Monday, October 06, 2008

From Sweaty Badgers to WWII

Four very different gigs!

I decided that I am going to 'get out there' and play more. After all, I'm a musician! So on Thursday night, I went to the Doctor's Tonic in Welwyn Garden City and played at their acoustic evening open mic night. I went with Ted, my friend from Denmark, and because we hadn't booked him a spot, we shared. But we were on late - before us came...

The two lads singing songs about a Spaniel in Calipers, My Mutant Wedding, The Sweaty Badger... they were not great performers but highly entertaining!

Then came some lads with loud guitars, voices, and no sense of tune or rhythm but hey, they were up there and doing it! There was a lad with a guitar who sang very sensitively and played well, then there was a lovely young lady who sang two unaccompanied Alicia Keys songs beautifully. It was a diverse evening indeed - she was followed by this bloke (50s I'd say) who got up on the stage as if he owned it! He could play, he could sing, but his songs were rubbish and his attitude put me right off. He was joined by a strange man with wild hair, a very colourful stripy jumper and a velvet jacket. He sang in a weird way and with such volume and emotion that at one point he looked like Violet Elizabeth, stamping her feet and clenched fists.

I went to the 'green room' behind the stage to get my guitar in tune at this point. There were three lads, waiting to go on next. I thought perhaps they could play. They were confident, cheerful (a little drunk) and one lad had the most beautiful hair! I discovered that the young lad with the lovely hair was a bass player too. When his enthusiasm for bass playing showed his mates said 'Are you hitting on the lady?' - my, the look of horror on the poor lad's face. Made me laugh.

Anyway, whilst we were chatting backstage the strange man was singing louder and louder, stamping his little booties and yelling 'Car ... Crash...' with great emotion. I think actually it was probably a great performance, just wrong time and wrong place perhaps?

When I went on stage to play, not many people were left. Well, let's face it, most of the audience probably had school the next day. I played a couple of songs, they listened. One of the people left in the audience was a frantic scribbler. All night he had been drawing, but I never saw what. The interesting thing was that he drew whilst looking at his subjects, never at the paper. Ted said 'yeah, but have you seen how much chalk he's got on his trousers?'.

Ted joined me on stage for two more numbers of his, and they seemed to go down well. Backstage afterwards, one of the guys involved in the running of the place came to see us. He's keen to run a folk night sometime. Well, Mungo, why not!

That was my Thursday evening - on the Friday I went to the Red Lion folk night with Ted and my pal from work, Dan, plus Mel and her mate Rosie. It was a fun evening, lots of people and very relaxed.

Saturday night we played at one of the Rougham Airfield events - with Penni, Bryan, Baz and myself. Ted joined in too on the bodhran. We had a really fun evening. The tent was flapping like a bird's wing on the motorway and the rain was aiming to get in any angle it could. But we played loud, mad, and extemporising all over the place (well, it could be cleaned up in the morning). The audience comprised stall holders from the air show - and participants who had remained in costume. That included both German and British uniforms.

Sunday night I played at an acoustic stage in Loughton. When Ted and I had arrived Keith, the organiser, was asleep in the corner! keith started the night off playing guitar and singing. I'd volunteered to go on early - having never played there before. I sang one of my few speedy songs, then thought 'oh what the hell' and sang a traditional folk song. The audience listened, and were appreciative, though what went down really well that night was the sing along stuff performed by the regulars. One lad sange some Johnny Cash songs, whilst others did stuff like Oasis, Paul Weller, Beatles etc. Keith's son, Rob, sang. He was about 22 and had the most amazing voice! Another lad called Danny also sang, he had a lovely voice too. Keith accompanied them on guitar, competently playing anything they wanted.

It was different - not like a folk club at all - but really nice. Very different to the acoustic club in Welwyn Garden City, different from the Red Lion and different from playing in a tent in the middle of Suffolk in the pouring rain.
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