Too sick to mooch the frog… let alone walk the dog
Occasionally we all feel a little under the weather, and sometimes that means that one of our band members is incapacitated by some malaise or other. This doesn’t usually prevent us from carrying on with the gig, unless of course Jeff, being the front man, happens to be ill. But obviously we all thought… why do these things by increments of inconvenience when we could just surf the tsunami of biological bugs and embrace contagions of mass infection? So, pretty much the last week of February and the first week of March was lost to Matt, Jeff and Sack all suffering their allotted illnesses… as per nature’s whims. Unfortunately, smack bang in the middle of this was what was due to be our first gig at the Green Gate, in Caister, which consequently became a necessary casualty… although we were able to give them a few days’ notice. Sorry guys… we were looking forward to it too (we will however be there 31st May).
Somewhere in the first week of March was Matt’s Birthday… somewhere in there… hidden among the puppies, painkillers and boat restorationisation probably! (It’s kind of the opposite to evolutionising… devolutionising… but in an evolutionising kind of way!) He’s gotta stop using that old school bus pass though… I think people are starting to twig that he’s ‘maturing’. Happy womb evacuation day to Matt’s Mum too. I’ll bet she’s glad she got him out of there before he got as big as he is now….! He could’ve timed the day better though, but I think we were all too ill to even know if we cared to know at that point.
To try to sum it up in some kind of basic understandable context… some people (mostly female people I would estimate, based on my personal research and experience) have a tendency to trivialise this condition, some even call it ‘man flu’ and ridicule the afflicted. But, to those of us that have suffered (strangely, almost entirely men, and maybe a few gender altering experimentalists)… it should be more accurately called ‘man flu over the cuckoo’s nest’… its psychological hell… distressing demonic dis-orientations drain all your senses and strangle your disdainful soul… it feels as though your body is slowly being torn apart by giant slugs, dissolving your flesh, and gnawing on your dismembered bones… every sneeze slices through your intestines like a colonic samurai worrier… it’s no picnic, I can tell you! (…except for the slugs, obviously!).
Anyway, being the resilient, irrepressible bunch that we are… we all applied our respective band-aids (pun), and took our respective medicinal concoctions, potions, and invoked our respective hoodoo invocations, rested our respective rages, and just about patched ourselves up enough to get a telling grip on our respective zimmer-aids, enabling us to break free of the claustrophobic constricts of the oxygen enclosure… to get ourselves together for some rust relieving playing time together.
Meanwhile back at the creativity ranch with Dr Mac and Mr Fogg
Having already played an unrehearsed gig with ‘Mac’ (Martyn McCarthy) deputising for Vinny a couple of weeks ago, we thought it might be a good idea to actually get one in with him…! And an interesting evening it was too. In the process of interpreting our songs, Mac certainly brought a new feel to what we do. Jimmy wasn’t at this one either, so it was a more intimate four piece set up, and with Mac knowing or having played at some point with Matt, Jeff and Sack (…who also happen to be thoroughly nice chaps), consequently there was a fairly relaxed, and good spirited atmosphere to the whole session… and we managed to progress through most of the set fairly comfortably!
Sack reverted back to his ‘Mystik MIM’ alter-ego and managed to capture and edit a small section of a variation of a jam in-between us working on the main stuff.
A few days later and we were back in rehearsal with the return of our regular drummer Vinny… and yes he assures us that he is regular! The result was a session which unexpectedly turned into a very interesting creative ideas explosion… much stuff for the future no doubt.
Sack’s done his usual… Have a gander…
Blueberrys are not the only fruit… but they’re very nice in muffins
Once again we were back at the Blueberry in sunny Norwich, for another ‘Millie Manders Presents’ all day session. True to her word Millie had made a couple of boxes of those lovely little cup-cakes to appease the sweet-tooth pangs of creative natured musos. It was a good job we got there nice and early before they all disappeared and became the transitory energy powering cake-crumb smiles communicating digestive joy…!
These ‘Millie Manders Presents’ sessions are becoming more popular now, both with audiences and with artists wanting to be a part of it. So it a shame when acts have to pull out at the last minute, not only for them, but also for the audience, even more so when the band that is supposed to be headlining pull out…. However this didn’t seem to lessen the enjoyment of seeing those great acts that did turn up.
First up was the heavenly voice of Lisa Ambrose. Even with technical problems that meant she had to borrow Jeff’s ‘Freshman’ guitar. As ever Lisa breezed through her soulful solo set seamlessly, and was warmly appreciated
Lisa was followed by Millie Manders her very self…. With her new addition… a very ‘rock ’n’ roll’ Ukulele. As always the energy levels seem to step up a gear or two when Millie takes the stage, even when she’s doing her own version of a beautiful bluesy soulful cover of James Brown’s ‘I feel good’, but it seemed she had the whole audience in her hands doing the very popular and bitingly witty ‘Thoroughbred Potato Head’. All in all, a great, but surprisingly early, set from Millie.
The surprise package of the day was the solo voice and guitar of Heydon Hohaia, and not just because he played a gorgeous cherry Gibson 335 (…although owning and playing a Gibson does say something very positive about a guitarist!). Heydon came up from London to do this gig. Quality musicianship, lots of energy, loads of bottle… and an interesting set.
