Archive for the Special Events Category

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…

Trip To London, Part 2

Posted in Pop Culture, Special Events on February 24, 2011 by WeeMann

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Rob’s arrived and now we’re getting ready to head into town for a quick beer before the main event.

Trip to London. Part 1

Posted in Pop Culture, Special Events on February 24, 2011 by WeeMann

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Spent the morning in the First Class carriage of the Virgin Trains service to Euston. Very nice trip, must do First Class again some time. I’m now sat in Starbucks waiting for Rob, whose train from Hull has been delayed.

On the way here I passed the Shaw Theatre, the location for the Live Aid rehearsals for Queen.

I can’t say more about why I’m here yet, but the above is a small clue…

Studio Blog 6A

Posted in Bands, Pop Culture, Recording, Special Events on October 12, 2010 by WeeMann

Sat 17:00. We ended up doing no more last night. Mike had to run and Steve and his brother got chatting to Paul, a studio owner from New York who they’ve met with and who seems to be very interested in what they’re doing.  A lovely bloke who’s worked with people like Bill Withers, Celine Dion, Natalie Cole and Michael Bolton, among others. He’s a bassist (which, based on his experience, made me a little nervous while I was recording with him in the room!) and it turns out he and I both had the same first couple of basses – a Maya and a Columbus. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who’s even heard of Maya before, let alone owned one! I had mine stolen many years ago, but I still have the Columbus, which is the fretless I used yesterday.

This afternoon I went into Birmingham with my mate Jason to see a bass clinic by Billy Sheehan, one of my favourite players. He’s currently recording the new Mr Big album with Kevin Shirley at the helm. Based on the results of the last album by Iron Maiden I’m looking forward to this.

Billy’s always used Ampeg amps, but has recently started using Hartke (my amp of choice). He hasn’t got his tone completely nailed yet, but it’s recognisable as his sound.  I videoed a couple of clips of him with my phone.  Unfortunately the sound was overloading the phone’s mic, but you get the idea!

The first is the solo section from Mr Big’s Alive & Kickin’ from their Lean Into album:

The second is a 5 minute solo:

For better footage of him live, check out this “Solo” duetting with Paul Gilbert:

Back into the studio tomorrow to finish everything off.

Long Time, No Blog. Some Updates.

Posted in Bands, Gigs, Pop Culture, Special Events, Updates on June 9, 2010 by WeeMann

Well, a few things have been happening in WeeWorld and I just haven’t had a chance to blog, suddenly 6 weeks have passed! So here’s a quick roundup.

Jenny completed the London Marathon in 5 hours and 14 minutes – a great achievement and one which also helped to raise over £2300 for HemiHelp.  Well done Jenny!  Last week we went on holiday to St Ives in Cornwall with Jenny and her family. Very relaxing and very welcome!

The Alchemy gig in Telford went well.  The pub was full, although there were a few faces who couldn’t make it.  Our only problem was that even though we’ve reduced the amount of gear we lug around, we still took up a large portion of the pub!  It got very hot and my fingers all but melted.  It was also the first public outing of the DoddCabs, with both Dodd and Harj using them.  They sounded great, although someone did comment that Harj’s sound was a little harsh.  We think that was due to a setting on the back of his amp, but other than this we were very happy with the outcome.  Watch this space for news of further Alchemy gigs.

Alchemy at The Duke

Talking of gigs, I’ve been playing regularly with Usual Suspects.  I’m a lot happier with the material now and feel that I’m ‘part of the band’ now rather than just the new boy.  Mike (guitar) has written a few few songs which he is demoing.  Our friend, Kev Bartlett, has recorded some drums and Mike’s asked me to do the bass.  I’m currently getting the songs in my head, getting ideas of what I want to play.  Once I’ve got an idea I can do some rough takes for Mike to OK, then I’ll heading down to The Smash Room to record them for him.  So far, one that’s grabbed my attention is a track called Queen Of Pain.  Think I can do plenty with that one.

This week further news came out about Iron Maiden’s new album.  Called The Final Frontier, it will be released on 16 August (just in time for my birthday!) and the first single was released this week as a free download.  El Dorado is up on YouTube:

It’s available from http://www.ironmaiden.com/thebigbang_2.html

To me it sounds like it has the heaviness of their earlier material mixed with Bruce’s solo material, along with the slickness of more recent outings.  I like it and can’t wait for the album.

