Archive for the Bands Category

Lost The Plot

Posted in Bands, Gigs with tags , , , , , on October 7, 2012 by WeeMann

Time flies and it doesn’t seem 5 minutes since Ed, Paul and I formed Lost The Plot in January.  Things have been going exceptionally well, with gigs rolling in on a regular basis (thanks in no small part to Ed’s hard work [I have to say that, or else he gets very grumpy]) and repeat bookings being the order of the day.

Lost The Plot

To date we’ve played 19 gigs and have a further 16 or so booked between now and Christmas.  The set is developing nicely as we figure out what works and what doesn’t.  We started with a selection of songs that Ed and Paul had previously played (including a number from the gig where the three of us first played together), and quickly figured out which were the stronger songs, adding more as we have gone along.

More important than the song choice, however, is the catalogue of stupidity we are building in order to entertain.  Jokes, silly hats, masks, weird instruments (kazoo, bicycle horn, crash helmet and, soon, a bouzouki) all go together to create a Plot evening.  A recent weekend trip to Aberystwyth saw us driving through Welsh towns wearing Ant & Dec masks, waving at pedestrians who, I am sure, were convinced we were the real deal.

Clatter

Clatter

The October half-term break sees us heading north of the border for a weekend in Dundee and there is talk of heading to Denmark next year.  Time will tell whether these audiences will understand our brand of humour, but our song choice ensures that people will hear something they know and love – there is little or no self indulgence, with songs only making the set if they are good, well known songs.  On the face of it, this can seem quite restrictive, seemingly limiting us to standard pub-rock fodder, but it is strangely liberating, especially when combined with our slightly left field choice of instrumentation, as we can attempt songs that other pub bands couldn’t, or wouldn’t, attempt – how many of you average pub bands could jump from Don’t You Want Me to The Boxer, via Price Tag and The Irish Rover?  We’ve found that we aren’t limited to one or two genres – anything is fair game, particularly if we can find something stupid to do.

My personal aim is to get a regular 2 or 3 gigs in my home town of Worthing.  There’s talk of a summer festival slot in Sussex next year, so perhaps we can pull that off.  In any event, I’m back to gigging regularly and loving the stupidity of it all.

Have a look at our website at LostThePlotBand.co.uk, follow us on Facebook & Twitter and check out our videos on YouTube.

If you want to talk about booking us, e-mail us on info@losttheplotband.co.uk – we are available for weddings, bar mitzvahs, christenings, wakes… in fact, anywhere people want to have fun and we can be stupid.

WeeMann, Clatter & Edcase

WeeMann, Clatter & Edcase

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Fat Fighters, The Debut Gig.

Posted in Bands, Gigs, Special Events with tags , , , on June 28, 2012 by WeeMann

Wednesday evening saw the debut gig from Fat Fighters. We’ve been in rehearsals since January and built up a catalogue of about 2 hours of material.

Fat Fighters

Soon after we started rehearsing we secured a booking at Bilston’s Robin 2, a great venue that most of us have played previously in various other bands (Jason & I together in Queen On Fire a few years ago).

We met up after lunch to load the last few bits of gear into the van before making our way over, discovering our first problem of the day – our secret weapon, the Marshall Snack, wouldn’t fit in the van with the rest of us, so rather than all going together in one vehicle, we had to take a car as well. As it turned out, this turned out to be somewhat of a blessing for Alex and Bren – the rest of us got caught in traffic as soon as we left the M6, after a lorry shed its load. We were about 5 minutes from the venue at this point, aiming to arrive for a 4:30 load in. We finally arrived at 6:00… A phone call to Alex and Bren meant they avoided the traffic and arrived a good hour before the rest of us, so were able to keep the venue updated on our progress.

Taylor Porkins and Chris Schnitzel en route to the Robin.

A very rapid load in preceded an equally rapid soundcheck. Fortunately everything went smoothly at this point, thanks in no small part to resident engineer Bill and our engineer for the evening (and future?) Sean Lloyd. We evacuated the stage and allowed the support band, Manchester’s Freedom Of The City to set up, soundcheck and get a short break before the audience arrived and they could play.

They put in a great set to a receptive audience and in no time it was our turn to take to the stage. The intro tape started playing and we followed one another onto stage, plugging in and switching on our various pieces of equipment. I turned up my amp and got a wild squealing. I switched it off and on again (the easiest way to fix any piece of technology), but it still squealed. Panic as I realised I may have a little trouble – the intro tape ended and Jason counted in for us to start, but I still had no sound. I couldn’t even turn my amp down and allow the PA to produce my sound as it was still squealing. Alex shouted over my ear, “use your cable, forget the wireless!”

