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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December Gigs

December 1, 2014

Xmas Duck

Xmas Duck

Christmas is almost upon us and here’s what we’re planning in the way of celebration:

Friday 5 December – Rummers Wine Bar, Aberystwyth

Sunday 7 December – The Telegraph, Shrewsbury

Friday 12 December – The Barley, Newport

Thursday 18 December – The Crown, Oakengates

Friday 19 December – The Old Post Office, Shrewsbury

Saturday 20 December – The Swan Inn, Stone

Sunday 21 December – The Green Man, Milwich

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

A few to catch up on,  so let’s dive in.

The Old Post Office.  Last time we were here our desk broke from the stress,  but all was OK this  time.

We’ve had bigger crowds here,  but fewer more enthusiastic.  What made the gig special, however, was Paul’s new flightcase.  As you probably know,  we bring a lot of peripherals to our gigs and these entail many trips to and from the van. Fortunately our ever-thinking drummer came up with a solution in the shape of a large, wheeled flightcase.  After putting everything in it we wheeled the case up the cobbles to the pub door only to discover that it wouldn’t fit through the door,  so it spent the evening just outside the pub.

A Flightcase.

A Flightcase.

Our next gig was a return visit to The Swan in Stone. We very quickly realised the flightcase wouldn’t make it through the door again,  so it stayed in the van while we played. Playing on a Wednesday we normally have smaller audiences than weekend gigs,  but we had a full pub this time.

Next up was due to be Shrewsbury’s Brittania Inn,  but sadly Ed’s voice was disappearing due to a cold.  He’d struggled manfully (?!) through Wednesday’s gig,  but this would have been near impossible,  particularly as we’d been booked for a wedding the next day and didn’t want to let the happy couple down. In any event,  we wouldn’t have managed to get the flightcase in through the door.

So, onto the wedding. This was taking place in the beautiful surroundings of a golf club in Chepstow.  The big problem here was the fact that we had to carry everything up a small staircase to the first floor – the flightcase never even made it out of the van.  We were joined by Den for this gig,  so sounded somewhat musical for a nice change.

We woke the next morning for a drive to Shrewsbury and The Telegraph, with Den in tow for another gig.  By this point the flightcase was buried at the back of the van and wasn’t coming out.

A member of the audience threw us a challenge to play an instrumental and the result was captured on video by our friend Shelley – see what you think:

We went on to Harper Adams university next for a staff/ex-student dinner,  again upstairs,  rendering the flightcase unusable. After an early setup we had a late start,  so visited Paul’s second home,  Newport’s curry house for some sustenance before returning to perform for a typically drunken university audience.

The Harper Party

The Harper Party

We then headed back to Wales and another 2 day residency at Rummers, again with added musicality from Den. By this time Paul had accepted the reality that his flightcase experiment had failed and it was unceremoniously dumped at home. Night one of the residency was a great result,  the pub being almost deserted until the point we started playing.  As usual the pub filled quickly with a great audience,  most of whom were excited to learn we’d be back the following evening.

Playing two days on the trot here makes things a lot easier as we don’t have to pack up at the end of the first night, nor set up on the second night, so on Saturday we went for a curry before the gig. All went well until Paul discovered a body part in his drink. No names, no pack drill, but eye don’t think Paul was too happy.

"Eye Love Curry!" - Paul Crewe.

“Eye Love Curry!” – Paul Crewe.

We finished the month off at The Boars Head in Shrewsbury. Having been a busy month, Paul spent a short while checking his eyelids for holes before we started:

Sandman Has Come For Paul

Sandman Has Come For Paul

You can keep up to date with our upcoming gigs at www.losttheplotband.co.uk/gigs and come back soon to find out how Santa has ruined Christmas for us.

See you soon!

October Gigs

October 1, 2014

In October we’ll be mainly playing these gigs:

Fri 10 October – The Old Post Office, Shrewsbury

Wednesday 15 October – The Swan Inn, Stone

Friday 17 October – The Britannia, Shrewsbury

Saturday 18 October – Private Function

Sunday 19 October – The Telegraph, Castlefields, Shrewsbury

Thursday 23 October – Private Function

Friday 24 & Saturday 25 October – Rummers Wine Bar, Aberystwyth

Sunday 26 October – The Boars Head, Shrewsbury

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

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

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.

June

July 2, 2013

The Band with Geoff

The Band with Geoff Blundell

Our return to Molloy’s in Bury last Friday was as successful as we hoped it would be. On the way we decided that, as the previous gig here without Clatter had been such a success, should we fail this time it could only be the fault of one man…

An alert Clatter

An alert Clatter

No pressure then, Mr Crewe!

The first half went well, but with a slightly smaller audience than last time.

“Last time it was rammed!” The comments were thrown back at the drummer throughout set one. “You couldn’t move off the stage.”

Fortunately for Paul’s ego the pub filled up as we hit the second set and went as well, if not better, than our last appearance.

