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Blog: Hello Ipswich!

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Once more unto the ROCK i headed out on Saturday, this time MARVELLING at the ease of travel as I went to Nearby Stratford, then ZOOM out to Ipswich in just over an HOUR. I GOGGLED at how quick and easy it was - my view of Where Places Are is STILL fixed in a Midlands Mind Set (the reason I play so many gigs in Sheffield/Derby/Leeds are because they're all dead easy to get to from Leicester), and I suddenly realised there was a whole STRING of places i could get to DEAD EASY from where I live now - Ipswich! Norwich! Colchester! If anybody reading this LIVES in either of the last two and knows where i can get a gig, FACT me and I'll try and sort it out - it's EASY to get there!

Impressed by the OPPORTUNITIES possible I reached Ipswich, met Jeff The Promoter, and headed off to The Steamboat Tavern, which is a NICE pub near the DOCKS, with an L-Shaped Room and a thriving community of YOunger Drinkers who spent the whole night outside in the PATIO area being sullen, occasionally sullenly stomping past the stage on the way to the bar and, at closing time, mounting a sullen march by EN MASSE. It was very sweet.

Tom was already there, so we soundchecked, had a chat, and were just settling down to the PUB MEAL we had been rather brilliantly supplied with when a voice said "Hello!" and LO! It was EDDY! That's EDDY from HULL - Eddy who puts us on at The Adelphi, all round good guy and BLOODY HECK what on EARTH was he doing in Ipswich? It turns out that he and his PALS had been last year on this week to see his mate in Ipswich, and when they saw we were playing thought they might as well come down this year too. We were GOBSMACKED.

Having finished TEA i was preparing myself for THE ROCK when a voice said "Hello!" and LO! it was PAUL! That's Paul formerly from Leicester, drinker in The Durham Ox, LOVELY chap who came to tons of me and Neil's gigs (and once FANTASTICALLY bought a note from his MUM to excuse him missing the previous gig), said one of the funniest things i have ever HEARD (details available in pubs), and had a GRATE wedding in NEWMARKET, where he now lives. Once again we were STUNNED, and also a little AFEARED as to who might appear next... nobody of such magnitude DID, but still the fear linegered.

Anyway, it was GIG TIME - I'd had an idea in the morning that maybe i could do TWO sets, one the traditional UBER SET, but also an UNDER SET off less often played or NEW songs. Ever since Mr John Kell criticised one of my gigs for NOT playing enough "obscure" stuff (NB as opposed to all the unobscure stuff i usually play...) i have WORRIED that people seeing me more than once might TIRE of the UBER SET's tender embrace, and thought this might be an ideal opportunity, especially as it turns out Mike Summers & The Doons (the other band) were only doing half an hour too. THUS i introduced the UNDER SET, which went like this:
Where Do All The Women Go To?
Girlfriend Alarmed
The Perfect Love Song
Born Yesterday
Leave My Brother Alone
I Come From The Fens
Dino At The Sands
Breaks In The Journey
I Can See Clearly Now The Rain Has Gone
I must say I rather enjoyed doing it - it was NERVE WRACKING, especially during "Born Yesterday" which I'd only ever played ONCE before, and NEVER in the current version, but it felt NICE. Actually EXPLAINING "Dino At The Sands" seems to help too, although perhaps "I Can See Clearly Now" wasn't the best ending. Dave The Gardener said, quite forcefully, "i HATE that song! NEVER do it again!" but then he comes from HULL where the rain GOING will always be followed by it coming BACK again, usually with some of its mates.

Mike Summers & The Doons played next, and they were DEAD good, sounded really NICE - they had an ACCORDIAN with THREE microphones, a BAZUKI, and a HEADLESS BASS. Yes - normally this would be a recipe for WORLD MUSIC, but they were all TUNEY and full of LOVELINESS, it was a DELIGHT.

Then i went on again and did the UBER SET, as follows:
The Peterborough All-Saints' Wide Game Team (Group B)
Never Going Back To Aldi's
The Fight For History
Clubbing In The Week
Rock And Roll Mayham
Payday Is The Best Day
The Lesson Of The Smiths
Things'll Be Different
Billy Jones Is Dead
Hey Hey 16K
Easily Impressed
Boom Shake The Room
This was a gig of EVENTS! Tom came on halfway through, and the double act seemed to WORK - definitely on "The Lesson Of The Smiths" where he played some KEEN stuff, and I think we'll get him his own microphone next time for BANTER purposes. We still need to BUILD his PART i think - next time I'll get him doing the Call And Response on "Things'll Be Different", and he reckons he'll do some SINGING also. GOOD-O!

I did a lot of talking between songs, and all was jolly, and I looked forward to a good Audience Participation BIT in "Easily Impressed". "OI HIBBETT!" was good, and then "YOU DON'T REALLY MEAN THAT" was a bit raggedy, and turned into PANTO when people started shouting "OH YES YOU DO!" etc etc, which was GRATE, as was the bar staff dashing round the corner of the L-Shaped Bar to join in. When the song finished the landlady shouted "LAST ORDERS!" and the whole room shouted "YOU DON'T REALLY MEAN THAT!" - it was BRILLIANT! I think i overdid the intro to "Boom Shake The Room" saying "If you don't know the words, don't join in - that's madness!" as when it got to the "How do i know, because the crowd went..." i stopped, and there was SILENCE! Eventually aforementioned Dave The Gardener said "Er... ho?" and we carried on, it was RATHER funny i must say, and JOLLITY abounded. We did an I Don't Take Much Persuasion ENCORE of "Too Turned On", and that was it - a GRATE GIG!

We went back to Jeff The Promoter's house, where he PLIED us with BEER late into the night, and in the morning it was a TIRED but HAPPY Hibbett & McClure who feasted on SCRAMBLED EGGS before heading off homewards, each hopeful that one day soon they would return to IPSWICH. It was ACE!

posted 17/1/2005 by MJ Hibbett

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