Venue: County Cricket Club
Event: Tom Hall Memorial
Location: Wantage Road Northampton England
Wilson headline at the Phippsville Festival, a Tom Hall memorial gig to be held at Northamptonshire County Cricket Club, Wantage Road, Northampton NN1 on Saturday 23rd April 2005. Other acts on the bill include: Curtis E. Johnson, Mrs. Pilgrimm and Ghost Train. Admission is £5:00.
When they rang to ask me if Wilson would play this event, I thought perhaps that somebody had made a terrible
"You know we're horrible, don't you?" I enquired as politely as a horrible bloke can.
"Yes, yes. That's what we want."
"You want the horrible. Okay."
They asked us, so we came.
Our previous attempts to rock the County Cricket Club's spacious Ken Turner Suite have been, shall we say chequered: a somewhat inauspicious wedding party where we were obliged to sing The Stalker Song* in the dark, and a bizarre charity-related afternoon encounter between a drum-free Wilson, their deeply inebriated hardcore supporters and the local Police cricket team. From our limited experience, it seems that you never quite know what's going to happen to you at the Cricket Club.
Still, we had been to the previous Tom Hall Memorial show back in 2003 and that had been a beauty, so we had some reason to hope that this third attempt on the Ken Turner Ice Face might work out. The soundman had all our technical whoopsie-daisy in advance, we were (as advertised) drummed to the hilt. Assuming that anybody turned up, this one ought to be good.
Soundchecking in the afternoon ate right into Doctor Who, so we only just managed to make it back to Stevie G's house in time to see the big blubbery aliens get their faces blown off by a nuclear missile. Bravo! Stevie G serves out the curry!
Moments later, Steve is back out the door, heading back to the festival to play the opening set with Ghost Train. We mill about the house playing the Good Cop Bad Cop album and knocking back the strong continental lagers. It's not long before Steve returns, mortified. Apparently Ghost Train have spent their set imprisoned among a forest of microphone stands, not that these have in any way rendered the band audible. Yes, there are people there. No, he doesn't want to go back there again, if that's all right with us.
Of course, we do all go back down there, quite sharpish, in fact. I think that Steve has awakened our curiosity. We arrive to catch the end of Curtis' set, then we settle in and lay about the generous backstage spread while watching Pete Garofalo and Sue Figuoera front a band doing Tom Hall songs, rather well as it goes. But my, it is quiet. I take to telling anybody who will listen that my guitar amplifier is louder than all that lot up there put together. I do this because I am becoming nervous. I am becoming nervous because I cannot imagine what will happen when we get up there with our horrible loud music.
Sara Spade comes on and delivers a lovely set, during which I discover that Steve Beswick and Ian Anderson have taken strategic control of the best public toilet in the county. Soap! Paper towels! No wonder they are guarding the doorway so carefully.
And then we are on. And nobody throws anything. Nothing breaks. Nobody does anything stupid. We just play and shout and it all works perfectly. Everybody has a good time. Curtis keeps running up to deliver odd little vocal whoopsie-daisies. People thrashing about down the front, all that stuff. A good time is had by all (of us, anyway) and I don't see a single person with their hands over their ears. We even get to play our planned - inevitable - encore of "Hippy Shit".
Wilson finally get a positive result at the Cricket Club and the Phippsville Festival is a big success all round. We thank the crew, loot the vino and head back to Steve's. Somebody hands me a margarita.
Headstone NN1 25/4/05