Monday, 7 October 2013

Its been a long time coming....Its gonna be a long time gone...

I know I know, I promised not to leave writing the blog too long and I've kind of gone back on my word somewhat... but that's what happens when you're a busy person! I'm only one (well, OK there's two of us in the duo, but only one doing the blogging!), so only have a finite amount of time on my hands, so, between looking at High Schools, rehearsing, writing and generally doing the day to day stuff.. I finally found a smidgen (my current favourite word) of time to dedicate to without further adieu I shall carry on where I left off last time.

Tuesday 17th September.

Well.. this day, well evening found us sloping off to Nantwich to appear on This is the Cat Radio, more specifically the Late Selector radio show. After navigating the country lanes (I lie.. the Bypass!) we found ourselves roaming around an estate of very nice buildings. "We're definately in the right place, its ..... House" (the name escapes me at present, no doubt I'll get reminded later). The car park was a tad deserted, which was worrying, so I suggested parking next to the Porsche Carerra, inferring that should anyone wish to steal a car, or break into one, they would be better off with the Porsche than Graeme's Fiat Panda. After texting our host and simply being told "Press the button".. we searched for light to find the said button. There's not a great deal of lighting on said car park... Anyway, cutting a long story short.. we gained access, then had to work out where we were going, taking the option of climbing as high as we could until we hit civilisation. Luckily we found our way to the studio, with literally minutes before we were due on air.
The evening descended from there.... Fortunately not in a bad way, but in a rather hilarious, riotous, giggling chaos of a show, for which Steve is famous.. well, I say famous, certainly on This is the Cat Radio he is. We managed to play a few songs for good measure and equally descended into more hilarity. The whole experience was incredible. Steve put us completely at ease, enouraged Graeme not to swear.. which of course didn't last long, and played some incredible local music. Overall it was a brilliant night and one we hope to repeat soon.

Check out This is the Cat Radio at:

Saturday 21st September

We received a call on Friday 20th September, "Can you do a gig for me? You'll be helping me out of a mess, if you do!". The call came from an agency, "What sort of stuff do you do?".. which was met with our stock response "A bit of our own stuff, a bit of this, a bit of that, some 70's singer/songwriter tunes and a few Who tracks".. "Great, I'll tell the pub you can do it".
I hasten to add, I'm not going to name the agency, nor the pub, as I presume it was a case of crossed wires... we're Rain Acoustic Duo from Stoke, otherwise known here and there as "Rain"... well, it turns out there's another duo called "Rain", well, they call themselves a duo, which is technically true, however, they utilise backing tracks, so they're technically a duo with a full band in a box. I can presume this is where the mishap may have started. 
We arrived at the venue, pleased to have a gig booked, but felt rather uneasy after chatting to the manager and bar staff. However, not to cause a fuss, we set up and began playing.
We played a full usual 2 x 45 minute slots, but it felt much longer. The room was virtually empty (I blame Strictly and whatever current real-life become a celeb show is on TV on a Saturday night). The people that were there were hard to crack, we've all had crowds like that. Lets just say they were less than impressed with us and we were less than impressed with them. We were simply the wrong band for the venue. As we'd not booked it ourselves, I suppose we could gain some satisfaction from it. However, it was not anyone's fault, simply a misunderstanding. The agency thought they were booking another act, the pub were expecting another act and we were not it! Apparently someone who walked out said to the landlord "We came out to have a great night out, instead we had someone that would go down well at a funeral!". I hasten to add, we might go down well at some funerals, but equally we usually go down very well wherever we play. The landlord did apologise and so did we. To add insult to injury the agent turned up and apparently fell out with the landlord and his staff too, which wasn't good. We bid a hasty retreat and vowed never to return to that particular venue. 

Wednesday 25th September

After the previous weeks problems we decided to make ourselves feel better by going along to The Open Mic at The Nags Head in Crewe, one of our favourite venues and one of our favourite Open Mic nights. Run by Al Dean, a man who defies description, who is so generous to everyone who turns up. We found ourselves in a moderately quiet one, which made a change. Its a very intimate venue is the Nags, rather akin to playing in someone's lounge, but with a stage, lighting rig and full PA! We shared a stage with such greats on the scene as Rivers and Kelly, the utterly awesome Angus McTwangstick and someone called Sandy (who's name I've forgotten).. when she got up to perform, half the audience performed with her.. which meant she didn't play to as many as everyone else..But still a lovely mix of music, surrounded by cool people and the usual treat of a hot meal provided by the very lovely Jacqui. We do enjoy playing there, hopefully we'll be back there soon enough. 

