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Blog: Warning: Possible Immodesty Ahead
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On the way there I had a Small Realisation: on the train I was thinking about how, just lately, we've had to be there DEAD EARLY for soundchecks. "Pah!" i thought, "a few years ago we NEVER had to get there until 8 o'clock, and even then we'd hang around for ages - why, all of a sudden, are people demanding we get there by half past six? Has the world gone MAD?" It was quite some time before i realised that, oh yeah, the REASON we've been soundchecking so early is because we've been headlining! As you can understand, this was an UNDERSTANDING that brought me profound pleasure, although it's taking some getting used to, for ALL of us. I think we've all got in the habit, over MANY years, of rolling in later than told to, to avoid HOURS of watching the main band doing a millenia of soundchecks - last night, for instance, I stood around thinking "Good grief, when are the main band going to get ON with it and set their amps up? Oh, hang on..."
Also hard to get used to, or rather something NOT to get used to but to keep on APPRECIATING, is the fact that we, The Validators, are Actually Quite Good these days. In recent gigs people who've seen us before have expressed OPEN ASTONISHMENT in the change in our Rocking Ways - for instance, Pete [formerly] from The Regulars compared our gig in Sheffield to the first time he'd seen us, at Pop-A-Go-Go many years ago THUSLY: "You really weren't very good then, but you are now." This morning, walking through That London in the rain, i realised that this has been a compressed version of my SOLO "career". I was RUBBISH for years and years playing on my own, but through sheer BLOODY MINDEDNESS and (as LOADS of people have said just lately) "sticking with it", i have attained the DIZZY HEIGHTS of Being All Right these days, and similarly the Validators have (mostly) put the days of RAMSHACKLE behind us, and are heading full tilt towards ROCK!
So yes, it was a GOOD NIGHT that fostered such thoughts. It was strange to be in The Attik again - 15 years ago, when i first started drinking in Leicester, this was pretty much the ONLY place you could go to get a drink after hours, and you had to buy a plate of "garlic" "chips" and listen to some folk music to be allowed to do so. Tim The Celebrity Drummer and I waxed LYRICAL about this for LO!, as he rightly said, in those days Garlic chips were an EXOTIC LUXURY, as indeed was drinking at midnight - today's youngsters, of course, eat garlic chips for breakfast and are drunk twenty four hours a day. I have to say, also, that memories of The Attik do reinforce the case for more liberal drinking laws. All those years ago we were ALWAYS and without fail HAMMERED by closing time, but nowadays you know there's always an option of more bOOZE, so can take it more easily... or maybe i am just more grown-up an sensible these days. Whatever it was, it felt very strange INDEED to be sober in The Attik, and Tim and i both found it very difficult to find. Usually the directions were "follow everybody else, and don't get distracted by Granby Fisheries, you can have some chips when you get in."
All of us except for Emma made it to the soundcheck, during which we tried out the REMARK-O-PHONE. This is my new GRATE IDEA - usually at gigs Mr Fleay will make REMARKS during the set, which usually commence a spate of inter-band CHAT. While this is All Part Of The Fun, i always worry that it is ALIENATING for the audience - certainly, I never like it when bands do this when I go to gigs BUT the JOY and PLEASURE of our INTERACTIONS is one of the BEST bits of actually being in a band. Unless you are Fleetwood Mac, in which case it is also the basis of all your albums. SO, my proposed solution was the REMARK-O-PHONE, a device by which Mr Fleay could BROADCAST his "remarks" to the audience, THUS involving them in our JOY.
It was also a good excuse to HARASS him during the soundcheck by saying "Go on, make an amusing remark NOW! HA!" but unfortunately its position on stage meant it just fed back the whole time, but that MAY be because it was a small stage... the REMARK-O-PHONE is not dead yet!
After soundcheck we split up - i went to the pub over the road for a chat with Dr Brown and a couple of people from my Old Work who, rather wonderfully, had turned up to see us, and The Validators went to watch the football. By the time we'd all returned to the venue we were pleasantly surprised to see it was FULL of PEOPLE! Many of them had come just to see Jamie Says, but ALARMINGLY almost as many had come just to see US, and when we came on it was not to a full room, but as near to same as we have ever been in my adopted home country. Amazingly again, many of them were a) people I didn't know, but b) people who DID know the words to the songs! ZOWIE!
We began, as in Sheffield, with Post-Subsonic Bass, and FLEW through our new improved HIGH POP SET. It was GRATE! I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed it, the dancing, the Remarks, the Introducing The Band, but mostly The Seeing People In The Audience Getting Into It. Another change from past Validators gigs was that nowadays band gigs are MORE relaxing than playing on my own. I do not wish to sound like some crazed AXL ROSE figure, but really, we do seem to have got into our GROOVE now, and maybe by NOT veering into the ones that DON'T work so well live as they do on record, we have found our proper place... here's the setlist we did, anyway, see what you think:
Post-Subsonic BassWhat's that? Why, yes, there WERE two encores, and by GOLLY they were real live proper ones too - OK, the first one was nudged along a bit by Tom, who was nudged along a TINY bit by me saying "Tom, lean out onto the stage and wave at the audience", but the SECOND was a FULLY QUALIFIED, They've Turned The Music Back On But People Are Still Shouting For More, ACTUAL ENCORE! It was VERY exciting - doing "Boom Shake The Room", a song we've NEVER played as a band, turned out better that "I Can See Clearly Now" did in similar circumstances, not least because i could say "Like Wayne Rooney, I'll be scoring", and LO! Joy and Beauty Shone Around.
Hey Hey 16K
Billy Jones Is Dead
If You're Too Turned On
The Fair Play Trophy (again)
Things'll Be Different
The Symbol Of Our Nation
PayDay Is The Best Day
You Will Be Hearing From My Solicitor
Boom Shake The Room
Afterwards there was much shaking of hands and saying thank you for coming, also some record sales, and people saying lovely things about how nice it is to see us Actually Doing Well after SO VERY LONG. I agree with all the people who have said this lately, i personally think it is BRILLIANT that after all this time we are finally getting our stuff out to people we don't know, doing GIGS that are GOOD, and by golly having a JOLLY old time of it. It's BLOODY GRATE!
Tom and I left the venue full of such thoughts. At the bar, James The Kung Fu Cookery Teacher was JAMMING on his banjolele, and the joyful sounds of that marvellous instrument were the perfect accompaniment to the end of a Beautiful Evening.
posted 23/6/2004 by MJ Hibbett
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