Someone said afterwards-it felt like the final Prom. The end of Summer. And in a way it did/was.A glorious Summer it has been,too,not only weather-wise,but in terms of DruncMonkey as a band, who gelled together and proved without doubt during 2018 that they can really handle outdoor gigs. From The Square in Atherstone to MotoFest in Coventry. From Earlsdon Festival to Folk On The Water out at Napton On The Hill. Glorious sunsets.Healthy audiences.Marquees and forests of trailing cables. Real Ale and Barbecues. Fantastic.
So it was a disappointment to see the drizzle out at Tamworth Beer Festival yesterday for what could be our last outdoor gig of the season, but we were under cover,at full strength and had an enthusiastic and well-lubricated captive audience egging us on over the 90 minutes of music supplied for them.Good also to see some friendly faces from Nuneaton Folk Club who had made the short journey up the A5 including John B Smith and Ray Buckler who between them supplied all of the photographs. John B. took hundreds of them ( it seemed) and not only that, just as impressively, he sang along with every single one of the songs we did!
On electric bass and simultaneously mixing the sound,was Dragonhead’s old warhorse John Harris He was a study in concentration (and cool) throughout.
On (assorted) guitars, vocals,SX pedals, electric mandolin, and Naughty Step, that mischievous imp Paul Moore. The photo below courtesy of John B.Smith captures it all. I expect he'd just terrified one of the rest of us with his Church organ sounds or special buzzing fly plectrum. Paul had a new effects pedal which employed judiciously and often, (mischievous scamp that he is) deliberately in the wrong places.
Blowing Blues harp and shaking percussion,(sometimes just shaking),we featured Jon Harrington. Both Jon and Paul were on leave from Blues Monkey. Jon is newly relocated from Earlsdon to the much more select reaches of Nuneaton's Horestone Grange.
From Nunc, the Human Jukebox John Kearney. Our engine room. There is not a note, not a chord not a lyric, or a key The Cork Nightingale does not know. And instantly memorise. Although the start to "Weather With You" wrongfooted everyone and necessitated a second run at the fence after a restart.Also from Nunc myself. Front man and Eye Candy for the Over-80's, providing wit,wisdom,growly vocals and pithy asides which one might expect from the lively Octogenarian. Packing away afterwards I tweaked my ankle and later tore an old scab off my hand putting away mike stands. I bled like a horse because of the anti-coagulants I'm taking. Truly, Rock and Roll.
And finally, and also from Nunc (Niece and Uncle-see what we did there?) my beautiful niece Flossy. One of several beautiful nieces. (The rest of them made me say that). Stunning vocals,stunning looks and outstanding tambourine work. Worth going along just to see and hear her alone.
A potent line-up,and our strongest available. We had such a great time and judging by the two encores,so did the audience. Blues,Folk,Pop,Rock,Country,Reggae,we chucked the lot at them. Segues,covers and our own arrangements.Covers of numbers by Neil Young,Crowded House and U2. Richard Thompson,Sam Cooke and Bobby Womack. John Prine,Randy Newman and Casey Chambers. Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson. Bob Marley and Petula Clark. Everything but the kitchen sink.
To be honest,we would have had an absolutely wonderful time playing together and drinking beer in a tent if we’d just have been stuck out there all on our own. But as we weren’t, despite a few of our audience up and down like yo-yos as they replenished empty glasses from the barrels racked next door, many of them sang along,clapped and even danced as we worked through each set list. Resolutely ploughing on through an ever-decreasing Beer List,
So it's a shame (to quote one of our mash-ups) that, “Its all over now.” Outdoors at least anyway. Supporting Tir Na Nog in November. Sharing the Guest Billing with Paper Circus in December. And after that the diary is empty. So if you are a Festival organiser or an MC at a Folk or Blues Club-don’t forget us. We come very cheap,we’ll get feet tapping and who knows...we'll maybe leave your audiences dancing. Until then.....seems it's off into that sunset for now.