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RIDDLED with cold I set off yesterday afternoon for Leicester, to play at the big Sorted Records gig at The Charlotte. Due to Midland Mainline MADNESS of Pricing i got to town about an hour early, so set off for a good old WANDER ROUND. I was amazed, also IMPRESSED, to see that the old Odeon has FINALLY been cleaned up and put to work, and that the whole area around there is BUSTLING with Urban Reinvention. Ever since i first moved to Leicester that part of town has been full of redundant factories gathering dust and cobwebs, so i was surprised to find that they're all reopening now as business centres and apartments and things. A row of knackered old shops had suddenly grown a rooftop TERRACE, CRANES abounded everywhere knocking down the unsaveable buildings and putting up new ones, and all was RENEWAL. Even in town, and Millstone Lane, I noticed that the closed down factories and Scary Old Buildings there are now turning into SHOPS and places to live. It was amazing!

I reflected on this over a PINT in the Criterion - i thought i ought to get at least one pleasant drink inside me - then headed over to The Charlotte. Apart from Sorted Supremo Dave Dixey I was the first to arrive, so I had time for a quick look round, as I hadn't been there for AGES. Everything was pretty much the same, and I surprised myself by WELLING UP when I went into the upstairs bar, scene of MANY MANY Saturday nights at RAZZLE and The Tube Bar and various other events. I guess it was all the nostalgia welling up as I'd walked around earlier, I spent 14 years of my life in Leicester so there is a LOT of memories, not all of which are necessarily pleasant ones, and The Charlotte is this in MICROCOSM, for every time I thought "Aah, this is where me and Simon DANCED AT GURLS while wearing SUITS" I also thought "Hmm, that's where i sat, on my own, when nobody else came to the gig." BITTERSWEET, baby!

Anyway, Tom and Tim soon turned up and, in the light of COMMENTS made, me and Tom had a go at setting up the drumkit whilst Mr Pattison parked his car. I think we did quite well, that stool stayed put up all night! We soundchecked, went for CHIPS, then Tim and I popped briefly into The Orange Tree, where Emma arrived, COMPLETING out line-up for the evening - young Frankie was in the NAUGHTY CORNER for the night, as he'd TRIPLE BOOKED himself for the evening so had had to pull out. When I got back to the Charlotte i BRAVED a pint of bitter, and found that this was still EXACTLY the same there as it always had been. Later on Andy The Manager would complain that people hadn't drunk enough over the course of the night - the reason for this is that the BEER there is HORRIBLE. My WORD, this morning i had ANOTHER type of Nostalgia, as my entire BODY tried to EXPEL the noxious NESS of the previous evening.

We need not DWELL on that tho, let us return to last night, where I stood at the bar considering PREVIOUS gigs, our lack of bass player, and that hardly anyone was there. It did not AUGUR well... things started to warm up as the evening went along, and it was LOVELY seeing all the LOVELY people who gradually turned up, so i had MUCH fun wandering around chatting to people. I also enjoyed Flying Ant Day, who were Lazarus Clamp without their bass player. It was ODD seeing Tom play in a different band, but they were DEAD GOOD - i have always liked Lazarus Clamp's quieter songs best, and that's what we got, it was ACE.

Soon it was time for us to get set up - bands played upstairs AND downstairs alternately, which made it a very RELAXED way of getting things together, and people were just drifting downstairs as we played THIS:
  • Quality Of Life Enhancement Device
  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • Never Going Back To Aldi's
  • Hey Hey 16K
  • Better Things To Do
  • The Fight For History
  • Easily Impressed

  • It was GRATE!!! Much to my amazement, it all went really well - the sound was ACE, there suddenly seemed to be LOADS of people who'd turned up, we all played everything WELL, and people ENJOYED it. Near the front were a couple of lads DANCING, and i wasn't sure if they were enjoying it or Taking The Mick, but then they CHEERED when I introduced "Hey Hey 16K" and sung along to the whole song! Afterwards they told me they'd been in halls at University with a lad from Derby who'd played them LOTS of my stuff, and I was really rather TOUCHED. We also got a VERY LOUD bit of audience participation in "Easily Impressed" and my dears I dare say we WOULD have got an encore if i hadn't been so DILIGENT about telling everyone that another band was starting upstairs. It was just REALLY REALLY GOOD, and as i looked round I found similar looks on the faces of The Validators as on my own - AMAZEMENT!

    There was more lurking about and more chatting afterwards and also much HUGGING - it was lovely! I went to say thanks to Phil The Soundman for making it all sound so GOOD. He said he'd really liked it, so i have him a copy of "Warriors Of Nanpantan", which led to my FAVOURITE bit of the evening - after the last band had finished he played the first three songs off it VERY LOUDLY INDEED! It was FANTASTIC - as Chapter 24 came off stage (they were dead good, by the way - another of these young bands who BLYTHELY mix up PROG and PUNK, almost as if it doesn't matter! BLASPHEMY!) the voice of ME boomed out with "I was a binman, i was a road sweeper..." It filled me with GLEE i must confess, thanks Phil!

    We got a taxi back to the home of Dr Neil Brown, where I was staying, and over TEA we discussed how lovely it had been, for LO! It really really had.

    posted 7/10/2005 by MJ Hibbett

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