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Blog: Going Up The Country

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Saturday lunchtime found me at Leicester station, where I was to met Mr T "The Tiger" McClure, hop in THE TIGERMOBILE, and travel North to Congleton, where we would be joining the rest of The Validators for the Going Up The Country Festival.

All went to plan and we even got there without getting lost, thanks mostly to Christina sitting in the front and saying things like "I think that says 'right' Tom, not 'carry straight on'." She was much better than Tom's usual gig navigator, who was otherwise engaged in the back seat swapping texts with Mr T Pattison (working out that he and Mrs E Pattison were about 5 minutes behind us on the A50) and Mr FA Machine (who reckoned that a SPOOKY GHOST had switched off his TV while he was in the shower - oooo!)

We got to the hotel and found the aforesaid Frankie sat in the bar and the also aforesaid Pattisons coming in just after us. Five minutes later, me, Tom, Christina and Frankie were sat in the bar not having a drink. When I asked why not I was told that we were waiting for Tim and Emma to come back so we could go to the nice looking brew bar over the way. "Why don't we go now and text them to tell them where we are?" "THIS is why you are our LEADER!" said Frankie, correctly: going to the pub sooner rather than later is the key skill in ALL great leaders throughout history.

Tim and Emma joined us over the road shortly after and we had a LOVELY hour or so swapping stories and LARFING, as well as having Nice Beer (it was The Barley Hop, it was good!). Tim told tales of his recent experiences as de facto manager of Prolapse, which we all enjoyed with a lot of "WOT?" and "You were right!" It was such fun that we had to DRAG ourselves out to get to our next port of call: the festival!

We got to The Church House Inn (i.e. the venue) to find all SORTS going on. After parking near some friendly caravanners we strode round to find a BRILLIANT small stage with a large open-sided tent opposite so that everyone could still watch the bands if it rained. There were more small tents with stalls inside, so it really felt like a proper actual festival. We wandered into the pub saying hello to the many many friendly faces we found within. This, I thought,is going to be LOVELY!

Spoilers: it totally was.

After an hour or so it felt like time for tea, so we combined this with a BAND MEETING. Action Points to be taken away were: a) we're going to try and finish recording the album before I go to Edinburgh b) we're probably ALL going to be doing the mixing this time c) we'll do a VIDEO single in November and d) hopefully have the whole album out early 2016. It was a GOOD meeting!

We went back to BEERZ and enjoyed the other bands IMMENSELY, most of whom seemed to be filled with CHUMS, and soon it was our turn to hit the stage. Here's what we did:
  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • Can We Be Friends?
  • That Guy
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock
  • 20 Things To Do Before You're 30
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed

  • This was the democratically selected setlist that I was on about the other day, and it worked out really well! It was the full-band LIVE DEBUT of Can We Be Friends? and That Guy, both of which seemed to go down well, even though it was also the first time that all five of us had ever even PLAYED Can We Be Friends? together! To our great delight the new songs appeared to go down just as well as the old ones, and those went down GOOD. It was a lovely audience and a GRATE sound - the chap doing it was BRILLIANT and it makes a HUGE difference for us when you can hear all the words! We had a totally ACE time, and as we came off ALL said "We really should do more gigs!"

    It's funny - I used to prefer doing solo gigs, as band gigs tended to be too Crash Bang Wallop with the words going missing and us flailing about in a racket, but lately I've come to think that the band set-up is the BEST way to hear these songs. Maybe it's because we've had quite a lot of good soundmen over the past couple of years but for me, standing up with my CHUMS, sounding GOOD and trying to make them LARF is the best fun ever!

    We spent the next couple of hours BOOZING and then DARNCING and also arguing about RECORDS, it was BRILLO. Emma had booked us 2 taxis for a quarter past midnight, so we hugged as many people as we could and went out to wait. The first arrived bang on time, but the other was nowhere to be seen. It wasn't far to go so the original chap came back for the second half of us - the mystery of what happened to the second taxi was solved just after noon next day, when the Pattisons received a text at 12:15pm to say it had just arrived to pick us up!

    Next morning it was a slightly quieter Validators who met for breakfast. It was an EXCELLENT, PLENTIFUL breakfast, just what we needed after our ROCK night. As we checked out the owner of the hotel (it was The Lion And Swan) regaled us with tales of its HAUNTING, then we gave the receptionist, also his daughter, a copy of WE VALIDATE! (she'd asked if we were all the same band, we didn't force it on her!). "I'll have a listen then I'll know the songs for when you come next time" she said, and I thought, "Next time? That would be GRATE!" for LO! it would be - we had a lovely lovely time, thanks for having us Kevin And Linda Who Organised It, it was FAB!

    posted 17/6/2015 by MJ Hibbett

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