OK, are we all set? I have made myself a tea, so here goes part two of this week’s gigs:
Tonight I played the Colchester Arts Centre – a gorgeous venue in an old church that many many years ago had a cannon atop it. During a particularly heavy battle the cannon fell off the wall, and all the King’s soldiers couldn’t repair it. Sound familiar? It should – apparently the poem “Humpty Dumpty” was written a few hundred years ago about that very cannon. Rumour has it the cannon balls are still in the church.
However, they took second place to the front row tonight – which comprised five fifteen year olds, who I commented looked like they should be in a band. They immediately informed me they are in a covers band called “Life In Black And White”. Although it was suggested they were thinking of changing their name.
I called them onstage, and decided we should all come up with a new name for them. I asked their names, which were – Tom, Dan, John, Jack and Gabriel. Clearly, one of those names wasn’t right, so I suggested Gabriel use his surname, which was Finn. I then asked what songs they cover and found out they usually bang out a bit of Coldplay, some Killers and some Kings Of Leon.
Luckily I carry Kings Of Leon with me to play during the interval, so I suggested they mime to “Sex On Fire” to give us an idea of what they do. Since the lead singer wasn’t in attendance, it was up to Tom the bassist (and ex-lead singer) to step up to the mic, and I have to say they did a fairly good impression of an instrument-less covers band.
I set the audience the challenge of coming up with a new name during the interval and headed backstage.
Not content to limit the gig to those in the venue, I opened the second half by posting a tweet including this photo I took of the band
and asked for more band name suggestions via the internet. As the boys took note, the following names came in from the Colchester crowd:
The Manginas, The Gabriel Finn Experience, Fruit Of the Beaver, Lego Lovers, Buffy Helmet And The Cheese Lips, Barely Legal
and from twitter:
Five Youths And A Piano, Too Posh For Primark, Kings Of Hymen, Jailbait, Dead Men Do Wear Plaid, Public School Enemy, Five Luckless Virgins.
After an audience vote it was narrowed down to Fruit Of the Beaver, and Buffy Helmet And The Cheese Lips, but the eventual winner was – The Gabriel Finn Experience!
I then took another photo for an album cover, in which the lads posed again on stage, this time with female audience members draped over them. I have set myself the challenge of turning it into an actual cover, and once I have finished writing this blog, will sit up creating it. Hey, what else is there to do in a Best Western hotel at one in the morning?
The show finished with the lads onstage again, but not before Tom’s Dad called on the mobile phone, asking where he was. I jumped on the line, explained that the show was running over, and invited him in to watch the ending. He obliged, and it was up to me to explain the night’s proceedings to him with the somewhat dubious phrase – “I just posted photos of your son on the internet”
With the audience on their feet, Tom’s dad in the front row, and me on vocals, we belted out Bon Jovi’s “Livin On A Prayer” – as the boys all mimed their instruments and Tom crowdsurfed.
I then went into the foyer to sign t-shirts, but was beaten to it by Gabriel, who was being asked for his autograph.
So there you go, another couple of mad gigs that seem to be taking on a life of their own. I am seriously considering not writing a show next year, and just playing with the audience for an hour every night. The moments of spontaneity seem to be more memorable than the actual show.
A day off tomorrow, then Glasgow and Kirkcaldy for the weekend. But for now, it’s off to make an album cover. Stay tuned – I’ll post it soon