There’s a phrase that’s become popularised since the advent of texting – WTF? This is a phrase we found ourselves using most of the weekend, as we played a couple of the most bizarre gigs any of us has been party to.
The weekend started innocuously enough with a quiet evening at the Music Club Millenium Hall in Moreton, just east of Newport. An old haunt of Edcase’s, this is a private members club in a small village’s community centre. Due to the layout of the bar, we could see everyone and thus everyone could see us. As a result this made it quite an easy gig for holding their attention (something that you generally struggle to do in the average pub) – once they were onboard (some point during the first number) we never lost them.
Saturday was, at first glance, going to be a different story. This was our third gig at The Talbot Inn. Last time we played there Moby Dick broke down and as we pulled up, Clatter pointed out a strange noise she was making again, just as she had in the run up to that gig…
We climbed out and went into the pub wearing our Xmas hats to meet a bemused Alan. “Are you playing tonight?” he asked. “I’d forgotten. I haven’t promoted it, so it may be quiet tonight.” Not a good start.
Once we’d set up, we sat having a drink and a chat with some friends brought along by our long time friend, Sarah. Judging by the conversation, and despite them not really being aware of what they were about to witness, we figured they’d get our sense of humour. On the downside, as we chatted, more of the already small crowd were leaving the pub. This wasn’t looking good.
Still, we thrive in adversity, so we plugged in and went for it. As is often the case, despite a quiet start, the pub did start filling up as we played. Granted there weren’t as many as at the previous 2 visits, but we ended up with a respectable crowd, nonetheless.
Where things started going strange, however, was towards the end of our second set.
As a band, we have an official stalker. Shelley comes to a few of our gigs. Well, when we say a few, we mean pretty much every one. An old workmate of WeeMann’s, Shelley is a fan of live music and spends most weekends visiting live music venues. The last few months have seen her trailing the band round the Midlands and beyond in the hope that we’ll one day impress her with our show. Last week she insisted on taking some photos of us after our Wrekin gig; proper “Sensible” photos. Little did we know what she had up her sleeve (apart from her arm).
As anyone who has seen us will know, we enjoy using masks as a way of making ourselves look prettier – Katy Perry, Ant & Dec and, most recently, Jedward have all made an appearance. Last night, as we kicked into eighties classic, Don’t You Want Me, we noticed Shelley moving throughout the crowd. Thinking nothing of it, we motored towards the chorus, ready to impress with our faultless three part harmonies, whereupon a sea of familiar faces started moving towards us like a zombie apocalypse.
WeeMann found himself staring at Edcase, Edcase at Clatter. But these were people in the audience. How…? Wha…? Whe…?
It dawned on us – the audience were wearing masks with our faces printed on them. This was one of the most surreal moments in our collective gigging lives. We were all laughing so hard we struggled to keep going. Clatter had an asthma attack from laughing so hard, WeeMann was crying and couldn’t sing, Edcase considered stopping the song to allow us to compose ourselves.
We carried on and made it to the end of the song, having to take a few moments before the next. It was generally agreed that we couldn’t remember a funnier moment from any gig any of us had played before.
On top of this, one of our ducks has been taken away for a holiday. We were approached during the break by Merv, who had been the recipient of a flying duck during the first set. He asked if he could take the duck as he travelled abroad in the new year. As a result, Biker Duck will be visiting Russia and Italy, amongst other destinations, next year. Merv has promised to send us regular updates as he travels, so we’ll keep you updated on his journey.
Sunday saw our first trip out to Baschurch, north of Shrewsbury, to play at the grand opening of Cafe Saffron’s new curry restaurant in the Admiral Duncan. The evening started with the crowd unsure of what they were witnessing, but before too long they started getting into the spirit of the event. As we sat down during our first break, the landlord approached with a couple of ladies, discussing arrangements for backing music. What was going on?
It transpired that we were one of two acts on this evening, the second being Emma, a belly dancer. After sorting out their backing music, Clatter sat transfixed:
The audience suddenly seemed much larger while Emma performed, shrinking away again as we re-took the stage. Not sure what was going on there…
We ended up playing three sets, finishing after 10 and ready for the trudge home.
This week we’ll be playing our last couple of gigs before the Xmas break. On Thursday we’re at The Crown in Oakengates, a great little real ale pub. Landlord John Ellis is a big fan of his ale, which is great by us, and also of entertainment. This one should be a cracker as our friend, Chris Payne, is using the evening as an unofficial leaving party prior to moving abroad.
A night off on Friday for the end of the world (we’d rather not miss it by being engrossed in our set) before our last gig of 2012 at The Green Man in Milwich, Staffordshire.
We’ll report back on these gigs next week.