We had a sunny run down to Norwich, and met Ana and Shirley (the Raincoats' manager) at Olives, which was being set up ready for the gig.
Peter Lyell, who runs The Chefs website, came along to say hello; we had never met before and he had another thing to do but I told him about the new Chefs album. The site is here:
Multiple wire-tanglings and lead-swoppings later, the sound checks were done and we were ready to go.
The venue filled up very quickly, and I went on first and played a full set, which I don't often get a chance to do. The audience were really up for everything, which was good luck as it's sometimes scary opening for artists with established credentials, which was what happened last night.
I'd never seen Ana play before and I really enjoyed her set, especially the song about the disco ball! Ana has a poetic way with words and performed in front of a real-time film of the lighthouse off the coast of Sunderland. Gina played some of her set with the DVDs but the wire-tanglings and lead-swoppings kicked in and she abandoned the films, proceeding to prove her mettle as a proper punky song-writer, funny and perceptive and dramatic all at the same time. She had me (and a lot of other people) in stitches with her song about secrets and gossip. I saw Richard (Penguin, the promoter) appear with a gleam in his eye, and sit down next to Gina and Ana with a persuasive look, and after Gina's set Ana joined her onstage, Gina picked up the bass and they launched into Fairytale at the Supermarket. Three more Raincoats songs later and the audience went home satisfied.
It was a good-natured evening indeed, and I hope we will be doing more in 2012, possibly with Pauline Murray too.