Wednesday, 24 February 2010

"Pride in the name of love"

Again I have to apologise for the dearth of written word of late, it certainly isn’t due to the lack of things to write about I can assure you, I have heaps. It is that I have been struggling to find the time to metaphorical put pen to paper.

Not that I am complaining I promise you.

A decade ago I thought that my opportunity for creativity and especially for music was over. However, ten years on I am almost overwhelmed with articles that need writing and gigs that need playing. And for this I am eternally grateful.

So please do not give up on me just yet and if like this entry, the writing is rushed and the spelling and grammar a little, shall we say, off, then accept my apologies and trust that I am not getting sloppy, I just want to give you something to read on a more regular basis than of late.

Last night, at The Louisianna, a popular venue in Bristol, I was reminded why I got into rock & roll in the first place.

The gig was always going to be a little weird as we had been booked as a band to be sandwiched between two heavy metal bands. Real rock if you like. They actually wanted us to headline but we prefer the middle spot for a variety of very good reasons too long and boring to go into here. However, our drummer CJ found himself sent on an important course at the last minute and Aaron and I found ourselves in the position of playing acoustically.

This isn’t a problem as we have done this before and already have a reputation for being a couple of ‘nutters’. So we should fit in.

However, it had been a long week, and it was only Tuesday and to be honest I really had lost interest in the gig, which isn’t what I am normally like at all.

We had got out of work late and got a phone call from the venue asking where we were as we were late for the sound check. I thought at first that this was a little pushy as we were only two acoustic players, they could sound check us at the drop of a hat. However; the reason for the panic was revealed when we got there…the headline act had pulled out.

“You’re going to have to headline lads” was the opening response from the Californian sound engineer. Actually that’s not quite true, his first words were to apologies for us having been put in this position. That position was to be following a hard core heavy rock band……I don’t think so!

“Look pal, we can play for three hours if you want us to, but there is not way in this world or the next that we are following a band sporting that many tattoos”

However; as is often the case in these situations, they turned out to be the nicest bunch of blokes and as they had brought along a large crowd, and not one single person had come to see us they were more that happy to take the hallowed spot.

We were given a nice large chunck of time to perform and bang on 9pm we hit the stage and rocked our socks off!!

The thing about The Loaders (that’s our acoustic name in case you were wondering), we are on a mission to prove that it is not only doom laden, cheese cloth wearing, patuli oil smelling folkies that get to play the acoustic guitar. No it’s dyed in the wool punks and rockers that get to create mayhem on a Tuesday night to an audience of heavy metal heads that look like they would eat us if they didn’t like what we were playing.

We worked hard, we sweated buckets, I tore the back of my throat clean out, strings were snapped, guitars were hammered and nothing was safe as we tore through every punk orientated song we knew….and the crowd loved it.

Talk about a positive response.

I think that people are genuinely surprised by the passion that can come out of a) acoustic guitars, and b) a bloke in his near 50’s performing with his son.

As we swapped places with the headline much back slapping and words of encouragement was to be had “That was f***** awesome man…you rock”

Mind you the best was to come. As the band took to the stage and having pinned my ears back against the back wall the guitarist using his best Anglo Saxon expletives thanked The Loaders for our set and then said “I wish he was my dad”.

Aaron was choked. I missed what he said due to the newly acquired state deafness that had rendered me in a state of total confusion and I thought he had said that he wished that somebody had been his ‘lad’.

Anyway, on the long walk to the car in the rain, Aaron patted the old man affectionately on the back and mutter “proud of you dad”.

Now that to me is what rock and roll is all about.