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.
We had huge fun playing for D and N’s wedding blessing last night. This was at the Hilton hotel on the banks of the Thames in Rotherhithe, just across the river from Canary Wharf.
As Steve’s photo shows, it was a beautifully clear evening though not the time of year for outdoor gigs.
We learnt three new songs at the couple’s request. For their first dance we had to knock up a quick arrangement of They can’t take that away from me. This is an old jazz standard written by George Gershwin, though we suspect many people today are more likely to know the Robbie Williams version and probably think it’s called The way you wear your hat as at least some of the band did. As we already do songs like Fly me to the moon and In the Mood for Love, we know how to ska up these great old swing tunes.
For their second song they wanted Moondance. We didn’t think this could really be done with a ska or reggae feel so did it rather like the original.
We had the most fun with Hava Nagila. This introduced the band to the traditional chair-lifting that goes with this old tune at Jewish ceremonies. And it makes for a great bit of ska, allowing Steve to demonstrate the klezmer side of his clarinet playing. We will be playing this one again.
Here’s the set list we played.
They Can’t Take That Away from me –a special request for the first dance
Moondance – another request
Guns Of Navarone – all ska bands have to play this
Latin Goes Ska – a favourite 60s ska instrumental
I’m in the Mood For Love – swinging ska jazz that we often do as a first dance
You’re Wondering Now – a 60s ska song that Amy Winehouse recorded
Alley Cat Ska – another 60s instrumental
Man In The Street –and another
Fly Me To The Moon –ska swing
Can’t Get You Out out of my Head – Kylie goes ska
Enola Gay – many 80s songs make great ska
10 Out Of 10 -Paolo Nutini proves that great ska songs are still being written
Hava Nagila –probably the best known Jewish song, which we do as an instrumental
James Bond instrumental classic
Misirlou – from Greece to surf guitar classic to the Skamonics!
99 Red Balloons –another 80s classic
Tainted Love – and another
Rudy A Message To You – a 60s song that evryone associates with the Specials
My Boy Lollipop – more 60s
Baggy Trousers – our Madness tribute
Israelites – Desmond Dekker’s great reggae song
Night Boat To Cairo – and another Madness song
Gangsters – more Specials
Tequila – not ska, but a another great 60s instrumental and party favourite
We have a very rough recording of the gig, and more photos, so there should be more to come.
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