Sometimes nights are full of passionate embraces of music, sometimes it’s a cuddle, last night was a snuggle. Warm, cosy, comfortable. Mikey Fitz was already plotted up with a friend when I arrived, but the pub was fairly empty apart from that. Ant Smith had popped in to return my rucksack that had carried his airbed, borrowed at Gypsy.
I set up, Ciarran arrived, and I hadn’t seen him since the last Star of Kings before Christmas. He knew Ant from the same place, so that was cool, the three of us chatted and while we were Emily White joined Mikey and his friend. Carlo, Paul and a friend arrived. Some more locals turned up and we began the night.
Although Mikey had arrived first, he and Emily would be sharing a guitar so I asked Ciarran if he’d kick the night off. Bloody good choice it was too! Gentle warm covers floated from the stage and warmed the empty chairs. It was a wonderful delicate beginning. Unique Technique dropped by and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to set up the CD player without my superstar soundman, but I sorted it and felt very proud of myself. But he wouldn’t be on for a little while, and I hadn’t proved that what I’d done would work…
So onwards into the delightful world of Mikey, where reggae meets folk with an Aussie laid back attitude. I’d mentioned that he takes too many holidays and his first song dealt with coming home, perfect. He puts me in mind of Finlay Quaye when he was modest. Maybe F. Quaye still is, Mikey is and constantly comes off stage having made my life better without so much as a hint of self importance.
Setting up for Emily was easy, just had to move the mic stand a bit and we were ready. Same guitar but a decidedly different sound, less reggae, more ‘classical’ folk but there’s a lack of prissiness about Emily that I’m glad to mention, there’s warmth that kind of growls out of her.
I’d called Carlo and Paul in so that Paul could warm his ‘daf’ drum, which is a Middle Eastern version of a Bodhran.
However, Lenny (I think) jumped up and said “I’ll go on now.” Donning his glasses and retrieving some paper he strode purposefully towards the stage. Right then! I jumped up and got the mic at the right height and moved back towards the mixing desk to get the sound sorted. He began, but didn’t feel comfortable with his first piece so moved on to his second.
Getting the sound right was difficult, there was a lot of ‘booming’ going on, betwixt the guitar, voice and drum. Every time I managed to get it right I lost Carlo’s guitar. This is where a proper sound engineer and equipment would make a difference. I stumbled through and the boys made adjustments as I did, losing their selves in music seemed the best way through it and when percussion changed to a djembe their excellence shone.
Sometimes when I listen to Carlo, I think that he’s famous and comes down to get away from his fame.
Unique Technique asked me, when he arrived, should he do a new set or old and I told him what I tell everyone. The stage is yours to do what you like. He chose well, 3 excellent songs in a great set. His lyrics are very personal although he tries to make them about types; you can’t spit those lyrics in that way without your heart being the most important part. Properly crafted lyrics from a decent geezer.
Talking of lyricists and wordsmiths, Bryan had arrived from the studio where he’d be laying some of his poetical excellence down and was in the mood for a slot…
Regular Russ had arrived too. Doc and Stephen were in fine fettle and were happy to hear Russ before they went on so I grabbed him onto the stage before he’d finished his first drink; usually he has to wait a little while.
In moments he’d turned into the performer of classic originals what he wrote before he was born with an invisible pen on burnt paper. There’s a lot of funny behind the quality of covers he does. There’s always a smirk beneath the eyes as he tells us “fuck you”.
Doc and the Bone warmed up while music played and latecomers arrived, some friends of the bar others friends of the night including Tom and Dan from The Black Sparrows.
Doc and Stephen lost their way a little on the first tune, but soon found their feet and knocked out another 3 before asking can they do one more. They had lovely eyes so I said yes. It was a good finale to their set.
Beadyman flowed smoothly tonight, voice clear, rhythm sweet, connection with the audience excellent. All components in the right place. Solid set.
One of the locals, who I first met at Thursday’s karaoke, had a friend who said he’d like to sing. Slight panic built, but hey, it’s an open mic, right? He knew what he wanted to sing ‘Dock of The Bay’ he hooked up with Russ and they had a little rehearsal.
Dan Hunt took the stage in the meantime and danced through a few favourite poems making us laugh and think while he pushed the limits of speed to new limits. He pronounced each word, keeping his own unique rhythm while his body moved at the speed he wanted to be going. At one point I thought he was going to put his hand up and ask if he could go to the toilet!
Patrick, the local was ready and so was his guitarist Russ. They got up and just started before I’d had the chance to introduce them. It was really nice that Patrick got the chance to perform and Russ was completely on his side. Watching his metre to fit Pat perfectly.
The surprise? Sarah-Jane, Tom and (at first) Dan on drums! Dan dropped out before I’d set up, so I asked Stephen to help out which he was happy to do. They did Fulsome Prison or whatever it’s called, it was excellent.
Beadyman was in such a good mood that I thought it would be a good end. You know, a proper local and regular seemed like a nice way to finish.
Even quiet nights are good down at QH. Thanks to the chef for the pizzas (could have done with another one but they were ordered before everyone arrived.). Thank you Candy for your excellent service and fabulous musical choices and thank you Dewi for your continuous support.