Date – 18/12/2006
Well, that’s just about it for another year in the heady world of scumbag rawk and roll. And, it’s been quite a jolly last-but-one week. Gotta say hi to our pals from Dead Dodgy, who came along to a busy Royal Oak on Thursday to watch us do our stuff.
Our stuff that night included an interesting new addition to the set – the “argument solo”, whereby we stop dead half way through a number, argue heatedly amongst ourselves about who screwed up, eventually all agree that it was Alan, then pick up where we left off and finish the song. I think we might extend this concept, and have a “philosophical debate middle eight” in one of the slower tracks, or perhaps a minor scuffle in one of the indie numbers; possibly as a result of Martin overreacting to (well-justified) criticisms of his calamitous footwear selection decisions.
We also debuted our under-rehearsed version of the G’n’R cheese anthem Paradise City, which hung together rather well, considering – although I nearly fell over laughing when, instead of singing one of the big long spectacular high notes that our Suz normally excels at, she managed a stifled belch instead. Also gotta say special thanx to Karen for providing me with that indispensable rock and roll accessory, the “pair of knickers hanging from the guitar headstock”. I look forward to explaining that one to the missus.
Saturday at the Farriers was a very pleasant gig, although Martin was less than amused when the lights were turned off while he went to the toilet between encores – oh, that naughty landlord. Can’t imagine why Suzi put him up to it. Still, on the plus side, at least it wasn’t a nice pair of shoes that got sprinkled, eh, Martin?
Right then, no rest for the wicked, there’s still plenty of Rawk Action going on before New Year…
Sat 23rd Kings Arms, Kingswood
Not a full Angel Up Front outing, this is a “Dotty and Totty” duo set, as Suz and I struggle to get some cash together to make an uncharacteristic early start on the Christmas shopping.
Tues 26th Calne Liberal Club
A gig on Boxing Day? Yup, you better believe it. Given a choice between staring at a telly gobbling turkey and stuffing sandwiches (and possibly vice versa), or leaping around a stage making a horrible noise, it’s a no-brainer. That means it’s one of the few decisions I’m qualified to make. There’ll still be plenty left when I get home…
Thurs 28th Kings Arms, Brislington
A new one for us, so allow us an extra ten minutes for hunting around trying to find the pub, a parking space, the plug sockets, somewhere to put the monitors, etc etc.
Fri 29th Gorse Hill Club, Swindon
And what better place to round off 2006 than one of our favourite venues – lots of room, nice folks, cheap beer…
So, that’s your lot from us for now, thanks to everyone who came along to gigs to entertain us this year, thanks to Ian for doing photos, Greg for the recording, Cowboy Joe for the van, Disco Dave for the lights, everyone who helped carrying stuff around for us, also thanks to long-suffering spouses and offspring (who are probably actually only too glad to get rid of us of an evening). And big thanks from me to the other three, without whom life would be far less of a joyous adventure into the realms of the scarcely credible.
I shan’t wish you all a Merry Christmas, as I don’t want to offend any minority groups – oh no, I want to make sure I offend everybody.
So, Get Stuffed, have a Happy New Year, and we’ll see y’all soon…
Date – 11/12/2006
Greetings, fellow citizens of Angelville!
Sorry the missive was missing last week, it’s been a bit mad lately…in fact, a pal and I got stranded in a foreign country last week with no money, no hotel, and no flight back, but happily we were rescued by two fine gentlemen (now known to us forever as Uncle Ted and Uncle Gerry) who put us up for the night, and royally entertained us with food and alcohol and stuff. In return for this, we kindly locked Gerry’s house up when we left, and dropped his house keys in the mailbox as requested…along with the only key to the mailbox…. Thanks guys! And, in response to Martin’s question, no, they aren’t, and no, nor am I, and we resent the implication.
Things are kinda back to normal now, I even got back in time to meet gigging and rehearsal commitments; I’d nearly sobered up enough as well by then.
Anyhoo, since last time I’ve now actually played my 100th gig with the band, which I think says something…Specifically, it says that they can’t fire me yet ‘cos I still owe Martin fifty quid. Also, Suzi can’t afford to leave ‘cos she still owes my missus money, Martin can’t leave without losing what I owe him, and Stuart won’t leave as he’s still trying to recoup his losses on the round-buying front…
The magic 100th gig itself (at the Wheatshef down in Frome) started falling apart when we arrived and found one of our lights broken; subsequently Suzi’s mike was found to be dead, one of Stuart’s high-tech-highly expensive-carbon-fibre-drumsticks fell in half, Suzi forgot half the words, I broke not one but two strings, and also forgot how to play. And still we went down okay.
Nonetheless, 100 gigs is quite a landmark, and I think it worth reflecting on some of the related statistics over the year and a half we’ve been entertaining (and been entertained by) the local populace….
Based on my calculations, we’ve gotten through around eight sets of guitar strings, about a dozen highly-expensive carbon-fibre composite drumsticks, shedloads of batteries, several instrument leads, and we’ve killed a bass drum pedal and Martin’s favouritest ever stompbox. We’ve played about three thousand songs, involving two and a half thousand guitar solos, which is nearly half a million notes, seven of which were actually right. We’ve also gotten through four vehicles, twenty three free meals, six puddles of sick (not ours), around eighty gallons of Newcastle Brown, sixty four pints of Red Bull, ninety six packets of peanuts and enough tobacco to give Texas lung cancer. We’ve received three offers of marriage, sixty-three offers of casual sex, two offers of casual violence, and a parking ticket. We’ve seen six fights, thirteen scuffles, countless hissy fits, and three willies. We’ve had a 12-year old guest drummer, and a break dancing pensioner, we’ve been introduced to a wooden duck, a rubber chicken and the Mangotsfield Groper, and seen punters variously dressed as Scooby Doo, Peter Pan, Adam Ant, Satan, two zombies and a motorcycle. A pretty impressive record, I think you’ll agree…
Right then, on to the upcoming Gig 101 (and 102….)
Thursday 14th Royal Oak, Chipping Sodbury
Last time we played here on a Thursday it was absolutely heaving..mind you, we were filling in for someone else then. Maybe we should try advertising ourselves under their name every time we play here…
Saturday 16th Farriers, Fishponds
Gotta love the Farriers…actually we’re filling in here for our pals In Extremis, who are staying home to put up their Christmas decorations, or something…that reminds me, I must remember to leave that suicide note from Santa out for the kids this year….
Date – 27/11/2006
Kick out the jams, brothers and sisters!
Well, what a week of rawk n’ roll excess it’s been. Despite having to play perilously quietly at the Dolphin on Thursday, we had a blast, thanks in part to the fact that three of us had brought no cash with us, so Stuart got stiffed with buying drinks for the whole band all night. The overall merriment was much helped by some great fun people we met there (Hello Josie, Sophie and Nick – unless I got the names wrong..), and also the jolly jackass drunk who entertained the entire pub for the whole evening by making an arse of himself, I just hope for his sake he didn’t remember anything in the morning.
On Saturday we had a hoot at the Fire Engine as well, it was slightly worrying that the pub emptied as we started playing, but we cheered up when they all came back a bit later with more people in tow, and by the time we finished the place was full and we’d run out of encores that we could remember. Excellent night.
Much of Sunday was spent doing some recording courtesy of AUF founder member, elder statesman and band family member Greg, after which we collected up various spouses and other chums and all went for a curry and stuffed our piggy little faces.
Above all, however, this week has been about teasing Stuart, on the basis that it was his birthday on Friday, and we never give a sucker an even break. He has borne the relentless taunting and abuse with stoic fortitude, either that or he was in his Happy Place, and just couldn’t hear us…Suzi even stayed over at his gaffe for the weekend, so she could help his missus give him grief. Now, that’s what I call dedication, although it’s not really fair to pick on a chap who can’t manage to get his bike out of the shed…still, rather him than me.
Right then, enough dribbling, where are we playing this week, I hear you ask….
….Well, since you’re so keen to know, I’ll tell you…
Friday 1st December Bunch of Grapes, Bristol
A good lively pub in the middle of town, parking’s a bit of a git, but then, so’s driving home after eight pints. Buses are cheap, taxis are plentiful, and walking is good for you unless you fall down an open manhole cover (trust me on this one). Take your pick.
Saturday 2nd December Old Tavern, Stapleton
Tee hee. Here we are again at the Pub That Never Closes, at least, I’ve never had the stamina to outlast it…
Right then, either we’ll see you there or we won’t, but if we don’t, then we’ll know you’re trying to avoid us, which is rude, and Santa won’t bring you that My Little Pony set you’ve had your eye on for the past two months….Oh yes, we notice these things, you know….
PS Bonus points for anyone who knows what the original line from the MC5 song was, as opposed to the radio-friendly one at the top of this email…..
