Ascending the polished steps of the Queen Elizabeth Hall it didn't feel as if I was on my way into a HMHB gig. Pushing open the huge doors I had the feeling I was about to be reprimanded for failing to adhere to a smart dress code but there in front of me, littering the theatre foyer, was the Biscuits' merchandise stand. The sight put me at ease. Geoff resplendent in lightweight, cream two-piece looking at home in the salubrious surroundings, was quick to point out the new T Shirts on offer ("Look Dad, No Tunes" artwork on ecru, brown or maroon)...
The prospect of watching HMHB while seated in a theatre had not filled me with joy but as a thirty-something who had just travelled 100 miles after a days work I found it most welcome and extremely enjoyable. As I took my seat and put my beer safely beneath, I thought, "Aah, this is more like it".
A quite emotional and accurate introduction by Peel and on they came.
The larger percentage of the audience was obviously there to see Lonnie Donegan and I think the Biscuits opener, a rocked-up version of a traditional blues song, was designed to make them feel comfortable. Then followed a set with superb sound, loud and with clear vocals, error free and enthusiastically received by all. Nigel's between song banter was almost non existent tonight. "Can you hear Talvin Sing(h)" is a chant that could catch on though.
The set contained the following:
States Bro Blues (?) / Lock up your mountain bikes / The Uffington Wassail / Improv Workshop / Bottleneck at Capel Curig / Fred Titmus / Gubba Lookalikes / Turned up Clocked on / Charlie Goth / You're Hard / Look Dad, No Tunes / Paintball's coming home / ...
They ended with "See that my Bike's kept clean" complete with well-rehearsed slide guitar by Ken. A great way to round things off, coming full circle to a number that would whet the appetites of Lonnie's faithful.
Because HMHB were done and dusted by 8.40pm I decided to watch a couple of Lonnie's tunes but was none too impressed with the slick sounding band he had assembled and so I decided to take the novel opportunity of travelling back from a London gig in time for last orders in Leicester.
I'm sure when I'm at The Horn in St. Albans on Wednesday and I'm craning my neck for a decent view and sweat's rolling and someone knocks my pint over me, I'll think, "Aah, this is more like it" .