Tag Archives: crown

29-01-2019 – Disco Dave, Japan And The Power Slide

Hola homeys!

It’s always nice to see old friends, particularly when they bring you an ultra-cool pressie :-).

Saturday’s jaunt to the Albion House Club in Cheltenham was graced by the presence of my dear and long-standing friend Disco Dave, whom we haven’t seen for a couple of years on account of him working on the wrong side of the world.

And a very pleasant evening we all had, despite a somewhat worrying start…

Our lovely Em was arriving separately to the rest of us, and a little later, and so we duly rolled up, set up the kit, and waited. Start time came and went, and there is still no sign of our sparkly chanteuse. A quick call reveals that although she is quite close, but “the police have shut the road off” – and this being Cheltenham, and a one-way labyrinth at the best of times, it’s not easy to find another way in. READ MORE

21-01-2019 – Plankocasters And The Wig

Good grief, Charlie Brown…

That was an exciting week and no mistake!

For one thing, I had a birthday in the middle of it – for the curious amongst you, I can reveal that my age is now officially “not dead yet”.

And I was particularly delighted to be sent a large and luxurious custom birthday card from my favourite Pighillians, featuring a stunning Triumph Bonneville with a fetching blonde lady (actually somewhat reminiscent of my dear Dem in her younger years) astride it, and – this had to be pointed out to me – a rather handsome chap lurking in the background. READ MORE

15-01-2019 – Told You So Special

Yo homeys

Well, that’s back to normality (or what passes for normality, at any rate). Friday night at the Blue Lagoon was gratifyingly busy considering it’s early January, and I managed to wangle just enough stage space to be able to use my pointy guitar for a change; something which makes me rather happy.

Guitar

If only because it gives me an excuse to show a picture of it… Ain’t she purty?

“Our clients” behaved just as expected, i.e. with much dancing around, spilling of drinks, and dropping of glasses. For entertainment value, Em and I mentally awarded the prize to a group of gyrating lads who had obviously had dancing described to them at some point, but had clearly never actually seen it done.

Saturday night, and a jaunt out to the very welcoming Golden Fleece in Bath, to wheel out some of the noisier side of the repertoire. And we had an absolute blast, with much messing about and tomfoolery going on. The crowd were lovely, and even the table of somewhat senior customers (and this is me saying that) right at the front seemed to being enjoying themselves. We were particularly impressed by the nice white-haired lady who was jigging around in her seat and singing along, pausing only occasionally to get up and hobble across to the bar to get herself another beer in. “I’m seventy nine next month”, she told me as she came past, “And I’m having a lovely time”. We’re considering adopting her as the band’s official mum.

Even a technical hitch, involving my lovely guitar sound disappearing and being replaced by an ominous rhythmic buzzing didn’t slow us down; Emma simply went out to harassed the “clients” individually, and sang some impromptu requests while I frantically tried to diagnose the problem, failed, dug out the necessary leads to plug in to my spare amp, set it up only to find the fault was still there, and only THEN eventually figured out the actual cause, disconnected the offending pedal and reconnected the main amp again before being rewarded with my beautiful restored guitar tone [Editor’s note: this was a told you so moment as yours truly said it was a pedal at the start of the problem]. Just in time to save Em from having to attempt an a capella version of the Oasis song she’d been requested to do.

So we were able to happily romp through the rest of the set, and play a couple of hugely fun encores, before slumping into a happy exhausted heap while we mustered the energy to pack everything up.

Hooray for rock & roll!

Coming up next weekend – two more rather fine outings…

Friday 18th – The Packhorse, Lawrence Hill
Lovely cosy and friendly biker’s pub. We played here a while before Christmas, and thoroughly enjoyed it. We think they did too, ‘cos they asked us back.

Sunday 20th – The Crown, Staple Hill
Next door to Ben’s gaffe, and a 6:30 start so we can all still be tucked up in beddy byes by ten*, ready for school in the morning. Rawk and roll, hey?

Right, that’ll do, I’m off to see the wizard, now.