I quickly re-wired, but still the same problem. It wasn’t the wireless. Finally I plugged straight into the amp, missing out my pedal board, and success. As a result of this problem, the first few songs were a blur as I played while figuring out whether the lack of effects would cause a problem through the gig. It shouldn’t, but still it put me on the backfoot.

Four or five songs in we stopped to introduce the Marshall Snack to the audience – the stack next to my bass amp is actually a fridge, stocked with beer, sausage rolls, doughnuts and other goodies. We threw some of the tuck out to the audience before cracking into the next number, while Alex wandered through the crowd with food for everyone.

Marshall Snack

With the audience fed we started relaxing more, the set really starting to flow. We designed the set to include some of the big hits as well as a few of the lesser known fan favourites and every song seemed to go down as well as the last.

In no time we reached the last few songs and it was soon time to leave the stage to let the crowd scream for more. Fortunately they didn’t disappoint and Bren returned to sing Everlong as a solo piece. Behind him I crossed the stage dressed in a towel to grab a snack from the fridge, then turned, feigning shock when I saw the audience. I ran off again to hastily get changed in time to miss my cue for the end of the song…

We finished with Best Of You to a great round of applause, took our bows and left.

All in all, we consider the gig a success. It didn’t pass without its faults, but none was large enough to ruin the evening.  Tomorrow evening we’ll be getting together to watch a video of the show so we can see exactly how it went…

Band Rehearsals

Posted in Bands, Gigs, Rehearsals on February 7, 2012 by WeeMann

For the last few years I’ve been focussing my attentions on building my business and have backed off from playing in bands. Alchemy has been a constant in my life, particularly over the last 4 or 5 years, as we have decided to make an effort to get together more frequently and perform the occasional gig (see old blog entries here and here). This year will be tricky in that respect as Harj is working on the Olympics and will struggle to get time away, but we’ll still get together when we can and certainly next year.

Otherwise I’ve had short stints with Engines of Creation, Queen On Fire and Usual Suspects, although none have lasted long for various reasons (musical differences!), but nothing has lasted in the way that I’d like.

Hopefully this is about to change.

In the later part of last year I received a call from Keith Brough, friend of a family I know well, the Eastments (I’ve played with Steve in a few bands and Andy runs The Smash Room studios in Telford). he asked if I wanted to play bass for his band, previously known as 10%, now re-named Rock Fever. I decided to give it a go for various reasons, not least of which was it would get me playing with new people again and back on the circuit.

Rehearsals have been going well and we played our first gig in early January. Not the best time to play as few people wanted to go out and spend money so soon after Christmas, but it got us playing and didn’t go too badly under the circumstances, these circumstances also including the fact that Simon, our drummer, had just decided that he wanted to devote more time to his other band, so this would be his last with us. We’ve been auditioning drummers since then and have a gig with Granville Davies on drums this week at The Duke Of York in Oakengates and will start rehearsing a new drummer next week. More details to follow…

Funnily enough, as we were waiting to play that evening, I received a text from my drummer friend, Jason Chambers, asking if I wanted to be part of a comedy tribute band based on Foo Fighters. My answer was yes and so I find myself a couple of rehearsals into Fat Fighters:

Fat Fighters

Fat Fighters, Feb 2012

It’s early days, but it’s sounding great and we all feel the band has real potential. I’ll keep you updated as the band takes shape.

Within a week or so, I took a call from another musician asking if I’d like to form a band. Ed Conway is a guitarist on the Newport circuit and we played together last summer at a garden party. The band had been put together by mutual friend, drummer Paul Crewe, and consisted of five of us performing with little, if any, rehearsal. The gig was a resounding success (despite a powercut halfway through our performance of Happy Birthday for the host’s daughter) and we parted on the agreement that we would have to do something further. Fast forward to January and Lost The Plot is formed. A stripped down version of the band that played last summer, Lost The Plot is a 3-piece consisting of Ed on acoustic guitar, Paul Crew on drums and myself on bass playing stripped down rock and rock’n’roll with a sense of fun (“Madcap Acoustic Mayhem” is the suggested tagline). Sunday saw our first rehearsal (immediately after a FF rehearsal) and things sound good straight out of the box. Gigs are already coming in thick and fast and I can’t wait to get this one rolling.

