Venue: The Racehorse
Location: 15 Abington Square Northampton England NN1
Telephone: 01604 604313
The team: MC Bot (birthday boy, resplendent all in red and armed with a frankly risible bubble gun) - Misery (Elegant and almost motionless in black)- Russ (A busy man) - Headstone (new heavy armaments in place, please keep your heads down at the front) - Steve (mental as anything and fascinated by his own light show). Curt was away in a foreign land on special familial business. Steve Ward did the sound and Johnny P the lights.
The Racehorse bar stages musical acts every Sunday. Some nights you barely notice they are there, even though there are only about 15 drinkers in the bar. Some acts do pull in a small crowd of mates. And that's what we'd normally expect. All right, we're older, so we know a few more mates. We put on some lights, try to do a decent sound, we get a few people in and hopefully they enjoy it. We get paid, but we spend that on getting in a good pa and lights. Last night when Johnny P and I came in from dinner, the place was fecking heaving.
MC Bot was enjoying his birthday, and to please him we put The Streets on the pa about 15 minutes before we went on, a move of staggering arrogance and over-confidence, the sort of move that really filled me with karma terror. The sort of thing we do all the fecking time, to be honest. Some kids waiting to see the group actually split when The Streets came on. At the back of the room a small knot of middle-aged men were shouting along and making clenched-fist gestures in a display more suited to men half their age, to whom such things are supposed still to matter.
As we took tthe stage I saw that Bot was toting some manner of ray gun. It turned out to fire bubbles. Stevie Ward brought up my vocal mic just in time to catch me wailing "Sharon! Shaaaarrrroooooon!" But I mean, really. Here we are, the princes and princess of the feckin' heart of darkness, and he's letting off fecking bubbles. What's evil about feckin' bubbles? SHAAARROOOOOOON!!!!!!!! Quality People kicked in like a bomb hitting the place, more or less. By the end the punters were cheering. Punters do not cheer in the Racehorse bar of a Sunday night. It doesn't happen. But these punters were cheering. "Happy Birthday, Bot!" cried Bot, instantly establishing the catch-phrase of the night. He had also, by now, fully mastered the technique of wringing as much feedback from his radio mic as humanly possible. For the rest of the night, more on stage than among the punters, it was like the fecking Mary Chain up there. WHOOOOOOOO- WHOOP- WHHHHEEEEEUUUUURRRRRRGGGGHHHHSSSSSSSZTSST...
The rest of the sound was pretty hard, though. Misery was positively subsonic. Russ got a rake of cavernous reverb on his congas for Hippy Shit. We did the best "Trouble Every Day" since the Mothers stopped doing it. Bot was delivered of drinks from the crowd throughout and only did a Dooj on my FX pedals once. Hey, it was his birthday. Once he has the paperwork for. We got away with two brand new tunes. Good old crowd, good old night, way beyond our expectations. And those of Pete the Landlord, I would imagine. He must have made a pile of money on the bar. Many of the people in his bar were Quite Drunk at the end of the evening.
We headed back to Shakespeare Villas, currently more like Shakespeare International House Of Leaves, where a party developed involving the band, plus members of Saab 77 and The Echo Chamber down from Leeds, P-Hex (Stevie G's enormous funk band), The Sheep Thieves and Hinterhoff Records. Becks and Budvar were drunk, as was Scott the boy detective. We closed at about 4:30 am. Not bad for a Sunday night at the local. Not bad at all.
Seriously, Dave, we rocked the joint.
Wilson Headstone technical update: Now deploying a Hughes and Kettner Tour Reverb combo, a solid state job with a tube-in-a-box on the way in. Tube in a box. Watch it glow in the dark. This also is the work of Mr. Hughes and Mister Kettner. The amp offers me three channels, and the tube thingie effectively offers two more variations. With the Burns guitar that I picked up earlier this summer it makes a mortal racket. Also deploying a Boss phaser and an Ibanez delay. Mind your heads, boys and girls.
Botty: "We're called Wilson...because we make a racket."
Roadmender next, a nice big room where we shall have films as well as lights. The day after that we play a party in Wales. In October, God help us, we're playing at somebody's wedding. But then it's time to go to London.