On Saturday we brought the party to around 150 merry revellers celebrating Sarah and Ian’s marriage at the plush Dukes 92 in Manchester.
Having filled the van with petrol, this newspaper headline staring back at us from the rack at the garage set the tone of randomness that was to follow:
Once we arrived at the venue, we all did our best not to lift Lottie’s evil drum box. It’s a long rectangular plastic trunk that holds cymbal stands. It is not only ridiculously heavy but has metal handles on each side that once gripped manage to induce a throbbing pain that courses through bones, crippling whoever has the misfortune of picking it up.
The only saving grace is how much it obviously annoys Lottie when the rest of the band melodramatically complain of the agony it causes us.
“Yeah, you try bloody lifting up my stairs on your own!”
Shut up Lottie, get a better box.
Soundcheck is a success, the wooden floor, beams and apex roof seem to offer perfect acoustics for our racket.
Feeling confident for the evening ahead, we nip across town to check into our hotel. The lobby is like a set of a CBeebies show, so to avoid migraines induced by a barrage of primary coloured furniture, we scuttle upstairs to our rooms.
Pete and I are mildly amused by the fact that we are sharing Room 101. That is until we open the door and mistake the room for a hospital ward. I was half expecting to wake up on a drip; the vinyl floors and cold, clinical edges reminded us a little too much of visiting ailing loved ones.
As you can see, I wasn’t impressed with the wash facilities:
After a spruce up and change into our stage wear, we head back to the venue to greet Sarah and Ian and congratulate them on getting married. Sarah looked stunning in a beautiful 1950s babydoll style dress, Ian handsome and proud in a sharp navy blue suit. Guests start arriving and the atmosphere starts to build, people are in a great mood and are ready to be entertained.
The first dance, as requested by the bride and groom, was Chuck Berry’s You Never Can Tell, to which everybody joined in on the dancefloor after the first verse.
Then the opening bars of 9 to 5 encouraged even more people to get down. This felt great, the months of learning tunes, arranging and refining was finally paying off. At last we were out of the rehearsal studio and doing what we do best – getting the party started.
A couple of stage invasions ensued and with the four of us drenched in sweat, we left the stage to rapturous applause and screams of of “ONE MORE SONG!”
What a feeling, despite the aching hands, bleeding fingers and tired legs we were satisfied that we had given our all and put on a show for people.
Saying that, it seemed as if Pete still had the energy of a 6 year-old and continued to perform high kicks on the dancefloor for two hours as Greg spun tunes from his laptop.
Me, I needed a beer. I’d shredded the nail of my index finger of my strumming hand so needed something to numb the pain. That’s the story I’m sticking to anyway.
After packing up we hgot a cab into town to celebrate the fruits of all our hard work. Greg told us of this place he knew of which sounded awesome. An establishment that provided after hours drinking for workers once they’d finish early morning/late night shifts, but now was a pretty cool club.
We rocked up and was immediately impressed by (at least what looked like) a marble exterior and embossed steel name plate outside. We each paid £7 to get in, which made me think it was pretty exclusive, and bowled downstairs.
Once we got into the main room, we were transported to 1990s Latvia, the carpet was a hideous faded black with white swirls and it looked like you could catch a skin disease from the oppressive pleather sofas that were arranged somehow like Eastern European tower blocks.
The music was overtly sexual and everyone seemed to be dressed either like an extra from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air or Only Fools and Horses. Each of us burnt up the dancefloor with Greg and Lottie teaching me and Pete a new dance.
Needless to say it was difficult waking up in the morning. While we wanted to live up to our name as The Rebel Party Band, I think we regretted the amount of Jaegerbombs we threw back.
I awoke to Pete doing James Brown impersonations in his sleep, then went to drag Lottie and Greg out of bed so that I could get back home in time for Sunday dinner with the in-laws.
We pulled up outside my house with 3 minutes to spare of the 1pm deadline that my wife had given me. My phone battery died so she assumed I was still asleep, 200 miles away. Although I got home on time, I think she was still miffed that I impressed her dad by falling out of the van looking dishevelled but not able to have a go at me for being late.
It’s safe to say that the after party was something of a one off- a celebration for what we’d achieved. We’d nailed our set that we had taken a lot of care in getting right and had made a lot of people dance their socks off- just what we’d been asked to do.
Now it’s back to work. We need to rehearse for Saturday’s (6th April) free entry show at Pat Kav’s in Birmingham and start thinking about what we’re going to record in a couple of weeks.
Come see us and say hello, we’ll be the ones avoiding booze.
Thanks again to Sarah and Ian for booking us, Dave the soundman, Tugboat for the accomodation, the staff at Dukes 92 and everybody who danced, clapped and cheered.