The Assembly, Leamington Spa, Thu 11th December 2008 (28/12/08)

Peter Kennedey:

A fine slap-up dinner at Chris's mate James's place (he makes very good pork pies and courgette chutney), then some nice beers in a charming local (where we also played "Operation", although quite a few of the bones were missing, sadly), then off to the Assembly on a bitingly chilly night in the grand streets of Leamington. A delightful venue (used to be a cinema, and presume before that a dance hall) with a good bar (serving Half Man Half Biscuit ale), plenty of room, and really nice acoustics. James was a mate of the bloke who set up the PA, which was interesting and also quite useful later in retrieving a set list and Chris's wife's oven gloves which he had lobbed on stage in all the excitement at the end.

The set list is already on the other review and looks about right. Would just note that 24 Hour Garage People doesn't appear on the paper setlist, while Footprints was but seems to have got dropped in the amp changover. Chatteris was on the list as the first encore before getting moved to fill in the gap, and we got Fred Titmus instead, which doesn't seem to be on the paper list either. "RSG" (presume Ready Steady Goa) was on the paper too after PRS and before Blue Badge; honestly can't remember if they played that or not. He messed up Problem Chimp quite entertainingly too during the "thinking of Kempes" rap but recovered his composure well. Other than that the playing and sound were spot on. Some great banter with the crowd, with Nigel in great form despite struggling with a bit of a cold from the look of it. Favourite moment was the chorus of "it was a dodgy transformer" from the crowd when the amp broke, along with the spontaneous Albert Hammond from the crowd while they fixed the plugs.

I asked Ken to sign my list at the end when he was clearing up and he very kindly went off and got everyone else to sign it too. My little boy (aged 11) is doing his school music project on HMHB so was pretty chuffed with that; will be interested to see what his music teacher makes of that.

So a really magic night. A fairly scary drive through snow to get back in time (more or less) for work the next day too, and awaiting the next one with impatience.