Saturday was time for the school summer ball at Adams Grammar. We arrived to set up in the marquee at about lunchtime and all was going well until we started to make a bit of noise ahead of soundchecking. A gentleman in an army uniform walked in asking if we could hold off making any noise until they had finished making their speeches. It turns out that the cadets had decided to use the grounds for a ceremony of some description without prior booking and took exception to us making any noise… It looked like the guy in question wasn’t used to people saying “No” to him as we pointed out that we were limited for time as Edcase was off shortly for another gig with his old band, Spinal Tap The Keg, supporting no less than Joe Brown of The Sixties. In the end, we let them finish, then rushed our soundcheck.

We were bolstered once more by the great Sir Simon Prattle on keyboards, who put in a couple of rip roaring solos. Shame they were while Ed was trying to sing.

Adams Grammar Summer Ball 22 6 13

The Stage at Adams Grammar

Wednesday and we were up to Stone in Staffs to play at The Swan. Being a mid-week gig it was always going to be a little quiet, but we had a respectable audience which even included a family who had travelled all the way from America to see us. Well, they had travelled from America and they saw us. It amounts to much the same thing.

Friday and we were back to what is fast becoming one of our favourite venues, The Old Post Office in Shrewsbury. The staff are great and the audience rarely lets us down. On the whole this turned out to be one of our best gigs to date. We felt that we performed well in every sense and the audience were with us all the way. There was little standing room left and the beer garden was also full (WeeMann using them as his own private audience throughout the evening).

There was just one fly in the ointment. Pretty much since we started playing together we have included Simon & Garfunkel’s The Boxer, hitting each other over the head with beer trays to add percussive interest. Following the second chorus, it’s time for the audience to get involved by becoming our targets. For the first time we misjudged the situation and first Clatter and then WeeMann focussed in on a couple sitting near the bar. It seems they didn’t share the sense of humour that the majority of people who come to see us do.

In turn, Clatter & WeeMann both found themselves being threatened by the gentleman, Clatter even offering a peace-offering of a drink in the interval, while Ed battled on, blissfully unaware of the seriousness of the situation. We were unable to smooth out the situation as they left before we took our break. Should they read this, we would like to make it clear that, as with the rest of our set, all is meant in fun and no harm is intended. If we offended, we apologise.

This aside, the evening was a blinder and we can hardly wait for our return on 20 September, an evening which will also double as a birthday celebration for barman Ed.

And finally, on Sunday we travelled back to The Swan in Stone to play for their beer festival. This time we played in the beer garden and the sun shone (at least for the first set). Geoff Blundell, the pub’s Landlord, joined us for a few songs at the start of the second set adding some very tasty keyboard work. And upstaging us with his shirt.

Live on Stage With Geoff Blundell

Live on Stage With Geoff Blundell

On Friday we’re back at Burton Borough School for another night of food and music, ably supported by the school’s bands, Saturday it’s our first Saturday night at The Telegraph, Shrewsbury, following an appearance in the afternoon at the Clavstock Festival in Claverly at The Plough Inn and finally on Sunday we will be playing our first gig at a new venue in Whitchurch, The Bulls Head. Recently taken over by Erin & John, this will be their first attempt at putting on live music.

Uh oh…

A Roundup.

June 16, 2013

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, so much so that we haven’t had a chance to blog, so here’s a quick catchup on what’s been going on in Plotland.

Lost The Plot with Gav Hedge

Lost The Plot with Gav Hedge

As far as we know, the world record attempt, of which we were one of many acts, was a success, with the all day variety show beating the old record by over an hour.

The following week saw our return to Scotland to take part in the Forfarfest music festival – 3 days of music in pubs all over Forfar. We played two sets at the Chapter & Verse over the weekend, interspersed with gigs in Dundee. It was exhausting but great fun and we’re currently in the midst of editing a video of our trip, watch this space…

We also took the opportunity to buy some new matching shirts:

A Cheery Chappy!

A Cheery Chappy!

Returning home, the next weekend was another busy one with us starting on Friday evening at The Malthouse in Ironbridge to a packed house (our biggest crowd in there so far), followed by a Saturday afternoon gig at the Newport Carnival and Baschurch’s Admiral Duncan in the evening.

Scream For Me Newport!

Scream For Me Newport!

This weekend was a quiet one – one gig on Friday at The Hen & Chickens in Bridgnorth. The crowd was small but enthusiastic and we’ll be back there again in September.

This week we’re off up to Bury again to Molloys. Last time we played there we were sans drummer, so the locals have no idea what we’ll be like at full strength… Then, on Saturday, we’ll be playing for the Adams Grammar School Summer Ball. Next Wednesday (26th) we’ll be back off up to The Swan in Stone.

Keep an eye on our forthcoming gigs at LostThePlotBand.co.uk/gigs and follow us on Facebook & Twitter and don’t forget to spread the word!

Trevor Horn's got nothing on us!

Trevor Horn’s got nothing on us!