Date – 20/11/2006
Well, I was going to fill you in on this weekend’s rock n’ roll outings, except that maybe I ought to draw a veil over proceedings… Friday’s gig was, I have to say, a little untogether – Suz was slightly put off by half the PA dying in the middle of the first set, and there followed some bickering over the poorly-maintained state of it…..I think I can now safely reveal that actually it was me who hadn’t plugged it in properly.
Although I plead innocent to the charge of “playing like a bunch of twats”…it’s not my fault that I was so surprised at having got the first four bars of the Cult song right, I forgot how the rest of it went…we’ve only played it about 50 times before, I’m still learning it, see.
Saturday down at Chequers in Hanham was a bit cold, and not as full as usual, the curse of pre-Christmas poverty keeping quite a few people at home. In fairness, we did play quite a bit better, although this may have been partly ‘cos I’d forgotten to switch one of my amps on, so there was rather less guitar than usual. And the others said it like it was a good thing…. Still, we went down well. Anyway, playing a bit more quietly will be good practice for…
Thursday 23rd, where we’re playing the Dolphin in Oldland Common. Thanks to complaints from neighbours, they’ve got this sound limiter thingy, with a multicoloured display over the bar that flashes pretty colours as you play, and last time we played there it so mesmerised me that when it was time to go home I had to be slapped vigorously in the face to bring me back to consciousness. Anyway, that’s why they told me they did it.
Then, on Saturday, we’re in St George in Bristol, playing at the Fire Engine. Quite looking forward to this one, last time we played here it was heaving…as was one of the punters on the pavement outside. Ahh, the multi-coloured world of the musical artiste…..
Still, drinking too much has its positive side, as explained by the Buffalo Theory…
“…A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That’s why you always feel smarter after a few beers.”
So there you go!
Date – 14/11/2006
Hello again funsters!
And to people new to this distribution list, a warm welcome to this vaguely regular Angel Up Front blog / newsletter / vanity publishing exercise, charting the highs and lows of your favourite (okay, my favourite) local band. If you want to stop receiving it, just send us cash!
Well, it’s been another busy weekend in the World Of RawkTM. But, happily, for once, one devoid of violence, although I was offered by some of me dear band mates following a particularly ham-fisted episode on Saturday…
Friday’s jaunt to Peasedown St John was interesting, Stuart seemed particularly excitable and drove us through the first set at breakneck speed. In the break, the reason for this drumming without due care and attention was revealed – the end of one of his sticks had snapped off, and it was obviously the decrease in inertial mass and air resistance that had led to the uncontrollable percussive frenzy. Still, we had a blast and went down rather well – although it was a little worrying that our most effusive and vocal supporters all had to be carried out at the end of the night – obviously they were so dazzled by our talent and good looks, they couldn’t walk straight. In fact, one was so moved he couldn’t even talk properly, he just sat there clutching his wooden duck tight to his chest.
On Saturday, we played the dear old Kinger in Bath, and it was nice to see a few old buddies again there. We also had a prolonged jolly chinwag afterwards, although in my case this was conducted from virtually underneath a burly comatose gentleman at the bar, who seemed intent on using me as a pillow…. Sadly, he wasn’t really my type. As we left, I carefully extricated myself and gently propped his head up into a nice soft overflowing ashtray for comfort, so as not to disturb his peaceful slumber. Well, I figured it would match his other ear, which I’d been using to tap my fag-ends into for the past twenty minutes. I’m all heart, me.
Moving swiftly on, this weekend sees us bound for Swindon for a good night out (oh yes!) at the Gorse Hill Club on Friday, followed by a Saturday night Down By The River (anyone else out there old enough to remember Neil Young?) at the Chequers in Hanham.
Hope to see you there – feel free to bring the wooden waterfowl of your choice, but be warned if you pass out we’ll use your ears for ashtrays, oh yes we will.
I leave you this week with a literary tip – Angel Up Front’s Recommended Book of the Month, “The History Of Glue” published by Harper and Collins. Honestly, I just couldn’t put it down……
Date – 08/11/2006
My, I’ve been busy this week. I got sent to Madrid for a coupla days for work, and didn’t even bring you back a purple felt stuffed donkey in a straw hat. Sorry ’bout that. Thoroughly enjoyed not playing the ‘Mead last Friday, though, but we did have fun at the Farriers on Saturday night – despite Suzi being poorly, and the rest of us playing like a bunch of pillocks for half of the set, we managed to get it together in the end, and had a blast. I was particularly impressed by the head banger, who burst in just after we finished playing, head butted the first person he saw, and was promptly sat on by most of the punters until the Plod turned up in force and took him away. Bit of local colour keeps things interesting, doesn’t it?
Anyhoo, this weekend we’re doing a World Tour of Bath:-
Friday 10th November – Red Post Inn, Peasedown St John
Good little gig this, with no prospect of crowd violence, unless any of my extended family who live in those parts are going to come along.
Saturday 11th November – Kings Arms, Bath
A proper rock pub, luvverly people and rather nice beer as I recall….
Okay, that’s your lot for now, you know where we’re playing, so don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Date – 30/10/2006
Hello again folks!
My, what a busy time it’s been in the World Of RockTM. Thursday’s gig at the Oak, where we filled for 92 Vine – who were suffering from the delightfully-titled “Loose Bottom Syndrome” – was absolutely heaving, and a fun-tastic night we had of it. Then, on Friday night, we had another jolly session in the Golden Lion in Fishponds, followed by a huge giggle on Saturday playing Bristol MAG’s Halloween Party.
Fancy dress, see. Any excuse…. Stuart decided to come as road kill, an effect nicely enhanced by the outsized Afro wig we made him put on. Martin went for a rather conservative “Johnny Cash’s dad” look, and I apparently caused some comment by appearing as Ozzy Osbourne in a tutu…”So, what’s the Halloween connection, then?” came the question. “Tell me he doesn’t look like your worst nightmare”, points out a bystander.
Our Suzi opted for a rather snazzy witch’s outfit, which “unaccountably” suited her very well – in fact she was so taken with it, it took us twenty minutes to persuade her to change out of it afterwards. Just as well we succeeded, after the gig she went off to an all-night do with my dear old pal Caro, and apparently there were loads of people there in a chemically suggestible state of mind…. Dressed like that, she could have caused permanent psychological damage..
However, our dressing up efforts paled into insignificance next to the guy who turned up to the gig dressed – very convincingly – as a motorcycle. Working headlights and all. Some people have too much time on their hands. Anyhoo, thanks to Dan for putting us on to that one, and to Claire who did all the organising – a luvverly bunch of people, be great to do some more stuff again soon.
A Special Heroic Purple Heart Medal And Certificate In A Handsome Plastic Frame goes to Stuart, who managed to manfully struggle through this week’s schedule despite having done his back in, which left him barely able to walk. Poor little lamb, drumming away grimacing in agony. (Of course, he usually grimaces away, but this time it was agony).
Right then, upcoming gigs for this week, where’s me schedule….
…Oh no, it says here that we’re playing the ‘Mead again on Friday….back at the Bear and Rugged Staff – are we feeling lucky this week?
As compensation, we’re at the Farrier’s in Fishponds on Saturday, that’s much more like it.
Finally, we’re looking for some customer feedback.
I’m considering going for the tutu look for all future gigs. It does give a chap an invigorating sense of freedom, being thus unconstrained in the trouser department…although I am obviously slightly concerned about upstaging Suzi.
There are other fashion options as well. So, the question is, should I go for…
(a) Traditional sweaty leather strides (b) Aforementioned ballet apparel (c) Checking out ebay for Justin Hawkin’s old cat suits, now that he won’t be needing them any more
Or, the almost unthinkable.. (d) Actually not dressing up and prancing around like a complete twat, and trying to learn to play instead…
Remember, your vote counts….Lines close at midnight, November 5th.
Date – 23/10/2006
My, what a busy old weekend it’s been. Started off according to plan, with Shepton Mallet’s constabulary on full alert for our gig at the Bell. Was lovely to see my old chums Richard and Caroline again, plus an unexpected delight to see my dear Alice as well. I was particularly impressed with the affable drunk who managed to brazenly attempt to chat up both mother and daughter simultaneously, whilst completely ignoring husband/father sat next to them, before hijacking Caro’s crutches and joyriding round the pub.
Suzi was less impressed with the PA misbehaving, and Martin was even less so when his pedal board died, and his mike tried to electrocute him…
Saturday dawned fair and bright, although I had to get up while it was still dark thanks to my hyperactive five-year old with a death wish…After a merry session stripping down the PA trying to find the cause of last night’s problems, off I go to meet the others and sort out the long-delayed we-really-should-get-some-promo-photos-done session. Plans that were somewhat scuppered by my beloved little van grinding to an ugly halt en route and refusing to move again. As Dick Dastardly would say, Bugger! Bugger! And, double bugger!
