The Assembly, Leamington Spa, Thu 15th September 2011 (17/09/11)

Roger Green:

Much animation over the impending release of the new CD. Not sure of the official line here? Do we just say that, in line with the distribution agreement, no copies were on sale tonight, and that those of us with a spare tenner were not able to pick up a copy and play it when we got home? Ahem.

On arrival (change at New Street - although it was change at Sheffield on the way back), my first concern was to see that the café previously known as Zeb's now goes by the name of Munch Crunch. After a refreshing brew it was off for a general wander. The Royal Priors provides the modern shopping experience. HMV, Clintons, Orange, JJB, you can probably complete the list. And no thanks, mister, I don't want or need a Costco membership card. While out and about I took liquids on board at The Copper Pot. In there, I heard a song, possibly by Madness. There was a line which ended "...Marks And Spencers". I waited for the inevitable Lech Walesa, but was disappointed that they opted instead to rhyme it with "senseless". Poor effort, Suggs. Anybody know the tune in question? ("Sugar And Spice", actually written by Mike Barson, off the album "The Liberty Of Norton Folgate" - ta to Paul Rodgers).

The Assembly is a tried and trusted HMHB venue these days. Well, this is the third time I have seen them there. According to local information (Tony), it came top of a poll of musicians as the best venue in the land. As featured on Midlands Today. Thanks perhaps to Tammy Wynette's caravan which is situated backstage. Along with a Dalek, as Nigel pointed out during the set. They also have a fine assortment of talent lined up. Showaddywaddy are there in October, for example. Dave Bartram was looking in fine shape on their posters. The place might want to do something about £2 for a bottle of water, though.

Support tonight was from JD Meatyard, featuring the guy who used to front The Calvin Party. Glad to see Northern Song get another airing.

There was clashing of sport and music tonight. Both Tony and I had texting contacts on the outside, keeping us up to date with the relative goings-on involving Birmingham City and Featherstone Rovers. One win, one defeat. Could have been worse. As usual I missed a lot of Nigel's quips. This was unfortunate as he was quite chatty, particularly during 24 Hour Garage People, which developed on a number of levels. Well, that's what a proper reviewer would say.

Chesterton Woodmill got a mention early on. There were a couple of celebrity "spots" in the audience. But I didn't know either of them, and wasn't quick enough to write their names down. The guitar sound effect on Tending The Wrong Grave was likened to "torturing seagulls". We even had some visual comedy. Nigel was having great difficulty getting his mike stand to stay in place. "Right to tighten, left to loosen," he kept saying, without any joy. So Ken, the hardened professional, stepped in to sort it out for him. "Here we go, morphing into The Grumbleweeds," commented Nigel. There was much talk about the The Plaza Cinema (presumably in Birkenhead), which developed into a question-and-answer session. "Who played the vicar from Zulu?" came the question from the moshpit. After much head-scratching, Neil came up with the answer "Jack Hawkins". That was that sorted. The crisps at the garage were £2.33 (only £2.00 at Sainsburys up the road). The queue was made up of fifteen of Nigel's mates who were making up an art installation called The Worm Turns. One of them wanted a Toilet Duck, while another wanted I Can't Believe It's Not Open. And someone else wanted Oatibix, which sent Nigel off in another direction altogether. "Normally, I'm a cereal person, but Oatibix is the only one I don't like," he said. "Weetabix should be ashamed. They use up all the milk, and they're horrible." (I've never had them, Nigel, so thanks for the tip.) You could tell that the guy at the counter was getting annoyed when he put down his book - Barry Sheene's Life Story - and switched off his portable TV, where he had been watching The Stewarts: A Warning From History. There were other observations about TV, ahead of the list of sandwiches. "Time Team should be better than it actually is." And "Adam Henson on Countryfile is happier than he should be." Towards the end of the gig Nigel asked about Jim Baines from Crossroads, and how much he won on the lottery (or was it the pools?). Nigel also gave us a burst of Greensleeves. And the caravan guitar came out for the encore. A rousing chorus of The Len Ganley Stance from the moshpit was in vain. No sentiment in this band. Nice to hear Doreen again. And Trumpton Riots started off like one of those records that you put on at 33, before speeding it up to 45.

Shit Arm Bad Tattoo
PRS Yearbook / Quick The Drawbridge
Running Order Squabble Fest
Dickie Davies Eyes
L'Enfer C'Est Les Autres
Outbreak Of Vitas Geralaitis
Bob Wilson Anchorman
Tending The Wrong Grave
Bad Losers On Yahoo Chess
When The Evening Sun Goes Down
National Shite Day
For What Is Chatteris
Tommy Walsh's Eco House
Look Dad No Tunes
24 Hour Garage People
Joy Division Oven Gloves
Vatican Broadside
A Lilac Harry Quinn
Restless Legs
(The Greensleeves sample was in here)
Left Lyrics In Practice Room
Dukla Prague Away Kit
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

and in the encore...

Fred Titmus
Evening Of Swing
A Song From Under The Floorboards
Trumpton Riots
We Built This Village

From there it was off to The Jug And Jester for a chat about people throwing themselves off railway platforms. But we made up a grumpy corner with Howie, Tony, Gomez, Daz, Nigel (no, not that Nigel, this is the Exford version) and a couple of others whose names I didn't catch. So it's onward to Manchester. Three months is plenty of time to learn the new CD. Bit of a Public Service Announcement here. I was talking with HMHB Management about this one. It seems that the band may have to be done and dusted by 10 o'clock, so pre-gig sherries will have to be earlier than usual.