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Blog: A Weekend With Sarandon

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I headed off on Saturday night for the BIG TREK across town to The Windmill in Brixton. The Windmill is a dead nice venue, but GOODNESS ME could they not move it a bit closer to Leytonstone? Really? Why do people not THINK about these kind of issues?

Anyway, after about 90 minutes of TRAVEL I arrived at the lovely venue to find many DELIGHTFUL people inside it, not least of which was Mr Phil Wilson, there to play with his BAND. Also in attendance were the headline act, Sarandon. They were launching their new album with the assistance of BEER - something that MOST bands do, you might think, but in their case it was an ACTUAL BEER with THEIR NAME on it - Sarandon Age Of Reason IPA which was BLOODY DELICIOUS. Perhaps for this reason it ran out VERY QUICKLY, but there'd be more later on in the weekend.

Before that it was GIG TIME, and what a GRATE gig it was - Mr Wilson was on TOP FORM, doing a ROCKING set which alternated between June Brides songs and tracks from his new album - the Junies stuff was GRATE, of course, but I even PREFERRED the new stuff. It's a bloody fantastic album, "God Bless Jim Kennedy", i would HEARTILY recommend it. I'd heartily recommend seeing them live too - the band ROCK. I couldn't help thinking that somewhere, in a slightly more JUST Universe than this one, Ultimate Hibbett is stood in a pub watching S. Morrissey and J. Marr grinning at a sweaty crowd with a large proportion of middle aged men in it, mourning their loss of quiffs but thrilled to see their favourite band back together after years of working in the Social Work.

Being a more just universe, that gig'll be happening in LEYTONSTONE too.

I should also mention the sound man, who was MOST impressive, strolling back and forth from his desk to the rear of the gig area ALL night for ALL the bands, checking that everything sounded good. It really really did!

Afterwards I bumped into GREG - Greg who used to go to Prolapse gigs! It was amazing! - and then watched the first half of SARANDON. I had to leave early to get my last TUBE (did i mention how FAR AWAY the gig was?) but I wasn't too worried as I knew there would be another chance to see them, the very next day.

For LO! Sunday afternoon found me DISEMBARKING at Leeds Station, ready for my gig that night with the aforesaid Sarandon. I was staying in THE HILTON which was DEAD nice - it cost about the same as Travelodge usually do, but was SO MUCH more pleasant, once again reinforcing my THEORY that Travelodge are A Bit Tatty And Nasty ON PURPOSE, to persaude people they're saving money. It was also DEAD close to the venue - it took just TWO MINUTES to wander round the corner to The Hop, an ACE Real Ale pub where the gig was due to happen.

I must admit I did have some WORRIES about the gig, once I'd got there. The "stage" was actually a BALCONY in the upstairs bit of the pub, looking down to the downstairs area, and the whole thing was in railway arches. This, i thought, would be difficult - the sound would be BOOMY and LOST, with loads of NOISE coming from upstairs where people who couldn't SEE me would be talking extra loud to get over my racket. ALSO i was on first, so the only people there would surely be the downstairs drinkers and maybe friends of other bands. AND the pick-up on my guitar wasn't working properly, so surely this was going to be a FESTIVAl of FEEDBACK and BAD VIBES?

I BRAVELY navigated through these feelings by drinking some BEER and having a chat to Oddbox Supremo Trev, who was there with his charges for the weekend. Duly refreshed (and having got some IDEAS off him for when Dinosaur Planet finally comes out) i GIRDED myself for the gig ahead. THIS is what I did:
  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • The Gay Train
  • I Did A Gig In New York
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • Fucking Hippy
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths

  • As you can probably guess, I'd decided to make it ALL LOUD and with MINIMAL joining in... and it was GRATE! I really REALLY enjoyed myself - these are all songs I feel pretty SAFE playing and which i can BELLOW out, so that's exactly what I did. The Sound Guy, for the second night in a row, was BRILLIANT and made everything work properly, and it turned out that PEOPLE had pretty much all come upstairs and were happy to LISTEN and WATCH me as I went about my bellowing. It was a really really thoroughly enjoyable GIG! HOOPLA!

    As indeed was the REST of the evening, especially the mighty SARANDON. Their new album is apparently moving in a PROG direction, which probably explains why their songs now BREACH the 3 minute mark. There's a lot of ANGULAR ACTION going on, lots of RHYTHM and EXCITEMENT but the thing that, for me, marks them out from the other bands who try to do That Sort Of Thing is that it's all full of TUNES. EVER song has a whole BUNCH of HOOKS in it that that ROLLICK through - it's all very taut and tight and TOGETHER but that's NOT the whole point of it (which is usually is with taut, tight, together bands) it's just how they are, and it's all used in the service of SONGS and TUNES and IDEAS and GOOD TIMES. They're one of those bands that make you GRIN, ESPECIALLY when they do a song about LOOKING FOR OWLS. I'm pretty sure that's what it was about anyway, i was a bit DAZED at that point having played SESSION TAMBOURINE for them. Having a former member of Big Flame shouting "PLAY FASTER!" at me is not something I ever expected to happen, but when he did I was powerless to argue. My arms STILL ache!

    So yes, a FAB night and indeed WEEKEND all round, powered by Sarandon in the form of ROCK and also BEER. Well done everybody, well done INDEED!

    posted 28/3/2011 by MJ Hibbett

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