Saturday 28th September

The Boughey Arms decided to have a a Beer Festival and we were called to provide the entertainment. Again The Boughey is another favourite venue to play, its a lovely place with lovely people and well worth the trek. The audience were so receptive, singing along to some of the newer songs in the set list and pleasantly surprised by a few, one table playing "Name that Tune".. but without Tom O'Connor. lol. (Showing my age, I know!) Once we did our thing we ended up chatting to one table and another, everyone fully appreciative of what we'd done and singing our praises, which was lovely to hear and I'm always humbled by. Turns out one of the couples at a table live in the house next door and thoroughly enjoyed our rendition of Pinball Wizard at the Acoustic event there, they were pleasantly surprised to find out that we were the "couple with the great guitar playing and beautiful singing voice" who had indeed played the Acoustic Festival. I remember thinking back to the Festival and there were two heads peeking over the wall. They commented that they were a little worried when the Festival was on this year as the previous year they'd been witness to another act,who, in their words "the noise was so bad, we had to close not just our patio doors, but the whole of the rest of the doors and windows to escape from the racket that the singer was making". I was saddened to hear that, as I always figured the Boughey were good with their music policy and they said "Normally we don't have any issues with it at all and enjoy live music, but that was just awful"  It left me feeling heavy hearted as no-one should have to feel that they're cutting themself off from great music and The Boughey is usually very good at picking its acts to play. Maybe the act in question was having a bad day, maybe the sound wasn't quite right. Could be a million reasons. However the couple have a renewed faith in The Boughey after this years festival and after seeing us perform, so its all good. We made some other friends too, a great couple, the husband of which used to live around the corner from me when I was growing up. Ever a reminder that its a very small world we live in. 

Sunday 29th September

Still full of enthusiasm and with a night off we decided to go along to Arthur's Table Open Mic at The Swan in Burslem. We also like the Swan, a beautiful pub, which is an incredibly stylish place, rather akin to a European cafe bar. Anyway, the night started great. The pub across the road had a karaoke night that descended into chaos.. no, worse than that, tables were thrown, chairs and stools were thrown, people were crying and shouting. The bar staff from The Swan went to the aid of some of the injured and the police arrived swiftly, arresting offending individuals and drawing the excitement to a sudden end. Oh well, life goes on, and so we played there, alongside Arthur, Gaz Williams, Frank Cerioni, Bill, and loads of others, a wonderful night.. made more special when we played "Won't Get Fooled Again".. at which point, during the opening bars, the place erupted. Fortunately it didn't erupt in the same way as the pub across the road, but people started bopping about and singing along.. always good when you know you've done something right.

Friday 4th October

Back in the studio. Phew, we'd been meaning to get back in the studio for a while, but had put it off as we'd reached an impasse with the CD, we knew we wanted to do more, but were stuck on what to do with the songs we had. Then Graeme had a brain wave, "I want it to be an orchestral piece".. Seeing as we're rather lacking in the orchestra department, being only an acoustic duo, we only had one choice "Daaaaaan.... can you play us something for this track"... Dan, of Tremolo Studios is a truly unassuming guy, utterly brilliant behind the mixing desk and a true genius, "What? Oh, you mean something like this"... Dan placed his fingers on the keys, caressing them gently, he came up with exactly what we'd been looking for. Simply without the need for direction, he simply played a piece and it fitted beautifully. "Now do the same with violins".. which he did.. "Now, we want something else, not a trumpet.. no flute... so Oboe!!!!".. up he stepped once more and played a piece "Is that OK?" "OK???" chimed Graeme and I in unison, "its brilliant!!" However, I was sleepy and needed to get home to bed... we promised to return on Sunday.

Sunday 6th October

We returned as promised on Friday, to Tremolo studios with a view to finish off the track we started on Friday.. which we did. Adding in electric guitar, bass guitar, vocals, harmonies and a few bits of percussion.. It was starting to sound complete "Do you think we need drums on this?" asked Graeme, "I think its a bit late for drums now!" I replied "anyway, its sounding amazing as it is and we don't want to overegg the pudding". (which has become the stock phrase for the studio). We walked out with a rough demo to listen to in the coming weeks to see if there's anything else needed.. We'll do that with the other tracks too.. Only 2 more tracks to record and only when Drums of Clogger Rich Raizada is free to do it. We're in no rush to finish it, we've been working on it since February and rather than rush it in a weekend, with their only being two of us, we can't really rush it. We have to do a bit, step back from it, listen to it, then prod around in its internal organs until it becomes something else, something greater than the sum of its parts. Its been a great journey so far, it would be a shame to rush the rest of it. We've decided that February might be a good time to release it..By which time it should be finished!! :-) We hope! 

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