Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Troubadour

What a funny few days it's been. On Friday I got a text from Tom halfway through the evening asking to borrow the Melodica. I left it in the front garden for him to pick up at midnight, just like an MI5 drop; very exciting.
So Saturday.. well, the Troubadour hosted The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan in the olden days, and here we were, revisiting the 1980s in 2008!
It was friendly from the start; Daniel Takes a Train (pic) were sound-checking when I got there, very excited at what's happening for them. I did a line check amd then the other support act, Jack and Luke from St Albans, did theirs, charmingly enough with their capos on different frets of their guitars! They were on first and sang catchy songs in unison. They did a couple of covers, which I didn't like so much; their own songs suit their onstage characters and they just need to write a couple more and they're there.
My bit was fine, apart from a very rude woman who shrieked with laughter at her friend's conversation all the way through until McSis got up and told her to shut up and go somewhere else. She was so relentless that one guy actually picked up his stool and positioned himself in front of her next to the stage so he could listen. Otherwise though the crowd were great- Ian and Sue came all the way from Maidenhead (hello!) and it was nice to see them; and some of the crowd were clapping along to Poetry and Rhyme. So I was a happy bunny about that and could relax and really enjoy the set by Daniel Takes a Train. I hadn't realised or remembered how much Paul Davey featured in their songs- he's a central part of what they do and he played really well. At one point, Paul Baker, the driving force behind the band, gloated about nickng him form Helen and the Horns, looking at me with a sparkle in his eye. Paul Baker's funny- he introduced the backing singer as 'Emma Smith from 'ammersmith', and made a wry comment about their song 'You Can Never Win' and what might happen to them in the competition.
It was time-warp pop, but very good nonetheless- their songs are memorable, sometimes sounding a bit Duranish but actually much more tender and less bombastic. I particularly liked 'The Honeymoon's Over' with its nod in the direction of 'It's Not Unusual'; I was very impressed by the songwriting skills actually. 'Change' was another really good one. It's the sort of music you'd hear in a slick cop film or something- very well rehearsed with a jazz flavour but not so much you lose track of the pop. The atmosphere was totally infectious; the dedicated fans stood on the benches and danced along, forgetting their beer-bellies, absolutely blissed out with enjoyment. Everyone in the audience just had a fantastic time; it was odd, but very special too, and the excitement of the band was palpable.
On my way out, a woman said something to me that more than made up for the shoutinglady who almost wrecked my set. 'That was beautiful, Helen'. Thank you, whoever you are, may you receive a free Snickers every day for the rest of your life.
Knackered, I left to go to West Brompton Tube Station, only to find that the District and Circle Line was totally constipated by the anti-Boris revellers and their boozefest. I RAN to Earl's Court and grabbed a Piccadilly Line to get home, accompanied on my way by a few sad revellers who had not managed to be trapped by the police on the District and Circle and who wandered around, lost, like the little boy left behind when the Pied Piper stole all the children of Hamelin and took them into his mountain den.

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