Our first ever gig in Scotland provided us with an excuse for a band mini-holiday.
We were honoured to be invited by the lovely Alastair and Layla to play for them and their guests at the breathtaking Byre at Inchyra in Perth. Not only is this one of the finest venues we’ve had the pleasure to play at, none other than the Bard of Salford, Dr John Cooper Clarke would be treading the exact same boards merely days later.
You’d think that travelling up and down the Backbone of Britain in a splitter van for hours, and in this case, days on end with three other musicians/performers would provide an endless source of hilarious anecdotes that could be relayed here on this blog for your amusement.
Unfortunately, there really isn’t much that can be repeated that wouldn’t sully our carefully crafted reputation of an apparently rebellious party band.
For example, on more than half-a-dozen occasions the van conversation revolved around our favourite motorway service stations and remarks to the effect of:
“Thank god for M&S Simply Food.”
“Yeah, they’ve totally nailed the whole travelling catering thing.”
And if you can imagine these exchanges muffled by mouthfuls of cous-cous and roasted vegetables or sushi you’d be fairly close to the realities of life on the road in The Rebel Party Band. We’re definitely more Alan Partridge than GG Allin.
We did however sample the local ale houses and bars that the fine, fine city of Edinburgh has to offer to make sure that we had some post-couped-up-in-a-van-for-7-hours type fun before heading over the Forth Road Bridge the next morning en route to Perth for the wedding reception.
It was my turn to take the steering wheel, gear stick, hand brake, accelerator, clutch, foot bra…what I’m saying is that it was my turn to drive.
Not having a head for heights, it probably wasn’t the best idea for me to be designated driver at this point, but having psyched myself up for a good hour before tackling said bridge with a pep-talk inside my own head, I thankfully managed to avert a vertigo triggered panic attack behind the wheel, plunging us all head first into the water whilst curled up in the fetal position in the footwell.
We may get charged retrospectively by the van hire company for the damage done by my gripping onto the steering wheel for dear life, but that’s a small price to pay for the getting us to the wedding alive.
We arrive at the venue and to our pleasant surprise, we find that our friend Lee Billingham of Shutterbox Films, (also Birmingham based) is capturing the day for Alastair and Layla. This gives us an extra reassurance that the couple obviously have exquisite taste, and we set up on stage.
This what Lee does, amongst other things:
Yep, he’s awesome.
For some reason that isn’t exactly clear, anticipation among the guests under 10 years old at the wedding builds solely for ‘Pete, the singing man’ as if they were excited to be in the presence of the king of rock and roll himself.
Greg and I were approached on numerous occasions by children seemingly awaiting this demigod who was transform this event from a wedding into a spectacle to be recounted like Hendrix at Monterrey or Queen at Live Aid.
‘Where’s Pete?’ is indeed a question we ask ourselves frequently. Earlier that afternoon, within 10 seconds of leaving the hotel to find a local music shop, he was nowhere to be seen despite all four of us walking in the same direction down the only road into town. His mom and dad must have really tired of hearing; ‘Will the parents of Peter Smyth please make their way to the missing children’s tent?’ in the 80s.
Not only did we (or rather Pete) aquire a small but energetic legion of fans at this wedding, but we were assisted by an up-and-coming MC named Imogen who, over our PA system, demanded that everybody come and dance to us. She did such a good job in getting people on their feet, we may employ her full time as our own Hypeman (girl).
Imogen sits perfectly between Flavor Flav and Rhea Perlman as Frau Farbissina in Austin Powers.
I maybe sticking my neck out here, but I’m not sure many bands have played House of Jealous Lovers to a bunch of revelers Ceilidh dancing – so we’re claiming this happening in Perth as a world’s first.
After another amazing set, if we do say so ourselves, a lovely chap named John asked me about the secret of my guitar tone, which is possibly one of the highest compliments any axeman could wish for. Don’t worry, I’ve been warned that this blog is not the place to go into minute detail about pick ups and coil taps, so I shall refrain from relaying the conversation here.
We’d like to express a huge, heartfelt thanks to Alastair and Layla and your crazy party animal guests for having such a great time with us. You’re the best!
Back to London next, to further spread the rebellious love at a wedding reception at Cargo. Yeah, no biggie.