April has been a frustrating month for the Hi-On boys. Four gigs had originally been in the book, but due to factors outside our control this had been whittled down to one. Apologies again to anyone who was planning to venture to High Wycombe, Maidstone or indeed Camberley (including the posse coming from Worcester!) - these are all in the rescheduling phase. The current economic climate is making venues and promoters alike a little more cautious. Thankfully, the recession doesn't seem to have reached as far as South Wales!
Another lengthy journey from Manic Towers has begun, and as I type I am sat aboard the train out of Paddington whisking me towards Newport. It's good to be intentionally en route to Wales - last time I wound up in Newport it was due to drunkenly getting on the wrong train at Swindon!!! No time for the obligatory pint of Guinness at Paddington, in fact barely time for a cup of cheap tasty filter coffee before boarding the train. This particular train seems to have been put together by some illiterate paeon, as the carriages from front to back are lettered A, B, E, D, C, F, G, H! Figure that one out.
...and cheap coffee!
The first portion of the journey was spent editing together a written history of this band. Look out for this going on the website soon, as soon as Adrian "there's free drink, there's free drink!" Swift can get it up. As it were.
Stonkingly, upon arrival at the venue I found a Lord-be-praised Hammond organ upstairs. HALLELUJAH! Mister Hurry was a happy boy. There I sat, armed with nothing but a pint of Guinness and my short chubby fingers, and attacked the beast with what must have been a good hour or so of prog rock keyboard machinations. There I was when Speed "it's good being small" Harris turned up with mini-Speed (no, not Duggers) in tow. Our quarters not only had plastic ivories to tinkle, but was also kitted out with drums. Some of you may note from Mr Harris's bio on the main site that he started out as a drummer, and much of the time between their arrival and the rest of the band rolling up was spent knocking out Hammond and drum arrangements of Maiden classics. We should have recorded the whole thing. As Speed rightly pointed out, it would have made for an awesome Hawkwind album.
Hammond and Guinness...
Speed 'did a Jamie' and wandered off with his little'un just a short while before the Van of Wonder and Not So Much Terror As The Other One turned up with the rest of the group. Adrian "where's the Jäger?" Swift had managed to pinpoint the venue a whole hour-and-a-half after the normal 5pm arrival time, which is in fairness pretty good for him! Around the same time my pal Andy from Caerdydd turned up, who I haven't seen for many years - at least not since Maiden played the Birmingham NEC on the Dance of Death tour! Good to see you mate, don't be a stranger!
Local lads "Bag of Bones" were in the support slot tonight, and patiently waited while we loaded the gear in and set up for a little run-through Flash of the Blade, which didn't even go into the setlist! As we were running a bit late and had a support act, the set had to be truncated slightly to meet the 11pm noise curfew. This isn't a big deal at all, unless you're a mad old bat in Ipswich. No decibel meters in Pontypool however, and once we were set up and checked we headed off upstairs to get ready. The Bones boys warmed up the crowd a treat, and in no time at all it was time to wig up and get on with it.
First off, what a crowd! Lively isn't the word for it. During the first song or two there was a bit of a cat-fight going on in front of Swifty, which I believe resulted in some spillage all over his foot pedals. No user errors occured, so hopefully all is well down there! Yours truly had forgotten his earplugs, and was having trouble hearing himself while trying to stay away from standing in front of his amplifier. In a small place like this, you tend not to mic up the amps. Stand in front of them, and the sound doesn't carry quite so well. Especially when your arse is as big as mine! At any rate, good performances all round. Jonno "text sex!" Lodge was on fine form as our stand-in drummer. Bruce "I love playing with this band" Dugginson was almost knocked into Jonno during last song thanks to some rather over-enthusiastic moshing from the punters, and I nearly had a glass in the face from the same incident. Despite that it was great to see the crowd having a great time and getting into it.
After the show is a bit of a blur. I know there was plenty of Guinness, countless shots of ye olde Jägermeister and probably some other stuff as well. Good times! I'm known as the band member who can hold his drink, but I must admit after drinking as much as I did I had to retire a short while before the rest of the band in order to maintain this illusion! I was awoken a little while later to find a large dog sharing the bed with me, which was most unexpected!
The next morning brought with it the prospect of packing down the gear. The Harris's had naffed off the night before - in fact I think this weekend Speed managed to get away without humping a single piece of equipment! We'll have to do something about that next time.
I waved cheerio to the van as it whisked my pals away, and wandered off to Ponty train station to start the long journey home. A thoroughly enjoyable gig. Thanks again to Jonno for stepping in for this gig, and thanks to the lovely folk at the Hog for putting us up / putting up with us / getting us wrecked. Most enjoyable, get us booked back in soon yeah?!
Back at Dartford...
Til next time,
Dave "not enough notes on this thing" Hurry
PS: Jonno, saw this on the way home and thought of you...!!!