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Blog: Birmingham

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Rather than going straight to Birmingham for the first date of my TOUR, i went to DERBY. It turned out that it was almost as quick to go there first, almost as cheap, and featured a LOT more Johnny Domino, for LO! they were playing at an All Dayer at the Vic. They were FANTASTIC - they've just got an Actual Human Drummer, The Jeffbot 2000, and the difference in them and their sound was PALPABLE. This was obvious right from the off, when Dr Coca Cola McDonald attempted to introduce them with SONG. As his guitar did not appear to be working he tried to engage the AUDIENCE in some participation... however, most of the audience at this point was DISAFFECTED YOUTHS who were crowding each other out at the front of the stage, the better to look a bit petulant. As Dr Coca Cola McDonalds began, however, SO DID THE DOMINO. It was GRATE - they were JAMMING, it was a cross-fertilising ROCK MOMENT, a platform from which they then SOARED through their set. It was ROCK! Jeffbot 2000 tried to sound as machine-like as possible, but FLOURISHES and Actual Human Rhythmic Interaction could not be denied, and thus they GROOVED. Most noticeable of all was the effect this had on Marc, usually EXTREMELY CAMP in his flamboyant dance moves, this time BEYOND CAMP and into a whole other universe of EXPRESSION THROUGH DANCE. YES!

It was BLOODY GRATE. The audience MOVED FORWARD to be closer to their POWER, and as I left to catch my train The Best Band In Derby (source: everybody) had astoundingly GOT EVEN BETTER.

An hour later I was in BIRMINGHAM, waiting for the band to turn up, sat with Sam TastyZine, Mr Pete Green Ex Of The Regulars, and their relevant LIFE PARTNERS. I did a quick soundcheck, then Tiger Tom arrived, and I told him my FEAR: although both Tim AND Emma were coming I'd had to tell Tim he couldn't drum, as there was a DRUMKIT EMBARGO. Imagine my HORROR and FORBODING OF WRATH when i discovered there were not one but TWO drumkits on stage. URK! I was AFEARED.

More and more people turned up, including Ray Who Is Called Dann and his mum (aah!), Guesty From School, and - GOLLY! - best selling author Mike Gayle!! When we put out "This Is Not A Library" I sent out a few copies to people I actively LIKED, who i thought might enjoy it, mainly to attempt to KARMICALLY BALANCE the large number of SNARKY NITWITS (i.e. journalists at places like NME) who I felt duty bound to post copies too, if only so I could continue to moan about them continuing to ignore us. Which they do. One NICE person I sent it to was Mike Gayle, because i LOVE his books, they make me CRY, and goodness me but he wrote a lovely email saying he'd liked it. It turns out he's pals with Arthur The Promoter, so came along. COR, eh?

By now it was time for BANDS, and first on was BOM! who played drums, guitar and keyboards all at the same time whilst telling a STORY in a way EERILY like Dr Neil Brown a.k.a. Fish Protein Vindaloo, with whom I have played MANY times. Then it was Mr Pete Green, as aforementioned, who did "Share Your Kit" which PIERCES MY VERY SOUL, but we didn't get to see half his set as Tim and Emma had arrived and SEEN THE DRUMKITS, so we dashed around seeking a) permission to use one and b) some drumsticks, and also working out what set to do.

AT LAST it was our turn, and ONSTAGE we went. It was GRATE! By this point the room was RAMMED, and there were people standing LITERALLY five inches from my FACE, it was STRAAANGE, especially as those at the VERY front seemed to have come specifically to see Jeffrey Lewis, and looked at me as if they required to be IMPRESSED. Me and Tim did "The Lesson Of The Smiths" first, battling through, before more FAMILIAR songs. The absence of Mr Frankie Machine was NOTED, and REMARKED upon by me (as were many other TOPICS, which almost ALL got BIG LARFS! HOORAH!) until we ended with "Easily Impressed" and a TERRIFICALLY LOUD "Oi! HIBBETT!" bit which was ACE.

It was LOVELY. It was a Happy Band Of Validators who congregated in the corridor afterwards. THREE copies of the EP were sold, a couple of extra gigs were offered, MORE people were met (including Ms Katherine Kennedy of CUR1350, WHOM it was nice to finally meet) and PLEASURE shone around the room. More GIGS were spoken of, and even with the LACK of Mr Machine, the familiar feeling of SIMPLE JOY of The Validators was much in evidence.

This was much more than the FEAR and DREAD me and Tom felt trying to get back to Leicester, with the A68 closed and a lack of signage. Still, we got there eventually, and i ROSE at 7.50am to get the EARLY train back to That London for a MUCH NEEDED day of relaxing around the house with the Steam In My Iron, for LO! tomorrow I'm off to GLASGOW, and I won't be home until Thursday! I'll try and tell you what's happening through the medium of INTERWEB, but if you don't hear from me again until the end of the week, fear not - i shall simply be IN ROCK!

Now! To pack my bags!

posted 19/9/2004 by MJ Hibbett

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