I met Vic in February just as I started booking the tour; by September, I reckoned that touring on my own would become lonesome, and so I booked these gigs back then. Actually, touring has been the opposite of lonesome, but after recording and gigging with Vic and seeing Bitter Springs live a couple of times, this was bound to be fun. The Musician was a surprise; I thought I'd played there before with Martin Stephenson but actually, that was a pub called The Donkey (someone told me later).
The sound guy on Thursday, Malcolm, was incredible. He really knows the venue, and got the band sounding really good. Some good friends turned up and the general atmosphere was great from the outset. It was fun. Lolly turned up, having chucked her mobile with the e-ticket on it down the loo. It makes me laugh every time I think about it; the plaintive email! I really enjoyed playing in spite of Simon heckling for Thrush every five minutes. No way, hosepipe! I did play Let's Make Up for Lolly (there were some other Chefs fans there but I didn't realise till the end). And peeps sang the backing vocals for The Sea magnificently. Thanks to June for the vid:
Bitter Springs next; every time I hear their songs, I like them more and more. They were playing at the Lexington a couple of weeks ago, but have gained a guitarist and Kevin-the-keyboards since then. It is impossible to mentally map these bands. At Vic's retirement do, there seemed to be about a hundred drummers pacing up and down itching to get at the sticks. At this gig, Simon broke a multitude of strings, but they carried on and played a a storming set with Love Rat being a real stand-out.
After a short break, Vic and the band started up; soon, Vic was down to his vest (inside out, as a member of the audience shouted). The microphone was collapsing, lyric sheets were spread over the stage, anecdotes were spilling out of everyone (The Wizard used to be the fattest, but he left, and now Simon is the fattest, or possibly Paul, the drummer). Vic told us about writing a song called A Challenge For Robin Hood because he knows no-one's written a song with that title before (except me. I'm writing one tonight to beat him to it. He's gigging tonight. I'll get it finished by midnight!). The singalong songs came thick and fast: Born to be a Rebel, The Addison Brothers (sung with Simon, and with much ado about harmonicas).
I've just remembered Simon's impersonation of Vic answering the phone at the Royal Mail when he found out that Vic was also a postman! Pure Dot Cotton! Ha ha! It was so funny! And then the story of the club with the revolving stage with an awful covers band, and then the stage revolved and there was an even worse covers band. It was like being at one of their rehearsals, except it was a gig with proper songs going on. I think they felt that too. 'Someone fucking start!', shouted someone, and they fucking started the next song. They finished the set with Retirement Day; by this time Vic was showing us his dance moves (what a mover!) and Simon was sporting a very fetching Benny hat. They got a deserved encore; it was a really great night with such fantastic songsmithery from both bands. I am so looking forward to Ramsgate!
After we'd all had a good old yak with audience people, the band all packed up and drove home; I stayed in a hotel as I was worried about falling asleep at the wheel. There was an unfortunate acoustic effect caused by the hotel courtyard. I could hear every single bonking couple amplified to full volume- an orchestra of orgasms- followed by every Loud Bloke argument in the car park in the cigarette corner. Then after what seemed like five minutes sleep, a mega, mega, mega loud bin lorry started wheezing and clashing at maximum volume. I looked at my phone: 5.30 a.m. Nearly just got in my car and drove home, but finally nodded off. Not staying in Ramsgate under any circumstances!
Ticket link for Ramsgate Music Hall next Friday: https://www.ticketweb.uk/event/vic-godard-bitter-springs-ramsgate-music-hall-tickets/7473925?pl=ramsgatemusichall&edpPlParam=%3Fpl%3Dramsgatemusichall