The wonderful wizard of Beer…

Square on
A

*Contrary to popular belief, Angel Up Front do NOT in fact all sleep together in an oversized bed, each wearing a set of blue and white striped pyjamas and a nightcap. #thetruth.

15-08-2018 – Lech

Blig:

Wassup dawgs

After not having played for a couple of weeks, it was with some trepidation that we approached the Crown in Lechlade… Could we remember the new songs? Could we remember the old songs? Could we remember how to set up the equipment? And who’s that huge beardy bloke with the long hair?

When we reached the pub and walked in, the following sight met our eyes…

Pig head

Our minds were immediately set at ease – these are people who will understand us. [Editor’s note: Now, I personally do not approve of decapitated heads on walls, pigs or otherwise but I guess I’ll go with the sentiment, gotta call it out just the same!]

And, it turned out to be a jolly fine evening, they were up and dancing from the off, they joined in nicely with Emma’s Drinkng Game, and afterwards they we got lots of very nice compliments. And some money. Best of all, we got some beer, too. We’re rather looking forward to coming back.

If only I hadn’t played like a twat-handed fumblemonkey*, they’d probably have liked it even more.**

Coming up this weekend – one or two gigs, we’re not quite sure ourselves.

On Saturday, we are most definitely playing a 40th birthday party bash in Compton Bassett.

On Sunday, we are booked to play at the Sandringham in Downend; however, we’ve been told that the gig may not be able to go ahead, as the pub is having some “budget issues”, and has to wait for their senior area financial manager to come back from holiday before they can give us the definite green light. We’ll find out in a day or two. Obviously our fees have now become so eye-wateringly reassuringly expensive that we are in danger of plunging the mighty Ember Inns financial empire into bankruptcy. I feel rather proud, actually. [Editor’s Note again: It’s a go for this gig but starting at 6pm.]

Anyways, we’ll keep y’all posted on that one.

Although – here’s a thought – if enough people were to phone the pub between now and then “just to check whether Angel Up Front are playing next Sunday”, it might sway them towards actually paying us more.

I have to go now, I’ve suddenly realised I have a lot of different voices to practice…

Square on
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*This, and many other custom-made derogatory conjunctions are available from our new website artisan_insults.co.uk. Lovingly hand-crafted personalised insults for your loved ones, friends and work colleagues, for very reasonable rates. From the people who brought you “Stumpy McFuckwit”.

**Actually, no they wouldn’t. The thing that went down best was the Ramones cover we accidentally learned for a laugh a fortnight ago. And to think I spent years trying to work out how to play guitar solos in Phrygian mode…

[[[ STOP PRESS ]]]

A late announcement – while we’re here promoting fine music – next Monday (20th), down at Mr Wolf’s in Bristol centre, there’s a rare chance to catch my beautiful daughter Lily playing a solo gig. I highly recommend getting yourselves down there. The other night, she played me the new song she’d just written – it was stunning, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that by the time she finished, there were tears rolling down my soppy face. READ MORE

07-08-2018 – Cascade of Anxiety

Yo Compadres

As we crawl agonisingly across the desert sands under the relentless blinding sun, there is a speck of colour in the shimmering distance… it could be a mirage, but…. As we slowly inch nearer, we see… yes… it’s a gig!

Salvation at last!

Saturday 11th – The Crown, Lechlade
A rather pretty little town up in the Cotswolds, and a very fine little pub. All we have to do is remember how to play. What could possibly go wrong?

And, in case you’re wondering what musos do when they have a weekend off, I can now tell you – rather to my consternation I found myself at an art exhibition yesterday.

The main exhibit that stuck in my mind was an installation called, apparently, “Cascade of Anxiety”. It consisted of an aluminium framework, containing three large white inflated rubber kidney bean shapes nestling on little hammocks. From time to time, pneumatically powered mechanical arms would extend and prod the kidney beans. All this accompanied to the sound of somebody learning to play the cello.

I find myself in agreement with the renowned philosopher sage Keith Richards, who when asked for his opinion of the subject, promptly responded.

“As far as I’m concerned, ‘Art’ is short for ‘Arthur’ “.

