Andy and Tina, who promote the gigs at The Keys, are the perfect hosts. The table is set with sandwiches and cakes (coffee and walnut, chocolate and a vanilla sponge) and the concert goers have a pie and pea supper.
Everyone had been caught in traffic on the way to the gig and it was a stressful beginning, but the pine tables were thronging and the Gary Stewart band started the evening with a well- rehearsed set (they are playing the Bedford in Balham tonight). I'd been intending to play some new songs but had a stressful journey although I did play an old one, Memento Mori, which I wrote in honour of my grandmother. Martin joined me for a feisty finish on Heaven Avenue and Loverman. And every time I play Feathers it seems to strike a chord (ahem) with a couple of people in the audience. There are a lot of bullies around so I'm glad I've written a song in defiance of them!
After the pie and peas had been put away in the assembled tummies, the audience sat back for a good old Daintees treatment. The band are in fine fettle; Kate's drumming is lyrical, Lou is relaxed ad
and clearly enjoying every minute of it and John's guitar playing perfectly complements Martin's (and he plays a mean harmonica too). Both Lou and John do great backing vocals too, always bang on cue. The set was full of favourites: Long Forgotten, Louis Cafe, Crocodile Cryer, Nancy, Little Red Bottle... and a lovely surprise, after Nutella have used Morning Time on the ad in Australia: somehow after about fifteen years Martin remembered how to play it and did an absolutely brilliant spontaneous version with lots of ad libbing and improvisation. He has got to be one of the best finger pickets around today, not just with style but with a feel that I have never heard anyone else come near. Shouts out to the red haired rockabilly girls at the front who smiled all the way through!
After the gig we sat outside the hotel drinking tea and coffee and winding down with the hubbub of Huddersfield's Saturday night audible in the cool night air amongst the geraniums. The hotel man is a rockabilly fan so the evening's anecdotes were mostly rockabilly ones. At our age (over 200 years between us) we have rock'n'roll stories about almost every genre of music!