A bit of scurrying around sees everyone descend on our mate Ian’s house, where aided and abetted by his lovely assistant Lacey, we actually manage to get some photos done, in between the playing on the trampoline and the tree house…Nice one mate, we owe ya! Lacey joins my own daughter as a lifetime member of the Sooooozi Fan Club, and is promised star treatment next time we play a gig that doesn’t go past her bedtime.
After this lovely round of childishness, we empty the contents of my hors-de- combat van into the other cars, and set off gig wards, for me via a free feed at Martin’s :-). Despite this sympathetic treatment, as we arrive at the gig I just want to curl up and go to sleep, not in the mood for this at all….
The pub is heaving, they are having a fund-raising charity day, and we have to struggle through hordes of people to get the gear in and set up. The nearest sole plug socket is half a mile away, we have to run the whole of the band off of it, I have to crawl under a thousand tables and chairs to get to it to plug us in, drunk people keep treading on me, I’ll bite the next leg that comes within range…
Finally we are set up, my efforts to fix the PA seem to have a least partially worked, somebody has thrust a beer in my hand, and I’m starting to feel a little more cheerful. Off we go, the crowd are as enthusiastic as can be after drinking all day, and I’m starting to feel the therapeutic effects of rawk n’ roll coursing through my veins. Much better.
Between sets, I realise that, with no transport, I don’t have to drive, so that means I can drink….maybe there is an upside to this after all… We play the second set and several encores, everyone is having a good time, we generously donate some of our fee to the charity thing, and then I selfishly sit down to drink, leaving the others to pack up all the gear. I drink some more, as they load the gear into their cars. I drink some more, they are going off to drop off the kit and will come back to get me in a while, is that okay? Fine, I’ll just drink some more… They come back, we have a natter with the last few remaining bar staff whilst I drink some more… So nice to have such a tolerant bunch of people to work with….
Eventually, somewhere in the wee hours, Suzi drags me out, pours me into her car and takes me home, while I sit and merrily babble nonsense all the way…I presumably must have found my way through the front door and put myself to bed – judging by the absence of bruises, without even waking the missus…
Sunday rained, it was all my fault, but what the hell, I’m already looking forward to our next weekend of outings, although I hope like hell I can get the transport sorted out by then – this “not driving” thing gives me a terrible headache the next morning….
Friday 27th Golden Lion, Fishponds
Back on the Fishponds rock circuit again, always good fun
Saturday 28th Mayor’s Arms, Redcliffe, Bristol
Aha! Now, this is the Halloween party for Bristol MAG (Motorcycle Action Group). Fancy dress, apparently. Looking forward to this one big time, now what shall we all go as…?
PS – can we have all the hippies out there send some good karma in the direction of my poor little van…
….any Catholics, say a Mass for it….
… And can any Southern Baptists out there repeat after me..”Heal this ve-hi-cule, O Lord…”
…Anyone who believes in psycho kinesis, raise my hand
…And all you rationalist atheists, just send money to help foot the garage bill….
Date – 16/10/2006
And, with summer just about over, as the chestnut trees begin to shed their green finery, the field mouse is gathering supplies in preparation for his long winter’s sleep, early October morns are ripe with burgeoning mists to herald the day, and the hippies are out scouring the fields for magic mushrooms, the Angel Up Front autumn schedule is upon us.
Kicking off this Friday with another sojourn into Darkest Zummerset, we’re at the Bell Hotel in the middle of Shepton Mallet. A late start for this one – ten o’clock, way past my bedtime – on account of the late finish. We’ll have to stop playing at midnight though, or Stuart will turn into a bumpkin.
And, on Saturday, we’re back in our regular Fishponds stomping ground, this time at the Railway Tavern. I’ve never played this particular place before, but I expect our regular local support crew will be along to inject their own particular brand of street theatre to the evening……
So, with a bit of luck, we’ll be seeing some of y’all at one place or another. ‘Til then, be good to each other – even the Slinky people. (You know the ones – they’re not much good for anything, but you can’t help but smile when you push ’em down the stairs….)
Peace and love
Date – 02/10/2006
Greetings, gentle reader….
And a warm welcome to this week’s edition of the ongoing Angel Up Front biography, soon to be serialised in a major national newspaper for an undisclosed sum. (The others won’t tell me how much they’re getting, but I have been promised a whole year’s subscription to the Beano if I play my cards right).
And so, last Friday brought us to the Brunel in Bedminster, which as it turned out was a fantastic venue. Nice, big, friendly pub, loads of punters of all sorts, happy relaxed atmosphere, and best of all a H-U-G-E big stage to prance about on. Now, it’s a funny thing, give us a space to play which is small enough to be carpeted by a postage stamp, and we’ll get set up in there fine. Give us a nice generous stage area, and we’re instantly all bickering over who’s got the most room like a bunch of six-year-olds whacked out on blue Smarties and cheap lemonade. Eventually, however, after several territorial skirmishes, and a healthy dose of “shove Martin’s rig back a bit more while he isn’t looking”, we get ourselves sorted out, and play merrily through the first set.
It goes down well, although I am being slightly more ham-fisted than usual, as having spent the afternoon playing an unplanned game of Scrapheap Challenge (chopping up the brother-in-law’s derelict Land Rover with an angle grinder, in a desperate bid to get my driveway back), my fingers don’t seem to be completely under the control of Mr Brain. However, I have learnt now not to complain about this sort of thing at gigs, so I take the “constructive criticism” from my band mates with stoic fortitude. The bastards.
Just about to start the second set, and we suddenly notice that mine and Stuart’s beers have disappeared, hoovered up and whisked away by overzealous bar staff whilst our backs were turned.
Never, ever, under any other provocation, no matter how extreme, have I ever seen Stuart so agitated.
While the rest of us wait on stage like a bunch of lemons ready to start the second set, he shoots off to the bar to vigorously negotiate provision of replacements, finally stomping back to his kit only under assurances that suitable beverages will be delivered him as soon as he gets back to work… The second set goes down a storm, I manage to get my hand working a bit better, and all things are nice. So, an excellent night, an excellent place to play, and we’re looking forward to going back there as soon as we can, possibly with a bodyguard for Stuart’s pint…
Saturday in the Royal Oak was great fun too, much smaller venue, but nice to see our dear old Uncle Fester again, plus a few other familiar faces that I don’t remember names for.
Actually Suzi did particularly well, having carelessly managed to miss out sleeping altogether since Thursday morning, she turned up tripping out of her mind on Red Bull and coffee….”I can see everybody’s aura…” she says to me, looking around the pub in wonder. I wonder whether a good slap would help bring her to her senses, then remember that I don’t want to die yet, so we settle for giving her lots and lots and lots of water to drink.
And it seems to work, we play rather well, Stuart doesn’t throw any drumsticks at anybody, and we don’t even miss a beat when fight starts halfway through the second set. Not a real pub fight, this was just a couple of the local girls having a dispute over ownership of a boyfriend, who sat there indifferently quaffing lager, looking like a man who had just been declared under qualified for the Trainee Village Idiot’s Apprentice course for the third year running…
Ah well, a bit of local colour helps keep things interesting, doesn’t it?
Finally, a quiet week coming up – we’re only playing on Friday, down at the King Arthur in Glastonbury. This is probably the smallest venue we play, extremely cosy, Suzi has to double up her vocal duties with opening the door to let punters in, whilst Martin and I have to synchronise our guitar strap lengths so we can both fit in to the corner. Still, it’s always good fun, although I do worry that if they have repainted the place inside, we may not fit in any more…
Right, that’s it for this week, unless anybody wants to buy a long-wheelbase Land Rover chopped up into small pieces. Anybody…..?
Date – 29/09/2006
Hello again gang!
Well, this’ll be an easy one to write -a whole weekend with no gigs. Having decided to give normality a go for Friday evening, I plonk myself down in front of the telly with a couple of beers, sit back, and wait to be entertained…
As nine o’clock approaches, I find my fingers involuntarily twitching…within ten minutes there are beads of sweat forming on my forehead, I am fighting hard just to stay sat on the sofa… by 9:30, I am pacing up and down outside the back door, chain smoking…shortly afterwards, I have my foot up on an imaginary monitor… it’s no good, by 10:00 I have locked myself in the garage, cranked the Marshall up and am spanking seven shades of hell out of my poor old Strat.
I tell you folks, they should put health warning stickers on guitars, “WARNING: Prancing around like a big nancy with a guitar round your neck is highly addictive: Don’t start”.
……….Or is it just me?
Just remembered, I must get a big mirror installed in that garage…
Happily, next week’s fixes are already lined up:-
Friday 29th The Brunel, Bedminster
Never played this one before, apparently it’s a big huge pub on St John’s Lane, so even I should be able to find it. If we’re feeling lucky, we might try rolling out some of the new material we’ve been tinkering around with lately. If we’re not feeling lucky…we might just try it anyway.
