Tuesday, 26 April 2011

I must admit I was pretty terrified...

when I arrived at The White Lion in Walsall on Saturday. I'd arranged for The Robert Lane band (which is me, Matty Pinfield and Mick Jeynes) to perform at the St George's Day Party. The White Lion is a biggish pub and when I visited it a couple of weeks before and took part in the open mic session it had a fairly big crowd, well into the music so I was confident the band would have a good night.

As fate would have it a very big Stag Party had descended on the pub just before we arrived. They, naturally, were drinking a lot and making a lot of noise. At various intervals signalled by some secret and incomprehensible code word they would all lie on the floor or climb on each others backs and jump up and down.

Once we had set up one of the Stags grabbed one of the pub's microphones and mimed away to whatever was playing on the jukebox, throwing the mic stand around, really thrashing about in his rock star mode. He stood on an unsecured monitor which moved and he fell over. All part of the fun. Once he'd finished he turned to us and enigmatically cried "beat that, you c***s!" Being as I am an eternal worrier and at heart a dedicated pessimist, this worried me a little bit. I was not very secretly hoping that the party would move on before we kicked of, but it was not to be.

My original plan had been to have Matty Pinfield and Lucy Philips (the talented violinist who plays the on Very Own Way) start the night with one of their lovely acoustic guitar and violin duo sets. Faced with the most boisterous crowd this side of The Marquee Club, we decided the best thing would be to just play our heaviest blue and rock tracks and see how we got on. So we kicked off with Leave My Kitten Alone, smashed through The Who's The Seeker and kept going through everything loud in the set. We agreed later that when we started every note was played through fear, which was then replaced by elation when these Stags turned out to be lovely and big fans of what we were playing. They recognised and joined in with a lot of the covers, they listened and jumped around to the originals. Matty smashed his kit and gave himself blisters, Mick was loud and funky as hell and I windmilled and solo'd within and inch of my life. It became hysterical when I'd be playing away and open my eyes to see them all lying on the floor or Piggy backing around the pub.

The Stag leader grabbed the mic again, flashed his mates and asked us to play a Metallica Track. We settled for a bit of Led Zeppelin and him and some of the others sang the same verse a hundred and five times, and that was the end of the first set.

The one remaining sober looking Stag told me he thought we were very good and not to be offended, but they were moving on. I assured him this was not a problem. This left a much more subdued but attentive crowd for the second half of the night.

After a break I played a few solo tracks and Lucy joined us for Very Own Way and some jammy covers. Mick, Matty and I played the night out and that was that.

All in all I had a great night and was pretty proud of this little band for being able to take anything and win such an intimidating crowd over. Mick and Matty played great and I was very pleased we had worked up such an eclectic repertoire!

No comments: