Day 25 of 32 – Thursday 25 April 2019 Great St Louis, work, work, work, UK Subs then bed

Another reasonable night’s sleep – two in a row so that’s quite encouraging. Usual feline, music and blog related tasks then a bunch of customer paperwork and emails to expedite before the 9.00am bell rings.

Tonight’s gig – lots to do before then ….

Early morning highlight was listening to the mixes of 2 new tracks by the Great St Louis (Bolton) which John Dagger sent over last night. Our JSNTGM label released the band’s debut and follow up albums (Forever Now and In Your Own Time) and then the debut album and 2 singles by John’s next project Stay Clean Jolene (SCJ was John and Dan from GSL with Will and Neil from Leif Ericson).

These two tracks are great. It’s time that a great band like GSL produced a top class UK album to rival the now dominant American labels of Fat Wreck, Epitaph etc I was just speaking at the weekend at the MPF on this very matter with Frankie Warsaw Stubbs. We need a Northern Powerhouse of great UK music to set the international punk scene on fire – maybe GSL are the fire-starters ? Let’s wait and see how this recording session turns out but the early signs are encouraging.

Had a couple of fairly stress-free meetings over in Warton today – isn’t life much easier when people are reasonable with each other. I do find it quite amusing how when operating in the world of business, people think it’s ok to act so unreasonably. Don’t get me wrong the majority of customers I encounter are great but I can often tell when people are at it. Maybe it’s a combination of the belief that moaning and complaining is adopted as a default position just in case the other party might cave in or that being excessively demanding and unreasonable is how Donald Trump and Lord Sugar became the cheerleaders of modern capitalism. It’s a shame really, people wouldn’t dream of acting this way out of a work / business environment and when the old epithet ‘sorry it’s business’ is chirped out, it’s shorthand for ‘I’m not normally a twat, but I can act like this in business, so I am exercising my right to be a twat’.

I must say Neil at Brightprint is a quick worker and a quality designer who instinctively gets things, rather than having to have everything explained in minute detail. Throughout the day he produced four iterations of Brunswick pamphlet number three, cropped and embedded some new photos and got it all proof-read and signed off in time to make the plates for the presses for 5.00pm deadline. All going well I should be able to collect them close of play tomorrow.

Had one eye on the clock all day as we (Litterbug) have a gig with No Agenda and the UK Subs in Lancaster tonight. Stuuuuart is picking me and the gear up at 4.40, he is never a second late. It’s a running joke in the band why we have to get to venues so early when we often don’t get a sound-check. We drive to near The Oxford to collect the drummer Cas and that old demon stress is already in the air over a missing drum clutch which went missing last week. I insulate myself against contamination by catching up on a few e-mails.

In terms of e-mail traffic, texts, What’s App and Messenger .. oh yes and good old fashioned telephone calls It’s a wonder my I-phone doesn’t go into meltdown. Today should have been fairly mid paced but the combined pressure of work, work, work, the election campaign and running coaches to Barnsley at the weekend saw a distinct spike in communications. In one short period today (maybe 5 minutes) I had 6 missed calls from different people. These days I just smile to myself and in the words of Henry Rollins Black Flag and try to RISE ABOVE, RISE ABOVE !

Anyhow back to the car journey, we are now on the M55 and thankfully the ‘clutch problem’ has been averted so it’s time to listen to Digger’s favourite bands. The Pixies, Frank Black, Weezer, Cyanide Pills and The Briefs. Cas also likes all these apart from The Pixies who he purposefully dislikes and rebukes publicly as Stuart likes them so much. I think this kind of odd chemistry often happens in bands and whilst illogical is not a bad thing. Stuart’s love of Dave Grohl is often a subject f debate so much so that Cas often wears his ‘Stop it Dave Grohl’ t-shirt to gigs, I’m sure just to wind up Stuuuuuart.

We walked in to the venue to No Agenda, Steff and Malek’s band, who were sound-checking a familiar tune …. GBH’s City Baby Attacked by Rats – I saw No Agenda’s  first ever gig at last year’s Punk and Disorderly at The Bobbin.Enjoyed them good angry vocal delivery and tonight is about their tenth gig. Tonight during soundcheck there are problems with the bass rig – so I hoik my Ampeg head up on stage to see if that helps. Think it might be a dodgy cab TBF so the sound guy has to DI the bass through the PA which isn’t ideal, but hey see how we go.