Saturday 30th Royal Oak, Portishead
Ahh, now we’ve played here a few times now. Traditionally, I get lost on the way, but still get there first, whereas Suzi likes to have some kind of transport crisis and need rescuing. Still, we always end up having a good night here, even when the locals aren’t assaulting the potted plants outside.
So, we’ll look forward to seeing y’all here or there, or, if all else fails, in the garage…
Peace and love and all that
PS I failed the Bathtub Test…
Date – 18/09/2006
Well, it’s been a rollercoaster ride of excitement this week in the glamorous world of rawk n’ roll.
First, gotta say a big “Howdy pardner” to my good buddy Cowboy Joe, who very generously donated his surplus-to-requirements van to the cause, which is making transport to gigs a whole bunch easier (my poor old Peugeot was visibly beginning to sag in the middle when loaded up, and it was only a matter of time before the local constabulary took an interest). So, big thanks and cake mate, and Suzi will give you a big wet sloppy kiss when she sees you. If you’re lucky, so will Martin…
Sadly, we have to report the untimely death of Stuart’s bass drum pedal, which passed away part way through Saturday’s (otherwise excellent) gig at the Crown and Horseshoe. Despite Stuart spending fifteen minutes on his knees trying to administer artificial respiration, the poor thing was officially pronounced dead by a doctor at the scene.
Fortunately, Stuart keeps a spare for such emergencies.
Unfortunately, he keeps it at home, so while he dashed off into the night to fetch it, I enthusiastically suggested that the rest of us take the opportunity to pour lots of drinks down our necks very quickly. Suzi and Martin concur, and then cheerfully announce they have no money on them, but they have both noticed that I do…Drat, drat, and double drat!
More good news this week is that Suzi’s surreptitious attempts to get Martin deported have finally failed once and for all, and that (having forked out an outrageous sum of money to Her Majesty’s Government) he now enjoys the status of a fully fledged citizen of this realm. Guess that means he’ll have to stop putting on that silly accent….
And, finally, what was scheduled to be a weekend off-duty has been rescued (for Suzi and myself, anyway) by a frantic phone call from the Ship in Trowbridge, who are “desperate for a live act for next Friday”.
Duty calls! Time to dust off the “Dotty and Totty” duo set list, and teach these people the real meaning of the word “desperate”…
Until next time, pardners,
Date – 11/09/2006
I begin this week’s sermon with a warning – an admonition to be very careful about what people may be saying about you.
For instance – as some of you may be aware – I happen to play in a rock and roll band, which occasions me, once or twice a week, to clamber in to a pair of leather trousers and set off into the night, returning home in the wee small hours with some extra cash in my back pocket.
Now, whilst I was vaguely aware that there could be other, seedier, reasons for a chap to exhibit this behaviour pattern, it had never occurred to me that my dear other half would amuse herself by touting an alternative explanation to the more naive members of the family.
Until last Friday, that is. When, as I was setting off gig wards and bidding a farewell to my youngest offspring at the door, he raised his honest little eyes to me, his guileless two-year old face framed by golden curls, and, radiating innocence, cheerfully announced the immortal line, “Daddy get money from sailors”.
The ensuing silence was broken by the sound of my dear wife nearly choking to death with stifled laughter. Stuck (for once) for an answer, I slunk away to plot revenge…
This weeks’ second prize for Outstanding Performance, Forbearing and Tolerance (I claim first prize for not having beaten Dem to death with a chair) goes to Martin, for his continued good humour despite his most favouritest distortion pedal having committed suicide (leaving him with only thirty or so left in his rig), but also for his fantastic sporting achievement at the Old Tavern on Saturday.
Suzi, who was clearly “on one” that night, made us play so many encores that Martin had to stop for a leak. We wait a carefully timed interval, then fire into the opening riff of the next number, just as Martin appears from the loos at the far end of the pub. His face fell for a second, then, with grim determination, he launched himself into a sprint across the whole length of the pub, made a flying leap onto the stage, grabbed his axe and stamped on his mute switch in one seamless movement, and fired the bass line in right on cue. 30 yards in eight bars, pretty impressive going.
In fact, NOBODY has EVER seen Martin run before, but we won’t be trying it again, ‘cos next time he’ll do the sensible thing and leave us in the lurch whilst he orders a leisurely pint at the bar…
Right, that’s it for this week, remember Friday’s outing at the Bunch of Grapes is cancelled, so you’ll have to wait until Saturday at the Crown and Horseshoe for your next fix of rawk n roll mayhem…
Here endeth the lesson.
Goodnight, and may your dog go with you
Date – 04/09/2006
And here’s this week’s bulletin from the front line of the local entertainment industry, where your local lovable musical freedom fighters (that’s us) continue their heroic guerrilla insurgency campaign against the evil oppressive forces of Dreadful Banal Corporate Muzak.
(Or put another way, an ugly bunch of noise terrorists (that’s us) have been making a nuisance of themselves again…)
Our first skirmish, at the Dolphin on Thursday, was, it must be said, a hard fight – we came up against the landlord’s secret terror weapon – The Dreaded Sound Limiter! Actually, we all somehow failed to spot the huge multi-coloured noise level display thingy until into the second set, when we finally noticed the landlord frantically gesticulating and trying to mime “turn it down” while we blasted away in merry ignorance, with the god-awful thing jammed into the red. However, once we twigged, and tweaked the volume down to a more suitable level (more suitable for an octogenarian with a nervous disorder that is), we spent the rest of the evening mesmerised by the pretty flashing lights, and pretty much ignored everything else.
Saturday at the Farriers was much more fun, and great therapy for me – nice to have an unfettered blast every now again – and we must have done something right, ’cause a whole bunch of ’em came along to see us again the following night in Chipping Sodbury. Now, that’s what I call dedication! If only we could persuade ’em to arrive at the gigs early – and carry all the gear, and teach ’em how to set it up for us…..
Anyhoo, this week’s battle plan looks like this – obviously, don’t tell anyone, we don’t want to lose the element of surprise, do we?
Friday 8th September The Bell Hotel, Shepton Mallett
A bit out of town for us, but well worth the effort if you’re anywhere near there. In fact, I might see what my mate “G” is doing on Friday…
Saturday 9th September The Old Tavern, Stapleton
Aaahh, the dear, dear Old Tav. Always a good night.
Friday 15th September The Bunch Of Grapes, Bristol
Deep in the heart of the throbbing metropolis, a dark and sinister force lies in wait to trap the unwary….Yes, it’s time to take on the cruel and terrifying black-uniformed Secret Police, or “Parking Enforcement Officers” as they like to be called.
Saturday 16th September The Crown and Horseshoe, Oldland Common
Big huge rowdy pub, they like their music here, and I shall make it my personal mission to see if we can get anything to register on the bloody noise limiter in the Dolphin, half a mile away…
Until next time, people – Up the Revolution!
Date – 29/08/2006
Hello again peeps!
Oh dearie me, what a busy little rock n’ roll band we’ve been this week. Thursday’s gig in Filton was good fun, nice to see some old mates coming along that I haven’t seen for a while. Was also nice to try out some new material, although looking back, maybe we should have done more than just run through it once the previous night – mind you, we don’t want to lose that spontaneous edge, do we – although perhaps starting and finishing songs at the same time would be a bonus.
Best of all, though, was the very endearing young lass from behind the bar, who helped Stuart sound check, then, still sitting behind his kit, she looked at me wistfully and uttered the immortal phrase, “Oi’d love to play in a rock band, oi would….but oi can’t, ’cause oi’m just a chav…”
Friday’s bash at the Kings Arms in Bath was a hoot, and Suzi’s mum was conspicuous by her absence – this is mainly because I had got the story wrong last time, in fact we had Martin’s in-laws come along (and his delightful other half, of course). By all accounts they thoroughly enjoyed it, which proves my assertion that we are the kind of rock n’ roll band you could take home to meet your parents. Just keep the family pets out of the way, to be on the safe side.
Finally, our Sunday gig in Bleadon was all a bit stressy, Suz and I managed to set off half an hour late, get lost, narrowly escape the local constabulary, get lost again, and STILL get there before the other two. And – oh dear – the place is a Corporate Family Food Pub, reverberating to the sound of kiddies stuffing their faces while their parents are trying to pretend they enjoying themselves in a real pub.
Some hasty setting up in cramped little space, trying not to trip over the high chairs, and avoiding bottles of Fruit Shoot being merrily tossed around, and morale is low, until I notice from the blackboard that the previous night’s entertainment was somebody pretending to be Freddie Starr. The thought that anyone who might be entertained by that should be easy enough to please (in fact we could probably get away with handing out some Play Dough) cheers me up a little, until Martin points out that we are advertised as being an “Amazing Soft Rock Band”. Hmm, yes, well…. Metallica, Sabbath… – I imagine some of the punters will be pretty amazed….