This has been a Public Service Announcement.
Square

11-06-2018 – Dog Danger In The Dean

Greetings and salutations, my children of the night…

Well, that was an interesting weekend…

Saturday night, and we are booked to play a wedding at a rather nice place over in the Forest Of Dean. Very pictureskew it was, too. When Em and I arrived, deliberately early “just in case”, we found a huge marquee as promised, nicely done out, and with a somewhat aged ceilidh band just starting up. I’m allowed to say they were somewhat aged, because I am a self-confessed old bugger meself; nonetheless, some of these looked like they were approaching Death. From the other direction…

Having established that we weren’t going to be needed for a while, and there was no opportunity to unload the kit yet either, in true muso style we decamped to the nearest pub, where we met up with Ben & Stuart. We sat outside in the sunshine merrily chatting away for a while, until I eventually gave in and bought a round.

Finally we set off back to the venue, met the nice people, and set up. I was warned by the groom that one of his pals was there with his dog, who had just bitten one of ceilidh band. “He’s a lovely dog, but sometimes he just seems to go a bit mental if he sees a bloke with greying hair.”

And there’s me with my distinguished-looking platinum highlights, cost me a fortune, they did…

“Do you happen to know which member of the last band he bit?” I asked.

“Oh, it was the guitar player, I think… Anyway, if he does go for you, just climb a tree or something…”

On this comforting note, it’s time to start. In the event, the dog didn’t savage anyone, but we had a lot of lovely dancing folks, including the statutory small boy doing repeated power slides across the dance floor, which is of course now a legal requirement at all weddings.

Finally, it got to midnight, we were knackered, they were knackered, and so we gracefully called proceedings to a sweaty halt, and set off in search of more free food. We really are getting the hang of this.

Sunday teatime, and the Crown in Staple Hill beckons. And a mighty fine evening we had of it, I even managed (unlike the previous night) to actually play half-decently, which was something of a relief. I’d been beginning to think that all the hours I’d put into playing for the past forty-odd years were a total waste of time.

No comments, please.

Coming up this weekend…

Nothing. Nada. Not a sausage. No gigs.

Peace and quiet, perhaps….?

Square on
A

04-06-2018 – Klingon Birthday

Hola amigos!

I’ll keep this one short again -’cause the sun is shining in the garden, and there’s a beer waiting for me.

I’ll just briefly tell the tale of Saturday’s escapade to the Lamb in Marlborough – being just a couple of days shy of Ben’s 30th birthday, we figured this would be the best time to give him his pressies.

Now, I think it’s fair to say that our Ben is just a teeny tiny tad geeky, so he was immensely pleased when Emma presented him with a special set of many-sided dice, fantasy role-playing games for the use of. He did later admit that he already owns around a dozen sets of said dice, but that nonetheless these ones were absolutely necessary, as they’re especially shiny.

I, on the other hand, attacked his geekiness from a different angle – since last Christmas I managed to find him a t-shirt that combined both Star Trek and bass playing, I had to somehow top that. And I think I managed…

Klingon Bass Pedal

Yes folks, it’s a bass effects pedal, custom built for Ben, and with all the controls labelled in Klingon. I was rather proud of myself for making this – the culmination of several weeks of happily scribbling circuit diagrams and painstaking soldering bits together, and two entire (and extremely vexing) evenings at the laptop, trying to find the right word in Klingon for (for example) “volume”, and cross-correlate it to make sure the translation back into English was correct, then have to find the correct combination of keystrokes to use to get the Klingon font I found show the right symbol…

Did you know that there are about seven dialects of Klingon, and several different Klingon alphabet font sets, which don’t properly correlate with the online Klingon dictionaries?

Oh, how I cursed those geeks… they really should find something useful to do.

Anyways, well received though this present was, Em still won by providing a magnificent cake.

Now, why didn’t I think of that?

