The Robin 2, Bilston, Thu 31st August 2006 (04/09/06)


Not drunk for this one, so I should be better at remembering events, but I still can't be sure if I really did hear Nigel make a passing reference to Clive Webb (ex Tiswas) during the set.

I definately did hear him make some sort of statement in Welsh though, after talking about writing songs atop his beloved Welsh mountains. I don't think anybody understood him, but I'm sure it was profound.

There was much less audience/band banter than the previous night. The west midlanders seemed to be a very well behavaved lot. Apart from the insane moshpit lead by Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks lookalikes. All fun though.

"This is a song about Bob Harris and [was it Lena Zavaroni ?] never being seen in the same room together" was the completely made up introduction to one song. And later there was the startling revelation of "We actually purposefully stopped off at Chatteris on the way up from Cambridge today. It was just as I'd imagined. Only one Butcher's though."

A repeat of the 'Keep on rocking in Seaworld' chorus had the audience spluttering into their beers. I hope this makes it into a new song and doesn't get lost like 'Oh, I do like to re-release my b-sides' seems to have.

The biggest thrill for me though was curiously watching Ken and Neil cross the stage to each others' instruments, and then Neil gently strumming out the opening of - no, I can't beleive they're gonna actually play it - Footprints!!!! Nigel seemed to stumble around a little on the words, understandable given I don't think they've ever played it before, but it was truly magical. Especially with the altered line "And the lord replied: You STUPID bastard..."

I also gleefully noticed Nige swapped the second of the two lines in Trad. Arr. Tune to "It fills me with joy to see joggers out moshing".

Half way through the gig Nigel broke a string, and so went to the back of the stage and unzipped.... A guitar in the shape of a caravan!!! A stroke of utter genius! Who on earth makes these things??? After a pained 2 or 3 minute tune up with Ken tutting to one side, he announced "It's bloody heavy this... there's actually people inside."

We were treated to the (now even mic'd up!) Tape Recorder cum iPod during 24 Hour Garage People, and this time it worked! There were even more songs than Nigel had listed the previous night in Cambridge. About 7 or 8. Each one met with a cheer. I expect and hope this delightful conceit will grow and grow at future gigs.

For the three song encore I was fully expecting the previous night's Magazine cover, but instead nearly fell over when Neil started plucking out Transmission! Did I say Footprints was the biggest thrill tonight? Bollox, it's hearing this played by The Biccies for the first time in 10 years. Well maybe... they were both fantastic suprises though.

By the end of the last song Nigel had broken a further two strings on the new caravan guitar. Three strings gone in one helluva night. I'm hoping this is a new personal best for Mr Blackwell, and that at another top gig I'll get to see him beat it.