What an amazing venue. It's totally un-health-and-safety and all the better for it. The longer it resists being ironed and folded the better; the floors are uneven, there's a brick thing in one corner that could be another room that has collapsed, and the warehouse-style doors let in the night light from the street lights outside. Hooray for down-and-out!
Last night's gig was an annual event in tribute to the late John Peel and it was a privilege to be invited to play. I am almost at the end of a solid 16-day workfest (I have some legal bills to pay later this year to keep the roof over my head) and was feeling lumpen on the train on the way there but a quick meal with the Offsprogs coupled with a warm welcome from the promoters soon set me up.
I was taken by the fact that the lead singer from the Flaming Stars was so polite and friendly, too. Sometimes main bands can be stand-offish but he went and shook hands with everyone. They play at the Dirty Water Club in London and I will go to see them there (last night I had to get a train home before they played to be here to work this morning).
I thought I'd be playing to an empty room but people filtered in and in the end there was a goodly crowd. I mixed in some Chefs tracks including a disastrous version of Northbound Train whose walking bassline went all over the place without asking (why? It sounded fine when I rehearsed it) and a version of 24 Hours which I managed to keep bowling along with the help of some vigorous foot-tapping by one of the Chrisp brothers and which got a big cheer at the end. I talked too much to get Freight Train in there which I regretted when I met a Helen and the Horns fan at the bar. Thanks to the sound guy my guitar sounded suitably rocky and I have to say that I really enjoyed playing and pulled in some songs I don't often play as well. I loved playing Let's Make Up from the Chefs, and also My Ambitious Friend; grr here comes Chrissie-Hynde McCookerybook! They are a bit more ruffty-tuffty than some of the more melody-based songs that I normally play and I almost yelled when singing. Almost.
I'd like to play again in Brighton soon and I hope I will, possibly at the Prince Albert; or maybe I'll go and busk in the November winds on the sea front and entertain those grumpy seagulls.