Sunday, November 27, 2022

Wasbo Derek, Dog of Man and Me

What a lovely afternoon! We got there a bit early and chatted to Mark Asbo-bass and Joe Asbo-keyboards before soundcheck time. Everything ran a bit late, or rather everything was laid back, which is entirely as it should be for an afternoon gig. I didn't get to sound check until five minutes after I was due to be on stage for my set. I thought there'd be nobody there but as soon as the doors opened, about 40 people flowed in, including Pete, Lisa and Jonathan, Steve Clements and June Miles-Kingston of the Mo-Dettes and her husband. The atmosphere was so friendly you could scoop it up in handfuls, and I thoroughly enjoyed playing, with Steve the super-sound-engineer behind the mixing desk and everyone in the audience willing to sing At The Bathing Pond with me. This was supposed to be a gig shared with my brother James McCallum, who was still coughing after a bout of Covid, so our bro-and-sis spectacular with Chefs songs has been put off till the New Year, and our London date at The Bestey Trotwood on the 25th of January will now be our first together-gig.

Fortunately for me, the venue mis-spelled my name not only once but twice, and the smutty 'McCockerybook' poster was the inspiration for the ever so slightly smutty bathing pond song, which you can hear, here:

I sort of wished I'd had time to work out Thrush ( to play under the circumstances, or perhaps Three of Them ( but kept The Chefs covers to just Let's Make Up ( on this occasion.

I finished with The Bad Apple song, and here's part of it:

So here come Wasbo Derek! But where was Jem? 

'Downstairs!', said the audience, knowledgeably. 

For a moment the band was Priceless (see what I did just there?), and Mark bravely began to sing a folk-song, solo. But Jem charged in, and the set began. They played 100% more tightly than last time I saw them, when they were just getting used to their new drummer Kaya Kendall, who I was happy to see plays without cymbals (oh so very Bow Wow Wow, and so very effective!). We clapped for Brian, who was very much there in spirit, even though the band has an entirely new set. Darcy guitarred for England, Joe boosted the sound perfectly with his keyboards, Mark underpinned the lot with his deftly-wielded bass, and Jem roared though the songs with such bonhomie that I can't imagine anyone who walked in feeling sad could possibly not have walked out happy. I love the Be Nimble song all the more for being free of Teams and it's horrible boosterish jargon now I'm no longer an academic, and the Nice song was remarkable. Jem commanded 'Sway' almost nonchalantly, and immediately the whole audience started swaying in perfect synchronisation. How that happen?

Kaya came out from behind the drums to sing a poignant song about trafficked (I mistyped that as 'traffucked', perhaps aptly) women working in nail bars, and their fellow-travellers perishing in containers on their journey to the UK as refugees. It was really effective: she has a great singing voice and it was all the more powerful for being embedded in the general silliness of some of the other songs. The new material is oh-so catchy and it was great to hear it all again. I do so love Asbo Derek, both as individual people and as a band. I couldn't imagine a better way to spend a chilly November afternoon.

Last band of the day was Dog of Man, a band bigged-up by Attila the Stockbroker today on his F*cebook page. They are a four-piece, led by an accordion player who looked as though he could have managed the whole set as a solo performer. But they also had guitar, bass and drums, really excellent players who put in a powerful set: I made mental notes along the lines of 'Prodigy meets Queen meets Black Sabbath', but I'm usually completely wrong, and will probably be corrected at some point.

The Prince Albert is a venue that, like the Lexington, in London feels like home to me. It's wonderful to be on that stage and in that company, including the little fly (probably more a midge than a fly) that always passes across the stage at head-level, every time I play there. 

I wonder if it's recording little midge bootlegs to sell to its mates?

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a good night.

    One thing I miss are the 'sampler' albums. Vaultage 78 & 79, 'Norwich - a fine city' (same years), the Moonlight Club album. I suppose people just stick their own stuff online these days, but a town specific collection was always a good listen. And if you buy it for the 'big name' you also get exposed to the smaller bands.

    I spent a long time trying to hunt down a sampler, possibly from Hull, possibly called 'Mrs Wilsons Children', and possibly including a band called 'Good for Snogging'. I should have paid more attention to what John Peel was saying.