After the No Agenda sound check Steff very kindly gives me a 3 track CD they recorded in September 2018 … might play that on the way back to TGC if Stuart and Cas will allow it.  Grab a pint of Strongarm Ruby Ale at the bar and have a chat with Malek who also plays in Insurgency. Things are going well with both bands and we catch up on some of our mutual punk rock friends from TGC such as Hammers, Si Lomax and Warren Schofield.

The Yorkshire House is a well established Lancaster venue. Seen lots of bands here and played in a few myself. As headliners this evening are the legendary UK Subs it’s no surprise to hear that tonight is a sell out. Many in their 40’ and 50’s will remember iconic UK Subs performances on Top of The Pops (TOTP) of hits such as Stranglehold, Tomorrow’s Girls, She’s Not There and Warhead. All great 7’s released on coloured vinyl the Subs were a staple of every young UK punters record collection. 

Spoke to Charlie Harper at the bar – showing my age now as I first saw them play when I was 14 years old st the Loch Lomond Rock Festival In 1979 – I ask him how many gigs the band have played and he reckons the band’s 40 years of touring can be divided into thirds …. one third of the time 200 per annum, then 150 shows 100 per annum. 

Lots of band members have come and gone over the years with Charlie being the only ever present. The current line up of Charlie, Steve Straughan, Jamie Oliver and Alvin Gibbs is a tight unit.

Interesting UK Subs factoid is how their album titles followed the alphabet. Their debut Another Kind of Blues (1979) was followed by Brand New Age, Crash Course etc. The sequence was completed 37 years later with their 26th album Ziezo (Dutch for job done) which was released in 2016

No Agenda play a good high energy set of about 9 tracks to a full room.  Sound is good but the bass through the monitors isn’t great for the band. I’m not really a great lover of the technology behind the bass rig but it doesn’t look great – I think something has upset my Ampeg amp. Next up it’s us – a chat with Carnforth legend and BFC fan Tinks quick pint of Mango cider and we are on.

Our MERCH – Oyston Out, JSNTGM, Black Pool and Litterbug t-shitrs

Line-check is ok so we launch into a 3 part set starting with Introvert from the Countdown to Schadenfreude 7’ – one of our best songs from my favourite Litterbug release. 4 songs in, finally a break sweating like a marathon runner reach for my beer day a few words and he’s off again with song no.5 – unbelievable Jeff, no rest for the wicked. On stage sound is good and from a couple of nodding heads in the crowd I evaluate we aren’t playing too shoddily. 

Pre-gig rig of a plectrum, dog-bite plasters (for my finger) and a worrying yellow light indicating a fault – oh brother !

Second break after 8 songs and slavedriver Stuart grants Cas and I a one minute drink and speaking break …. 60 seconds and we are into the last third. When we finish I mention that we have CD’s and t-shirts for sale which I don’t recommend buying.

Downstairs for fresh air and a brief exchange of pleasantries with seaside royalty of Rob Morley, Lord Paul of Swinnerton and Ronnie McLeod. Cooling down and there’s a rush of bodies upstairs which means the Subs are starting. When we all get it’s C.I.D and Charlie and the boys launch into their set.

I must admit as I’m still driving with sweat I stay at the back and take in great songs like Tomorrow’s Girls., TV Blues and Emotional Blackmail.

Florence is a machine at eating bar snacks – sweet as x

It’s stiflingly hot up here so once again it’s time for some air. When I head downstairs I’m befriended by the pub dog, a gorgeous black labrador culled Florence. So cute, she wags her tail and presents punters with a soft toy that looks like a squirrel. Once I open my bacon fries she won’t leave my side – needless to say the majority of the pack is given to Florence – what a beautiful dog. Always loved labradors …. since I met Talis at my Uncle Mick’s and Aunty Hazel’s In Bispham when I was a sprog.

who has put the gig on – good work, I’m pleased for him as the gigs me and Hammers put on in Blackpool back in the 90’s were never as packed as this. Isn’t it great when you do something and people turn up – hope it happens on BRUNSWICK WARD on May 2nd for Gary and I.

Yuko on the UK Subs Merch stand

Great gig, good energy, no complaints- everyone leaving with a smile on their face. Highlights of the U.K. Subs’ set were Teenage and Warhead with their call and response …. worked well. 

Time to board the Diggleton Bus back to TGC. He however prefers to stay and chat for 30 minutes whilst Cas and I shiver outside  on the way home from gigs the music of choice is normally Grandaddy – a sweet and mellow comedown to the energetic excesses of the past three hours.

We stop en route to TGC at Macdonalds and a large banana Milk shake does the trick. It’s only a short trundle back to TGC but I drop off to sleep it’s been a good day. ent 3;

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