As it stands, our first gig is Sunday 29 April at The Wrekin Inn in Wellington, but keep an eye on my gig calendar for more news of appearances near you.

So, from no band to 3 bands in the space of a couple of months. The plan is that the three bands should be able to co-exist with little in the way of clashes. I certainly hope so, as they all offer me different challenges and musical styles.

Watch this space for updates.

Web Updates

Posted in Bands, General, Updates with tags , , , , , on February 7, 2012 by WeeMann

A couple of weeks ago I decided to start to teach myself CSS coding so that I can improve my websites. As you may know, I use WeeMann.co.uk as a base for trying things out before I transfer them onto SiMannDriving.co.uk, so I started by setting up a template for WeeMann.co.uk and a CSS stylesheet.

Before long I found myself absorbed, realising that I had spent hours in front of the computer. The result is what you now see. Subtle changes in style, but now I can redesign that style with far greater ease if I decide to.

I used the opportunity to add detail to some of the band pages. If you check out WeeMann.co.uk/bands you’ll see a list of bands I’ve played with over the years. I’ve started adding main pages to offer my views and memories of the history of those bands (which I can update later as more occurs to me), so you can read a little about ARDIA, Dirty Shoes, Bad Girl City, vQp and The Hair Bear Bunch. I’ve also added pages for my three current bands – Rock Fever, Fat Fighters and Lost The Plot which will be updated as more info is available.

I’ve also taken the opportunity to upload a snapshot of the vQp website. It’s not quite as the site was when we finally closed it, but it will give you a feel for what we were doing. At the moment, a couple of the song files aren’t playing properly, but I’ll try to get those sorted out soon.

Further on, I’ve also added a gig calendar as an easy way to see when and where I’ll be playing. I have noticed problems viewing this in Internet Explorer, but it seems fine in other browsers (and was working OK last night in IE, so fingers crossed…).

So, I know a little more about web building, but I’m still learning and hope to start working on more ambitious projects in time.

Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen Remix Competition

Posted in Bands, Pop Culture, Recording on December 18, 2011 by WeeMann

I’ve entered a competition run by Queen to remix their hit Don’t Stop me Now.  Please have a listen to it by clicking the image below and vote for me!

Don't Stop Me Now

Studio Blog 10

Posted in Bands, Recording on October 13, 2010 by WeeMann

21:30. Finished Devil’s Tree. Once I got into the groove it got quite easy and I realised it was quite a straightforward structure. Eventually Mike had to leave, so Steve and I finished off the final overdubs.  Again, with Steve being a bassist, he’s great with the ideas, and one of the last fills was lifted to higher levels by his insight.

As we were packing up we listened back to a track we recorded a few weeks ago. On the night I knew I wasn’t on form, but I really didn’t like what I heard tonight. Looks like we’ll have to book another session…

So, that’s all 8 tracks recorded with one that I want to re-do,  it’s been a productive weekend.  Mike’s re-recording some of the guitars but otherwise it’s all ready for mixing.  I’m not sure what his plans are for these tracks, but if I can post them on www.weemann.co.uk or link to them, I will – I would welcome any feedback about the bass work.

In other news, it looks like Alchemy will be playing in Hemel Hempstead in December.  A gig we were due to play a couple of weeks ago was cancelled at the last minute when we discovered that the stage was an open barn on a farm – just a roof, and that leaked – on one of the wettest weekends of the year! Still, this gives us an excuse to get together again for beer and curry while we rehearse new songs for what will, undoubtedly, be a Christmas themed gig.

Studio Blog 9

Posted in Bands, Rants and Moans, Recording on October 13, 2010 by WeeMann

20:00. Just took a short break for sustainance.

Started work on Devil’s Tree, a relaxed jazz style affair that’s right out of my comfort zone, so I’m getting Mike to direct me section by section. It’s a lovely song and has the potential for a great bass line just as long as I can get into the groove.

It turns out that Mike has had the same treatment by Ade from Usual Suspects as I did – Ade’s been rehearsing a couple of guitarists behind Mike’s back.  Turns out they were coming into the studio to rehearse tonight, taking Steve away from the desk for a couple of hours.  Mike and I listened from upstairs in breaks from recording.  Doesn’t sound that great, but I know that will just sound like sour grapes. In my opinion Ade was always the weak link of the band, but it is his band, so sacking him and getting a new singer was always going to be difficult. Suggested we form a new band with Steve and get a new singer…

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