Monday, 4 June 2018

The Big Weekend ( Part Two)

       And so, on to Sunday. A beer festival bash in The Market Square in Atherstone. Rapidly becoming a home from home. Quite apart from The Larder and the Folk Club out at Baddesley, this was our fourth visit to the area in and around The Angel Inn. An excellent CAMRA pub fronting The Square . This time we were in/on The Square itself. A Fund-Raising Beer Festival, with food stalls, a marquee for us to play under, and a huge (and very aesthetically pleasing) canopy covering much of the square. The full DrunkMonkey/ Nuncmonkey line-up this time,less john Kearney. 
       This in several ways was a more challenging gig for u than the previous day. We did not have the luxury of a sound engineer or a P.A. already set up for us,as we'd had at The Herbert. We did not have the glue that binds us, the Human Jukebox, John Kearney.  We had agreed to do two 45 minute sets, and so there was a lot more material to work upon beforehand. We'd had only limited rehearsal time together in this format and so we dropped a few numbers and added a few more to the running order of the extended set list. 
       The weather was if anything even hotter than Saturday, and the audience was considerably more um, "relaxed". There was a wonderful choir on before us, I don't know what their name was but they were very good. We even encouraged them to do an encore, which meant we were running late even before we got to set up. Using the pub's P.A. and their own stuff (and a bit of Mr.Kearney's) Paul Moore and John Harris cobbled together a coherent and audible sound system from the mass of cables,boxes speakers and amps in the back of their cars. Sheer magic. (Well done,guys!) Flossy,Jon and I sauntered about looking impressive, but really, that side of the business is not really our forte. 

        We got under way with "How Long Blues" a standard start for us nowadays. With the timings left up to us we were able to do a longer version of this Leroy Carr song than the Herbert one on Saturday,with plenty of instrumental breaks to warm everyone up. Although inside that tent (or outside) warming up in the literal sense was not necessary. 
       "Jesus On The Mainline  followed,and with the Church looming just behind us,I dedicated it to "Atherstone Cathedral." (The event was a Restoration Fund Raiser, but few smiles crossed any lips at that time except ours). 
          It was all very Backwoods Americana as Vigilante Man followed. John Harris rushed off as I introduced it. I thought I'd offended him,but he'd gone to fetch a chair so he could do his star turn on a which has to be lap-played using a plectrum. I'm told it sounded very authentic. There certainly appeared to be a Bigfoot or two nodding along appreciatively as we finished up. "Copperhead Road," we had originally shied away from,as JK leads on those vocals, but with Bass John leading, we romped through that too. 
       You could smell the Whuskey burnin' (or maybe it was just Greggs overcooking the Steak Bakes)  as Paul Moore took the lead and we joined him on the choruses of a very enjoyable "Sitting On Top of The World."  Flossy and I gave the others a rest with "After The Goldrush"  acapella before it was time for yer actual folk tune. Not Trad Arr. though. JH moans endlessly about Richard & Linda Thompson, but we ticked off "When I Get To The Border " no sweat. (We did  "Down Where The Drunkards Roll" second half with barely a shudder from him).We then concluded the first half with the Muddy Waters epic  " Standin' Round Cryin'."
            After a hospitality break,involving some networking, some  minor adjustments,a bit of furniture moving and a beer top-up,we opened the second half with " If I Had Possession." We nodded a tribute to The Stones being at The Ricoh with "All Over Now," before reverting to Country with "All Gotta Die Some day." "Perfect" was just that, followed by a stirring version of "When Love Comes To Town,"  Flossy curled her best blues voice round "Guilty" and was a bit nonplussed as a fan rushed up afterwards. to tell her that she was just like Stevie Nicks. He's barred from most of the Town pubs so we'll take that with a pinch of Fire Water
          It was time to start wrapping things up with  "Bring It On Home," "Angel from Montgomery" and "Knocking On Heaven's Door," completing  the day's business for us. By this time it felt as if we might be. Everyone was tiring and the heat was reaching Montgomery like proportions.  We'll be back at The Angel next month,Sunday 15th, for Stonefest. 
          We packed up and retired to give the Oakham Citra some more attention. It looks lie we got one or more additional gigs out of it all. Tamworth Beer Festival, September? Oh I think so.