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Blog: An Actual Band Practice

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Usually when I stay away from home I wake up at about 6am and am unable to go back to sleep due to PINING, so on Sunday it was WEIRD to wake up and realise it was 9:30am and I had to get up to catch my train. The reason for the change was that The Hands On My Clock had come to Sheffield with me for the night before's ACE gig, and thus PINING was not required.

We gathered ourselves up and got the train - herself going all the way to London, me getting off at DERBY to go to An Actual Band Practice. For LO! it turned out that (nearly) all Validators could MAKE IT for a lunchtime practice in that fair city, so we DID.

We were booked in at The Music Shed, which is where we USED to practice until about six years ago when, as far as we can recall, we couldn't get a booking for a specific date so started using the Abbey instead. It's REALLY near the station though, so we gave it another go. It has MOVED since we were last there, but luckily there was a Francis A Machine wandering around looking for it too when I got nearby, and a man sat outside showed us the way in. It was MUCH NICER than it used to be, CLEAN in studio AND in toilets (RARE for a rehearsal room), with decent sound seperation, DELIGHTFUL staff, reasonable gear and a CAFE right next door to it. At half time we had Proper Coffee and I had a CORNFLAKE CAKE!!

Amazingly I was the LAST to arrive, as me and Frankie stepped in at 2 minutes past noon to find that Tom and Tim had already got there. This was UNPRECEDENTED! Emma wasn't there - for some reason she felt she could afford NOT to spend two hours watching the rest of us fight over ARRANGEMENTS and/or talk about Doctor Who - but the rest of us were in FULL EFFECT. We kicked off with a go at Burn It Down And Start Again, which The Vlads had JAMMED UP when they last got together. They were all VERY KEEN on it but I'd never quite got WHY... until we actually played it. COR! It sounded AMAZING!

Next up was (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock, the one which I was most keen on. I'd try to SELL it to The Vlads as being based on one of the other songs they'd jammed, but this policy BACKFIRED slightly when Tim got A Bit Upset because his FAVOURITE BIT was no longer in the song. We worked through these issues and ended up putting A LOT of work into the song - poor old Tim found himself laden down with all SORTS of fills, BITS, stops and dropouts but, as we agreed, this was all part of it being a HIT. BY the time we finished it sounded AMAZING!

We then had the BREAK mentioned above, during which we all agreed that we should do "a thirty minute album full of hits, recorded really simply." I pointed out that we ALWAYS say this before recording an album, which Tim disputed but which was confirmed by EVERYBODY ELSE. Maybe this time we WILL?

We regrouped for a quick go at Can We Be Friends which sounded ALL RIGHT but needed a Better Chorus. This is my HOMEWORK! Finally we worked on 20 Things To Do Before You're 30, which managed to work in the parts that Tim had LOST from (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock by becoming A Right Old Chugger. It sounded GRATE, especially in verse 3 when The Tiger slipped into PIZZICATO.

We finished with a runthrough of What We Have Done and then headed round the corner to the pub - we went to The Alexander, which I've never been to before, because it was about 20 seconds closer than our usual haunt The Brunswick. It was very nice and, oddly, had a PUB RABBIT. I very much approve of and enjoy the increased tendency for PUB CATS, but was a bit thrown by a RABBIT.

It felt like the start of a NEXT PHASE for Validators... and also was a chance to go back to discussing DOCTOR WHO and STUFF in general. This is always the best bit of any Validators get together, when we get the ROCK stuff done and then just sit around having a bit of a NATTER, and it was LOVELY to be back doing it. Hopefully next year will see a bit MORE of this sort of thing, as I'll a) finish my degree b) not be doing an Edinburgh show. Another thing we always do at this point is confidently predict that the album will be finished within a YEAR, which ALSO never happens, but this did at least feel like the START of new sessions. Set your alarm clock for 2019 when we'll doub tless be releasing a triple album of BAROQUE POP!

posted 19/11/2013 by MJ Hibbett

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