Accies was the first one; it had been a dreadful journey, courtesy of Richard Branson's Virgin Trains, a man whose face looms in the leaden sky like a ghastly god when the train's late as always and the toilets don't work as always. But Fin and Martin were at Glasgow station to pick me up, and we got to the gig in time for a quick soundcheck. The Moonshiners kicked off the evening, with a very talented young fiddle player, Kirsty, who augmented their gentle bluegrass music. Accies has a great audience who listen and smile, and although I was tired I really enjoyed playing because the sound was crystal clear.
The Daintees were great- they played just with Fin on percussion and did everything from a whisper to a loud rock-out and were as tight as anything and you could hear just how good their arrangements are.
Even the Drunken Nuisance clambering about looking for his coat backstage throughout the set didn't put them off their stride. I had to guard Martin's coat because the soundman tried to give it to the Drunken Nuisance no less than four times!
When Anth struck up the beginning of 24 Hours
I was out there again, singing along just like in the old days but with a different band! The Djay Buddha was there behind his mobile desk, recording the music and swaying along; the best song was Boat to Bolivia
but absolutely everything sounded fresh and clear, as thought the songs had just been written. The crowd loved it and became a sea of smiles amongst the tealights on the tables.
When everyone had gone home, the sound guy found the Drunken Nuisance's coat right over at other end of the venue, nowhere near where he had been rummaging and tripping over.
The Cluny was the exact opposite in terms of audience- it was a real 'out-for-a-Christmas-gig-gonna-have-a-good-time' gig. It was sold out and packed to the gunwhales (no, it's not a boat, that's just a clever dick term for very full indeed). The audience had a lot of things to say to each other in very loud voices. The Parish Music Box played first- their singer has a very distinctive, very powerful vocal style. The crowd still had a lot of things to say to each other in very loud voices. but they were like that last year, and the year before, so I decided I was going to enjoy singing anyway and so I did. I planted myself on the stage as solidly as an elephant and did my utter best. A lot of people were
listening, I could see, and that made the battle against the very loud voices ( I called them the Clunatics) not seem so bad. Martin and Fin came and joined in on Heaven Avenue
to rock it up a bit. I liked it just as much as the Glasgow gigs- big mobby audiences don't bother me, for verily, I am a punk rocker who used to take bottle tops off with her teeth.
The talkers didn't give up when the Daintees came on, but Martin knows how to deal with them and wove them into his between-song wit. The set was very different from the one in Glasgow- the band was rockier with a drummer as well as Fin's percussion and the show was really energetic and full-on. I liked the version of Indian Summer
they did- it had a different rhythm to the version on their CD, straighter, but it gave the song a poignance, partly because Martin altered the words and made them more autobiographical.
When he came on solo to play Rain
, the audience became lambs and sang along, as well-behaved as a church congregation, sounding like a big mass Geordie tamed roar. The band finally left the stage to shouts of 'Encore' that went on for about ten minutes afterwards.
There were lots of familiar faces there- Robson and his family, and Joe Guillan and Cav came along and we're planning another Embleton session. I was chuffed to bits afterwards cos Shippy, the promoter, came up and said it was the best he'd ever heard me play. Whatever, They were two gigs that rounded off the year perfectly: good band, good crowds, good company.