September and October have proved themselves to be quite a busy time in Rain-land.. Lets cut to the chase and get on with the gigs:
Thursday 17th October - Stoke Beer Festival
Invited to play a showcase at The 33rd CAMRA Beer Festival in Stoke on Trent, what a thoroughly enjoyable event to play..Neon Tiger promotions had organised the entertainment and invited ex- Spinner Hughie Jones down to entertain the crowds, then we, plus several other acts were to be his support.. A wide mix of acts occcupied the stage.. the lovely Nichola Jayne Chirnside kicked things off with her rather upbeat and funky set, such a young girl with such amazing talent, she deserves to go a long way, up next were Wenglish Urban Cowboys, delivering their usual mix of covers and some orginal songs in their own unique manner. then Hughie Jones came on and did a set of folk tunes.. the guy is amazing, in his 80's and he held the crowd in the palm of his hand. We were up next doing our usual brand of stuff, followed by the ever amazing Hayley Stranglelove.. who had to do the "Barley Mow" song with her jug of ale in hand... Its a Beer Festival.. of course you have to have a drinking song!! And she does it so well! Hughie then returned to the stage for a few singalong numbers with the crowd before the doors closed and we were all ushered out. I have to say I've not been to a proper CAMRA beer festival for a few years, and this time being allowed to play the Opening night was a priveledge.. we were given a card each with some "free" beer .. well in our case, cider and perry.. including the amusingly titled "Fanny's Bramble".. and some rather tasty Elderflower Perry. Overall it was good to see old friends from CAMRA, Lyn and her team of Ale Angels, plus Neon Tiger's Rich who managed to pull the sound off despite a few hitches initially... and deliver a really enjoyable evening all round.. Thanks to Sarah for recommending the perry's..(hic)
Thursday 24th October - The Freebird Freehouse
The Freebird, owned by the rather curmudgeonly Buff (and he'll happily admit to that too.. lol) wasn't our usual venue to play either.. so, we thought.. why not.. we were warned beforehand "Its club night, so the bikers will be in".. which was cool, being a bit of a rock/metal chick in my wild tempestuous youth, I just shrugged and said "no problem".. Well, what a night it ended up being in there. The bikers kept themselves to themselves, which is primarily their way, imho, and those that were in the bar throughly enjoyed our two sets.. we decided to liven up our set a bit anyway and take out some of the slower numbers.. instead throwing in "Queen Bitch" and the Who songs.. and we literally got people dancing!! Hurrah!! Chatting with the crowd after was lovely, so warm and welcoming and engaging, making new suggestions and praising our abilities.. I was worried I wouldn't be able to get my head out of the door!!! We made some new friends, which is always a bonus and even made Buff smile a few times... which was worth it. Definately enjoyed playing there. Oh the Freebird is a Freehouse.. and had some very nice ale on.. Ginger something or other.. which was a dark porter with a hint of ginger.. very nice it was too.
Wednesday 30th October - Frank and Friends The Swan, Burslem
Frank Cerioni is one of the really nice guys on the music scene. He writes whimsical songs, with a twist and delivers them in a style unique to him, which is refreshing. There's no posturing with Frank, just a genuine, honest love of music. Both he and Dee, his GF, were sporting matching colds, so much snuffling was going on during the evening, however undaunted we all trooped on. We'd been invited to do a showcase, and how could we refuse, with the promise of beer and shepherds pie..
We performed for around an hour, doing what we do best.. and coming off to applause and positive comments, which are always lovely to hear. Well, the evenings events took an interesting turn shortly after Dave took to the stage..another customer, decided to make it his business to get on everyone's nerves and started shouting abuse at people.. Luckily for us, Kay, the manageress, took things into her own hands and evicted the offender, leaving us to enjoy a now undisturbed night.. So Dave started playing, and I joined in on backing/harmonies, and we enjoyed a set, singing and harmonising into the night. This is definately a night to get to, Frank makes a very gracious host, and The Swan have beer offers on, plus the added bonus of a hot meal makes it well worthwhile a visit.
Thursday 31st October - Arthur's Table - The Glebe, Stoke
Considering we'd not been for a while, we figured it was time to pay a visit to Arthur's Table.. Hosted by the ever charitable Arthur Righteous. With it being Halloween, the theme was Rocky Horror.. so there were ghouls and ghosties abroad, the place swarming with Transylvanian party goers... However, always being ones to go against the crowd.. we went as ourselves.. only topped by Gaz Williams, who turned up as Dylan Moran in Black Books.. replete with dodgy hair (wig) and a "on phone" label stapled to his lapel. The pub was heaving, and it was also Jason and Sally's 3rd anniversary in the pub, which was worthy of celebrating in its own right. Everyone took turns to sing songs, some with a horror/Rocky Horror theme...the showcase was by Baxter, who turned up as Brad and Janet and did a marvellous rendition of "Dammit Janet".. worthy of a prize all by themselves. All in all a pretty usual night at The Glebe, loads of food available.. hot chilli and chips for everyone too.. Arthur's Table, just keeps going from strength to strength!
Saturday 2nd November - Rode Hall Farmer's Market
The delightful Rode Hall is set in the Cheshire countryside, close to the border with North Staffordshire and it plays host to a Farmer's Market on the first Saturday in the month. To say that Rode Hall is beautiful and its grounds stunning, is an understatement. Its a relic of bygone days, but is still a family home. To say that Rode Hall Farmer's Market is a small affair does not do it justice, its not that small, 2 barns hold the stalls, with a courtyard and path area holding stalls too, there's plenty to see and buy, from gifts to locally produced food, game and cakes. Playing there was a pleasure, despite the weather, which consisted of freezing breezes and eventually bucketloads of rain! Overall we played for 3 hours, with a couple of short breaks to grab a quick cuppa. After 20 minutes I couldn't feel my toes.. but carried on in the manner of a true professional. Each song bringing praise from the crowd with several singing along for good measure to the covers. Once the skies opened, we were half way through "Alone".. and decided enough was enough as all the equipment was getting soaked.. so we packed up in superquick time and then bought some scrummhy foods from the Farmer's market. The bread stall kindly gave us a bag of bread each, which contributed to lunch when we got back home. Definately one for the diary.
So, there you go.. gig diaries up to date.. wonder where we'll turn up next??
You'll just have to wait and see. :-)