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Blog: Now We Are - Day One

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I headed off to the West Midlands on Saturday for what would be - INCREDIBLY - the FIRST Validators' gig of 2013! What is that sound you hear? It is the GODS OF ROCK, WEEPING that such a thing should be allowed to happen!

(NB I mean they're crying because we HADN'T done any gigs this year yet, not because we were about to. That would be KRAZY)

I arrived at the new Birmingham New Street and got CONFUSED - the platforms are exactly the same (HORRENDOUS) but above they seem to have abandoned the old (HORRIBLE) concourse and are building a new (ALL RIGHT) one next to it. It's not exactly St Pancras or anything, but it IS at least a bit better than the old, WORST EVER, station. It was all, as I say, a bit confusing because I had to leave through the back. When I emerged I found all SORTS going on - there was a table of Muslims with a stall saying "Islam isn't terrorism", some Hare Krishna having a good old sing song, loads of Crowd Barriers, and a few men wandering around in DRESSES. At this point my phone rang, telling me that Mr F A Machine had arrived too, so I went back to meet him. He told me that his train had been FABULOUS, full of people heading off to a Gay Pride march of some sort. He'd been sat next to some serious looking lesbians. "Were they sat to the left of you?" I asked. "No, to the right." Shame.

We got a tram and then strolled into West Brom, where Frankie popped to look at a shop and I checked into The Premier Inn, where I was staying for the night. It looked like it had been converted from an office block, as it was BIG and the rooms were ODDLY SHAPED, also MASSIVE. I re-arranged my STUFF and headed back out, reconvening with Frankie and heading to The Public, where things were NOT QUITE underway just yet for the Now We Are Weekender. We were due on FIRST - it's this new "Reverse Headlining" that seems to be ALL THE RAGE, especially with gigs we play - but the venue was open normally until 3pm, so we had to wait to soundcheck. The time was filled by greeting, VARIOUSLY, Emma The Organiser, Mr A Hale and August Actually, Mr & Mrs Hewitt, and THE VALIDATORS in full. What joy it was to be all together again after SO VERY LONG!

We soundchecked, ceremonially left the stage, then hopped back on again to do THIS:
  • The Gay Train
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • Leave My Brother Alone
  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • Do The Indie Kid
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed

  • If you listened VERY CAREFULLY it's possible that you MIGHT have been able to detect the fact that we hadn't played together for six months, but apart from a few* (*a lot of) MINOR errors it all went rather well - there was a good, LOVELY, crowd who sang along throughout, quite a LOT of CHAT and LARFS, and even some SEXY KISSING between myself and a certain Bass Player when I mentioned the fact we'd passed through a Gay Pride march on the way. It was DELIGHTFUL (NB the gig, tho the kissing was dead HOT too, obv), and it was a happy band who afterwards compared ERRORS.

    We enjoyed some of our BEER RIDER and then also enjoyed August Actually, who were on fine form, before heading off EN MASSE for the traditional CURRY. There were ten of us all together STRIDING through West Brom, finding shop after shop CLOSED and, similarly, the TWO possibly curry houses that we'd identified earlier BOTH out of business. I nipped into the Premier Inn again to drop off my GEAR and emerged to find that Tim had asked a group of Sikh chaps if they could recommend anywhere. "The Sportsman", they said, and so off we set.

    When we arrived at The Sportsman we were surprised to find that it was a PUB, and a pretty SCARY looking pub too - one of those big HOUSE pubs, plain yellow without windows, and just a "The Sportsman" sign, a tattered England Flag, and a "Sky Sports" on the outside. It didn't look good, and when Tim put his head round the door he reported that it looked just like a pub inside too - big screen TV, pool table and all.

    CONFUSED we walked back in the direction we'd come, until, a few minutes later, Steve started reading out REVIEWS from his phone saying how GRATE The Sportsman was and how DELICIOUS were their curries. This was all VERY STRANGE, so we went back once more. When we got back I ventured deeper into the building and saw a big white board of MENU CHOICES. The back room was a CURRY CANTEEN!

    We got seated, ordered, and then sat NERVOUSLY as the BELL kept ringing to say SOMEBODY'S meal was ready. When ours arrived it was... FANTASTIC! The whole place was rather wonderful really - it was an ACTUAL INDIAN PUB - the majority of people in their were British Asian, with everyone else being a rough mix of other backgrounds, and it was DELIGHTFUL. Whenever I'm in that sort of environment it always reminds me of growing up, both in Peterborough and Leicester, and that COSY feeling was helped along no end by the West Brom accents all around us and also CURRY. ACE!

    As we left the group broke up - Validators mostly heading home and Meg going off to watch football, so much of the rest of the evening was me and Steve WANDERING AROUND talking to people back at The Public, enjoying the BEERZ, and watching some bands. We saw a very HAIRY, THIN, bunch doing a Proper Rock set, which was quite charming, but the BEST band was Allo Darlin' who were on nearly last. They were GRATE - I mean, they always are, obviously, but seeing them in a LARGE, but not OPPRESSIVE, crowd with excellent sound was wonderful, and the new songs are sounding BRILLIANT - I staggered home afterwards singing one particular new one, "History Lessons", all the way back.

    It was a lovely day, and there was more to come in Day Two!

    posted 28/5/2013 by MJ Hibbett

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    When we got back I ventured deeper into the building and saw a big white board of MENU CHOICES Surprised you could see it given you were cowering behind me ;)
    posted 28/5/2013 by Mr S Hewitt

    Curry in the pub must be a thing around West Brom. Back when Grimsby Town weren't rubbish (OK, were less rubbish), we used to go to a pub called the Vine, I think it was, before away games against the Albion. There was always loads of curry on the go in there.
    posted 28/5/2013 by Mr Pete Green

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