Jack Pout then popped up and did a solo set, again loads of energy, nice little set. Unfortunately I caught most of it from outside, due to shifting gear around as we were up next and wanted to get as smooth a change over as possible. Sounded good from where I was.
With the scheduled main act not turning up Banjaxeld found ourselves being the headline act for the evening! No problem… we just played for an hour and a half…. and blasted it…!
Another great evening at ‘The Blueberry’ courtesy of Sarah Burns, vodka jelly and Millie Manders.
Highways to the airwaves… Roots, blues and travelling shoes
Banjaxeld playing FolkSpot Radio…? Ok we’re not ‘folk’ but we are ‘rootsy’ with intelligent lyrics, three part harmonies, and we do have an unconventional acoustic side… something that will be developed, and become more evident during the latter part of this year. We have on several occasions already done the semi-acoustic thing, and coincidently, have recently decided to exploit the experience and wealth of musical talent within the band to formulate an acoustic set that will stand in its own right, in contrast to our electric set. We didn’t want to just play our electric set acoustically, we thought, if we’re going to play acoustically we only want to adapt a certain number of our songs in a different style, but as well we will be adding songs that we will only perform in the acoustic set up. Essentially we want our audiences to know that if they come to see us acoustically, they won’t just be getting watered down versions of our electric set, it’ll be a bit different, a bit special, and a completely different, yet familiar side of the band.
We were asked to play a live broadcast on Folkspot Radio, on enthusiastic recommendation of Folkspot favourite Yve B. Set up and run by Jane Knights and Dave Lake after the demise of Wayland Radio, and with the engineering help of Brian Parcan they put on a weekly three hour Sunday evening show that is part live performance and part recorded music, but ultimately is broadcast live and unforgiving.
We cleverly, left in plenty of time and travelled the scenic route through North Norfolk out to Great Massingham, near King’ Lynn for the Sunday evening broadcast from the Village Hall social club. Every time I come out this way I’m reminded of what I really love about this neck of the woods, big skies, gently undulating countryside, a sense of space and peace… and more than a perverse hint of hammer house of horror sets! Oh but what a beautiful way to travel to a gig… by the fire of a Norfolk sunset.
The stage set up was next to the desk and presenter, in the main bar area, quite spacious, lots of tables though? Even though there were only the four of us this evening (No Jimmy again), it was still a bit tight on the stage, but being a ‘sit-down’ gig also made it feel strange as we don’t do that many. It turned out to be an interesting little set, our live audience enjoyed themselves, and feedback from Jane during and after the show was very positive… we even made a new fan or two out in California (No ….not the one in Norfolk!).
We even threw in a relatively unrehearsed version of ‘Distant Smiles’ as it was a semi-acoustic set. If you’re not aware, this is a song we started doing as a three piece back in the formation days. After recording it for the unreleased acoustic EP which never got released, Sack did a Mystik MIM mix on it and it’s since been on the back burner waiting, with one or two others, for work to start on the planned acoustic mini-album for later this year. Obviously we have already started to work on some of the ideas for this, it’s an ongoing process of development and arrangement challenged with a dash of experimentation and discovery. I think we got away with it…?
Unfortunately we don’t have a recording of the broadcast version to prove it, but why not have a listen to the original Mystik MIM Mix….
Folkspot was actually a very enjoyable experience, partly because of the people, very warm and friendly, but also it gave us the excuse to try a slightly different more relaxed approach to our music. And we may just have found one of the venues for one of our Album launches, probably mid to late June… we’re still mooting this one but don’t worry we won’t keep it a secret when we decide.
Signing off… with a nasty cough and a bug with an appetite for energy
We’ve played there many times in the last 16 months or so… we even mooted and named the band there… but this was our first ever Saturday night gig at The Mariners in Great Yarmouth, so we were understandably a little nervous. We did manage to get out of there alive, but at least half the band was somewhat ‘under the weather’, so probably not the most memorable of evenings. Although as ever, it was nice to see our two supportive and friendly landlords Shirley and Del there, and great to see Mac and Julianne there again. Hope we didn’t pass on the lurgy guys….!
So, somehow we managed to end the month in a similar manner as we started it, with both Jeff and Sack once again yielding to nature’s nasty little viral agents…!
There is actually an upside to this though… Sack did manage to get some video editing done. We managed to acquire the sound from the Felixstowe Radio show (courtesy of Brian Halsey), and Sack was able to redo the Felixstowe TV videos (with their permission of course), adding the much improved quality sound….
There’s a couple more like this on our Youtube page (link below).
Take it easy now people.
Felixstowe Radio 107.5 FM: www.felixstoweradio.org.uk
Felixstowe Community TV: www.felixstowetv.co.uk
The Osborne Files: www.facebook.com/osbornefiles
Folkspot Radio: www.folkspot.co.uk
Millie Manders: www.milliemanders.co.uk
Heydon Hohaia: www.soundcloud.com/heydonh
Jack Pout: www.jackpout.bandcamp.com
Lisa Ambrose: www.reverbnation.com/misslisaambrose