Jenny’s Marathon Run – Tomorrow

Posted in Special Events, Updates on April 24, 2010 by WeeMann

Tomorrow sees the London Marathon starring Jenny.  It’s not too late to show your support by sponsoring her at www.virginmoneygiving.com/JennyBlower in aid of HemiHelp.

Good luck Jen, we’re all very proud of you.

Jenny & Lucy

Jenny & Lucy

Promotion

Posted in Gigs, Special Events on April 11, 2010 by WeeMann

Started work on some new artwork today:
The Return Part 1

My Boy, The Drummer

Posted in Special Events on March 19, 2010 by WeeMann

Wednesday evening saw a local music showcase promoted by the council and featuring school children from across the area. My interest? My son, Matthew, was playing African drums in his first public performance.

The whole evening was very impressive. I don’t expect musical genius at this level but, with barely an exception, every act was extremely talented.

The show kicked off with a steel band performing 4 numbers, the last of which was The Can Can. What an inspired choice of music for the steel drums – I couldn’t have predicted how good it could sound.

Matthew and his school mates were next. His school have teamed up with a nearby special school to learn African drumming. They only did 2 numbers – an African chant called Zugaloo and one called Come ‘n’ Have A Go If You Think You’re Hard Enough! which included the kids chanting the title at the end of every section. To say I was proud and impressed is an understatement. The group sounded great from start to finish.

They were followed by a school choir, a trio of trumpet players and then a solo flautist doing the 3rd movement from Sonata in Bb Op 1 by (if I recall correctly) Beethoven, before the first set was brought to a close by another school choir.

The second half contained a couple more choirs, an orchestra (including Matthew’s violin teacher) and a rock group consisting students from the local college, but the highlight of the second half was, for me, a band of primary school children including my friends’ son on bass. Sadly, their first song was Queen’s We Will Rock You, giving him little chance to show off his skills, so he instead dropped his bass resulting in a loud Clangggg! We’ve all done it at some point, so he’s just getting in his practice early and it didn’t phase him as they went into Rockin’ Robin followed by a revisited We Will Rock You, this time as a 12 bar in the vein of the previous song – despite dropping his bass, he didn’t drop a note – brilliant.

All in all it was a brilliant evening highlighting some incredible talent from some very young kids. I only wish I had started so early – I was 16 before I picked up a guitar. Matthew enjoyed himself, but was shattered by the time we got home and fell asleep in no time. His first gig was to a crowd of about 6-700 – a size of audience I’ve rarely performed to myself – and he joins my wife Karen and our daughter Chloe in having performed at the theatre, something I have yet to do.

Well done boy.

Happy St Patrick’s Day

Posted in Pop Culture, Special Events on March 17, 2010 by WeeMann

I’m not Irish, I have no Irish blood in my veins (as far as I know) and I’ve only visited once (although I hope to change that).

However, today is a great excuse for drinking Guinness and listening to Thin Lizzy, so happy St Patrick’s Day and if you have Spotify, fire up this playlist, sit back and enjoy, whilst supping on a pint of the black stuff: Thin Lizzy

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Jenny’s Marathon – Update

Posted in Special Events, Updates on February 14, 2010 by WeeMann

Jenny has updated us on her Marathon training (e-mail came out on the 4th):

Hi – hope you all well and 2010 is treating you well.

79 days to go so thought I would send you all an update as to how I am getting on with the marathon training!

I have completed 13 miles which is half way there and this weekend I am aiming for 14 miles which will be the furthest I have ever run – scary!!!!!  I am looking forward to it in a strange kind of way!

I am going to London on Saturday to attend an advice day which is organised by Virgin London Marathon I am also meeting another girl who is also running for HemiHelp so that will be good – I think it nice to chat with someone in the same boat as you!

Thank you to all of you that have sponsored me and/or donated prizes and things to me for my fundraising – it is coming on slowly but surely!  I have a fundraising night organised for next week (those of you that are local should have had an invite??!!  Let me know if you haven’t and would like to know more ….) and the online and offline donations are starting to grow.  If you would like to find out more about the charity that I am running for and/or sponsor me please visit my fundraising page at www.virginmoneygiving.com/JennyBlower

Hope you all well and look forward to catching up soon

Thanks again

Jenny

In actual fact Jenny has now completed 16 miles, so is doing well. On the downside, she was due to go to a party in the evening, so may well have passed out through sheer exhaustion!

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