It stopped me dead in my tracks when I turned up to the pre-gig ‘team meeting’ in a pub off Charing Cross Road to find 15 people sat round a large table. Band, management, booking agents, press agent, promoter, distributors and label (my own not a different one) were all there, with online PR guys and radio plugger sending apologies.
I couldn’t help myself, and I do apologise, but I had a proper Wonder Years moment. The internal narrator took over – “it was at that moment that I realised things would never be the same again”. Well, at least not for a year or two. Plans are afoot. We’re definitely moving up a level, more about that later.
That stuff’s important but not as important as nailing a great gig though, and tonight’s is on my home turf. Just as well I was fighting the good fight beside two true musical soldiers – Sam Brookes and Emily and The Woods. Intention matters and these two both make music with good intent. I believe them when they sing, and want us to grow as artists together. They’ve got that look in their eye which says “I’m going to be sticking around for a while”, and hopefully they do. Please take a listen to them.
By 9:30pm the Borderline was packed, and just for a change, I was still writing the lyrics to a new song to open with before we went on, which is always a bit of a thrill. I can guarantee that at this point the band are hesitant. This sort of plan has sometimes gone horribly wrong as I forget all the words and balls it up cos I haven’t rehearsed it. But it was a great start, and it set the tone for one of the best gigs we’ve ever done as a band. The crowd were magnificent, which makes it all so easy. I even got to rock out on the electric, like a good little judas.
A crowd of us stayed up late enjoying ourselves, sadly not including van-commander-in-chief John who was burdened with the task of driving all the gear home, a problem we can’t currently afford to solve. But a band of brothers we are nonetheless – John, Harry, Kev and me – and long may that continue.
Some of the people in that crowd have been coming to my gigs since 2004 when I would hack away at my acoustic at open mic nights til my fingers bled. Many of those songs weren’t fun to listen to, but they listened anyway. Some are friends because they met at a gig, some are more than friends having met at a gig, many were new faces. In the words of Elbow, who I’m just listening to at the moment, Dear Friends, you are angels and drunks, you are magii. Happy 2011 London – let’s sack off X Factor one week and go for a little xmas walk together ey?
Postcard sent to: Mika Dave
Next Postcard to: Claire
Free T-shirt to: Mike
thanks to: wow where to start here…. AK doing sound, Gemma and all at the Borderline, everyone who came to listen you are too numerous and amazing to name, Emily and Bena (thanks so much for letting me use the Guv’nor for my solo!), Sam, Polly, Colin, Warren, Neil, Pete, Beth, Anton, and those who on this tour have always been too important to thank – John, Harry, Kev, Lisa, Kerry and Barry.