Total Pageviews

Tuesday 3 January 2017

LASTWIND Mark2, Live at The Fleece, Bristol.

After Lastwind's tour supporting HAWKWIND in the autumn of 2006 and a session in Avignon tidying up the live tape, 2007 was a year of inactivity on the music front as was the first half of 2008. I had pretty severe financial problems and relationship problems which took up virtually all my time. I started to solve the financial side by getting back to a full time job, getting a post as teacher in the Bristol Language Centre and then getting promoted a few months later to Centre Manager, when the owner got to see my CV showing I had held senior management jobs in education for about 15 years. Although round the year, most of the students in the school were adults and serious students, a lot of them trying to get their level of English sufficiently high to be accepted in British Universities, in the summer we were full of groups of school-age young people. And, although the Chinese, for example, were very well behaved and accompanied by their own teachers, the European students were mainly there at the behest of their parents and were quite peeved to be in a 'school' during their summer break and could be quite difficult and unruly. I was just what was needed to sort them out being used to deal with young criminals. And sort them out I did!!
With one of my Saudi students. And what good dancers they are, even in an unsuitable suit!!
But after the summer in 2008 when the school was back to normal older students and everything was running smoothly, my mind began to focus on my music again. I had put together an album which we called Red Brigade, a few tracks from the live recording at Derby from the 2006 tour, and a few instrumental tracks. With the help of my talented son, Sam (DoseProd), we made a hundred copies of this to test the market. putting it out under the umbrella of Feel The Quality Records (many thanks to Rick who ran the label). But I felt we needed to play at least one gig in order to create an event where the CD could be sold and to put Lastwind back in the news so to speak. The obvious place to play such a gig was Bristol, so I contacted the venues where I knew somebody and got offered two dates, 2 days apart and, rather stupidly, I accepted both. The Fleece, well-known and long-standing rock venue, offered me their Tuesday night free entry slot for October 28th where I could choose my own support bands and have the free use of the sound and light system. Then Mr Wolf, well-respected promoter and owner of two Bristol clubs, offered me a paying gig (based on the number of entries) on the 30th, where again I could provide the support bands.
The excellent Rita Lynch Band
We knew we would get a good crowd at the Fleece and did, including a lot of my students, but were less sure about the Thursday night, relying on good publicity. Unfortunately, except for a couple of posters (well designed by Sam), there was none so numbers were not as good as hoped but just sufficient for me to be able to pay my band members a bit and give the other two bands something towards their expenses. But, I am jumping the gun a little. Having got the gigs lined up, I found out that OBNY was not available to come over from France for the gigs so I had lost my brilliant guitarist. Having asked around, I was recommended Jo Wilkins, a young guitarist thought to be the next best thing on the Bristol scene. I went to see him play, was impressed, asked him and he agreed to do the gigs and a couple of rehearsals. I thought another person on stage would be a good idea and asked Laurence de Loes, a young lady of Belgian/Ivory Coast heritage and who had sung on an EP we had put out under the name of This, That, The Other on Feel The Quality Records. She has a lovely voice and a good sense of rhythm who could provide both backing and some lead vocals and add some percussion.
The excellent Laurence de Loes.
Then I had some new songs which I needed to rehearse as much as them and we had a couple of long and quite difficult rehearsals but I felt we could carry it off, particularly as the drums, bass and some synth parts were already programmed in my lovely Roland Phantom. The day of the first gig at the Fleece arrived and it was pouring down, a typical autumn deluge, the sort of night tha makes everyone say,"I'm not going out in that!" Still we got there, got to know (again) the venue's excellent sound engineer (who recorded our set off the desk), and our sound check went well although Jo, the new guitarist's nerves were palpable. Dan Butcher, who was meant to be the first support act, had had some sort of accident (again) and had had to drop out but this just meant that the excellent Rita Lynch and her band could do a longer set. I really like her punkish sound and songs about the life of a woman in modern times. My son Sam had once played drums for her (and for Dan Butcher). The venue was quite empty when she started her set but by the time she ended the crowd had swelled, particularly a good turn-out from my language school, students and some staff. I was raring to go, quite hyper in fact, and have rarely enjoyed a gig so much, Ny vocals were in tune and well delivered even tho I had to often look quickly at my lyrics resting in sight. Jo, the guitarist froze on some numbers but did well on others and it was great fun having a second vocalist. Laurence sang confidently, with quite a lot of improvisation, and rarely got the words wrong. And she excelled on the 2 numbers where she sang lead. Bravo Laurence and I must admit I missed her on the next Lastwind tour (5 years later). I was pleased with my keyboard playing too and the pre-programmed drums, bass and sounds worked well even if the drums sometimes sank a bit too far in the mix on a couple of songs. Listening to the tape, my confidence shows through by the amount of chat I did with the crowd between numbers, mostly kept out of the mix of the recording. We were well received and played 11 songs, an hour's worth just about, before we got the signal from the manager that it was time to stop, leaving us no time to finish with our usual favourite Monster Trucks.
Our young and nervous guitarist, Jo.
So it was over. I chatted with friends and students for a bit, checked to see how merchandise had done and we packed up ready for Thursday. That gig I can hardly remember playing because just before we went on I had a phone message to say that my mum had been rushed into Exeter Hospital and that my presence was required. I remember it wasn't a big crowd but that we earn't enough so I could pay at least a minimum to the people who merited it. Then I was off down the road to Exeter and that was that. I remember getting sent a copy of the live, off the desk, recording and much later a copy of the film (lost at some point) but then all was forgotten as I was getting health problems, cardiac and diabetic, which began to dominate my life. In 2010 I stopped work and moved to Seaton in Devon (new home for Hawkeaster, the yearly Hawkwind fans festival),was started on insulin, got very involved in caring for my very ill and immobile mother and, although I kept writing and recording my music, had forgotten Lastwind. Until, in 2012, Frenchy of Flicknife fame, suggested putting out a Lastwind album. But that story is for another time. I have finally got round to re-mastering the live gig recording which is nearly an hour long, consists of 12 songs and is my favourite recording of Lastwind, mainly because of the energy but also because it is the best reflection of the range of music we played. Yes, there are some mistakes, some rawness, but we did it OK, not bad on the back of 2 rehearsals. This live set contains 6 songs which don't appear on any other Lastwind recording plus some old favourites like Paris-Marseilles and Slots.I would like to get this out as a final Lastwind CD and will be working on ideas how to do so. But for the time being, I will be putting it up on SoundCloud from where it will be streamable. And I think it will please a large number of the space-rock, psychedelic-loving freaks out there. And for fans and collectors, look out for, at best the CD and, at worst, it becoming downloadable.

No comments:

Post a Comment