Settle: photo by Chalfont Don
What a week: it started with the Console-ing passions conference at Leicester De Montfort University (well, of course, it started with Monday but that was an admin/preparation day). The conference was fizzing with energy and I saw some really interesting presentations. At the end, 40 of us went for a curry, the repercussions of which lasted all week and are still with me now, but this is not a medical blog so nuff said about that!
It was a day's cross-country travel to Settle but John (guitar) and Kate (drums) from The Daintees were waiting on the platform at Leeds so we trained it through the hills with our mountain of black zip-up instrument cases and loaded them into the boot of a taxi whose slightly stunned driver had been recently deafened by a chain-saw accident (had we stumbled into Deliverance?).
Once we had collected ourselves and the rest of the entourage, we headed down to the Victoria Hall for the sound check. (I had narrowly avoided a red-face situation by mistaking the hotel's landscape gardening van for the tour bus and rushing out to do star-jumps on the gravel: noticed the gardener's puzzled expression just in time).
The host, Anne, had made cakes (what a welcome!) and the band set up and checked. The venue is lovely- an old Victorian music hall type venue with a balcony, a warren of back rooms, freshly painted and full of good vibes. The sound was crystal clear.
I played a set which I really enjoyed: the audience was a listening and smiling audience and The Daintees had packed the venue. The band went on and played a great set, joined later on by Martin's daughter Phoebe for Crocodile Cryer and later still by Mike Harding who wasn't keen on performing The Rochdale Cowboy even though Jim Hornsby had played on the original track (and Jim was on stage for several numbers). Mike turned out to be a really good blues harp player and rocked through a blues song with good heart and a lot of soul.
So back to the hotel, sitting round the table with our band stories, then off the next day through the rain to Liverpool.
The venue in Liverpool was the exact opposite: even the stairs were sticky and everything was well-worn and rock-black. The sound was crystal clear again and this night the band were extremely tight and punchy. A couple of women in the audience sang every song at the tops of their voices- they were great singers and it really added to the atmosphere. Martin was timing the set for Glastonbury the next day (only 35 minutes) and the show was smooth and immaculately played.
More later- it's breakfast time!