Oh well, it’s time to start, we’re ready (sort of), so off we go. The crowd slowly thins out throughout the set, although for some this is clearly more to do with bedtime approaching than anything else, judging by the mournful looks on the faces of several of the dads as they are dragged out of the door by grim-faced wives with car keys in one hand and a fistful of squirming offspring in the other… We are left with all the punters who don’t have kids to get to bed, who seem to be quite enjoying themselves. In traditional fashion, we finish off, pack up the gear, take the money and run.
It’ll be nice to get back to playing proper musicy pubs again, and this week we’ll be gracing the following stages:
Thursday 31st August Dolphin, Oldland Common
They have lots of video screens in here, including a big one behind the stage which is fed from a camera behind the band. Expect me to spend most the set trying to turn around quickly enough to see my face in it.
Saturday 2nd September Farriers, Fishponds
Aahh, Saturday night at the Farriers – a proper pub for drinking too much in…
Sunday 3rd September Royal Oak, Chipping Sodbury
And what better way to recover than a Sunday night in another pub for drinking too much in…
Remember, full listings, directions, etc are lurking on www.angelupfront.co.uk ,
Right, that’s it for this episode, I’m off to buy a new lawnmower…
Date – 24/08/2006
More news from the Wild West World of Rawk n’ Roll….
We have a sudden surprise gig booked for this Sunday (27th), this was only confirmed last night. It’s at the Catherine Inn, Bleadon, Weston Super Mare (All together now, “Oh no, not bleedin’ Weston Super Mare”), and it’s an early start for us – should be kicking off by 8:00. I’m going to get there even earlier and have a go on the donkeys first.
I’m looking forward to the Mill House gig in Filton tonight. Martin pointed out that this gig was actually advertised in the Guardian’s weekly listings (national press advertising – all together, now, “Ooooooooh”). I’m expecting the place to be knee-deep in middle aged, sandal-wearing, pipe-smoking, bearded socialists – and possibly, their husbands, too.
And, for tomorrow’s bash at the King’s Arms in Bath, Suzi is planning to bring her mum along, so it’ll have to be best behaviour for the rest of us. I’m worried it’s gonna be a bit like Parent’s Evening, and I’m way behind with my homework….
Right, that’s our weekend taken care of, what are you lot planning? If I see you in Weston on Sunday, I’ll buy you all an ice cream!
Date – 17/08/2006
And a sigh of relief as, with the holiday season over, my wallet can relax a little – although I did blow up the wife’s car on the way home, so doubtless will have to shovel a small fortune into getting that sorted out…
It’s been a long time (been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely, lonely, lonely…oh, never mind) since the Angel Up Front rawk n’ roll powerhouse hit the drinking establishments of the South West, but at last we’re back in action. This Friday we’ll be gracing the dear old Cat and Wheel in Bristol with our own peculiar brand of musical entertainment, assuming we can remember how the songs go. I’m getting all excited already, how sad is that?
Unfortunately, our planned Swindon gig for Saturday has been CANCELLED, apparently the neighbours have been complaining about noise levels, so the venue has had to put a stop to all gigs for a while. At least, that what they told us….
Then, next week, we’ll be keeping busy as follows
Thurs 24th August The Mill House, Filton
Just down the road from my gaffe, we played here last Christmas and had lots of fun. Looking forward to getting up for work the next day already….
Friday 25th August Kings Arms, Bath
Another friendly place to play, and they do keep the beer nice. I wonder if the gaffa tape I put over their noise limiter last time is still there?
Right gang, that’s it for this episode, except to wish everyone a Wombling Merry Christmas, and we hope to see y’all soon
Great Uncle B
Date – 24/07/2006
Hello again readers!
And, in the words of that fine journalistic organ, The Sun, “WHAT A SCORCHER!”
Yes, Friday’s gig in Dursley was just too hot for words. It was certainly too hot for most of the punters, who were sensibly sat outside in the (relatively) fresh air, and thus avoided exposure to the full force of all the playing cock-ups we managed to perpetrate. I had my excuses in early – having spent the entire afternoon wielding a variety of hardcore garden machinery, I turned up at the gig with my left hand completely numb (I even had to get the missus to roll me a ciggie before I left home, as I couldn’t get my fingers to work properly).
I decided that a bid for sympathy was in order.
“It feels like this is somebody else’s hand”, I complain when I arrive at the gig. “Chances are it’ll play better than yours, then.” chorus Martin and Stuart, and carry on setting up.
I feel this is rather harsh and unfeeling, and turn to my flaxen-haired, sensitive, caring band mate for solace.
“It feels like this is somebody else’s hand”, I complain to Suzi. “Never mind”, she croons sympathetically, “You’ll be glad of that when you get home”.
I decide that bids for sympathy are probably a waste of effort.
And so, on to Saturday, and the never-know-what-to-expect-oh-how-I wish-we’d-rehearsed duo gig in Kingswood. And I have to say, this one went rather smoother than previous outings. Was very nice to see a few old chums who came out to support us (hi guys), and a particular joy to see the deliciously alluring Cath who came along too, despite clearly being plum tuckered out.
There were also about a dozen people who came along expecting to see a full band outing – the gig was still listed as such on the Angel Up Front website, since Suzi (having blown up her PC again) hadn’t been able to change it in time.
“Where’s the other two, then?”, is the question as the expectant hordes troop in.
I am about to offer an apologetic explanation, but Suzi has a mike in her hand, and devious cunning in her heart…
“The b*stards have b*ggered off to Ashton Court and left us in the lurch”, she replies without hesitation, “If I was you I’d email in to the website and complain, and tell them they should buy us both a drink for covering for ’em”.
…..Now, why didn’t I think of that?
And so, on to next weekend, and two bike rallies to play before a fortnight’s holiday…
28th July Bogtrotters MCC rally, Bungalow Inn Redhill
How time flies…The first gig I ever played with AUF was the last year’s Bogtrotters rally nearly a year ago. You’d have thought I’d have learned how to play the damned thing by now, wouldn’t you?
29th July NAB Bike rally, Swindon RFC
We always have fun at Swindon gigs. Strange but true. Maybe there’s some kinda cosmic phase-reversal thing going on here.
Until next time, gang – I’ll leave you with a warning of a petty crime wave across the nation’s building sites, as around the country, digging implements belonging to furry stuffed labourers in the construction industry are being reported stolen….
….Yes folks, today’s the day the teddy bears have their picks nicked!
Don’t forget, to cancel your subscription to these emails, send me a fiver. You’ll be glad you did….
Date – 17/07/2006
And welcome back to our seedy world of rawk and roll, where we regularly examine the sordid underbelly of society. But enough about Friday’s gig in Southmead, ha ha. Actually, we saw a bit more than just the underbelly on Saturday….Oh all right then, I know you’re all dying to hear what happened….
With some slight trepidation, Suzi, myself, and a still very poorly Stuart trundled up to the Bear and Rugged Staff, and after ten minutes faffing about finally managed to get the cars parked. Pleasant surprise – about half a dozen of the locals jump out and set about lugging all our gear in for us. (Thanks lads). After a brief search, we manage to locate a power socket that actually works, and start setting up. I’m just beginning to wonder where Martin is, when my phone rings. It’s Martin. He’s finally made it to the pub, and is wondering where we’ve all got to. I explain that where we’ve got to is the right place, whereas where he has got to is the venue for tomorrow night’s gig. There is a brief pause (with a French Canadian accent), followed by some muffled cursing (ditto). Shortly afterwards, he arrives, although by now our impromptu road crew have meandered off somewhere, so he has to carry all his own gear in (with a French Canadian accent).
Suitably organised, off we go. There’s not that many people in, and they’re clearly not used to the kind of racket we’re throwing at them. Oh well, at least there doesn’t appear to be a fight brewing. Well, not until one particularly asinine idiot is foolish enough to make an unpleasant comment within earshot of Suzi. She has a Quiet Word with him next time she walks past, at which point he turns white, and his gob slams shut faster than a striking rattlesnake, whilst all his mates roll around the floor wetting themselves at the (clearly unpopular, even with his own friends) oaf’s discomfort. He attempts to apologise via a baffled Martin, who has no idea what has been going on, and just looks blankly back (again, with a French Canadian accent).
So, we take the money and escape the horrible place – oh no we don’t, Suzi insists we hang around for a drink afterwards to chat and laugh merrily with the locals until Buffoon Boy skulks away. Tomorrow will be better…
Tomorrow is much better, it’s a brilliant night in fact. Martin finds the pub first time (well, he’s been practicing), there’s an ace sound, a lively crowd, best of all Stuart appears to be on the mend, and is even smiling at the end of the gig. Afterwards, we pack up, have a good natter with the punters, Suzi gets several offers of marriage (I get one too, from one of the same blokes…) – she gets several other offers as well, which I’m rather glad didn’t come my way – and we are both left crying with laughter as the dreadful Spectre Of Male Nudity rears its ugly head again…
Oh, how I love all this high culture and sophisticated repartee:-
Friday 21st July Yew Tree Inn, Dursley
We played here just before Christmas last year and had great fun – excellent place to play in, and rather fine ale as I recall….
