Sunday, 22 June 2014

" And I'll drink a Health.." *

Nuneaton Beer Festival

  ( *.."to me Creole Girl "- from  The Lakes of Ponchartrain.)

    If you'll excuse the pun, Beer and Cider Festivals are an acquired taste. Not everyone enjoys playing them, and not everyone can get the balance of their set(s) right. Touch wood, we tend to do all right at them. (Can't think why!) The CAMRA boys from Nunny obviously knew what we were about when they invited us on the strength of a turn we did at Church End Brewery last month. We ripped it up, last night, as the young folks say.
    After an enjoyable but truncated appearance elsewhere in Nuneaton last month, it was good to be back on "home turf" and to be able to complete two full sets, in front of a large, appreciative and (for the most part)  only mildly drunk audience. It was many  decades ago when we last appeared in the Town Centre, at The notorious Granby Head. We'd also played the Arts Centre and Nuneaton Town Football Stadium previously. And at King Edward Grammar School we once played support to East of Eden in a set many still recall um.....fondly. But last night we were in sight and sound of Rope Walk Shopping Mall and The Ringway. Doesn't get any more central than that.
      Things were running a little late when I arrived and so I was able to have a chat with Green Man Steve Bentley, who was  looking even more elegant and suave than he does in his various stage personas. And I chatted to a few Boro' fans who had noticed I was wearing last season's Away top. We were able also to enjoy some of the previous set by Treebeard. They did some nice folky, country and contemporary stuff. We didn't actually take to the stage (and boy what a stage!...-lights-an apron-a proscenium-steps-what a hidden gem!) -until about 6.20pm. So apologies to anyone who came earlier and missed us. 
   We had the full five piece "Big Band" format, as advertised previously-me, Malc, Arnie, Mick and Dave. We used Malc's incredible "stick" P.A. which looks like a bunkhouse stove but really pumps out some power. Driven rather well by guest Parrot Sound engineer Gill Gilsenan. Here's the full set list:

All Over Now: The Whistler: The Gravy Train: Black Jack David: If I had Possession: The Odeon: Bring it on Home: Lakes of Ponchartrain :Albert Balls.


Requiem for Steam :Vigilante Man: On Bedduff Bank : Over The Hills and Far Away: Need Your Love So Bad: Peggy Gordon: Down Our Street :Folking Liberty      
   Some Encores are stage managed, some are engineered by bands, but we had genuinely finished at this point, and so were staggered by the reception we got, after saying our goodbyes. We had taken a few liberties with the audience and they'd responded appropriately, so we thought, having lost Gars so recently,  we'd do" Vacuum Cleaner,"as our final reprise. 

   Wow! Good call! The audience, many liberally soaked in beers from Oakham, St Albans and our three Nuneaton Breweries, responded vigorously. On the last evening of a two day festival, heading towards the Amnesia Hour, perhaps those words don't seem quite so surreal. Only one table didn't join in but they were so mashed they were focussed on winning every remaining raffle prize on the CAMRA stall.   Must have spent a fortune.                          
     Ray Buckler and Co. really looked after us well. We had our own individually labelled beer glasses-do Foo Fighters on Tour even get that? At one stage we could see the entire bar staff dancing to " The Odeon!" Our thanks to Security, stewards, Parrotteers and helpers who turned out, to make it a very enjoyable evening. On to Market Bosworth AleFest next month?  Hic!