We travelled down to Hersham after a reckless night in Bradford. I was exhausted and still picking glass out of my feet on the journey down. We made it to the venue in good time. Not a piss stop in sight. On the way we admire at how posh Surrey is. I’ve never been down this part of the world before. Thatched cottages and houses with protruding east and west wings line the road leading to Hersham as we pull off the M25. I joke with the band that I must put my posh voice on for this gig. We arrived at around 5pm and Lead Shot Hazard are already there. We have a little chat. Mick the organiser of the gig has seen some updates about the previous nights gig and asks me how my feet are. “I got most of the glass out” I reply. The venue is quite nice. It reminds of an old Working Mens Club that I used to work in. I get the impression that the P.A. has been hired for the night and there’s a team of people building the stage ready for the show. The sound quality is great. The bar is cheap too. I expected London prices but at £3.20 a pint of Kronenberg then you can’t complain. Dempsey goes off for a walk around Hersham on his own. he likes to do that. I’m struggling to walk. The ligaments in my knee are sore and my hip is also in pain. I instead have a quiet pint and a chat with Will.
The other bands start to arrive as I set up the merch stall. I notice that we’re starting to run light on some stuff. Which is a good sign. The first band Skaciety kick off the show. We all move to the front to watch them. I don’t particularly like Ska-Punk. Well I suppose I do, but I’ve had my lifetimes fix of Snuff, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Less Than Jake, and if I want to listen to Ska-Punk I’ll go back to one of those bands. Saying that Skaciety are very good. Musically they are outstanding. The bass player especially. They’re quite a likeable bunch. I’ll admit I get bored after a few songs of Ska-Punk but they keep me entertained. Joel loves them. They’re not Will’s cup of tea either but we both agree that they are brilliant. The next band Lead Shot Hazard didn’t get my full attention as I was preparing for our show. Like Skaciety they were also Ska-Punk but a little rougher round the edges. I’m enjoying them but the better songs are the cover versions. Especially ‘Little Talks’ I love that song anyway but they beefed it up a bit. Good band. I would’ve probably enjoyed them more if I wasn’t getting my shit together and had already seen another Ska-Punk band that evening.
Yet again we appear to be early setting up the stage which buys us time to put in another song. Whilst the band are setting up Dempsey comes to tell me that instead of giving me an extra long lead for my microphone they are instead giving me a radio mic. Fuck that!! I thought I’m not using a radio mic. Every band of our size I’ve ever seen with a radio mic look like tossers. I’ve had numerous conversations in the past about whether it would be easier, better, whatever for me to have a radio mic and I’ve always been dead against it. I react in the same way as when you ask a drummer to play to a click track. I’m just not doing it. Dempsey tells me they’s already got it out of the box and set it all up. It’s ready to go. Guess I’ll just have to suck it up and get on with it. I go to the bar and order my usual dark spiced rum, and a rum and coke. I like a rum and coke before we start to give me a bit of a sugar boost. The neat rum just warms my throat a little bit. I line my drinks up in the dressing room at the side of the stage so I don’t knock them over. We hit the stage with ‘Stand Up’ back in the set after we left it out in Bradford. It’s nice to have a squad rotation policy. This radio mic sounds great. I notice it’s a sennheiser and it’s very heavy. I like a heavy microphone. It’s weird without a lead though. I like having a lead because it still controls me. It controls my movements. I always have to find my way back. Or I might trip up. However not having a lead meant I could spin round as fast as hell and not have to worry about catching my feet in the wire like a skipping rope which happens from time to time. The first song ends and we’re straight into ‘Venus and the Horse’ the room is filling up again as people finish their cigarettes outside. We get a great applause as we finish. I’m starting to get comfy with this radio mic too and decide to test its limits when Will breaks a string. I had to kill some time. Which is never easy so I decide to go for a walk into the dressing room to get my drink with the mic and talk the crowd at the same time, opening cupboards and drawers pretending to find vintage porn mags. I can hear the crowds laughter. Then I hear Will play a chord in tune and were ready to go. During the next song Dempsey tells me that my interlude was like a piece of stand up comedy he said people we’re crying with laughter in the crowd. I love this mic. We smash through the rest of the set in our usual manner and it’s nothing but a joy. I love it. Yet again I felt like I had more in the tank. I could’ve done another 30 minutes. I feel really fit at the moment. Vocally fit too.
After the set I’m pissed wet through and I get changed at the merch stall rather than the dressing room. People are queuing to buy our cd’s so much so that we sold out of both the bands albums. Amazing. I have loads of lovely conversations with people who loved our show. This one lady I swear looked about 32-35 years old told me she’s been following punk for 30 odd years. I question “Eh, Sorry how old are you?” “51” she replies. “No way, I’m not having that, you look about 30, my age”.I shriek “No I’m 51, honest” I explain “Wow, Sorry I don’t wish to be crude or rude in anyway and I mean this in the up most respectful way … but I would” She takes the compliment as it was intended smiles and thanks me and explains that she’s always looked a lot younger. Amazing. I go to the bar and another lady kindly buys me a drink and tells me that shes so glad to have found a babysitter because she would’ve missed us. Aww. I chat to another guy called Justin. He had been streaming some of our set live out to Facebook and was showing me the comments neither of us can figure out how to tag me in it and in the meantime we have a good chat about music and what not. Lovely bloke. By this time Radical Dance Faction are on and they remind me of the Entering A New Ride era of Big Audio Dynamite. They would be ideal for Unity Day Festival in Leeds in the summer sunshine. They got a really good groove. Me and Will discuss that maybe we should team up with King Zepha and do some Dub versions of our songs. Dempsey and Joel look at us daft. Me and Will are serious. We wait for Radical Dance Faction to finish before leaving.
We are going to miss the final band WitchDokters as we have to make the journey back home. I thank the organisers and stage crew. As we leave we notice Skaciety pulling out of the car park and we wave them down only to tell them that they have two flat tyres on their motor. Poor bastards. We drive out of Hersham and find a take out to eat before driving home. Bonus. This take out sells booze too. Me and Will grab a couple of tins each. Joel goes over the road to KFC. We eat our food before making the long journey home. We chat whilst listening to Whispering Bob Harris on Radio 2. I tweet him and tell him we’re listening in and he replies with a “Thank You”. We instruct Dempsey to take it steady and that we’re in no rush if he wants to stop a service station for a rest or a sleep then we can do it. Me and Will end up nodding off. Joel keeps Dempsey company. I wake up about 4pm and Dempsey is listening to some bat-shit crazy Mary Poppins style music on Radio 2. Who gets up at 4am to listen to vintage american show tunes. I appreciate the technicalities and skill involved of it but its fucking irritating. I get dropped off at home.
I wake up around 9am feeling pretty fresh to be honest. Apart from my hip is knackered. My knee seems to be worse and there is still glass in my feet from Bradford. I won’t be going far today. I receive loads of friend requests and messages from people at the gig. One message enquires about underpant sponsorship. Now there’s an idea!!!!!!!