Tag Archives: trout

08-04-2019 – Yeeeaahhh!

Yo funsters!

Well, another busy weekend goes flying past, narrowly missing my head, and hurtles noisily into the wall behind me with a sickening thud.

I’m not entirely sure what that last sentence was about, but I for one rather enjoyed it.

Friday’s outing to the Trout in Keynsham was – for once – a rather dry affair, we managed to get through the night without any of us or our lovely expensive equipment getting covered in beer. Nonetheless, there was a satisfactory amount of tomfoolery going on – this week’s air guitar champion was the lovely Holly (apparently), who rocked out far above and beyond the call of duty, putting the regular Trout loonies to shame, in fact. Well played, that girl! READ MORE

01-04-2019 – T-Shirt Faux Pas

Ahoy there shipmates!

Another weekend, another fine pair of evenings spent making a racket, jumping around like a twat, and generally having a marvellous time. Both Emma and I agreed that we can’t remember what normal people do for fun on a night out, ‘cos this is so much better.

Mind you, we also agreed that we should change the band name to “Pottymouth Infidel and the Conspicuous Ninjas”, so that gives you an idea of the kind of intellect you’re dealing with here.

Friday at the Packhorse was immense fun, and – thanks to it being one of the regular’s birthday, there was a large buffet arrayed on a table. It is codified in law that musicians are entitled to partake in any food which is displayed within 50 feet of them…so we did. READ MORE

29-10-2018 – Beer Yoofs Adventures

Good morning!

Winter draws on, I see – although frankly, vicar, I don’t see what business it is of yours – and I have to report a very, very messy weekend’s gigging.

Friday night at the Woodland’s Edge, and our poor Emma turns up looking very unwell indeed, having picked up a nasty stomach bug from somewhere. “I’ve not tried singing yet today”, she tells us, “just in case it makes me vomit”.

“Well, if it does”, I tell her, “Drumkit”.

As we start loading in, it is apparent that there is a plague of yoofs upon this house, boisterously ensconced right next to where we need to set up. I’m sure their mummies love them, but they’re a pain in the arse for everybody else.

Poor Ben is stuck with them for the night on his side of the stage, so constantly has to try and stop them treading on cables, falling over mike stands, spilling beer on expensive equipment, and accidentally getting punched in the face. It’s not easy.

At least Emma is feeling rather better once we get started, and we manage to get through the first set without incident.

Partway through the second, disaster strikes as one of the arsehats drops a pint right in front of me, leaving my pedals awash in lager and broken glass. Over the course of the next two songs I watch as the indicator light on my overdrive pedal begins to glow ominously, despite being switched off, as the foul fluid seeps across the circuit board, shorting out the switch contacts…

Luckily I’m able to remove the pedal from the chain before any hideous screaming noises happen, and finish the set without it. THIS is why we never have use any mains power at the front of the stage.

By the next night, Emma is feeling much better, and following an hour’s careful cleaning and half a can of contact cleaner, my overdrive is happy again, so it’s off to the noisy Trout in Keynsham – another notorious haven for pint-spillers.

In this case, however, although a lot of beer goes over the floor in front of us, the only thing that actually goes all over my pedals are (a) an entire pint of water, which doesn’t seem to do any harm, actually washing off some of the lager from last night, and (b) a rather jolly lady, who somehow as she falls and lands manages to switch off every pedal that was on, and switch on every one that was off. I almost feel guilty as she is being bodily lifted away that, instead of helping her up, I am feverishly tap-dancing beneath her supine form to get the sound back on track.

Didn’t miss a note, though 🙂

After the gig, Emma goes one better than even her previous “sultry temptress coiling up speaker cables properly” performances – having acquired a cloth from behind the bar, she is now actually wiping the cables clean as she coils them up. Ohhh, it’s magnificent to watch! There must be a specialist website somewhere for this kind of thing.

We now have a couple of weekends off coming up, which will give me a chance to repair and clean up various bits of damaged and beer-soaked musical equipment and peripheries.

And for Ben to try and get some sleep, in between dreams of bronzed cheerleaders lasciviously cleaning the lime jelly off of cables as they oh-so-perfectly wind them up into immaculately regular coils, and neatly fasten each one with a perfect clean cable tie…

We’re not weird, you know.

Square on

22-10-2018 – New VanOfAlan


Right folks, this’ll be a short one (as they say)…

Saturday night’s gig at the Hunstman in Downend – which I see from their website has the “style of a modern pub, and the atmosphere of a traditional inn” – was greatly cheered by the presence of a few chums; and almost nobody else.

