It doesn’t matter where you are, what the weather is, the season, or the planet, even on Mars, Sunday always feels different to every other day of the week. After our house concert at Martin and Deb’s place we had a very short drive to Birmingham or was it Wolverhampton, Bilston or Dudley or Hollywood or Solihull or The Black Country or the Midlands, I know it’s the bit between London and Manchester, super folk and one of the most intimate gigs you can play. It’s not that dissimilar to Martin and Deb’s house except there’s no book, DVD and comic collection. It’s an L-shaped room so you have to face two directions at once as does the PA. The audience is very close to you so if you slip off your G string, they’ll know – that’s why I often begin the set by telling everyone not to be nervous (haha).
So with time to kill before we had to be at the soundcheck, we pulled into a motorway services and had a coffee or two, did some emailing and writing. There’s a limit to staying so we had to move on after two hours and found another coffee shop on the motorway, we pulled in, sat down looked out of the window and there was our hotel across the road. It looked like it had seen better days, boarded-up shops below it, a chicken place and a subway, a lot of water-stained outer walls, and as you often find in a place like this super friendly staff. We checked into our room, the smell was free and the burn marks on the carpet added a nice turn to the pattern. The internet didn’t work and when I opened the curtain to let in some fresh air I was greeted with a busy roundabout with constant traffic and the grey edifice of Sainsbury’s, across from the roundabout was a road and a sign: Welcome to Worcestershire, with rolling hills and green fields, the planet transformed in a few steps.
At the venue, a very helpful and cool sound guy, Mike, set us up and we had a long soundcheck trying to get it right in such a sonically challenging, naked, and intimate setting. Finding the balance between monitor box tone and PA positioning, figuring out where the sweet spot was for optimum sound, and where we might be the most comfortably able to deliver our best. By the time we were done, we were only half an hour away from the show start and as usual, had been unable to fit dinner in. Three doors down, an Indian restaurant, a nice man (Ali) agreed to take the order and delivery it to us at the venue at 10.45. Perfect, show, curry, pack up, back to the hotel.
The staff were great here, Maya and another young lad on the bar, Mike and the other staff sound guy Rob who was here last time we played. The two of them helped us load out and my thumbs were most grateful. The merch released another two Marty & Olivia shirts which means we now need to sell eleven more to break even. We have sold out of the MOAT – Poison Stream vinyl but have vinyl covers and CDs, I guess people are digging our version of Helpless You from that album. We only have four vinyl copies of the first MOAT album (it comes with a free CD), that’s the last of them in the world. Other vinyl and CDs are selling fast and we have eight more shows, sorry Edinburgh.