Sunday, 23 August 2009

THEA FORD - "Monkey To The West" album launch show / EVERY OTHER ONES debut gig - Bush Hall, Uxbridge Road W12

Diva!

Three or four months ago (time is all relative, isn't it?), I began working with the radiant Miss Thea Ford. This was all leading up to the release of an album, entitled "Monkey To The West", which Thea had been working on for upwards of two years. Emails back and forth prior to my audition revealed that a revolving door of musicians had been the source of much frustration, so I was determined to be the guitarist for the job. After that first meeting (a few hours in a sweaty rehearsal room just under Waterloo East railway station) I received a text message which stated "Chris, you rock!". Which was nice!

Since then we've performed a few gigs for which I haven't written gig diaries, so I will sum them up as succinctly as I can:

Gocstock IV (which I did write about - at great length - on this blog somewhere down below).

22 July - Belushi's, Covent Garden - this was an acoustic gig in the corner of a bar. We performed for half an hour, went down a storm and were offered a gig the next night which we unfortunately had to turn down. A good turn out.

31 July - The Red Room - below The Comedy Pub, Haymarket - A fully electric gig, on the bill with a number of other very talented and / or humourous acts. This was a very enjoyable gig for yours truly. Poor Thea had a bit of a cough and had to leave me to take lead vocal at one point, which was quite amusing! Also, our superb young drummer Richard's bass drum pedal broke it's banjo string (so to speak). Ever the professional he fixed it and joined in on verse two of the next number. Cracking! Lots of fun, especially "Fall Down" which went over very well indeed.

12 August - Bar Music Hall, Shoreditch - A lovely venue just round the corner from Old Street tube. This one was fraught with danger. We had a rehearsal booked in for that night, which we did two hours of then raced to the gig. Richard had pranged his motor en route from Dover and as such couldn't make it. Nevin 'NEVOAH!' Sood stepped in and did a fine job for us, even coping with the unexpected double chorus at the end of Cat & Mouse. Lots of red wine then got me very pissed. Fabulous night.

Which brings us to the album launch show!

Bush Hall I...

Bush Hall

II...

Thea dances towards destiny

III...

View from the stage

I had left home around 1pm, aiming to get there well early and find a cheeky pint of the black stuff somewhere. A smooth journey, despite untold numbers of cancelled trains on the Southeastern network - something unfortunate seemed to be buggering trains going the other way, and for some reason this was cancelling North Kent Line trains going in my direction. How exciting. I jumped on the next train London-bound and arrived in SheBu (a popular contraction of Shepherd's Bush, apparently) around 3pm. A short walk to the venue later and I ran into Mark 'Smarties, but no blue ones' O'Neill and Laurence 'it does make me rather moist' Hodge. Mark jetted off to collect the tubthumper, Laurence retired to his car to listen to the radio and I wandered off in search of sustenance after dumping my gear in the venue. Finding nothing but a pasta snack and a bottle of apple juice I sauntered leisurely back to the venue. I managed to arrive just as Mark pulled up with Richard 'they're not pecs' Gould in tow with his impressive stack o' drums. Then who should walk round the corner but the diva herself, Thea 'look at my impractical bags, aren't they cool?' Ford. Time to set up then!

Keyboard world...

Photobucket

Mark searches for The Brown Note (it's up the other end, mate!)...

Mark

Guitar World...

Axe

I set up just in front of Keyboard World, having been provided with a Marshall combo by Mister O'Neill. My main gigging amp lives in Hull, and it's about time I bought myself a decent combo. August's shopping list is written! A very agreeable amp it was, and I quickly found my sound and retired backstage for a spot of reading.

MC Sood & The Bass Player...

The Toxic Twins

Mark demands his rider...

Mark demands his rider

Not content with just playing with Thea's band this evening, Bush Hall would also be treated to the debut performance of Every Other Ones, a band comprising of myself and David 'fucking' Sharpe as an acoustic guitar duo. Sharpey arrived just before soundcheck with Thea commenced, which was a joy. I do so love it when the sound man tells the drummer to play quieter! However, Richard is an astoundingly capable young man and is the only drummer I've ever had the privelege of playing with who can actually turn himself down! (Hope you're reading this, Joe...!)

Richard and his Technicolour Drumkit...

Richard

Time for a lie down...

Richard admires the ceiling

Soundcheck with Sharpey was entertaining, as Barney the Soundman wasn't very keen on the idea of mic-ing up acoustic guitars in this room. Tough luck, thought I, and we went ahead. Things sounded fine to me! Sharpey, Richard and I naffed off up The Coningham Arms where we were met by my pal Kev. A nice relaxing pint later and it was time to head back in time to catch the first act, the lovely Rowena Carter and her string section. Beautiful.

Time for Every Other Ones to assault the world. Our set went down very well, and comprised of three originals and two covers as follows:

Again & Again
...Baby One More Time
Same Old
Kid Gloves
I Should Have Stayed At Home

Received to good reviews, Sharpey and I were dead chuffed and will be in the market for more gigs soon. We need to write the rest of the album, old boy!

Another support act followed, whose name escapes me now. I do remember them loftily stating that they would bring between 50-100 fans with them. A likely story, and had I heard this before the night I would have suggested to Thea to drop them! Until the night before I still thought that Mayfly Trio were supporting, and I'm dead disappointed that they weren't. Guys, if you're reading this you were missed!

Then it was time for the gig Thea's been working towards for years. With the band standing onstage like lemons waiting for MC Sood to reappear, the stage was set. Nev did his bit and we started out with the first few bars. The set proceeded thusly:

You Got Me
Your Eyes, My World
22
Intro / Monkey To The West
Made Of You
Dear Bully
Cat & Mouse
You Said
Zombie
Hold You Together
One Day Soon
So Long
Fall Down

Onstage

A cracking performance all round, and an incredible reception from an impressive crowd. A few mistakes here and there causing giggles onstage, but not a trainwreck in sight. The atmosphere was compelling, and obviously my personal highlight was that guitar solo in Cat & Mouse - it got an amazing reaction and I honestly thought the roof might come off as that song reached it's finale. All in all, a highly enjoyable gig.

Huge thanks to everyone who came along, particularly my family and friends (special mentions for Beth, Kev and Glenn). It meant a lot that you were there, especially to Sharpey and myself. You rock.

The future holds writing sessions, both for Thea Ford and for Every Other Ones. I'm looking forward to being part of the process! Let's get cracking on some new music.

Til next time
Not Chris, not Harrison, but Chrissy H.

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