 November – The Friars, Bridgnorth

Saturday 29 November – The Britannia, Shrewsbury

Sunday 30 November – The Oddfellows Arms, Wellington

You can find the locations of all these venues and more at www.losttheplotband.co.uk/gigs

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!

Want to throw some ducks? Here’s where we’ll be in the next month.

The Great Dorset Steam Fair 2014

The Great Dorset Steam Fair 2014

Thursday 28-Saturday 30 August – The Great Dorset Steam Fair – www.gdsf.co.uk/index.php/music-festival

Friday 5 September – Molloy’s, Bury.

Saturday 6 September – The Beeches, Bayston Hill

Friday 19 September – The Barley, Newport

Saturday 20 September – The Malthouse, Ironbridge

Friday 26 September – The Kings Arms, Tipton.

You can find the locations of all these venues and more at www.losttheplotband.co.uk/gigs

Loads to Catch Up On

July 10, 2014

So much going on that I haven’t had a chance to blog recently, so here’s a quick run down:

Pets

Pets

Sunday 22nd June – The Wrekin Inn.

As expected, a great afternoon. We tend, these days, to throw in a fairly random set at The Wrekin, rather than the usual stuff. This gig saw us attempt some Pink Floyd in the shape of Wish You Were Here. It went down well and we’ve decided it may have a more regular place in the set from now on.

The Wrekin

The Wrekin

Friday 27th June – The Barley, Newport.

Always a little nerve wracking at this kind of venue as people tend to start turning up later. As we started the crowd was fairly, shall we say, intimate, but as the set went on the crowd built and we ended the evening wondering what we had been worrying about.

Saturday 28th June – Wedding, Claverley

Congratulations to Naomi and Steve who got married and asked us to perform for them and their guests. The crowd were lovely and warm and had previously been treated to some music from a few family members.

Wedding

Wedding

Sunday 29th June – The Swan Beer Festival.

Two words which always make us happy are “Festival” and “Beer” and when combined they send us into paroxysms of joy. Unless you’re the one driving home from the gig. Good crowd, good beer, but sober bassist having to transport merry singer and drummer. 😦

Geoff & The Plot

Geoff & The Plot

Friday 4th July – The Kings Arms, Tipton

A return to the West Midlands and another evening of fun. On our first visit we’d had a very quiet reaction, with our second visit being a bit more rowdy. This third visit was between the two and the good news is that Paul got his hat back after it was stolen last visit.

Saturday 5th July – Clavstock and The Oakengates Carnival

Clavstock Before

Clavstock Before


Clavstock After

Clavstock After

Two festivals in one day! This was our second appearance at Clavstock (100 yards round the corner from the wedding gig we played the previous week) and was, for the first time, ticket only to limit numbers, such has been its popularity. 500 happy smiling faces singing along as we got silly. Great fun. Then we packed up and headed to Oakengates to perform a very short set sans drums. We were on a small B stage playing between a Madchester style band and Guns Or Roses, a G’n’R tribute. By the nature of the stage we were limited in the audience we could attract, but we seemed to drag in plenty and all seemed to enjoy us. We may have to try drumless sets again in the future.

Oakengates

Oakengates

Sunday 6th July – The Bulls Head, Whitchurch.

This was always planned to be an outdoors gig, playing in the beer garden, but on leaving Telford, the rain had been coming down. We all checked our various weather apps which agreed that rain was a distinct possibility. As we arrived, John, the landlord, opened the gate with his phone in his hand, also checking his weather app. While we discussed options thunder rattled around us, but in the end decided to brave it and set up underneath 3 parasols. As it turned out we had a short shower between setting up and sound checking and then a glorious evening.

Bulls Head Panorama

Bulls Head Panorama

As I write this we’re about to head out to play at The Crown in Oakengates, again hopefully outside. The weather looks far better!

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!

10352209_627546130668905_7542400976528747727_n

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

Forton CC

March 3, 2014

Following a much needed month off we reconvened on Saturday for a return visit to Forton Cricket Club.

Back In Action

Back In Action

Another fundraiser for the club, as before, this time we were host to a raffle going on throughout the evening. Prizes included cheap wine, chocolates, Play-Doh and a cabbage. Unfortunately for organizer Phiz, the cabbage returned to the stage later at high velocity as he was bringing us a couple more prizes to give out. He’s hoping to be out of hospital some point during May.

Cabbage!

Cabbage (on the right)!

During our time off we worked on a few new tunes and we took the opportunity to air a couple of them in front of the receptive crowd. All seemed to go well including our new reggae medley and the introduction of Ed’s new instrument. I won’t spoil the surprise here by telling you what it is, but I guarantee you won’t have seen a pub covers band using one of these before!

We tried selling our drummer during the night, but there were no takers. Apparently we valued him too high:

50p

50p

For those of you who read our last blog regarding our trip south in June, we’re having to move one of the gigs due to a small complication, so we’re in the process of looking for a new venue for either the Sunday afternoon or the Friday evening. If you have any suggestions, please contact us at weemann@losttheplotband.co.uk

This week we’ve got 4 gigs lined up. On Thursday we’re back at the Headteachers’ Association Conference (quiet at the back please), then on Friday it’s the turn of The Barley in Newport. Saturday sees us travelling into the heart of the Midlands to Tipton and The Kings Arms for our first gig there, then on Sunday it’s back to Old Faithful, The Telegraph in Castlefields.

See you at a gig soon.