Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It is a truth universally acknowledged...

...that any pub covers band in possession of a set list must be in want of someone to tell them what they’ve missed off it. In the past, apres show, I’ve had to explain why we’ve dropped one song from the set (two of the members of the band who knew had left the previous year and we’d not got round to replacing it), why we do one James number rather than another, and why, honestly, I’d rather not have anything to do with ‘Mustang Sally’ if that’s okay with everyone else. Well, I say ‘explain’ - mostly it involves nodding as if in rapt attention while being on the receiving end of a polemic on the subject of intra-group politics that really should be written down and addressed to some sort of discussion forum in order to fully realize its potential for putting the world’s affairs in order. To be fair though, they are probably right, they probably do know better than I what should be on the set list, how it should be played and what the encore should be. Furthermore, they’re generally not the sort of person who looks like they’d bilk a non-paying audience by finishing at two minutes to one in the morning after a Springsteen-esque three set session beforehand instead of on the dot of the hour, and certainly not the types to feel a twinge of ennui when faced with someone shouting “Come on - earn your fucking money!” during the now-traditional breather between the end of the second set and another half hour’s musical diversity to close the evening. Not like me.
A couple of weeks ago Picturehouse played at a social club. The function room at this place is the merest thickness of a sliding room-partition away from the bar where we were, and so when we set up we were pleased to hear that the wedding reception disco next door was of the gentle, non-Granny frightening variety, which meant that we were free to turn on, tune up and rock out, as is our wont. Barry had brought his Flying V and I my semi-acoustic, just to add a little flavour of variety to events, and by the end of the night the gig was so rockin’ that even the bride from next door was cutting a rug on our side of the great divide declaring it to be a “great party”, while on the shoulders of a gently bouncing Dad a three year-old earnestly mimed along with the drummer with a look of such serious concentration that I missed the cues for several choruses in the last number through being too busy laughing at the joyous absurdity of the situation to play properly. Afterwards I was approached as I completed my post-gig ablutions. “Aw man!” said the guy, “I can’t believe you didn’t play ‘Sex on Fire’!” and then sang a bit of the chorus to me, which while you're in a gentlemen's lavatory with your whole world in your hands, is a mildly diverting experience, take it from me.

While I'm still finding this sort of thing funny or absurd it's still all well and good, but before too long I can see that going to the pub with my mates is going to morph seamlessly into going to work with some people I know quite well. I was out from six o'clock in the evening until two in the morning last week, and although (don't get me wrong!) I enjoyed spending the wages of sing the next day at a festival, there was point at which the disco chick rave showcase which followed us (backing track, two songs, floor filled and out) started looking increasingly attractive as a career option. How many roadies must a man run down before you can call him a man who needs to lighten up about things? So I'm backing away slowly, remarking casually in passing how warm the kitchen's gotten recently, before nipping out of the back door for a fag in the car park, and allowing Picturehouse to move on to the next phase of its metamorphosis - maybe into that three piece the guys were talking about a couple of years ago, or into a fifteen piece mariarchi marching band, or maybe they can finally start work on that Rock Opera of the life of Jack the Ripper? "Wow, guys!" I'll be saying to them at the glittering West End premiere, "I can't believe you didn't do 'Saucy Jack'!"
In the meantime, so long Picturehouse, and thanks for all the stories about Mr. Fish.

Last chance to come and shout "Do you do any Wings?" in an amusing post-ironic fashion;
Sunday July 5th - Ipswich Music Day, Christchurch Park, BBC Suffolk stage 17:00
Saturday July 11th - The Falcon, High Road, Walton, Felixstowe, 19:00
Friday July 31 - The Pickerel, Stowmarket, 21:00
Saturday August 1st - The Waggon, Wix, 21:00
Thursday August 6th - The Cork Bar, Sea Road, Felixstowe, 21:00

See other news and confirmation of continuing Picturehouse live dates for the rest of the year at http://www.picturehousebigband.com/

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