Anyhoo – coming up this weekend, we’re playing a wedding on Saturday (best dig out me posh frock) and on Sunday…

Sunday 10th – The Crown, Staple Hill
Nice and local, and with a 6:45 start, a nice early finish too. We very much enjoyed it here last time, and are expecting to do the same again this time. But with maybe just a hint more silliness. And a bass overdrive pedal; in bloody Klingon.

Square on
A

PS – since I now have some spare time coming up, and all the necessary kit, if anybody out there happens to want a custom built effects pedal built, let me know and we can talk terms. As long as the labels are in English…

19-02-2018 – The Vortex

Greetings, my little ones; may a bounteous cornucopia of boundless joy be upon you.

And phlegm. I still have plenty of phlegm left, if anybody wants some.

And this, despite barking up copious quantities of the stuff at Friday’s gig in Marlborough. Happily though, our beloved Emma is MUCH better the previously, and got through two sets without distress. I, on the other hand, nearly died a couple of times, albeit mostly this was due to choking on laughter at my band mates shenanigans and / or musical mishaps.

The pub was fairly quiet at first, so we set about amusing ourselves, and fairly soon there were quite a few who came over to watch us make fools of ourselves. (I mean, obviously they were mainly impressed by the artistry and musical prowess, I’m sure they weren’t at all impressed by the mucking about with silly hats…).

All in all, a jolly fine evening for everybody involved, followed by an amusing trip home via The Vortex (as anybody who drives it regularly will know, that stretch of the M4 betwixt Swindon and Chippenham takes several days to traverse, despite the fact that only fifteen minutes have elapsed on the clock. It’s a kind of Time Tunnel type thing – I suspect a by-product of Swindon being approximately twenty years behind the rest of the UK – and we think due to a wormhole in the space-time continuum. Although Emma and I demand to be told why they’re always called wormholes, as opposed to any other kind of hole… Rabbit holes would be better, conjuring up a rather appropriate Alice in Wonderland vibe. Or, why not bum-holes? Bum-holes in the space-time continuum. Much more catchy name.)

Anyway… another gig coming up, this time safely at the Bristol end of the cosmos, and there is a real possibility that by then all four of us will actually not be simultaneously ill. If all four of are actually healthy, we might even be quite good.

Saturday 24th – Cider Press, Bishopston
Just down the road from our Em’s place, so she is threatening to bring some of her “more mental” friends along. Well, that should liven things up nicely then.

Square on
A

12-02-2018 – Kitten Lung & Other Stories

Hola Amigos

Welcome to this week’s Tour Diary, a summary of a relentless three consecutive days out on the road, treading the boards to bring entertainment to the drinking masses of the South West. Oh, it’s a hard life.

No, really, actually it is. Your favourite axe-spanker has been rather poorly this week; suffering firstly from a nasty van condition, which had me pedestrianized for half the week, until being heroically fixed by my favourite local garage (Green Lane in Olveston, should you need any car repairs – shameless plug for a fine automotive repair establishment) – and then from an unpleasant chest infection, which manifests itself at least in part by my one of my lungs making a worrying purring sound if I’m lying down.

“Ah”, explains knowledgeable eldest son, “You’ve got Kitten Lung”.

“Kitten Lung?”

“Yes, it’ll be from all those years you spent working down the kitten mines. Well-known industrial disease, is kitten lung – comes from inhaling the fur. You might even be able to claim compensation for that.” There is a moment’s pause as we reflect that probably the worst aspect of kitten mining would be cleaning your pickaxe at the end of the shift, and ponder whether kitten miners of old used canaries in small cages to detect a rich seam… “I thought I thaw a puddey tat…”

…and that wasn’t even in the top 10 weird conversations of the weekend.

Anyway, back on the tour bus…

Friday at the Trout in Keynsham was a jolly affair, I tried out my nice new speaker cab, and my freshly-built overdrive pedal, and – though I say it myself – was sounding unusually magnificent. If only I could actually play… Still the evening was livened up my some lovely punters, including an old pal we’ve not seen for many years (in fact, I think the last time I saw her was when we played her wedding; she married a drummer. Well, we did try and warn her.), and an extremely affable group of ladies out celebrating a birthday, and who were rather taken with our air-guitar-related rock shenanigans.

