It’s been busy again, so time for a quick round up of the last few gigs.
On Friday 9th we were back to The Malthouse in Ironbridge. As usual, a great crowd with plenty of dancing and duck throwing. The Malthouse has become one of our most consistent venues with a good, responsive, crowd and fabulous, friendly staff (free beer next time guys?!). A couple of friends, Alex and Jason, turned up for the second half. During an ABBA rendition later in the set, Si took a wander to discover that Jason had lost control of his bladder all over the floor. Check out Si’s reaction at 2:40 in the video below.
Ed got into an interesting discussion with a member of the audience after the gig. She commented to him how much she had enjoyed the gig, but felt the humour was unnecessary, preferring the second set where we pretty much just focussed on songs that would keep people up dancing. Whilst hers is a perfectly valid point of view (and one we explored on Sunday – see below), Ed explained that if we cut the humour (hats, toys, hitting each other, etc) we’d be no different to any other pub band on the circuit. In fact, there are a number of songs that we feel would be almost impossible to pull off without the audience realising that our tongues are firmly placed in our cheeks. You can only go so far down the cheese route as a ‘serious’ band before people give up on you. By introducing the humour early, the audience are ready for whatever we decide to throw at them (metaphorically, as well as physically).
We left The Malthouse much as we found it, but with more empty glasses and bottles and went our separate ways until the next day, when we headed back to Tipton, to The Kings Arms for our second visit. Our last visit was to a quiet audience – we weren’t sure whether it was working until we finished, when everyone we spoke to assured us we were amongst the best bands they had seen there (we can only assume we were the first they had playing there!). We were ready for a quiet reaction this time, but were pleasantly surprised as the crowd started singing and dancing like the Malthouse had the previous night. A group of women who had seen us on our previous visit sat alongside us, snatching Paul’s hats throughout the gig. Ultimately one left with his favourite hat – Paul has been in a daze ever since.
On Sunday we headed into Shrewsbury for The Telegraph. We’ve lost count of the times we’ve played here and we’ve never had a duff gig yet. So, following Ed’s conversation on Friday, we decided to tempt fate.
As our set has developed over the last 27 months, the amount of ‘peripherals’ has increased. Soft toys, hats, ducks, etc. What if…
What if we played with none of the rubbish, none of the toys, hats, ducks, etc.? No crutch, just the music. We ran the risk of regular punters being disappointed, but it would prove whether or not we could do it. So we went for it.
To be honest, the first half a dozen songs saw little more then a polite ripple of applause, mind you it can sometimes go that way on a Sunday afternoon. Before long, however, we hit our stride and forgot the hats and the crowd came along with us. The pub’s ever generous landlord, Alan, tells us it was one of the best gigs we’ve played there. We’re not sure, but we’ll certainly take the compliment.
The following Thursday was a return to Harper Adams University for a private party. In an almost unprecedented move for us we spent our time between soundcheck and gig working out a set list. Some took it more seriously than others and, in the process got quite grumpy…
Harper gigs are always raucous affairs and this was no different, with beer and vomit flying.
On Friday 16th it was the turn of The Old Post Office. What can we say that we haven’t already said about this place? The audience are great, the staff are great, the beer is great and we bring it all down.
Saturday was time for our first festival appearance of the year at Glenstock in Leicestershire, for Festivals 360 (who run the music for the Dorset Steam Fair). As this was only a 60 minute set we, again, turned to a set list for the gig, honing it in the van before hitting the audience with it. The sun was dropping as we played and the lights and smoke helped us create a great atmosphere. More of these please!
Our final gig of May was on the following Wednesday at The Swan Inn in Stone. Normally a quiet night, there was a great audience in this time and they helped us by cheering anyone entering the pub and booing anyone who left. At one point two guys walked in to a cheer, looked at us in our silly hats, had a quick discussion and walked straight back out to a loud BOOO! 20 seconds later they returned to a huge cheer and stayed for the rest of the evening.
May also saw the release of Ed’s debut Unlawful Men CD, Rope Or A Ladder, a folk odyssey. Jam packed with folk songs, it’s Ed returning to his roots (and includes guest drunk vocals from Paul Crewe). If you want to buy a copy (the first run is almost sold out, so get in quick – only 2 of the original 3 are left unsold), drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or come and see us at a gig. You can get more info at www.edconwayandtheunlawfulmen.co.uk and listen to some of the tracks on Soundcloud – here’s Ed’s own composition, White Horse:
If you’re not all folked out, you could also get along to see them in a rare live appearance on July 19th at The Wheatsheaf Inn in Chetwynd Aston with Paul and Adelle Parker. Go on, treat yourself. Tel;l them I sent you.
And that was that. May was finished. Half term saw the band go their separate ways for family holidays to return, relaxed, for the upcoming trip to Sussex, where Ed and Paul will learn what a proper accent is all about.