It often seems to be the way in here – doesn’t really seem to be a music-y pub – nonetheless, they keep asking us back, and they keep paying us, and it actually makes for a nice relaxing night from our point of view. Plus, it means we can run through numbers we haven’t done for a while, to see if we can still remember them, without too much risk of public humiliation – and so, when requested for an old Fleetwood Mac track we haven’t played for many months, after a quick head-scratch as Ben and I tried to remember what the first chord was, we agreed to have a go at it.

Rather to our surprise, we got to the end without major disasters, although the middle eight guitar part was rather unusual… 🙂

Coming up this weekend, a double whammy of jollity:-

Friday 26th – Woodland’s Edge, Swindon
Usually pretty lively in here, and enough space for us to have a jolly good prance around, so all in all it’s rather good.

Saturday 27th – The Trout, Keynsham
It will probably end up being another mental night, here at The Fish – we’re not sure whether it’s because of the shape of the room (which is theoretically all wrong for putting bands in, with dancing space restricted to right on top of the band), or the clientele are just clumsy – but the floor always ends up awash with beer. This is about the only gig we regularly play where I have to dry the monitors out afterwards.

…And, that’s it for this week. Apart from the news that I have now acquired a spanky new van, musical equipment transport for the purpose of, which features noticeably more space than my sadly foreshortened one.

So – now, when loading up for each gig, I have to choose – in addition to the regular array of equipment, should I take the extra stack of guitar amps and speakers, or the industrial drum of lime jelly and the coterie of giggling cheerleaders?

Decisions, decisions….

Square on

23-07-2018 – Purple …..

Good evening; and here is the news….

Friday night, and a trip to the Trout in Keynsham to unveil not one, not two, not three, but four (yes, four, count ‘em!) songs we’d not gigged before. Actually, I failed to count ‘em and mistakenly left one off the setlist; fortunately Em remembered about it and scribbled it back in just before we started playing.

Poor Em. Somehow she managed to bugger up one of her knees last week, but armed with lots of medical strapping and some weapons-grade painkillers, she heroically made it to the gig, and actually managed to get most the way through proceedings still upright. Alas, near the end, she could bear the pain no more and had to have a chair fetched and her leg propped up to finish off the second set.

I wish I’d taken a photo – probably the least rawk’n’roll “Foot on Monitor” image ever…

Still, it was a rather fine night, so we were eagerly looking forward to the Saturday session at the Cat & Wheel. And, it didn’t disappoint.

The first set was enlivened by a rather boisterous Aussie Rules football team, who were out celebrating winning the shiny trophy they’d just won; they were also drinking out of a pair of children’s pink sparky wellies, and at one point one of the chaps tried to persuade her to swap her microphone for the large purple dildo he was holding.

“Tempting though the offer is”, she tells the crowd, “Seeing the way he handles that thing, I think I’d best stick to what I’m used to – he’s clearly much more experienced with that kind of thing…”

The gentleman seems well pleased with this.

By the second set, poor Em’s knee is misbehaving again, and she has to resort to sitting on the bar stool we’ve cunningly set aside for just such an occasion.

Sitting down, she’s substantially taller.

So, we play the second set to an appreciative crowd, alas now bereft of dildos, until we run past the end of the music licence. Then we play another one, and call it a night.

Right then, we have no gigs planned this weekend – Ben will be busy moving house, and Em will resting her poorly leg.

After which, we should be match fit and ready to go for the next batch of gigs; as long as Ben can remember where he now lives…

Square on

23-07-2018 – The Minimalist Edition

Greetings, my children of the night…

Well, with no gigs to report on, this will be a nice short one – we’re going back to basics, I’m simply going to tell you where we’re playing this weekend, so’s you’ll know which venues to avoid…

Friday 27th – The Trout, Keynsham
A fine, energetic, boisterous – and, I have to say, a somewhat messy crowd in here means it will be a significantly entertaining evening. We’ve been working on a few new tunes lately, so you might well get to hear us play some of them for the first time.

Saturday 28th – Cat & Wheel, Gloucester Road Bristol
A fine, energetic, boisterous – and, I have to say, a somewhat messy crowd in here means it will be a significantly entertaining evening. We’ve been working on a few new tunes lately, so you might well get to hear us play some of them correctly for the first time.

And that, I think just about wraps it up. If the weather continues fair you might still find wearing our summer outfits – in my case, the redneck hobo look…

Hobo Alan

…and in Emma’s case, rocking a pair of cat’s ears…

Cat Emma

The less said about Ben and Stuart’s outfits, the better, I think…


Square on

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”

Square on

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.