Saturday 22nd July King’s Arms, Kingswood
Oh dearie me. This one was originally going to be a full band gig, but after the other two heard about the Dreadful Willy Waving Incident last time Suzi and I did our duo thing here, they chickened out….So, once again this will be an Angel Undercover (“Dotty and Totty”) event, and in readiness I have already ordered a pair of extra-strong rubber gloves…
Someone asked me the other day whether I make all this stuff up. Truth is, I don’t think I could….
‘Till next time..
Date – 10/07/2006
Sorry to report that illness has struck in the AUF camp. Apologies to everyone in the Red Post Inn the other Saturday, we had to cancel as Stuart all but collapsed after Saturday afternoon’s outdoor gig, due to a combination of the most evil case of tonsillitis I’ve ever seen, plus exhaustion – doubtless not helped by the incredibly hot weather, which of course is now just a distant memory…. So, Nurse Suzi packed him off home with strict orders to lie down and whimper gently, with the threat of the sharp end of her stethoscope if he dares to try and do any work for the next week or so. Truly a poorly bunny, he wins Hero Of The Week award by a mile, just for turning up in that state. Or possibly Bloody Minded Idiot Of The Week, I can’t quite decide.
Still, after a whole weekend away from the rock and roll grindstone, we should all be fighting fit (and may need to be) for next Friday’s venture into the notorious ‘Mead…
Friday 14th July Bear and Rugged Staff, Southmead, Bristol
…we got away with it last time without incident, but I can’t help feeling a little concerned about all that life insurance paperwork that Dem keeps leaving around the house. Little does she know I’ve left everything to a pole dancer in Clapham…
Saturday 15th July Railway Tavern, Yate
Nice place (the pub, that is, not Yate) – this was the first gig we played this year, thoroughly enjoyed it and looking forward to it doing it again.
We’ll see some of the more intrepid of you on Friday then…..
PS Having done a lot of motorway driving this weekend, does anybody have an old lorry trailer they don’t want? (Long shot, I know……). I want to park one in a field by the side of the M4, and paint on the side in huge letters, “Abandoned_trailer.com”….
Date – 26/06/2006
Greetings, fellow Children Of The Cosmos!
And here’s the latest episode in the ongoing Angel Up Front saga. I am delighted to report that our artistic endeavours have at last been given the critical recognition they deserve; our particular contribution to the cultural milieu was reverentially described by a flier we found in the Oak last weekend as, “Totty-fronted rawk and roll”.
You can’t beat a bit of classy PR like that.
Well, our last few outings have been interesting; having brought in a few more songs and totally rearranged the set, we all had to work pretty hard to stay on top of things. This wasn’t helped by arriving at the Oak gig to be told by a croaking Suzi that she’s got a throat infection….
“So, do you think you’ll be able to sing okay?” “Y-e-s, I t-h-i-n-k s-o”. “It’s just that you can’t talk”. “T-h-a-t-‘s r-i-g-h-t”. “You can sing, but you can’t talk………Martin……..? Martin – she says she can do the gig, but she can’t talk……yes, that’s right, she can’t talk……Martin, stop smirking like that. No, stop it, she’ll see you…..ohshit”
Still, all went well in the end, with particularly enthusiastic support from that branch of Suzi’s International Fan Club which is lucky enough to live next door to me…where was my banner, then, eh?
Worse still, at the Kings in Bath, I somehow managed to totally forget how to play a song we’ve done at every gig for the last year. After three attempts I gave up, and was saved from another Caledonian savaging only by the fact that Suz tore a muscle in her back a few songs later, so that instead of a third verse, all we got was a stifled yelp as she stood stock still for a few moments with tears in her eyes. Bless. Even Martin felt sorry for her, whilst I sympathetically advised her to “pull herself together and stop messing about”.
You remember that thing about “you shouldn’t kick somebody when they’re down”? Safest time, believe me.
Finally it all came good at the Farriers on Saturday, we all turned up on time and intact, remembered nearly everything, had a blast, and even got the bag lady in the street boogieing along. So, we should be back on tippy-top form for the next few outings, catch us while were still coherent at….
Friday 30th June Gorse Hill Club, Swindon
One of our favourite gigs, we always have fun at this one, despite Swindon…
Saturday 1st July Red Post Inn, Peasdown St. John
This’ll be a busy day; in the afternoon, we’re playing at a school fete as a favour (well, okay, on the promise of free food); then in the evening we’re off to the wilds of North Somerset to the rather nice Red Post Inn. Possibly the shortest tour in the history of rock and roll.
Then, we’re taking a weekend off. Quick, somebody book us a gig before I get forced into any DIY…
Date – 13/06/2006
Hello again folks!
Well, after a whole week away from the rock and roll coalface, it’s back down t’pit for your favourite denizens of the local entertainment industry.
Specifically, the pits in question for the next couple of weeks are:
Friday 16th June Bunch of Grapes, Bristol
Excellent beer, always good fun, this time we’re hoping to avoid traffic warden-related incidents, and actually finish the first set without dashing out of the pub for a street argument…
Sunday 18th June Royal Oak, Chipping Sodbury
A lovely sunny Sunday evening in pictureskew Chipping Sodbury – I must remember this time not to stash all my cases and stuff in the fireplace – or at least, to make sure Stuart’s stuff is underneath. After all, his drum cases are black anyway…
Friday 23rd June Kings Arms, Bath
I do think it’s nice that a city as classy and refined as Bath still has places where scumbags like me can come and make an unholy racket on a Friday night. The locals should be grateful, really – we’re helping keep their council tax down, see.
Saturday 24th June Farriers, Fishponds, Bristol
Back here again for another one – watch out for our regular Fishponds entourage-related street theatre…
Okay, that’s it for this episode, keep drinking the sun tan lotion…
Date – 16/05/2006
‘Eeeeh ooop, lad!
Yup, it’s another episode from the Angel Up Front vanity publishing archive, with mixed fortunes and a happy ending to report. Mixed fortunes as both Martin and I have been suffering intermittent equipment failures over the past few gigs. Mine have been diagnosed by legendary local amp guru Jesse James as Nothing wrong with it, you must have been pissed and forgot to turn it on – and promptly gone away – whilst Martin’s problems have yet to be subjected to such rigorous analysis. Mind you, since he has a rig complex enough to embarrass NASA, it could take a while to troubleshoot
And happy ending ‘cos, after two years of wheedling and whingeing, I have finally secured funding approval from Domestic Management and bought myself a shiny new axe! First outing for the Beauteous Instrument was at the Farriers on Sunday, and I’m still grinning like a hippy with the keys to the drugs cabinet. I realise that it’s of no interest to anybody else, but I don’t care, here’s a picture of my new baby.
In fact, I’ve decided (childishly) to give the beast a name; but I can’t decide what to call it / her. Suggestions to the usual address, the winning entry will be rewarded with free entry to our next three gigs, plus guaranteed diplomatic immunity from Suzi’s Sarcasm.
This actually could be a lifesaver – since she’s sworn off alcohol for a few weeks because she doesn’t quite look fantastic enough at the moment, I’m a little worried that her normally sweet, placid nature could give way to a slightly less temperate humour. I’ll find out when she reads this.
Also gotta say Hi to Steve and pals (sorry, didn’t catch everyone’s names), who rode over from South Wales just to catch us at the Farriers on Sunday. Was great to meet you – hopefully we’ll be able to get some gigs sorted out over there sometime soon.
Right, then – up and coming Noise Terror Alerts are as follows:-
Saturday 20th May Crown and Horseshoe, Oldland
Common A great pub, always good fun, and yummy beer.
Friday 26th May Queen Vic, Stroud
Another favourite of mine, always lively with lots to see
Sunday 28th May Old Tavern, Stapleton
And we won’t have to get up in the morning until it’s time to go and play again
Monday 29th May Royal Oak, Chipping Sodbury
On a sunny Bank Holiday afternoon! Quality live music, beer, food – what could possibly spoil it.? Oh yeah, Dem says she’ll be bringing the kids along to this one.
Right folks, that’s your lot for now. As ever, if you want us to stop sending this drivel, write back and say so, if you actually like it, there’s more on www.angelupfront.co.uk, and if you just delete these emails without reading them; we can tell, we know who you are, we know where you live, we will sneak round to your house at night and fill your shoes with cold lasagne. You have been warned.
Did I mention I’ve got a new guitar?
Date – 18/04/2006
Hello again gang!
Well, after a well-deserved break (I say well-deserved, I’m not quite sure what I did wrong to end up spending a week locked in a tin box with 5 kids in a windy muddy field – whilst the others were variously in Cuba, Canada, and on an all-expenses -paid drinking binge in London – but obviously there’s some karma thing going on here), your favourite purveyors of quality rock and roll to the drinking masses are back in action again! Let’s hope we can remember how to play….