Saturday at the Crown in Staple Hill – last time I came here, I was in an advanced stage of inebriation, watching another band – and had just as much fun this time, despite not being in a position to take advantage of the landlord’s “free beer for musicians” policy (which should, in my view, become law). And this despite the fact that the combination of extreme cold outside and extreme heat and damp inside the pub meant that once set up, our kit was literally dripping with condensation. I eye my beloved amp worriedly. There’s the best part of 1,000 volts going on inside there…

Happily, the amp fires up and behaves impeccably, until 8 bars into the soundcheck when all guitar noise abruptly ceases. After a worrying few minutes, a cheap and easy-to-fix pedal is identified as the culprit, which is rapidly cast aside to await my soldering iron’s tender ministrations later in the week.

The gig goes really well, and is marred only by the fact that I am starting to feel Proper Poorly, and that Ben and Emma have also succumbed to the dreaded Kitten Lung. After we finish and pack up, we collapse in a heap round a table and indulge in a ten-minute tag-team coughing fit. Stuart eyes us with paternal compassion. “I’m getting you buggers put down”, he kindly tells us.

Sunday, and time for one last gig of the weekend; thus the Van Of Pestilence trundles merrily eastwards along the M4 bound for quaint, picturesque Wantage, which is to be found some way North of Junction 14, and a little way past the year 1680AD.

It’s a cosy little pub; we arrive early, and carefully shoehorn in all the kit. We’ve been asked to play three slightly shorter sets instead of the usual two hour-long ones, which at least gives Ben and Emma a chance to try and recover their now-rather-broken voices.

There’s a few tracks with tricky vocals that we don’t even attempt, so to make up time we have to sling in a bit of extra guitar solo , and we eventually manage to limp all the way to the end of the third set, although by the last number Em finds that sometimes, instead of a full-blown bellow, all that comes out is a tiny squeak…

Still, the punters seem happy enough, so we pack up, say our farewells, and rattle off into the night, coughing and spluttering…

So now – several days’ vocal rest for my bandmates, who will be communicating instead this week via the medium of interpretative dance, in an effort to be match fit for next Friday…

Friday 16th – Royal Oak, Marlborough
We played here once before, a couple of years ago – nice big pub with a raised stage area; though as I recall, there weren’t too many punters last time. If it’s the same this time it could be a good place to try out some of those songs we haven’t finished learning yet. Or maybe our freshly-crafted original symphony “Hacking Cough Suite For Shredded Lungs”

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05-02-2018 – Arrrrr!

Ahoy there, me hearties!

Well, sadly were all on shore leave this weekend, so we can’t tell you all about our exciting adventures, because we haven’t had any.

But, if you – like the 3.14% of sailors who are pi-rates – are up for a bit of saucy buccaneering fun on the high seas, here’s where you can find the crew of the good ship Angel Up Front next weekend…

Friday 9th – The Trout, Keynsham
Swashbuckling good fun, this one – the decks usually awash with grog by the end of the night.

Saturday 10th – The Crown, Staple Hill
A new port for us to plunder, we’ve not raided this particular one before, but we’re hopeful of finding rich treasure chests, and perhaps even some booty. Ahem.

Sunday 11th – The Bell, Wantage
And finally, a Sunday afternoon voyage to the ends of the Earth – it’s even further than Pighill. I believe we are due to splice the mainbrace at around 4:30, and so we should be safely tucked up in Davy Jones’ Locker by suppertime.

And now, will you please join me in reciting the traditional ship’s litany of piratical puns.

All together now…

Why are pirates called pirates?

Because they Arrrrr.

Where do pirates go to keep fit?

Arrr, Gym, lad!

How much do pirate’s big golden hoop earrings cost?

A buck an ear.

Why is piracy so addictive?

Once you lose your first hand, you’re hooked.

What has 8 arms, 8 legs, and 8 eyes?

8 pirates.

Amen.

Finally, the annoyingly smug clever one…

Did you know – if you take the “p” out of a pirate, he becomes quite angry…

You’re welcome

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