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Blog: The Closed Shop, Sheffield

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On Sunday I took a break from the GRUELLING RIGOURS of travelling to do gigs with Gav and Grace by... er... travelling to do a gig! This time i was heading to wonderful SHEFFIELD to play at a weekender organised by Mr D Hartley at The Closed Shop. The pub had been awared Pub Of The Month by Sheffield CAMRA and asked Dan to arrange a weekend of Acoustic Sets to celebrate. When he'd first asked me I thought I might be booked for going to WEMBLEY, but as Leyton Orient kindly decided to make the trip in place of Posh i was free to head North instead.

I'd been a bit worried about the journey there, as it involved a Rail Replacement Bus. When I first started gigging around the country it felt like I was having to take one of these every bloody week, but I've not been on one for YEARS and, actually, it was FINE. I got the train to Doncaster, then walked out of the station onto a bus which was ALL RIGHT, left early (it was full) and then arrived in Sheffield early AND slightly closer to the Ibis than the train station. It was FINE!

After checking in to My Usual Suite and a quick WASH I went in search of a taxi. The bus station taxi rank had no taxis, nor any sign that it ever WOULD have, so I popped to the railway station instead and was soon up in a bit of Sheffield I'd never visited before. It was lovely, like something off the TELLY, and inside the pub was full of PALS, also a BEER FESTIVAL. I was quite CAREFUL with the BEER, having a pint of Diet Coke to OFFSET it at one point and also taking BREAKS from drinking all together... well, I did before I went on anyway!

First up was Mr Alexander Chrisopher Hale, playing my old guitar. We were all crowded into the back room, squidged in around a pool table, but Alex handled it WELL, including a dead good NEW song. After him it was Mugshots Of Criminals, featuring Dan's DAD as lead singer, doing Americana style covers (mostly). It was dead good, and I admired Dan for putting his Dad on - I'd always be too worried if my Dad played, in case anyone dared not to like it!

More and more chums rolled up, and there was more chat, including a discussion on how ACE John Lewis is. ROCK! Mr Pete Green was next and was fab as ever. It was during his set that the THEME of the day was detected - everybody was doing at least one new song and FINISHING with a cover. I took note!

The original plan for the day had been to have everything outside, with a BARBECUE, but the threat of RAIN had made the pub decide to move the gig bit inside. The barbecue was still going - i had a delicious Falafel Burger from it - and around this point in the day a consensus was reached that it would probably be worth the risk to move out into the beer garden. This turned out VERY well, as a large crowd had gathered for Robberie, who were GRATE and ALSO complied with the new song + pop cover RULE.

Then it was my turn, and I took to the "stage" ("gazebo") and did THIS:
  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • I Did A Gig In New York
  • That Guy
  • (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock
  • 20 Things To Do Before You're 30
  • It Only Works Because You're here
  • Boom Shake The Room

  • Do The Indie Kid
  • It was a lot of FUN, but also a lot of WORK! I was surrounded by Very Small Children running about throughout the set, and also had to keep a wary eye out for CHAT - occasionally during Robberie some people had chatted a bit loudly, probably unaware of their volume due to BEER, so I announced that chatting was NOT ALLOWED while i was on. I thought it was a bit STERN, but it seemed to work! I also did quite a lot of BELLOWING, to get across to everyone, and was very happily surprised to find my voice coped with it FINE. Usually when I do this I get HOARSE halfway through, but it seems that TOURING has toughened me up a bit! I finished with a cover, as was the rule (and inadvertently came close to LOSING the audience and being AWFUL - I delivered the "hello cutie" line in "Boom Shake The Room" to a very cute toddler who was passing by at the time... then realised that the rest of that bit was INCREDIBLY INAPPROPRIATE for delivery to a child, and had to talk my way out of it), then was very pleased to be dragged back for an ENCORE. I gave people a choice of songs and they CHOSE the one with "extreme audience participation" in, so had no qualms about DEMANDING that everyone got up and danced!

    After that there was gentle migration back into the pub for the beer festival and some Conversation, which covered diverse Adult Topics, also some DAFTNESS. There was a young man in the pub who seemed Oddly Familiar, and it was later confirmed (definitely "confirmed"!) that it was Harry Styles From One Direction! It seemed WEIRD that he'd be there, but I guess quite sensible - if you're Harry Styles From One Direction then an old man's BEERY PUB is probably the last place you'll get recognised and hassled!

    There was a BAGATELLE tournament, more chat, more beer, and then suddenly it was 10pm and me and Dan were the only ones left, doing a Pub Quiz. I blame the 7% STOUT! I found myself just a bit too tipsy to see it through to the end, so thanked Mr Hartley and then STAGGERED down to the bus stop, and got the bus back to town and to bed. It had been a BRILLIANT day - the perfect holiday from touring!

    posted 28/5/2014 by MJ Hibbett

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    You were ace Mr Hibbert! We are writing loads of songs. We just haven't got round to working them up yet! We'll lose that Americana covers tag if it kills us!
    posted 28/5/2014 by Dan's dad

    You were ace Mr Hibbert! We are writing loads of songs. We just haven't got round to working them up yet! We'll lose that Americana covers tag if it kills us!
    posted 28/5/2014 by Dan's dad

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