University Student Union (SOLUS), Cardiff, Thursday 25th August 2011 (02/09/11)

Roger Green:

I called in at Bristol on the way through. In addition to having a spectacular choice of railway stations (I tend to be more of a Temple Meads bloke, myself), this is also a city that is crying out for a HMHB gig. My niece and her husband were able to weigh up the relative merits of Thekla and The Fleece as we tucked into our tapas grub at The Olive Shed. The King William and The Old Duke look like useful pre-gig stop off points. For the time being though, the good folk of Bristol will have to make do with a proliferation of model gorillas promoting some goings-on at the zoo.

Next thing I knew, I was meeting Tony in the precinct in Cardiff, and we were making our way to Solus. (Do we need an asterisk here? Tony had turned his nose up at the chance to see Birmingham City playing in the Europa League. Band loyalties are obviously stronger than club loyalties.) It was a bit of a walk towards what were starting to look like leafy suburbs. The was a bit of a queue outside, but that's what you expect when you are dealing with these fancy new e-ticketing arrangements. It never happened with proper tickets back in the old days.

There was a degree of uncertainty about the name of the support band, but we settled on John Mouse. You can't really fault a band that uses an ironing board as a keyboard stand. A bit of crowd participation (half-hearted waving of arms) and a non-traditional version of Ilkley Moor Bah T'At made for a fine set.

With HMHB, everything fell into place once Nigel had sorted out a slight problem with his guitar. Changing the lead seemed to do the trick. He talked to us about the traffic problems at Monmouth Show. His introduction was in Welsh, the clever clogs. We got a rendition of "Let The Kids Go Back To School" to the tune of When The Saints Go Marching In. Nigel pointed out Richie Burnett and Bradley Dredge (not together) in the audience. Am I right in thinking that we don't normally get the "which was quite expensive in those days" line from Dukla Prague? Either way, it was there tonight. There was a bit of chat about Cardiff City, which may just have been an excuse to mention Ronnie Moore. Ken's guitar work on Tending The Wrong Grave was compared to an osprey. "Does anyone else whistle along to the Greenwich Pips?" asked Nigel. Silence. "No, well it's just me." He also pointed out that he has developed a habit of checking the next song on the set list, but then forgetting it by the time he gets back to the microphone. Gets worse as you get older. Apparently Ken's uncle was the first man to be clamped at Morrisons. Nigel announced that he (Nigel) suffers from CDO. It's like OCD except that you are compelled to put everything into alphabetical order. Reference was made to the confused state of fifteen-year-olds who think all rock music is also cricket based, as with Gary Gilmour's/Gilmore's Eyes. The crisps at the garage were a horrendous £2.45, which was met with all-round booing. Deservedly so. Pear halves and allen keys were on the shopping lists of the people in the queue behind Nigel. Even an ambulance turned up on the forecourt, but they just wanted Monster Munch. The guy behind the counter was particularly annoyed to be taken away from his Word Search (which included "Relationships/Unlikely", "Irritable/Charmless" and even "Parfitt/Rossi"). The audio book coming out of his headphones sounded great... "the game of cricket was about to begin". The four of them on stage were all wearing silver VIP wristbands. Nigel ripped his off, saying "Unleashed!" as he tossed it onto the floor. He was also wearing a cardigan for much of the show. Very rock and roll. Thanks to the two locals who helped me out with the spelling and translation of the Welsh song that appeared in the encore. Sorry I didn't get your names, but you know who you are.

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel
When The Evening Sun Goes Down
Fred Titmus
Monmore Hare's Running
Uffington Wassail
Petty Sessions
Bob Wilson Anchor Man
Surging Out Of Convalescence
Running Order Squabble Fest
Turned Up Clocked On Laid Off
All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit
Restless Legs
Tending The Wrong Grave
For What Is Chatteris?
Left Lyrics In Practice Room
National Shite Day
24 Hour Garage People
Look Dad No Tunes
We Built This Village
Them's The Vagaries
Vatican Broadside (preceded by There Stands The Glass)
Trumpton Riots
Joy Division Oven Gloves

And in the encore

Tommy Walsh's Eco House
Calon Llan
Help Me Rhonda
Everything's AOR
99% Of Gargoyles

And from there it was back to The Goat Major, for some excellent Brains Best Bitter, and a chat about strategy for the Leamington Spa gig with Tony, Howie, Gomez and Daz. Will/won't the new CD be available? Will there be enough copies for all five of us? Watch this space.