Thursday, 2 June 2016

Crowning Glory

         Another  momentous Wednesday night. After spending a sad afternoon at a friend's funeral, it was good to be upliftedand cheered up  in the evening by another big audience at Nuneaton and some fine individual performances at The Crown. My old bass playing friend from Black Parrot Seaside Rock days Martin Smalldon surprised me by turning up in a BPS tour jacket! I  hadn't  seen him for over thirty years!  Known then as Mandrago Proudfire, and with Vance drumming, they provided a powerful platform for our six piece in many midlands venues including an early Godiva Festival outdoors in The Memorial Park!   
       When we arrived, the place was a little disorganised. Jules and Sam had rushed out to greet their newly arrived grandson (Congratulations Kadee!). The room upstairs thus had a Marie Celeste look about it and it took us a while to locate all the chairs and tables! Blessed with not one but TWO young and enthusiastic Sound Engineers, we continued experimenting with using NFC equipment only, with the eventual target of not having to drag Jules away from his tea every time we need to set the stage up!
    Despite a lot of sound checks to get through, we started on time. After Nunc had opened with " Down Where The Drunkards Roll" and " T'was on an April Morning,"  Matt Mallen Allen made his debut. Operating from behind the mike (as opposed to behind the mixing desk, we had cruelly fazed him by opening with his second intended number. He did an excellent version of Fairport's "Walk Awhile" and then hurriedly shunted an alternative forward from his own set list.    
     Two more Nuneaton virgins made their debut next-Campbell and Jan Perry. Welcome aboard!  In rapid succession we then had excellent spots from Brian Phillips, Malc Gurnham (solo!) KC Jones and Dragonhead-who I have to say got the joint literally rocking.
     Daisybell (great name) then calmed things down a bit with a set of great quality to finish an epic first half.. Mellow, well-crafted harmonies and thoughtful, beautifully constructed songs.  Well done, ladies!
      Second half, running very late,we had to deprive Crown Regulars of a special treat pre-planned for them. Dragonhead and Nunc had intended to combine on a second half starter featuring a Buddy Holly medley. Oh well. Another time, hopefully. We had a monster raffle to draw, thanks to generous donations, and it was imperative to give people a generous helping of John Kearney. The man in the floral shirt did not disappoint as he drew a tremendous evening to a close. Simply the best I have ever heard or seen him. Brian Phillips and John are fortunate enough to be able to be fine musicians but are also both excellent stand-up comics. (God help us all if they ever get together!).  
       John has the enviable gift of being able to swap from outrageous, witty comic songs to haunting lullabies and ballads. He held the audience entranced with "Tiny Lights" and a lullaby, then got them roaring along with "DownTown," his Irish Reggae, and the anthemic "Jolly Boys."
      Another massive audience (thank you Nuneaton), and another super night. (Thank you Performers). How do we top that? Next month is only WINTER WILSON!