HI-ON SWINDON 2009
Paddington Station - 3pm
At last! Back on the road after two months off for Christmas, the ball starts rolling again.
The day began with a nice lie-in and some incredibly lazy breakfasting. Time got away from me, and before I knew it I had to get my arse in gear and my gear in my bag. Two things occurred to me immediately. One, I had forgotten to buy some things I wanted to kit myself out with fresh for the year (guitar stands, various adaptors etc). Two, I had absolutely no idea where that bloody wig had been hiding. Having apparently gone on a festive holiday of it's own, I discovered it under my bed. After digging it out from all the back issues of "Big & Bouncy", "Soft Tits" and "1001 Things To Do With A Dead Drummer", it was stuffed in the bag along with the rest of the stage gear and I was out the door. Swindon is a fairly easy journey from Manic Towers, and despite my fears of last night's snow settling and disrupting southern train services everything has thus far been smooth. I've installed myself in the pub at Paddington (whatever the one on the concourse is called) for an overpriced Guinness and a spot of contemplation.
This time last year we had just begun our gig cycle with a couple of right barnstormers - Farnborough comes to mind instantly as the one we have recording of. The months apart did nothing to detriment our playing, apart from a few mistakes here and there. The greatest gigs (and takes, in the studio) are the ones that feel like they could go off the rails at any moment but never do. That's pretty much what Farnborough was for me - hopefully this visit to the 12 Bar will be just as successful. It'll be the first time the venue has seen the full and proper line-up of Hi-On Maiden, having been treated to the now legendary "Biggest Dickinson" on vocals for our last visit.
Of course, soon after those first gigs last year we were on our way to Turkey. On behalf of the entire band I would like to apologise to our Turkish fans who are going to have to wait just a while longer for our next trip - unfortunately work commitments have made going out there at the appointed time virtually impossible. However we are in talks with Firat "is in next street!" San and we are confident of a 2009 tour of Turkey.
Wonder if I've got time for another one...
12 Bar, Swindon
An uneventful journey to Swindon followed, apart from the screaming child across the way. Fortunately me cheap Senny's did their job and blocked out everything except my choice of musical entertainment.
The venue was only half a mile from the train station, and upon arrival I discovered the car of one Speed "four pound fifty and he gave me a tug job!" Harris parked up. Poor Mr Harris was dying for a wee wee, but relief was some time away as the lights were all off in the venue. No sooner had the keys arrived, Bruce "how's yer big sausage?" Dugginson and Adrian "that's not what you want up you" Swif arrived in Selectadrive's finest. The Van of Doom and Ultimate Terror has run out of MOT privelege, and a serious decision needs to take place regarding it's future. That's a discussion for another day, however. Nicko "how do you sit on this chair?" McBrain Jnr turned up with mother in tow very soon afterwards, and gear began to be carted to and fro.
Soundcheck was an interesting affair, given that most of us hadn't played together for a long long time! I had a few Brown Moments (especially Flash o' t' Blade) but generally all fine except for the soloing side of things - my fingers just weren't moving quick enough! With any luck, a few songs into the set and life will return to my digits. Until then, it's brown trousers time!
12 Bar, backstage post-gig
The first gig that I decide to leave my spare guitar backstage is the first gig that I actually need it in five years. Sod's bloody law!
Friday the 13th at the 12 Bar went thus:
Before the gig - Mr Harris realises his trousers are split, resulting in an unobstructed view of his bits. Stuffs hat down there. Rocks on.
1st song - Mr Dugginson swallows his wig. Nearly chokes. Nearly spews. Pulls hair out of throat. Rocks on.
2nd song - Mr Hurry breaks a string. Attempts Swifty's backup guitar. Massively out of tune. Runs upstairs. Gets spare guitar. Tunes spare guitar. Rocks on.
2nd encore - Mr Swift breaks a string. Picks up backup guitar. Tunes backup guitar. Rocks on.
3rd encore - Mr Swift's amp blows up. Attempts backup amp. Realises backup amp is in his imagination. Mr Swift proceeds to make a nuisance of himself on Mr Hurry's side of the stage.
I've never been one for any number-related superstition, but I may be from now on! Despite string snappage and fuse blowouts we played a good strong gig. A few rusty moments here and there from all concerned, but otherwise very well played indeed. The crowd were fantastic, and indulged our gear problems with aplomb - thank you Swindon! Also a big thanks to Eddie "I don't want to ruin your John Smiths..." The 'Ead - with added theatrical blood, guts and weaponry!
Mr McBrain Jnr packed his kit down and departed with minimal blistering, which is rather good considering the rate he hits them tubs. After a chat with some of the punters (good to see Neil, Kev, Spook, and Mrs Eddie again!) and packing the gear away we were on our way. Mr Harris sped off back to Darkest Wales, and the remainder of us headed to the nearest Travelodge.
An enjoyable, and certainly eventful gig. Huge thanks to the 12 Bar staff, friendly as ever. It's not everywhere we get a fridge full of beer!! JB's next week - hopefully they've done some bloody advertising this time.
Until then, UP THE IRONS!
Dave "it's a bit Pierce Brosnan" Hurry