Hello Cluny 2- I remember you!
The stage has moved to a better place and the Monochrome Set were checking when I got there.
Rupert and Phoebe from Big Pink Yacht were there already and it was really nice to see them again and yak with them in the dressing room.
Caryne and Dave had set up the merch stall; the Monochrome Set have a new album out, Maisieworld on the German label Tapete (home to Friedrich Sunlight and Louis Philippe, amongst others) and are touring to promote it.
Big Pink Yacht did a neat set of songs that somehow pulled in influences both from California and the Celtic world; they sing wonderful harmonies together. Their lead singer Imogen plays the fiddle and guitar, Rupert plays electric and acoustic, Phoebe plays bass and John plays drums.Their music is positive and joyful, and they opened the night with a set of catchy, well-arranged songs. I can't wait to hear their first album.
After regaining confidence at last night's gig, I was really looking forward to playing. The audience seemed to be in good spirits and I liked the heckled requests- I did play Let's Make Up, but I'm not ever going to play Thrush again, chaps! I felt very happy afterwards and played some new stuff. Thank you for the friendly reception, Newcastle Monochrome Set audience; it meant an awful lot to me to have a good gig in my home town.
The Monochrome Set took to the stage and roared through their set, mixing up older songs with brand new ones. They had leaping fans down the front who knew all the words and sang along with great dramatic gusto. I couldn't help singing along with The Monochrome Set (I have to, its automatic), and Love Goes Down The Drain sounded brilliant; Maisieworld sounded great too. Basically, Andy Warren is one of my all-time favourite bass players; I remember seeing them at The Moonlight Club in West Hampstead when I was in The Chefs and thinking 'When I grow up, I'm going to have an Ampeg bass stack like Andy Warren's'. I never did, but the bass playing is still up there with the gods. They have 'That bloke from the Blue Orchids' as Vic Godard calls him, on keyboards; he favours an organ sound and after Fay Fife's gig yesterday, what can I say? Organs are big this year.
Bid was in great voice in spite of having a cold (he refused a Fisherman's Friend) and they got a well-deserved encore.
The Monochrome Set gave Helen and the Horns one of our first gigs, at Kingston Polytechnic and Vanessa was there- hi Vanessa!- originally Mike their drummer was going to be in the band, and Lester Square too although rehearsing just with the horns ended up with playing just with the horns.
What an odd turnip for the books. I've just sung on Lester's album (another good 'un) and was sorry to miss the 40th anniversary gig at The Lexington when he returned to the band for the weekend.
Mega thanks to Michael Clunkie for inviting me to play on Friday. It was a really good night for everyone and I was so excited that I couldn't sleep a wink when I got back to the hotel in the armpit of the Tyne Bridge.