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   Friday Night in Brentford (26-May-06)


It's that time again when your roving reporter tries to recollect events from a gig, and decipher disconnected jottings made on the back of an envelope ( no kidding + I have witnesses).

Arriving at 8ish, having struggled through bank holiday M4 traffic, resplendent (is that the right word ?) in unchanged gleaming white interview shirt from the afternoon (yes, I got the job), Stripes was still fairly lightly populated, with as many musicians as 'crowd'. Stepan Pasicznyk was at the bar - nothing unusual in that. What was unusual was that he was in the process of reassembling his accordion, said instrument having suffered a mishap on its journey there ( This tale recounted in gents, as one does, at end of the night. Mini flyer also received: See www.theukes.com for upcoming gigs ).

Having availed myself of refreshments by the way of the magnificent creamy Worthington bitter, I took the opportunity to browse through the sleeve notes of one of a pile of the new Elvis Lives Here CDs on the sales table. Yes, Olivier, it does include lyrics of all the tracks. Also, as promised, immortalised in history are the names of those credited with contributing [ by buying the taster EP ]. There must be around 150 names. Also on display, autographed mandolin for charity raffle ( more on that later *).

"About half the recordings are live - see if you can spot 'em"

Album "Cast of Characters" + also performing on the night:

  • Swill,
  • Tom Spencer,
  • Ricky McGuire,
  • Jon Odgers,
  • Bobby Valentino,
  • Ashley Halloween,
  • Laurie Sherman (of The Barker Band - banjo),
  • Stepan Pasicznyk

  • Paul Simmonds ( MC for the night).

Playing 6 string acoustic, Paul opened the evening once the playing CD was silenced ( have I mentioned that Esther Angel was manning the soundboard ? ) to " a wave of indifference".

Paul sang "The Hill" - his own composition, from Cherry Red Jukebox, and then introduced Swill ( dubbing him "Sgt. Pepper" ! ), who started with "Pieces of Paradise" and then sang Mick Thomas's "The Trigger".

Paul then introduced Stepan for a solo session, noticeably ( to me anyway ) not attempting to say his surname. As usual, Stepan was good value with his 3 songs, the first 2 of which ( forgive me if my Ukrainian translation is lacking ), were "The Sheepherders Song" and "My Gypsy Woman". There followed, in English, a song that Stepan had penned so recently that he needed a crib sheet to remember the words, on the subject of Wayne Rooney's misfortunes, entitled "Even Without You We Can Win".

Next set-let was performed By Tom Spencer, accompanied by Ricky on bass and Laurie on banjo, consisting of songs from Fast Lane Roogalator ( www.fastlaneroogalator.com ) album including "Johnny Be Better".

Swill then sang solo: "Marjory and Johnny", "Great Expectations" and "Greenback Dollar", before being joined by most of the massed ranks of the SwaggerBand for:

  • "Lost in the Flood",
  • "Ready to Blow",
  • "The Thief The Brief and the Boy in Blue",
  • "Elvis Lives Here",
  • "The Story" [ of TMTCH ],

Now joined by Bobby Valentino ( further comings + goings not accurately tracked !) for:

  • "Hanwell Shuffle" [ Instrumental ],
  • "Drag Me Down",
  • "Just A Dial Tone Away",
  • "The Drinkers",
  • "In The Breeze".

Swill, accompanied only by Bobby V. sang "Sam Hall", before being re-joined by all the Swaggers plus Paul for a great rendition of "The Day After", - wild apocalypses all round.

Intermission for raffle* drawing fiasco. The original book of 100 green tickets had been sold and a yellow book started. Of course, no one had told Swill this, and when he drew and announced that number 22 had won the signed mandolin, up stepped buyers of both number 22s ! There followed a decider to allocate the main prize and a consolation T-shirt. Swill reckoned that the T-shirt was more valuable anyway, having earlier asked that if the mandolin was won by a musician, they shouldn't expect to be able to play any credible music on it !

Final encore was "Green Fields of France", notable for Bob joining in on chorus and total lack of stage invasion - too easy at Stripes - no challenge!

That's about it. A good time was had by all and I echo the thanks to Pete Crook and all that made the whole thing possible. Thanks too to those who have / are going to upload pics to the site. All I have to do now is listen to the new album.

Chas.

 

 

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