Tuesday 22 February 2011

HI-ON REHEARSAL……WAIT, WHAT? - 19 & 20 February 2011

Well well well, boys and girls!

After a sensationally lazy year of not-really-writing-diaries-due-to-general-procrastination-and-disillusionment, Mr Hurry has pulled his socks up, pulled out the stops (and pulled on various other things to salacious to mention in these pages) and is back on the diary writing bandwagon. Or, should I say, tribute bandwagon.

I’m frequently not as witty as I think I am.

Apologies must go to faithful readers (if I had any) and to the rest of the band for the dismal lack of effort on my part last year. I fully intend to make up for it this year! The gig itinerary is looking healthy for 2011 with several special gigs in there already (those pre- and after-show parties are looking particularly tasty to me right now).

So, 2011 has arrived! The first order of business, as those of you who stalk us around the internet will no doubt already be aware, is to announce the temporary absence of one Mr Speed “I Love Frubes!” Harris. Our trusty stage-left-then-stage-right-then-stage-left-again whirlwind is taking a break from the tribute circuit to concentrate on his master’s degree, with which we wish him all the best of British luck. Our stand-in for the year is a veteran of the Scottish tribute scene, having played in Maiden Scotland (and having been in a Marillion tribute as well, much to Mr Hurry’s delight!). We welcome Steve “take my bare arse!” Haggis into the fold.

With a new member to break in and some album-themed gigs in the pipeline, it seemed opportune to have a rehearsal or two. Adrian “fancy a Mr Whippy?” Swift dutifully booked us two days in a rehearsal room in Leeds, which seems to be the most central location for us now (that’s right, we’ve really swapped a bass player in South Wales for one in Glasgow – things in Hi-On Maiden don’t really make all that much geographical sense these days!). After booking my travel I set about refreshing my memory of the songs that were coming up. Our next two gigs feature full album performances of Somewhere In Time and The Number Of The Beast respectively, and certain songs which we don’t regularly play needed a bit of topping up. Wrapping my fingers around songs like Déjà Vu and Invaders reminded me of just how much I love doing this.

And so it came to pass that on a cold February morning I was to meet our esteemed tubthumper Nicko “sex on toast” McBrain Jnr at Kings Cross. Far too early in the morning to reasonably function, we grunted a few incoherents at each other and headed for the platform. Doing some revision en route got us both suitably woken and geared up for the weekend, and in no time at all we’d pulled into Leeds and piled into Swifty’s motor. Mr Swift had managed to leave various near-vital pieces of kit at home (including his amplifier and Nicko’s cymbals), though luckily half of my amp was available and the rehearsal studios could provide splashy splashy bits of metal that go craassssssssssssssh in the night. Splendid.

We first clapped eyes on ‘Aggy (as he will now be known!) in a misty Travelodge car park. The intention had been to check into the room and then naff off to rehearse, but sadly there was no-one about to let us in so it was time to roll. We were already late (I’m still not entirely sure how that happened) and arrived at the rehearsal room to set up somewhere between 2 and 3.

It took us all a good few songs to warm up, but once we’d got going we were on form. ‘Aggy made it look easy, despite professing that his hands were seizing up on him at the beginning. We had all contributed to a list of songs that we felt we had to focus on, but much to our surprise we sailed through damn near all of them. I made plenty of mistakes (it seemed I had been a little over-confident in my memory of some of these songs!), but by and large it was all gelling together very well. At 6pm we downed tools and headed back to check in, before going out on the lovely town of Yeadon for a hearty Italian meal and a glass of soup or two. It was nice to have some time to get to know ‘Aggy, and to introduce him to our particular brand of idiocy!

The next morning, after a disappointing Morrison’s breakfast (I’m sure it was better last time, chaps!) and a brief trek to The Tarn for ice cream on a chilly winter’s morning, we were straight back in the room for more. After a short while we were joined by Bruce “not around long enough to say anything stupid enough for a nickname” Dugginson, who led us through belting renditions of everything on our “Songs To Worry About” list in record time. With an hour to spare, and having run out of songs we weren’t sure about, we packed down and headed off early (some earlier than others, eh?!).

After fond farewells, I was shipped back to Leeds station for my homeward journey (Junior had opted to stick around with Dugginson for the evening). I conked out on the train and woke up just in time to stagger back to Hurry Towers.

And there you have it. Firing on all cylinders for the Plymouth weekender, the Hi-On train keeps rolling.

Until next time,

Up the Irons!

Dave “did I leave it in the pub?” Hurry