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

Square on

30-10-2017 – Crutch Guitar

Hola, amigos,

Another jolly fine weekend; nice and local for a change. Friday night at the Swan in Thornbury was massively improved by the presence of some lovely old friends, who help us carry the kit in and out and buy us drinks. The rest of you take note – this is the kind of behaviour we like to see!

There are a also a couple of videos they kindly posted up on the Facebook page to commemorate the event, including some rather accomplished inflatable guitar action… Well, we like that kind of thing.

Saturday at the Trout in Keynsham was an equally lively event, particular kudos to young “Daniel” for the enthusiastic crutch air guitar – to clarify, this is a man with a shattered leg, held together by means of sophisticated medical scaffolding, who decided to hobble around on his remaining leg so he could use his walking aid to help him pretend to be Eddie Van Halen. That’s our kind of guy! (An opinion cemented when he revealed he’d injured himself by “trying to skateboard down the stairs”).

Happily, everybody made it through the night without injury – despite the proliferation of beer and broken glass sloshing about on the floor – although Stuart was nearly wiped out as he slumped exhausted in a chair after we’d finished packing the van, courtesy of a barman hoiking furniture about without due care and attention. Ben winced visibly at the near miss, although Stuart was totally oblivious to his narrow escape, and had to be informed; “You do realised you just almost got killed… in the face…”

For some reason this notion rather tickled us, as we all simultaneously pictured a Bond villain stroking his Persian cat… “Kill him. In the face.”

Anyways – a couple of weeks rest now, no gigs until nearly the end of the month. However, for those of you gagging for some rock action in the meantime, I can offer a rare chance to catch me and Stuart with our old hippy chums playing some original progtastic tunes (well, not properly progtastic, we don’t really have any songs about unicorns, or play anything in 17/56 time signatures, or anything). But, on the plus side, we don’t really have any songs about unicorns, or play anything in 17/56 time signatures…

Monday 6th – All Night Chemists, Mr Wolf’s, Bristol
We’re the second of three bands on, apparently at about 9:00; headliners claim to be a “glam punk” outfit, which should be interesting. Ben says that not only has he heard of them, but they’re rather good. Bet they don’t have any songs about unicorns, though…

Square on

30-10-2017 – Mostly Stupid

Hello my little ones,

Well, that was a weekend of Halloween fancy dress gigging silliness; earning an honorable mention for Stuart for latex face scars, and excellent cobwebby props for the kit (in particular, for “Wraith Charles” hanging from the PA); motion of censure for Ben for simply wearing two hats at once; obvious first prize to Emma for the truly terrifying “mad flesh-eating woman” look, and thanks to my Lily for making me look like quite a convincing dead person.

Apparently this was “Quite easy, actually – most of the work’s already been done…”

Friday at the New Crown Inn in Bath was enlivened by the unexpected arrival of various parts of my extended family, also in fancy dress, so I think I am excused from not instantly recognising them – although when I did, I was sufficiently surprised as to completely forget what song we were in the middle of, resulting in a rather spectacular crash-and-burn…

Stars of the night on Saturday at the Old Neighbourhood Inn in Chalford were the two little girls jumping up and down enthusiastically for most of the night; I tried keeping up, but it was hopeless, I gave up after half a song when I started seeing the purple flashing lights before my eyes.

Joke of the night:-

Emma: “So, what’s your name then, little girl?”

“It’s Mia”.

“That’s a lovely name. I’m Emma”.

Ben: “Emma – Mia. Emma… Mia… …Is there a Figaro in the house…?”

Okay, maybe you had to be there.

We just about got to the end of the second set, when the clumsy prancing dancers knocked the lights over. We finished the song, and decided to call it a night before anything expensive happened.

Coming up next week (and Emma and I are still quietly considering whether we can get away with carrying on the fancy dress thing for just a few more weeks…

Friday 3rd – The Swan, Thornbury
Nice and local (for me at least), good fun and rather looking forward to it. Even if they won’t let us dress up.

Saturday 4th – The Trout, Keynsham
They’re mad in here. Mad, rather appropriately, as a fish. Unaccountably, we seem to fit in rather well.

Also – while you’re there – just a little heads-up that the alt-retro-prog-acid-rock originals combo that Stuart and I frequent – the All Night Chemists – are playing on Monday night (6th), down at Mr Wolfs in town. We’re on around 9:00, I believe. So, if you fancied it, you could amuse yourselves by coming along and trying to guess which songs were written by our singer Rich, and which by yours truly. Handy hint – some numbers feature lyrics with deep and insightful socio-political commentary; others feature lots of widdly guitar solos…

Square on