The most recent gig diary to get things rolling (as there won't be another one until February or so!)
After half a day at work, knowing that a particularly vitriolic customer would be attacking me via email in my absence, I was Southampton-bound. I arrived at Waterloo dragging my luggage (which somehow gets heavier every week, despite nearly all my gear being in the van!) and plonked down at Bonapartes for an oversized coffee. I was soon joined by Nicko "would it hurt to get bum-raped by a ghost?" McBrain Jnr, loaded with replacement drum parts after the Nijmegen incident (a snare skin too far, perhaps). After grabbing some grub, we headed off for an earlier than anticipated departure. Our young drummer befriended an old codger en route, while I caught up on Steven Wilson's new record 'Insurgentes' which had arrived that morning in all it's luxurious packaging. I hadn't had the chance to listen to it properly, so unfortunately the first listen was via iPod (not the intended medium, I understand, given all the smashed up iPods in the artwork!). Thoroughly enjoyable none-the-less. In no time at all, we were in Basingstoke. A little while later, we were in Winchester. Finally, Southampton Central was called and we bundled off the train. Adrian "I really couldn't hold it any longer" Swift normally books accomodation for us weary travellers, but this weekend Bruce "who else has got this winter snot thing going on?" Dugginson had to get back for his Saturday morning belly-fighting class so no digs had been sorted. I'd booked a room at the 'Star Hotel' for myself and the tubthumper, but had completely forgotten to include Speed "EXTRA STRONG MINTS" Harris in my plans. Whoops! Mr Harris often just shoots home after gigs, you see. That's my excuse anyway.
A short walk to the high street and the hotel was located. Nicko's first words were of the most likely haunted nature of the building, and worries about spectral penetration soon abounded. I allayed his fears as best I could, and soon we were in a luxurious minicab on our way to the venue. The driver didn't seem quite sure where the gig was, but we only drove past The Brook once, so no major catastrophe there. Speed arrived a little later, with mini-Speed in tow. The Van of Terror was en route, but had struck a little traffic.
Speed regaled us with tales of letters sent to various confectionery manufacturers (my personal favourite was a dispute with Mars bars about their 'work, rest and play' promise - apparently a Mars a day doesn't help you out of unemployment). The van eventually coughed and spluttered it's way to the back of the venue and the load-in commenced. Mr Swift had apparently been caught short, and accidentally added a little of his essence to the miasma of stains already covering the floor of said vehicle. Let's just hope one of his growing number of stalkers doesn't try and nick the thing! Duggers had come straight from work, and looked very dapper indeed as soundcheck rolled around. The sound onstage was very clear, which always aids performance. I always look forward to gigs at The Brook, as the sound is good, the crowd are mad, and there's a proper dressing room with tea / coffee and even little wall bits to hang your guitars on! Top.
The ever-ebullient Eddie "they were the metal Kings!!!" The 'Ead was also in attendance, to the delight of us all - it always feels more of a show when Ed's about. Gig-time rolled around, and it was time to wig up. I was less than up for it, to be honest. The week at work and the excesses of the weekend before had begun to take their toll. However I quickly got into the swing of things and the rest of the performance was storming. The gig was well-played, despite a couple of very dodgy solos early on from yours truly (my mind was elsewhere!). However I quickly got into the swing of things and the rest of the performance was storming. I don't recall any dropped bollocks, though there were some spectacular backing vox from Speed "Woah-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-ohh...fucking hell" Harris (yes, two nicknames this week!).
I packed down quickly after the gig, knowing that Mr Dugginson wanted to be off at a reasonable time for work in the morning. The rest of the band followed suit, and after a quick beverage we parted ways. Mr Harris kindly dropped myself and the noisy one back at the hotel, where we conked out rather quickly. The next morning, Nicko shot off back home while I enjoyed the breakfast (which I must say was to be savoured) before journeying up to Dudley to show Blaze Bayley a bit of support at his JB's "Big Bash" (or the "Big Bash One Out", depending on who you speak with!).
That's it for 2008 folks! 2009 is shaping up to be another globe-trotting year for us lot, so keep your eye (or eyes, if you want to use both) on the gig list, those of you in foreign lands. We could be coming to your town!
Until then, UP THE IRONS!
Dave "I fuckin' hate this wig" Hurry