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Blog: Hello Cambridge!

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It was back AGANE to King's Cross for me last night, and HO! for the distant FEN, and CAMBRIDGE. On the PACKED train were two young chaps who had guitars with them, and were discussing the ROCK ACTION tonight. I thought "Wouldn't it be funny if it turned out they were playing the same place as me?" and LO! it turned out they WERE, so i said hello and when we arrived in Cambridge we STRODE towards the venue, THE MAN ON THE MOON. They'd told me it was a lot like The Windmill in Brixton, and they were NOT WRONG - it's in a residential area, looks like one of those rotten Estate Pubs that NOBODY goes in unless they live there, and inside has a LOVELY sized, shaped, and staffed VENUE room, and ALSO serve really nice beer. HOORAH! AND the chip shop was directly opposite! EVEN MORE HOORAH!

Mr Frankie Machine arrived at the same time as me, shortly followed by Mr McClure, and then The Pattisons - things seemed to be going FINE, except that there was no drumkit and no time for soundchecks... er... I was unsure at this point whether Everything Would Work Out OK or COLLAPSE, and Martin who was RUNNING the gig was equally unsure. DRUMS however did arrive, things got set up, and all was well. Meanwhile we had a BAND MEETING where we pretty MUCH agreed WHEN we're going to go and record the album (AUGUST) and HOW (recording for six days, mixing and doing additional overdubs in Derby on The Machine Machine [NB Rob's computer] and me and Emma excused from having to sit through the mixing). We then did the setlist, the VOCALISTS had a sing through "Tell Me Something You DO Like", and we retired to the QUIZZER, where as usual we failed to win anything.

The gig started, and there were PEOPLE there - me and Tom had to FIGHT past a QUEUE at one point to get OUT - including a surprisingly large number of people who had come to SEE us, some of whom had travelled FAR. Jeff (who put us on in Ipswich) and Ed had come from IPSWICH, Chris from NORWICH, John from LONDON and Ellen from BLACKPOOL! We'd assumed that nobody there would know us, so thought we could do nearly all NEW stuff, and i thus felt a bit bad afterwards that a bunch of people had come SPECIAL and didn't hear much they might KNOW. I remember when I used to go to a LOT of Belle & Sebastian gigs, it was NICE to hear new stuff but a bit frustrating that they hardly ever played anything i knew - it is a TOUGH ONE to balance i must say. If you do ALL old stuff then it's a bit boring for everyone, although you do get to have a good old singalong, but if you do all NEW stuff it's a THRILLER for the band but you lose the LINK with the audience, who won't know any of them... obviously the answer is to do MASSIVE EXTENDED SETS, but we only had half an hour!

So yes, soon it came time for us to ROCK so in we MARCHED and got set up - one of the MANY GRATE THINGS about The Validators is that everyone just gets on with it, and each of us set to getting their SECTION sorted out. Well, most of us - certain people appear to still be unable to work out how to switch amps on without involving everybody else, but HEY! I don't have one at home, OK? Once sorted we LEAPT into ACTION, as follows:
The Gay Train
Never Going Back To Aldi's
Hey Hey 16K
The Lesson Of The Smiths
Tell Me Something You DO Like
The Fight For History
Quality Of Life Enhancement Device
Easily Impressed
New Song TASTIC, i think you'll agree - we did intend to do "Things'll Be Different" and "Symbol Of Our Nation", but TIME seemed to flow at EXTREME SPEED, so we had to cut them. It was GOOD though, I think - I was a bit AFEARED for the first few songs, as I couldn't hear the vocals at all, but thought "COme, ME, Relax and don't SHOUT, lest you bugger up what is already a Not Exactly First Class instrument i.e. yr VOICE" and felt a bit better as we went along. "Tell Me Something You DO Like" did, as promised, get its LIVE DEBUT, and CRIKEY! It was quite EXCITING! Singing it AT people felt DEAD GOOD and I hope, as it GROWS and DEVELOPS, it is going to be a bit of a CRACKER. YEAH!

So yes, it all felt rather good, if rather FRENETIC and SWEATY and all over in a BLUR of ACTION. There wasn't much time to hang around afterwards either - Rob was in the MACHINEMOBILE with the engine running before the rest of us had finished packing, and I soon had to DASH to catch my train, although i DID manage to say THANKS to the lovely people who'd come and, indeed, sorted it out. On the (LONG) way home (who knew there were so MANY places in The Fens?) I thought that, with CAMBRIDGE added to the list of Places We Should Play, IPSWICH to be revisited in the summer, and COLCHESTER and NORWICH as possible other areas to explore, THE FENS suddenly becomes a HOT TARGET for NEW TERRITORY to conquer. With ROCK! East Anglia is the new South Yorkshire, Cambridge is the new SHEFFIELD! For us! Maybe!

Well, it WAS very late. I finally got home a very happy Hibbett, my only sadness being that it's going to be three long weeks until the Validators reconvene... because, united together, we are BLOODY GRATE! YEAH!

posted 14/4/2005 by MJ Hibbett

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