We had a terrific gig at Croydon’s Oval tavern last night.
The pub was packed, and there were people dancing almost all the way through both our sets.
We took the opportunity to try out four new numbers:
My Baby just cares for me, which although a song from the 1930s will always be associated with Nina Simone. But while sme may not have been aware of it, it is very definitely a ska rhythm going on in her right hand.
London Calling – there’s lot of reggae and ska influences in the Clash, but perhaps not so much in the original of this. Now it is ska.
Hall of the Mountain King is from the Peer Gynt Suite by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. We thought turning this into a ska tune was wildly imaginative – and then we found that Madness had done a version.
Come Dancing is a great Ray Davies song that was a hit for the Kinks. We just like it a lot.
Each seemed to get a good reaction from the crowd, which is not always the case. Sometimes something can sound good at rehearsal and then be a bit of a flop.
This is what we played in our two sets. And we hope it won’t be too long before we get invited back.
People sometimes say that they like our videos but wonder whether we can play as well live, as studio trickery these days is supposed to make anything sound good.
The short answer to that is that we by and large record live in the studio. What we gain from the studio is the opportunity to record in a good acoustic, use better microphones and balance the levels of the instruments in the mix afterwards.
The long answer is that we were able to record and video a gig recently. Of course it does not sound as good as a studio recording as we simply took a feed from the PA and were unable to do any mixing after the event. And Veronica had a terrible cold.
Neither is it a very exciting video as we had just the one camera.
But we think it does give a good flavour of what we are like live – and the audience seem to be enjoying it.
We had a great time playing a sixtieth birthday party in Southgate last night.
It was a bit special as the party was celebrating the birthday of Chris’s mum – so we put him centre stage.
We got to play a full two sets, and as a special request, we slotted in some Stevie Wonder tunes – only one of which has any relation to the ska, rocksteady and early reggae that we play, so we made Chris play the tricky bits.
We don’t have any photos, but this is what we played.
We were delighted to asked back to play at their first birthday party.
This nearly turned into the gig from hell as the car carrying Veronica, Frank, Nigel and the PA system got stuck in in terrible traffic despite having left what should have been more than enough time to get there well in advance.
Even on the last ten miles they got stuck behind a tractor for most of the way. This does not happen on the way to gigs in Camden.
We were due to start playing at 8pm. The rest of the band were therefore more than relieved when the PA turned up at 7:20.
With a little bit of luck, a lot of organisation and a 3 minute sound check we were still able to play our first song by a few minutes past 8. It was good that we were playing in a marquee as they help prevent feedback.
And once we were playing everyone relaxed into a great party atmosphere and we played two hour long sets to much appreciation. Everyone seemed more chilled about our late arrival than we were – as we pride ourselves on a professional approach. But you can’t plan for that many accidents on the M25 and M4.