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Now, this might not sound strange to most people but for me it is KRAZY MENTAL. Living, as I do, in the Essex Borders BADLANDS of Far East London I usually go out straight from work in "town", so having me tea at home first is like a distant folk memory of Things I Used To Do In Leicester.
ANYWAY that's what I did and 45 minutes later I found myself approaching The Queen Of Hoxton in... er... Hoxton. A few weeks ago Dom PopArt emailed and asked if I fancied doing a couple of Bruce Springsteen songs with a band he was putting together for a night called Cover To Cover. I said "Why YES, that would be DELIGHTFUL!" and prepared myself... not realising until a couple of days before that we'd be going onstage at 11.30pm!! That's nearly MIDNIGHT!
HENCE I didn't need to be there until much later than a normal gig, and also HENCE the pre-gig tea. I was a little worried about the evening as, well, it's in HOXTON which is reknowned as being full of wankers. As I approached the pub my worst fears seemed to be confirmed, as it looked like a NARKY CLUB, with bouncers and queues etc etc but once I got inside it was FINE. All right, it was a bit NOISIER than most pubs I frequent these days, but everyone inside seemed all right. It was a club/pub on a Friday night, full of people getting happily LATHERED, without need or the "irony", haircuts, trousers or big glasses that I'd been expecting. PHEW.
What it DIDN'T seem to contain was any sign of a BAND and I eventually had to ASK where they'd be. I went downstairs to an empty room with a stage and soundman, who got me to soundcheck my ukelele before leading me to The Dressing Room. DRESSING ROOM! Here I found Dom, Phoenix Phil, and a group of PALS they'd recruited for the band. We passed a very pleasant 90 minutes sat around chatting and drinking BEER, including a HUGE ROW about who's better: DC or Marvel? I mean, REALLY - clearly SPIDER-MAN is about a MILLION times better than SUPERMAN isn't he? It stands to reason!
Soon it was time to hit the stage, and my nervousness increased MASSIVELY. I was due to do TWO songs, "Born In The USA" first then "Glory Days". I was FINE with the latter, but the former filled me with FEAR as it was going to be mostly just me singing it (which i couldn't do very well) and Dom playing the ukelele.
My fears INCREASED when the band kicked off with a ROCKING version of "Born To Run", which got everybody WHOOPING, as did the next two songs. I really REALLY didn't want to bring the mood down, so an IDEA started to form.
We'd already agreed to swap my two songs around, so I very happily took to the stage and did my English Translation version of "Glory Days", the one that'd been BANNED by The Boss's Lawyers. It was LOTS of fun and they'd learned our version up REAL GOOD, up to and including the "All right"? bits at the end. It was LOTS OF FUN and I was even MORE certain that i did not want to follow it with a stripped down version of a song about an army veteran being deserted by his own country.
So I said "Shall we do 'Boom Shake The Room' instead?" Dom looked at me surprised and said "Er... yes, you should definitely do that", meaning "One day. Somewhere." I replied "GRATE! You can all join in then - chaps, it's G and C!" and LAUNCHED into an introduction trying to persuade people it WAS a Bruce Springsteen song. I don't think the audience was bothered either way, I hadn't seen anything SAYING it was meant to be all Springsteen.
It was, i think, a GOOD IDEA, and the band, bless them, GAMELY joined in with my slight naughtiness, even down to STOPPING in the right places. The audience joined in with most of the joining in bit and we got to the end safely, at which point i LEAPT off to avoid any question of doing THE SONG I FEARED, and they finished off with two more slices of ROCK. PHEW!
Job done I realised it was now SUPER LATE, so I said my goodbyes and hastened off into the London night, managing to get the pre-penultimate train to Leytonstone and then home. I got back in RELIEVED that we'd carried it off, although I have to confess STILL feeling slightly guilty about CHANGING the song so. Sorry chaps!
posted 7/11/2009 by MJ Hibbett
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A cracking night! Loved hearing the full band version of "Boom"... and the explanation of how the Boss was born raised in Philipeldhia (sp?).
It was weird being out that late.. had to flee for public transport.
posted 9/11/2009 by PhoeniX PhiL
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