Wednesday 2 June 2010

HI-ON NORWICH - 15 May 2010

The triumphant tribute to Iron Maiden return to Norwich after a 2 year absence. Our last gig in this neck of the woods was at the Waterfront in February 2008 - a memorable gig, which I believe was our second of that year. We were supported that night by the acoustic stylings of a fine young local lass, and the guitarist from this group had in the meantime formed another band who were supporting us this time. Norwich - it's a small world!

As I set about packing my things, I wondered what would go wrong this time. More often than not on the morning of a gig, I'll get a phonecall from Adrian "he's only there to fill in the gaps between my guitar mastery!" Swift, informing me of some problem or another. The time ticked away, heading relentlessly towards my departure time. I thought I'd gotten away with it.

"Er, chap - have you left home yet?"

Our stage left genius / plonker (delete as appropriate!) had managed to leave both our Rockbags(tm) at home, which meant no easy sound-switching. The horror! Thankfully I had a spare at home. Mr Swift, on the other hand, wasn't quite so lucky. He'd have to use the sounds in his head (the head of his amp, that is!). I shot out the door with my glorified MIDI switcher (in ridiculously heavy flight case) in one hand and my bag in the other and headed for Stratford where I picked up a train to Norwich.

The day was sweltering; a beautiful, sunny Norfolk day. Navigating to the venue from the railway station was a slightly tricky task, as Google's walking map left a little to be desired - in fact it left out several turnings! Consequently I arrived a little later than intended at around 5:30pm. The King Edward VII is a tidy little venue, set back from the road on the leafy outskirts of Norwich town centre. I arrived to find Swifty and Bruce "wobble, wobble" Dugginson had arrived and Swifty had started setting up his gear. In quick succession both Nicko "she looks like me mum" McBrain Jnr and Speed "proper gayface" Harris turned up, the latter with his taller offspring in tow.

Arrival I...




III: To the bar!


After setting up me gear and lamenting the state of my strings (ol' Swifty, who looks after the guitars at his castle in With'un'see, hadn't had the time to replace them as he'd hoped) I shimmied upstairs for a gander at the digs. I'd been told we were kipping at the venue, which can mean anything from "in sleeping bags onstage" to "in caravan out back" (both perfectly acceptable solutions). Not this time however - this time we were being put up in the B&B which had been handily dumped right above the venue! I took room 1, which was like having your own little dressing room. Feeling proper rockstar, I set about getting me gear ready to go onstage.

Wig, ready to pounce...


We ordered food, and Duggers and I plonked down for an Alan Partridge marathon. In no time at all, the support band hit the stage. As they'd borrowed some of our gear we couldn't get ready until they'd done. Once they had finished we set about getting our stuff ready then legged it upstairs to wig up. Doctor Doctor rolled, and the good ship Hi-On steamed onstage. The gig went well, despite my concerns - I didn't play particularly well at soundcheck, as I hadn't really prepared properly in the gap between gigs. No real problems were encountered, and the crowd (although a bit reserved at first) really got into it. All in all a successful performance, although it was a little weird to hear Mister Swift without his usual muscular tone.

After the show I retired upstairs with a pint of the black stuff to decompress. It was very nice to have a room to plonk down in after the gig - normally you're stood around for ages before a bed is anywhere near. i eventually wandered down for a chat with the punters (and another sneaky pint), and in no time at all it was the end of the night's serving. Bugger, thought I, but luckily the venue allowed us a last drink to take upstairs with us. I immediately ordered two and found a much better use for my in-room fridge than the milk and orange juice that previously occupied it!

What's in the fridge, Mister Hurry?..


...surprise, surprise!


The next morning we chucked all the gear in the van and headed off our separate ways. The Van of Quite-Alright-Really dropped me at Norwich station where I'd missed a train by a mere few minutes. This necessitated waiting around for a good hour and a half, which I decided to spend holed up in The Compleat Angler watching the grand prix. Oh, how terrible.

Until next time!

Dave "he's on his sixteenth Guinness by now" Hurry