Friday 21st April Bunch of Grapes, Bristol
This will actually be my 50th gig with the band, and they still haven’t gotten rid of me yet. Scary stuff, no-one’s ever put up with me for this long before. I’m guessing I must owe one of them money or something. Anyroadup, we always have a good time here, and the beer is particularly tasty…
Friday 28th April Gorse Hill Club, Swindon
Last time we played here, they locked us in afterwards and poured beer down us until we were full. Anybody fancy coming along as a driver?
Sat 29th April Red Post Inn, Peasedown St George
A really nice little pub in the pretty green bits of Somerset, and very close to my mate “G”‘s house. Guess I’ll see if I can persuade her to come along and provide some of her own peculiar brand of street theatre…
Hope everybody had a spanktastic weekend, we certainly enjoyed ourselves. I’m happy to report that our duo gig on Saturday went off without hitch.okay, so maybe there were a few little bijou hitchettes in there, but at least it went off without a riot. So, looks like the Kaiser Chiefs were wrong after all. Full marks to Suzi for remembering all the stuff from her solo years – lots of torch ballads, hahaha, private joke, you had to be there – and for doing all the hard work for me. Speaking of full marks.
Still, it was nice to see so many fine specimens of English manhood crawling around the floor dribbling cider, after all this is the cultural heritage that brought us Shakespeare, Keats, and of course, Keith Harris and Orville.
Anyway, it was a bizarre enough experience to do all over again, so it looks as though this duo beastie thing is gonna continue – next time though, we’ll be organised and efficient and stuff. No, really Must also thank stalwart fan base Steve and Julie, plus the delightfully incoherent Cath, and the fantastic Gentleman George for all their help packing up and carrying stuff. And, to quote Suzi’s parting words, delivered with a steely glint of determination in her eye “Right, I’m off to get slaughtered now and forget this ever happened.
Date – 20/03/2006
Hello again folks!
Seems like a-g-e-s since the mighty rock and roll machine that is Angel Up Front wheeled into action, but at last the gears are about churn again. Martin is back from China, having managed to avoid sparking off any international incidents and spending the next eighteen months incarcerated in some grubby cell in Xhiang Lou province – so, that’s a fiver I owe his missus, then.
I’d tell you all about what went on at the previous few gigs, but – having slept since then – I can’t remember. Except for the moment in the Golden Lion where somehow the jukebox got switched on full throttle whilst we were blasting through our first set. This awful cacophony (not a word I use lightly, or without a dictionary) was coming from my side of the stage, so Stuart was looking puzzled wondering why I’d gone out of tune so badly, I was trying to work why my rig was suddenly picking up Radio Taxi Cab, and Suzi just assumed I was playing something horrifically out of key, and was mentally rolling up her sleeves and looking for her knuckle dusters. Martin, however, carried on playing with a big smile on his face, thinking that the Voices had come back again…
Right, our one and only outing in the next few weeks (before Stuart goes gallavanting off to Cuba) is on Friday 24th, at the dear old Cat and Wheel down by the Arches on Cheltenham Road.
I shall personally be making sure that the jukebox is unplugged, and as a special treat for everybody we have arranged to actually have a practice this week, so there is a reasonable chance we will be playing the same songs in the same key. Possibly even at the same time, but, as legendary rock and roll celebrity salad-dodger Meat Loaf used to say, “Two out of three ain’t bad……urrrp…. Pass the ketchup…..”
Pasta la vista, babies!
Date – 27/02/2006
Hello rock punters!
Firstly, huge apologies to anyone who came to see us at the Tavern on the 19th – we weren’t there!
Obviously the rock and roll lifestyle had taken its toll on our delicate little Suzi, and she was just too poorly to come out and play. Actually, both Stuart and I were also laid low by the Dread Lurgy the next day, so perhaps it’s unfair just to blame her. But we will anyway.
However, I’m glad to report that following intensive encouragement from our respective families to “stop whingeing and get out there and earn some cash”, we are all back to fighting strength now, and Suzi at least spent a merry weekend gloating about some rugby game or other. The fact that she gets away with this is either a testament to the good nature of our audiences, or reflects the fact that everybody is ever so slightly scared of her. You decide. Personally, I can’t get too bothered about the England rugby team getting beaten. They never even asked me if I wanted a game…
Back in the World Of Rock(tm), we have another busy weekend coming up, looking like this:-
Friday 3rd March – Queen Vic, Stroud
Fantastic gig, can’t wait! Best venue ever on our never-ending tour of duty, if you ask me.
Saturday 4th March – Fire Engine, St George
We actually got a call to go and play a gig at a fire station the other week. Went along, turned out it was a bloody hoax…
Sunday 5th March – Portcullis, Fishponds
New one for me, old one for us – apparently the stage is also the main thoroughfare to the toilets, so I’m thinking of supplementing my gig money by selling loo roll to people as they pass. Maybe I should put a special dispenser thingy on the end of my fretboard?
After that, we’re taking a few weeks off – Martin has decided he fancies a Chinese, so he’s going there to get one. You have to admire a man who takes his grub that seriously.
So – hope to see some of you this weekend, one way or another. If anyone who lives up my end (eh?) fancies the jaunt to Stroud, gissa shout, I’ll have a coupla spare seats in the car, you’ll just have to put up with me blathering all the way there and all the way back….on and on and on and on and on…….
Cheers now, and remember – under your bed lives a gang of tiny little clowns who are plotting to kill you.
Y’all sleep nice and peaceful, now….
Date – 13/02/2006
Hello folks, and a Happy Valentine’s Day for tomorrow to everybody – I hope the postman will be able to carry all the cards I’ll be getting…
We’ve had loads of fun this week, we had a superb time in Swindon (that’s twice in a row now!), and also had a blast down in Hanham, marred only slightly when my adopted teenage pseudo-daughter got mildly hassled by some random b*nt – so Suzi turned her Evil Powers Of Being Nice on the woman, who was last seen being carried out of the pub. Hope they didn’t drop her down the steps….
And, on Thursday, we rather enjoyed the Fleece – even if the scarily talented support outfit Gem did make us feel a bit on the old side. And the Angry Pandas turned out to be only slightly disgruntled, which was nice. Maybe they’d been given some extra bamboo, or something. On the definite plus side, we got a recording of our set off the desk, which may (or may not) be useful – if it’s any good, then it might appear on the website at some point. We’ll keep y’all posted.
Right then, the upcoming week’s fun and frolics in the World Of Rock(tm) look like this:-
On Friday we’re playing a joint birthday bash for two of our favourite people, but should be recovered in time to play:-
Saturday 18th Feb Black Horse, Trowbridge
Back here again in one of Suzi’s many locals…
Sunday 19th Feb Old Tavern, Stapleton
Er – back here again in one of Suzi’s many locals…Actually I always particularly enjoy playing the Tav, shame I’ll have to get up for work in the morning…
Full details as ever on www.angelupfront.co.uk
Think that’s about it for this one, and remember – one in five people is mentally ill; so, think about four of your friends. If they seem okay, it must be you…
Oh, and guys – don’t bother stopping at the garage on the way home to buy her flowers for Valentine’s Day – they’ll have sold out by then.
She probably won’t eat them anyway.
Date – 02/02/2006
Hello again folks!
Yes, it’s another toshogram from your pals in Angel Up Front, warning you of where we’re playing next so’s you can be sure to avoid any unpleasantness.
First, though, I’m happy to report a whole weekend without a pub fight – well, other than one between my seven-year old daughter and Martin. Hope you’re feeling better soon, mate.
Saturday, we played the once-notorious Red Post Inn, only to find it’s been transformed into a very fine, friendly, relaxed place. My favourite gig so far this year, in fact – possibly something to do with the way that the landlady was miming at us to play on at the end of the set. We feigned confusion, then she repeated the “keep on going” mime with a bunch of fivers in her hand, at which point suddenly all became clear to us. (Artistic integrity is such a wonderful thing…)
Also – after much farting about, having somehow forgotten how to set up our gear – we had a pleasant Sunday afternoon at the Farriers, marred only by Suzi breaking the heel off one of her boots and going flying out of the pub doorway. I swear I never laughed, honest I didn’t…
Oh, and the aforementioned incident with my flaxen-haired innocent daughter, who came along to spend the entire gig gazing at Suz in rapt adoration, whilst treating Stuart and myself as some kind of self-propelled drinks trolley, and Martin as a punch bag. I blame the girl’s mother, personally.
Right then, on with the serious business of upcoming delights:-
Friday 3rd Feb – Gorse Hill Club, Swindon
I think this is a vaguely bikerish do, but I could be wrong…guess I’ll wear the leathers anyway and hope it’s not a gay bar…..
