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Blog: The ROCK Goes On

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After work last night i went to meet my friend Chris in The Head Of Steam at Euston Station. This is a STRANGE old pub, in that from the outside it looks like the LAST ever place you'd want to go in, like a mutant hybrid of the most depressing prefabricated station pub and the most violent uncomfortable SCARY estate pub EVER! However, inside it is LOVELY, full of DELICIOUS BEER and friendly people, like an Old Man's Pub in the days before MegaPubs, when everybody used to drink in those sort of places because there was no choice. It's like stepping through a TEMPORAL GATEWAY into a world of pub-going that has now disappeared, before themed pubs, before bouncers on the door (NG!), before alcopops, and when people would TALK to each other, DAMMIT!

As a measure of how much we both liked it, and especially the IPA in my case (Mmm! IPA! Best Type of Beer in the UNIVERSE!), Chris missed two trains home. It was ACE.

I then headed NORTH to Camden, to see The Fighting Cocks. All the gigs I've been to recently, playing or watching, having been either Big(ish) Bands or Themed Nights, that is nights when a specific non-venue promoter has put on the night for some reason, based around something like a fanzine, or a label, or something like that. These are always LOVELY as, generally, everyone's designed to get on with each other and everybody's pretty supportive, because you have a REASON to be. Last night, however, was one of those nights that everybody has to play loads of, when a promoter books three or four completely seperate bands, so that each brings their own pals with them, and the FIGHT is ON to force other people's friends to stay and watch YOU.

I always LOVE playing these kind of gigs, i find it ChALLENGING and FUN and probably explains why my live set is the way it is, as it's there to make the bass player's sister's friends stay and listen to ME, but goodness me they can be pretty unpleasant at times, especially if you're on last... which the Fighting Cocks were last night. I stood and watched the preceding band for about 20 minutes being ASTOUNDED by how drearily awful they were - again, i have been DEPRIVED of this sort of thing just lately, so it was quite a surprise to WITNESS it again - and then saw The Cocks dashing about getting their gear on stage as the audience drifted out. When The Fighting Cocks got on stage they were, of course, LOUD and MAGNIFICENT, and though it shouldn't it made me a bit annoyed to watch the useless sods who'd been on before SWANNING AROUND and Very Pointedly Ignoring the final act, in that horrible arrogant way that bands on their second gig do when their friends have all turned up.

The anger turned to JOY though as the set progressed, and I remembered the GLORY of playing these sort of gigs, the sheer "SOD YOU THEN" of standing there to diminishing crowds, saying "BYE!" in the middle of songs, and STILL doing what you love doing with all the VIM you've got in your body. Goodness knows I've done enough gigs like this, and there's a real EXHILERATION in knowing that almost nobody cares, but YOU REALLY DO.

They were GRATE, basically, and i STORMED home afterwards with a headful of memories of all the second-ever-gig/first-gig-not-in-someone's-house bands I've ever played with. LO! The fires of righteousness burnt BRIGHTLY in me that night!

posted 9/7/2004 by MJ Hibbett

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