We’ve returned for the sequel to our guided tour of the south coast.
As is quickly becoming tradition we began our south-east tour in the
north western town of Preston. It’s always a pleasure to play for the
good people of Vinyl Tap, and although we may not have been treated to a
repeat performance of the true rodeo king in the north it has been
great fun to see some familiar faces in the audience.
Preston, we made our way south to one of the greatest pubs on the south
coast, the Duke of Cumberland, Whitstable. For this trip, we had been
joined by our great friends Ben Archer and Sal Redpath, who are also
conveniently two of the best young cameramen in the world. We felt that
this would be a great chance to get some live filming done with a
Whitstable crowd who never fail to bring the heat and as usual, they did
not disappoint (still no rappers in Whitstable though). We would like
to say a big thanks to legendary guitar player Brinsley Schwartz, who
joined us on stage for a hot rendition of The Shape I’m In, especially
seeing as he hadn’t played the song for 15 years. Thanks must also go to
Paula, who continues to treat us to a much higher standard than we
deserve and Tony for continuing to turn a blind eye when we sneak extra
people into his pub after hours. Finally, it was lovely to be joined by
all of Whitstable whilst we tried to order some food at our end of gig
curry, if not a touch chaotic.
At some point during our meal,
someone pointed at that Andy was nowhere to be seen. Had it been anyone
else this wouldn’t have been big news but when Andy goes missing it is a
point of serious concern. Finishing up and with Andy still nowhere to
be found we started thinking about arranging some search parties to find
our young friend before someone asked if we wanted to join them at
their house from some post-gig drinks. We were definitely amenable to
this idea, so Zack agreed to go out and find Andy while the rest of us
headed along to a house on the coast. It would be an hour later that
Zack would ring us to say that he’d located Andy out cold on the sofa of
a house on the opposite side of Whitstable while a most excellent party
continued around him. One shot too many I expect. So, with Andy located
and crisis averted we headed back to the pub to get some sleep before
the next day.
After Whitstable, we made way across to Folkestone
to play on the Harbour Arms. Our day began poorly, with Andy appearing
15 minutes into set up to confess to having locked all 3 sets of our
keys in the van. This was immediately dubbed a complete disaster, with
no additional sets and lacking the means to pay for a locksmith, however
there is no such thing as an insurmountable issue when Dave Robinson is
around. Requiring only a seconds thought, Dave reached down, grabbed a
fist sized rock and potted the front driver’s said window (now fixed to
all our light fingered readers).
On a normal day this would have
been the worst thing to happen, however it was when I was able to get
back into the van that I realised that I had, for the second time, left
my suit in the venue from the night before. When Dave was told of this
latest indiscretion all he could muster was a look of disgust and the
words ‘bands didn’t use to be like this’.
Once we finally got
around to playing it was a great gig at the end of the promenade looking
right out onto the channel. One young lad was so excited he repeatedly
ran back and forth from his table to the edge of the pier, leading to a
benny hill inspired scene as the boy’s father tried in vain to catch the
young swashbuckler. Thankfully nobody was hurt although a number of
seagulls were badly traumatised.
After the gig, whilst packing
up getting ready to head back to our salubrious digs, a woman came over
and asked if we would want to play at her friends birthday party in the
Folkestone bowling club. We agreed on the promise of free beer and cake,
packed everything up and made our way over there. After a night where
our gracious hosts kept us well stocked on beverages, our collective
memory is a touch hazy however it is generally agreed upon that if we
look back on our footage from the evening we might find some excellent
shots of the venerable Dave Robinson boogieing on down to some Harold
Melvin and the Blue Notes.
We would wrap up the weekend in
Margate at the Rhythm and Rock festival, playing at the legendary Winter
Gardens theatre with some of our favourite bands, including Steve
Harley, The Blockheads and Man. Following a detour to Whitstable to pick
up my errant suit the day began with one of the most accomplished
driving displays I have ever had the pleasure to bear witness to.
You see after the architect for the Winter Gardens designed the
beautiful arching entrances and vast spired stages he must’ve been so
exhausted that he left the designing of the access roads to his intern,
because it is one of the most absurdly narrow and complex tracks we have
ever encountered, including a descending concentric circle system that
is reminiscent of early iterations of Mario Kart. Amazingly Jason
managed to reverse the van and trailer down the nightmare trail to get
to the stage door, either wowing or pissing off every member of staff in
the process. Having finally made it the 100 ft from the entrance gate
to the stage door we started to unload our gear and lift it into the
stunning hall where we would be playing that evening. The gig was
fantastic under the famous lights however the backstage area was so hot
that there is more than one video of me nodding off in the green room
both before and after the show, leading Dave to be genuinely concerned
about my well being. This would also be the day Jonny would eat beef for
the first time, which needless to say he thought was bang average.
Tune in next week for the second half of The Guided Tour of the South Coast Tour - Second Coming.