Sat 4th Feb – Chequers, Hanham
Lovely pub, down by the river, don’t fall in, ‘cos I ain’t fishing you out…..
Thursday 9th Feb – Fleece and Firkin, Bristol
Ahh, now this is a new one – thought we’d try it out for a laugh. We’re supporting the wonderfully-named Angry Panda. I hope they dress up accordingly. This being the Fleece, it’s probably a couple of quid to get in, so you may have to raid the old piggy bank before setting off.
Right, that’s us for the next week or so – as ever, all gig details, maps, etc are on www.angelupfront.co.uk, and we’ll keep y’all posted via email with all the news that’s fit to print…
Meanwhile, as some of you may know, I’m still trying to scrape enough cash together for a new guitar. Attached piccy (thanks to Matt) shows what my accumulated wealth to date will buy me…
And, before anybody writes back to say I ought to be saving up for guitar lessons instead – Pppppptthtththhhhhhhhtthhhh!!!! – as Oscar Wilde would have said.
Date – 16/01/2006
Hello again folks!
Well, I wasn’t expecting to be writing another one of these just yet, but we had such an eventful weekend that, in response to public demand, I thought I’d better put something out. Also, I just discovered that the bread I made my sarnies with today is mouldy, so I have nothing better to do this lunchtime…..
Friday was supposed to be a nice quiet night, and started off as expected for the post-Christmas poverty season – i.e. with the pub one-third full. I was pleased to see my mate Dunphers come along (amazing what the threat of public ridicule can do), along with chums Hilly and Lyn, plus our regular faithful mates Steve and Julie.
As the evening progressed, the locals got increasingly lively, leaping around to the point where Suzi had to gently shove one of them away mid-song before they started falling over expensive bits of PA. This led to a spectacular domino effect, ending with about five of them rolling round on the floor like alcoholic skittles. Suz turned round to me, grinned, and mouthed the word “Strike!”
Their enthusiasm undiminished, the drunks bounced up and carried on being lively, until somebody looked funny at somebody else’s girlfriend / pint / shoes / whatever, and a Proper Pub Fight ensued. Now, as an irredeemable coward, I try to avoid violence wherever possible, but I have seen a few pub fights in my time. However, I’ve not seen one before where the pub landlady is actually joining in by merrily glassing her customers. An unusual way to attract repeat custom, I must express my doubts as to its effectiveness as a long-term business strategy.
At this point, we decided that we’d done enough. Remembering the example of the band on the Titanic, who carried on heroically playing as the mighty vessel slid majestically beneath the hostile waves, we also recalled the fact that the silly buggers all drowned. Accordingly we unplugged, packed up our gear, collected the money, and snuck away into the night. Oh well, tomorrow can’t be any worse….
…As it turned out it wasn’t worse, just different. Having caught up with the rest of the band on convoy along the M4, I was pleased at not having to worry about how to find the venue for once. (I even get lost going to places we’ve played several times before…).
I was somewhat surprised when Stuart pulled on the hard shoulder, and ground to a halt on the slip road. We opened the bonnet, shone torches at the engine, and all concurred that it was actually still there, but wasn’t making any “vroom vroom” noises. I summoned all the resources of my three-year publicly-funded University engineering education, and told Stuart, “It’s shagged out, mate”.
A quick search of the car boots reveals a tow rope, and a quick survey of remaining vehicles shows that mine is the least crappy one(!) So, I have to drag Stuart’s car (still laden with all his kit) the last 8 miles into the gig in the middle of Swindon, a place designed by Town Planners On Acid with a penchant for laying out roundabouts into groovy patterns – which may (or may not) spell out their star signs when viewed from 20,000 feet. The plan for Stuart to give me directions as we went via mobile phone was rather spoiled by his phone having died as well, so it was only by chance that we actually made it to the pub without mishap, arrest, or nervous breakdown.
Finally, we get there, to find the place very quiet. Very quiet indeed. It transpires that they have a new landlord, who has been forgetting to order beer for weeks on end, so for some reason his regulars have drifted away….
Maybe he should try breaking glasses over the heads of the remaining punters, it might just work.
Despite the non-rammed-to-capacity situation, we had a great fun evening with those that were there, all of whom were very friendly and appreciative.
Afterwards, as we waited with Stuart for the AA to show up, he told us that he’d had a call earlier in the day from the Old Tavern, asking if we’d cover a cancellation for them the following night.
We thought about the events of the last 48 hours, and decided that we really would be pushing our luck if went out again this weekend.
For once, even I was in agreement. “Up for a gig tomorrow? Er…..naaah, we’re washing our hair that night…..”
Date – 16/01/2006
Hello again rock monsters!
Yup, we’re well and truly up and running again. First gig of the year went very well, I think we were spurred on in our efforts by the solo break dancing spot from a gentleman who appeared to be Captain Birdseye’s granddad . (No, really). I always wondered what they did for entertainment in Yate of an evening.
So – second gig of the year.
On Friday 13th.
In the middle of Southmead.
For those who don’t know, this is a place with a reputation which makes Baghdad look like Bournemouth. Apparently Stuart booked this gig because it would be “something different”. Hmmm….
It was not without trepidation that I sorted out and checked my gear, loaded up the car, and said a fond farewell to loved ones. Ahh, to see the innocent little faces of the children as they lined up to bid their dear father good luck on his perilous mission…. All rather spoiled by my eldest calling out as I strode away down the path to meet with destiny, “In case you don’t come back, shouldn’t you leave your wallet behind?” I drove off into the night to the sound of all four offspring bickering over posthumous ownership of my possessions, and my darling Dem frantically reading the small print on the life insurance policy.
As it turned out, the gig was relatively uneventful, enlivened only by the mature couple having simulated sex on the front of the stage halfway through the second set. Happily (for him), Stuart was having one of his “out of phase with reality” episodes, and failed to notice altogether. I for one am still having nightmares…
And so, on to Saturday, and the Crown and Horseshoe, a fine pub, and a most grin-worthy gig. Was good to see our old pal Steve so helplessly happy, I do hope he managed to stay awake long enough… And, to round the evening off, a protracted discussion with Suzi and Stuart in the car park on the much-maligned subject of ovine erotica, which left me giggling helplessly all the way home. I tell you folks, you can’t beat a bit of culture now and again!
Can’t wait for the next episode, which goes like this:-
Fri 20 Jan George and Dragon, Winterbourne
This is virtually in the back garden of my mate Dunphers, and if he doesn’t show to this one he had better have a damned good excuse… :o)
Sat 21 Jan Famous Ale House, Swindon
I’ve never played here before, but the guys tell me it’s a good gig. And they’ve never been wrong yet…well, not about that sort of thing. Oh – actually, Suzi informs me that she’s in fact never been wrong about anything. Ever. Sorry, I must have got confused there.
Sat 28 Jan Red Post Inn, Peasedown St John
Just South of Bath, and dangerously close to where my (now quite notorious) mate “G” lives. I wonder if I dare tell her about it…
Sun 29 Jan Farriers Arms, Fishponds
Ahh, the dear old Farriers. This is an afternoon gig (2:00 start), so maybe – just maybe – if we get there early they’ll feed us. Suzi and Martin are both trying to avoid food at the moment, which means more for me! I’ll be the sixteen-stone bloater with the gravy-dripping Strat, then! :o)
Pass the spuds…
Date – 03/01/2006
Happy New Year to all our readers!
I trust that you all had a fine time over the festive season, and that Santa brought you all your little heart’s desires. (I shan’t get into all that “bulging sacks” nonsense, but feel free to insert your own double entendres if you feel the need.)
Here at Angel Up Front Party Central Forward Command Planning HQ, we’re all revitalised, re-energised, and ready for another onslaught into the exciting world of live rock n’ roll. Although we may possibly have forgotten some of the songs, just to keep things interesting…
Our next few outings are all local to Bristol, just to ease us back into things. Feel free to come and join us, shout encouragement, buy us a beer, or simply remind Martin which key the Cult song is in.
Saturday 7th Railway Tavern, Yate
Never played here before, but apparently there’s usually a long row of shiny motorcycles outside, which I always find is a good sign….
Friday 13th Bear and Rugged Staff, Southmead
Yup! We’re playing – in Southmead – on Friday 13th. Good job I don’t believe in all this soppy “fortune” stuff. Us Capricorns never do. Anyway, it’s unlucky to be superstitious.
Saturday 14th Crown and Horseshoe, Oldland Common
I honestly can’t remember if we’ve played here before or not. If we haven’t, then this is the first time. If we have – well, we’re doing it again.
As usual, there’s maps, directions, and all manner of wondrous other stuff on www.angelupfront.co.uk . And, as ever, if you find you have better things to do than have this drivel cluttering up your Inbox, then please send a reply asking us to stop. We promise not to make a small voodoo doll of your computer and stick pins in it. Honest.