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Blog: All Ages In Birmingham

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After a BIG DAY on Saturday I was up at KRAZY O'CLOCK on Sunday to head for Birmingham, where I was set to play at an afternoon all-ages gig in picturesque Kings Heath, along with August Actually and Allo Darlin'. It had been booked by Mr D R Kirkham - he was also promoting the "proper" gig on Monday with Ace Bushy Striptease and our very own Frankie Machine, but had LEAPT at the chance to do this one when Allo Darlin' had expressed a desire to do some all-ages shows on their current tour. I was WELL CHUFFED to be asked, although I definitely HADN'T been moping around because Ray had asked Frankie to do the main support gig next day. Anybody who said I was is FIBBING.

Being a DILIGENT PROFESSIONAL (and also mindful of how many lyrics I'd forgotten in Sheffield last week) I was determined NOT to get all piddly before I went on, so returned to an Old Trick from my early days in ROCK: The Beer/Cola Alternator. This is when you have a PINT of Diet Coke between every pint of BEER - it works really well, keeping you teetering on a delicate edge of mildly jolly and WIRED, though it does mean you need to WEE quite a lot.

The back room of the pub gently filled with all sorts of people - loads of various Birmingham-related PALS, some People We Don't Know (it's always exciting when this happens as it means SOMEONE on the bill is Doing Well!) and tonnes of KIDS, including young Mr J Williams who had arrived in a Dinosaur PLanet t-shirt. I was very pleased!

August Actually were on first, and were GRATE - everyone was playing Totally Acoustically which, when people do it properly, always works BRILLIANTLY, and here it totally did with (mostly) small drums, guitar, ACCORDIAN and violin making a beautiful noise, and Alex and Laura standing FORWARD to sing louder when necessary. They have a pile of ace songs - I was singing along throughout!

Then it was me, and I did THIS:
  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • Good Cooking
  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • Strangely Attractive
  • A Little Bit
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • The Gay Train
  • It Only Works Because You're here
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths

  • It seemed to go all right - I always enjoy Totally Acoustical gigs, though doing one a) in the afternoon b) to lots of people who've not known the DELIGHT of my "presentational skills" before c) many of whom are small children did make me SWEAT a bit, as I realised that I would probably have to EXPLAIN things, and also couldn't expect LARFS just out of people being polite. I got thrown a bit doing Good Cooking as I got the first verse wrong, mixing it up with the end of the second verse, couldn't work out how to FIX it and so LEAPT straight to the middle bit. It had been REQUESTED by the father of the aforesaid Mr J Williams, so I felt a bit bad about messing it up, but i seem to recall that the REST of the set went off fairly well. That said, I DID have a bit of trouble making The Lesson Of The Smiths all-ages friendly, and NEARLY said a Very Rude Word in the final chorus. EEK!

    And then it was time for Allo Darlin' who are, of course, MARVELLOUS and My Favourite Band. The songs, man, THE SONGS! Also: they're a right proper BAND - they too played Totally Acoustically and all sat bunched up right close together, making a beautiful SOUND - especially when the chaps joined in on harmonies. Myself and Top Promoter Mr DR Kirkham turned to each other as one and went "OOH!" at one point, THAT is how gorgeous it was. Ray (for it was he) also ensured EXACTLY the encore he wanted - leading the calls for them to come back on and then shouting "Emily! Rollins! Tallulah!" as his DEMANDS, with which they obliged. When the gig had started I'd wondered if maybe finishing with Tallulah at gigs all the time would ever start to PALE. NOT YET IT HASN'T - it's such an AMAZING song, and once again a whole room of people sat AGOG.

    So yes, it was pretty good! Very soon, however, it was time for me to pack up, HUG people, and zoom off back to Birmingham New Street station and HOME. It was a lovely afternoon - gigs are ACE!

    posted 5/9/2012 by MJ Hibbett

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    Pssst! Ace Bushy Striptease (not This Many Boyfriends).
    posted 5/9/2012 by Ray K

    I'm not sure whether to be more upset at myself for not realising this was on, but an easy train ride away from home, or that I wouldn't have been able to go anyway thanks to having to see my mum before she went away on holiday :-/ How did our fine city treat you, anyway? Apologies that the station hasn't been demolished and rebuilt ... YET!
    posted 5/9/2012 by MarkP

    I did notice Good Cooking was a bit of a mess but was much too polite to point it out! :) The afternoon was completely ACE - thanks.
    posted 6/9/2012 by Mr G Williams

    Your gig went more than "all right"; it was fantastic. I was completely won over and have been very happy with my CD multipack. "It Only Works Because You're Here," literally gave me goosebumps this morning, in the car on the way to work.
    posted 7/9/2012 by Karl (who was sitting at the front with his all-ages family)

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