Saturday, December 29, 2007

With the Daintees at The Clunie

Up the M1 with a flask of coffee in true nerd style, I went up to play at the Clunie in Byker, supporting the Daintees at their annual Christmas show.
It was packed out, just like last year; it's very strange to play the same venue exactly a year later, after all the changes a year brings to your life. I was much more confident, this time around for a start. As a venue, it has a weird acoustic and onstage you can sometimes hear the audience more loudly than you can hear yourself. But I had the excellent Finn McCardle on percussion with me this time around, looking very smart in a black suit and tie, and Martin Stephenson came and joined me for the last three songs, so it was almost like playing with a mini-band. And then I got to watch the Daintees, a pared-down version this year with no Andrea on backing vox, no John Steel on keyboards and no Kate on drums, but Anth and Gary on bass and guitar, and Shayne Fonteyn on drums: the rock Daintees rather than the festival Daintees, punchy and tight rather than rambling and relaxed. Martin's daughter Phoebe, who is 16, got up to play two songs; she had been really nervous but I was watching from the wings and she looked great once she got out there and she played really well; the nerves seemed to disappear and she just got on withit like a pro. The crowd seemed hard to warm up, but about halfway through, something clicked and the joint was a-rockin'. They played 24 Hours for me to sing- this time I forgot some of the words and Anth forgot some of the changes but I don't think the audience minded.
The Daintees have great songs and the audience was roaring along with them, putting the delicate London Jazz-Cafe singalong audience to shame. It's those beer-fuelled Geordie lungs, that's what it is!
Mike and June were there, Martin's most loyal fans, and Daisy was there in her top-hat, selling CDs like hot cakes. I met Joe Guillan, the red-hot rockabilly guitarist and we bored his wife to tears talking about Gretsch guitars.
What a gig to play- perfect at this time of year!

Then I drove back yesterday for my birthday, just family this year as it's been a tough year in a lot of ways, but we still managed to play- Rowen played a song, and Paul and McSis, and we yakked and ate. My friend Joan stayed the night on the settee, reading and drinking bourbon and hanging out with me today.

Roll on 2008 and the New Year revolutions!


Blogger pebblesfromheaven said...

Happy belated birthday, Helen!

I was at the Cluny last year but found the sound appalling (being sober and at the back) so bottled out this year. Hope it's improved!

7:17 AM  

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