The morning after the month before yesterday
Travelling by road through the Norfolk Broads in the claustrophobia of the dank dark night might not present the best vista of its stunning natural beauty, however if like us you were lucky enough to find your way to a little pub in Horsey the first Friday evening of the month of September, then you would probably have been heading to, or perhaps simply stumbling upon the Horsey Beer Festival at the Old Nelson pub in Horsey.
The music and entertainment for the beer festival weekend was organised by our very good musical buddy Philip Pearson of Addison’s Uncle (…in fact he actually is Addison’s Uncle… hence the name!). Banjaxeld had the honour of being ‘the’ band for the Friday evening session on the main trailer stage in the rapidly cooling Broads night air. Most people were sensible and stayed near the beer tents for warmth, not that we could see much further than the front of the stage with the powerful glare of the stage lights! We knew that someone was there, and listening, from the happy noisy responses we got between songs! However, the lighting eventually helped to warm the stage up a bit as well… which was nice.
We had Mac (Martyn McCarthy), making one of his occasional appearances with Banjaxeld, sitting in on the drums again for this one with Vinny away visiting the ‘somewhere else fairies’ again. Being the pro he is Mac did a good solid job and we all had a great time.
It was good to see a few familiar faces there for the festival as well, and we were royally looked after by Philip Pearson and the management of the Old Nelson, with more than a little unofficial back-up and entertainment from Bell the Biker. We were all a bit sniffly, and more than a bit fatigued on the way back through the dark cold back roads of the Broads, but that feeling was tempered with an inner glow of satisfaction and the buzz of the adrenaline high from another good and enjoyable gig.
What followed as we waded out further into September was probably not just down to the exposure to the elements from this gig, but more likely a culmination of the stresses and demands of the previous month’s hectic schedule… a period of illness, affecting various members of the band, that pretty much wiped out the next two weeks… and other than musing medical technical stuff, was just not interesting enough to bother including in this blog.
……So here’s a gratuitous link to our album: ‘Feels Good to Feel Good’
Loosening the noose for a public jammin’
We were recovered sufficiently from our immediate health deficiencies to get it together for the very first ‘Loose Grooves @ The Murderers’ session on the last Thursday of the month. We’d had quite a bit of interest about this new venture, so it was with some anticipation, and purposely minimum preparation that we ventured into the unknown via a time warp vortex on the new stage area at the ominously named Murderers pub in Norwich.
The ‘Loose Grooves Sessions’ are our little diversification into the unmapped dimension of creative jammin’…! With ‘Creative’ being the watchword, and ‘Cover’ being the inciter of derision and aggressive posturing accompanied by a varying range of expletives from our choice stock of ‘Shove it up yer ass’ Sarcasts (…bit like a podcast but so much more sarcastic!).
The basic idea of the sessions are to be open to musicians wanting to explore their creative bent, and create a harmonious connection with other musicians to produce a completely unrehearsed one-off sound that sings from the soul… preferably without blasting your eardrums, and without inducing nausea or clinical narcolepsy! It’s the creative boundaries that we’re looking to push… not tolerance levels and the ‘will to live’!
We’d already been contacted and arranged to give ‘Freeload’ Guitarist Nick Kelly a lift, so we knew we were guaranteed at least one guest musician for the evening. As it turned out we had a couple of guys turn up called Will and Phil, a guitarist and bassist respectively, Phil’s mum also turned up, and it turns out she’s a singer too! As it was our first session, Jeff, Matt, Vinny and Sack started off the evening with a little ‘Lazy Dog’ jam of our own before being joined by and swapping people, to create some great improvised pieces, with intensity, passion, feel, and more than a spark of togetherness. The first of what is hoped will be a series of truly ‘unique’ events, this one warmly appreciated by those there to witness and participate in it alike.
We did have a plan… we had a very solid plan… in fact, a very cleaver plan. The plan was to pretty much go with whatever happened… and it worked brilliantly… we did… and you can decide for yourself if we’re on the right track… Sack took the Tascam DR-40 along to capture the live event in all its glory…
If you like what you hear there are links on our dedicated ‘Banjaxeld’s Loose Grooves’ Soundcloud page to the full length individual tracks as well… soundcloud.com/banjaxelds-loose-grooves …check it out and have a listen to some real creative jamming sessions
Autumnal reflections in the velvet nectar of hindsight
Having survived last year’s headline appearance at Stokesby Beer Festival, we were back again, with our Matt (as ‘Broken Seven Events’) running the music stage almost single handily… not entirely sure what he was doing with the other hand…? Banjaxeld had the pleasure of doing the late shift again… luckily the copious amounts of therapeutic coffee we received were ‘on the house’, and further aided by the reinforced matchsticks that kept the lids open, we grooved off toward dawn.
This is a very popular little beer festival, with a great range of real ales, food, and family friendly, set in the village hall, and well supported by the friendly locals. There were some great acts on before us, including our very good friends Addison’s Uncle who put in a storming set and had the place stomping to some great songs and tunes.
We played slightly beyond our drummer Vinny’s bladder limitations again, but we managed to seal the evening with a flourish, and I swear I only saw smiles going out the door, although undoubtedly assisted into position by the alcohol and social ether, the ‘vibe’ was still ‘a good time had’.
