Well, there’s a novel experience. Watching music. In the actual outside. In a place.
For the first time since March last year I was a actually in a live venue, watching real live music, and it was a conflicted experience. After doing an LFT yesterday afternoon (negative, obvs), just in case, and taking the short walk to the Pavilion, I had a minor diversion when I realised the top entrance wasn’t open (and blocked off), and had to wander down the hill to get in. The signs on the front door were telling people to use face coverings inside, but most people who weren’t staff weren’t actually bothering. I wasn’t one of them, and there were more like me, though we were in a minority. That said, I’d imagine most of the people there were properly vaccined up as there can’t have been many in there under even 25. It still didn’t stop me having a slight feeling of discomfort when I was shown to my seat. in the middle of the stalls. The place was full enough, but not rammed, which helped. Anyway, enough of piddling details …
The evening was compered by the quite ravishing, Madam Zuri Arossa who was resplendent in red, and started proceedings off with a sultry little number of her own before introducing three acts, the first of which was The Dollop Of Trollops, a quartet of old tarts in the downtime before going off to service some punters.
The “downtime” involved singing lots of very rude, and sometimes quite anatomically detailed, songs about drinking and shagging. Not one for the kiddywinks, but lots of fun, and a nicely bawdy way to warm up the audience.
The second act was the principal reason I’d bought the ticket, Biscuithead and the Biscuit Badgers. A couple of blokes sitting next to me, who clearly weren’t too familiar with them, were grasping for comparisons, and ended up saying they were kind of like Alex Horne’s Horne Section, but it doesn’t really do them justice at all. Try to imagine a Leodensian Bonzo Dog Band, with early 90s Vic Reeves(1) standing in for Viv Stanshall, and you’re getting a bit, but not a lot closer.
There are bits of trad jazz, ukulele (sometimes even in tune!), and all sorts of stupid stuff, in the best way. There was a mix of songs from the four albums they’ve released, and one song yet to see aproper release which concerns baked potatoes, though not quite in the same way they were taxing Matt Lucas last year. But with a collection of songs that include getting your lead singer to don crab claws, and another that uses David Attenborough to up audience participation, you can’t realy go wrong. Sadly though, they didn’t play my particular favourite, The Amino Acids Song, but I can forgive them that, because they were (as expected) really rather glorious. Top quality entertainment, and a very satisfied crowd.
The last act of the night was Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer, who arrived on stage, clad in plum velvet, clutching a banjolele in his hand. I’ll admit that I was only peripherally aware of him as an artist, but I did sort of know about the whole chap-hop thing, so I was interested and open to the experience.
And, as it happens, he was rather jolly too. Marrying older music to dance and hip hop is a cheeky idea, as well as a fertile ground for a bit of creativity, and he carries it off rather well. He incorporates a lot of musical history of all kinds in there too, so there are lots of nice musical in jokes. If you’ve heard Rappers Delight, Run DMC , a selection of late 20th century dance music, or Enimem, you’ll get most of the touch points. It’s all done with a knowing wink and a smile. He performs solo tonight, so there’s a bit of playback, with rhythm tracks pre-programmed in the little box of tricks that stands beside him on stage, as well as some Sheeran-style pedal work to do live sampling and layering for some songs. It’s very clever, and very niftily done. So I bought a couple of CDs after the show, and am rather enjoying them at the moment.
So, there we have it. First gig back since the Before Times, and it was a good one.
(1) If you remember listening to I Will Cure You, you’ll have it bang on for some songs.