By the time the next gig at The Mariners in Great Yarmouth came around almost halfway through October, we were back to 75% of Banjaxeldness with the other 25% Matt, still under unhealthy influences. Nevertheless it was at least familiar and friendly territory, and we had a previous 20%er Jamie Roe standing in for Matt, so even with the not-unexpected inclement weather it turned out to be quite a chilled and entertaining little gig.
Every worthy cause has a karmic lining
A couple of days later and we were back in Great Yarmouth, this time heading for a full dress rehearsal at St. George’s Theatre for a special Children in Need Variety Charity event organised by Atlanta Aquila Amis. We were still without Matt, at this point but the other three of us had a great little afternoon, our dress rehearsal ran like clockwork, and it gave us a chance to meet and see a few of the other acts in the show.
The show itself was on the Saturday. The Theatre was sold out in advance, and even Pudsey man in a scary psycho teddy bear suit came along and gave us a wave! Banjaxeld had the honour of kicking off the show with a musical extravaganza of three songs… and we did actually have Matt along for this one. Wow, for a fifteen minute set in the middle of the afternoon that was quite a nice buzz. Unfortunately we couldn’t stop for long after our set as we had a Private Party to go and play that evening.
Tickets for the show sold out in advance and I’m told it was a great day with lots on monies raised / pledged, and somewhere they is even a DVD of the event (…we haven’t actually seen it, but I’m assured it exists!). Also it was Atlanta’s first attempt at putting on and producing a show so we think she deserves great credit for all her hard work and endeavours to make this happen.
The following day, apart from late night hangovers, we also had our debut gig at the Stanford Arms in Lowestoft, with a slightly more relaxed Sunday afternoon session. Matt had overdone his return and was completely banjaxeld, so we did the gig as a three piece, with Sack filling in on Bass for Matt’s leads, and not providing any of his harmonies, which left Jeff and Vinny to do a bloody good job of the vocal stuff. It turned out to be a surprisingly lively afternoon with quite a few familiar faces turning out. We were also very impressed with landlord Dave’s music and business philosophy, in particular the humane respect he has for the bands he hand picks. The Stanford Arms is rapidly becoming regarded as ‘the’ local music pub venue in the area for people who like ‘good music’, and Dave likes to make sure his customers get quality entertainment to go with their quality ales and food. We’re just happy that we’ve been invited back to play there again in 2015.
Sometime during this period Jeff and Sack sat down to work on a few new songs, during which this little gem came about from an original idea by Sack. With Sack back on acoustic doing the lead bits and Jeff doing the picking, it’s a moody, bluesy, instrumental idea that will probably surface in some form or other on the proposed acoustic mini-album when it comes out in 2015…
Running on fumes with an empty tank
The following week we had the rare luxury of a Thursday evening gig at The Rumsey Wells in Norwich centre. Never as busy as a Friday evening, but sometimes smaller appreciative groups are better than being ignored by a rammed pub crowd more interested in getting to the bar. Matt’s attempted recovery had left him in need of even more recovery, he really wasn’t very well at all… but we gritted our teeth and carried on as a three piece again… and once again happily split the remuneration three ways instead of four! Actually it would’ve been a bloody tight squeeze in the stage area had Matt been there, mind, Vinny did take his full drum kit! We had a nice warm, laid back kind of gig, although Jeff was complaining that he wasn’t feeling too great by the end of it, and he did sound a little horse… but I don’t think the horse was too perturbed! As it turned out he had also succumbed to the dreaded lurgy… and with Matt still out of action that was pretty much the end of our October schedule.
That warm fuzzy feeling
As an artist it’s always nice to know that someone is listening to your music, especially when you’ve taken the time and trouble to produce something that you have fashioned from the twisted innards of your imagination and offered up for general consumption… such as our ‘Feels Good to Feel Good’ CD (available from banjaxeld.co.uk). It’s especially nice to know that someone likes it enough to want to share their enjoyment of it by playing it to other people, which is something we’ve been lucky enough to have experienced through several local and internet radio stations thus far, taking Banjaxeld’s music across the globe to new audiences even more remote than those mythical hidden time-warped parts of deepest darkest Norfolk!
Even so, it was still a thrill to get a message from Richard Penguin at Future Radio 107.8fm in Norwich to say he’d be playing a couple of tracks from the album on his ‘Acoustic and Eclectic’ show. There’s plenty of other good stuff on the podcast, well worth a listen:
Podcast link: (Hint… Banjaxeld @20:30)
Right, where’s the bus stop for November…?
Love, peace and ‘tickets’ please…!
(…you do realise that one of the reasons it’s taken so long to get this blog out is because Sack is sat here right now thinking of an endless stream of smutty public transport jokes …chuckling away to himself …and resisting writing them down… as he has been advised not to give in to the urge to share his twisted corrupting humour when there’s ‘people who think that they are adults’ about!)
Until the next… x
Our new album ‘Feels Good to Feel Good’ is now available to make you feel good… why not make us feel good and get yourself a copy…. they’re available either at our gigs (…don’t be shy!)… or you can order from: www.banjaxeld.co.uk
Gary Frost (MDM Recording / Icecube Records Ltd): www.Icecuberecords.com
Broken Seven Events: www.facebook.com/pally69
Future Radio: www.futureradio.co.uk
Richard Penguin: www.facebook.com/richard.penguin
St. George’s Theatre: www.stgeorgestheatre.com
Addison’s Uncle: www.facebook.com/addisonsuncle
Millie Manders: www.milliemanders.wordpress.com/
Jamie Roe Band: www.jamieroeband.co.uk/