Cat Scratch Fever

For what seemed the millionth time we had the equipment packed, the beer stocked and were raring to hit the capital hard once again. This time not our usual haunt, the Fighting Cocks in Kingston, but two new venues - one in Soho (Cat Scratch Fever Club) and one in Tottenham (T-chances). The 6 hour road trips have now become common and no longer draw the sighs of a long uncomfortable journey, now greeted with cheers of delight that much music will be played and discussed, intelligent and no-so-intelligent conversation, and the undoubtable promise of laughter and piss-taking.

This journey was dominated by the near-final mixes of the new album, of which lots of exciting news will be revealed soon. Damien made the point early on that the guitars were too low in the mix, or to be precise HIS guitar parts were too low. Apparently this happens regularly with each new recording and this particular gripe has long been acknowledged and then dismissed by the other musical members of the Sentons. Speaking of Damo, the services came round with him needing a piss so urgent he nearly got himself mowed down by a massive lorry whose driver probably didn’t expect a leather clad Sandgrownun running for the nearest bank of tree's to relieve himself. The lad was soon cheered up by another large lorry pulling in that had the business title of "Damien Sweeps" down the side, so off he ran to have a picture taken with said lorry which brought amusement all round on how easily pleased Damo is.

Cat Scratch Fever Club, Soho (12.06.15)

With the now familiar Denmark Street upon us where we played last year at the now closed 12 Bar, the equally familiar sight of no bastard parking left Scott searching to park somewhere whilst me and Class kindly hopped out to go trekking. We landed at the British museum, the free entry cajoled us inwards and after a good hour of debating just how the fuck these monstrous Sphinx's and gnarly carved walls had been built in the first place we received word from the other 3 that we were to make our way back. After a brief stop at a park on the quaint side of town to try and suss out where the hell we were, Class managed to channel his inner cub scout to find the way back.

Turned out we arrived back on Denmark Street quicker than the other three so we set about visiting the guitar shops of the area. The one directly above the Alley Cat proved extremely friendly with the assistant giving me and Class free reign to play anything we desired. After Class picked an unusual looking guitar (Fender Coronado), I commented looked like a butchered ES-335 with a Fender neck, we both attempted to impress the local musicians (well, I say impress, Class did well as per whilst I was trying to play some Johnny Thunders and Offspring whilst terrified I might drop something worth about a months wage to myself). After the impromptu jam we were informed that Black Sabbath recorded Paranoid in the shop when it was a recording studio, as did the Kinks who recorded ‘You Really Got Me’ way back in the 1960's.

We found the others in time for load-in and sound check. For those not familiar with The Cat Scratch Fever Club you are missing out, an intimate underground venue with a killer PA playing killer tunes. The soundcheck was swift with Damien looking precarious due to being wedged on the tiny stage with the drum kit rammed up his arse and an unnecessary piano taking up valuable space. Saying that, Johnny didn’t look too comfortable either, having to balance himself on the edge of the stage and jump a foot to the left like Wayne Sleep just to use his pedals in time. Despite the lack of space the boys were quickly satisfied all sounded well and with time to kill we ventured further into LLLAAHHNNDAANN.

We treated ourselves to an expensive burger at Byron where the quality was high (Im on about the waitress, the food weren't too bad either). By the time we got back the first band, who I sadly can't remember the name of, had started. Damo commented that the excitable singer, jumping around like a loon, looked like a cooler version of your humble narrator (Prick). By the time I had resisted the urge to batter Damo for his cheek we spotted Class's good lady's legendary uncle Simon, who has supported the band from day one and without fail attends every southern gig.

With the audience in need of some real rock n roll the boys kicked it into high gear with a greatest hits set (so far) that had feet tapping, heads banging and arses wiggling by a well hot bunch of Swedish chicks stood at the bar. Minor technical troubles from Damo's bothersome amp-head aside, everything went down brilliantly with raucous applause in between songs. Class kindly pointed out I’d be selling merch after the show, "there will be a guy who looks like a shit version of him from Green Day selling you CD's after the gig, if you don't want one tell him to fuck off.....we do all the time"… cheers Knob head.

Whilst the headliners Black State Highway really tore the place apart with a bluesy old school style of RNR, the three guitarists went on a quick walk which resulted in them getting lost in Soho for about an hour and a half. Whilst Scotty reported back to his good lady, I busied myself gibbing a few free beers from the promoter seeing as the others were not there to stop me. Then, possibly the oddest thing to happened to me. Whilst queuing at the bar, this Goth chick offered to buy me a beer seeing as she was getting served, I obviously accepted and set about having a pleasant chat with her. All was well until she ventured to the toilets and returned looking a little like she’d had a blast of the nasal candy. She then told me she could read Tarot cards and palms and said do you want me to read yours. Never one to pass up the opportunity for free bullshit I stuck my mitt under her face, after studying my palm for about ten seconds she raised her eyebrows, pupils dilated, and said in a low husky voice "You've got death within you". As Winger blasted out of the jukebox I darted off quick as fuck.

Recovering from Madam Zelda's predictions, I found the lost lads had safely made their way back, not looking as freaked out as I was feeling. With the car fetched and Class deciding not to help pack gear but to speak to suit wearing city types in the toilets, the rest of us got the equipment safely away and off we went. Minus any booze due to lack of pacing one's self on the way down, it was off back to our favourite camp site in Surrey for what would turn out to be a mostly sleepless night - due to it being on the main flight path to Heathrow.

T-Chances, Tottenham (13.06.15)

The next morning was chilled out, with Frisbee and a fry up being the order of the day. We set out on a mega uncomfortable ride into Tottenham, getting lost umpteen times we ended up at Highgate cemetery - home to the legendary vampire. Whilst trekking we observed numerous graves with strange markings we found the legendary vampire himself, albeit clad in Top shop fashions and unnecessary dog tags (no way he would ever be accepted in any army, maybe the douche-army though). Having relieved himself upon a tree which some poor soul was probably buried underneath a 100 years before, the Lost Boy was retrieved and bollocked. We trekked the last part of the journey with much more success. The venue is part of a real grassroots project, by this I mean the owners take children who are not in state education and out on the streets and give them music lessons, English lessons and a place to socialise during the day, instead of lurking on street corners. It's not often our RNR hearts are touched but this really drove home a side of this country we don’t often see. Shame on Tottenham council for making the owners trawl though miles of bull-shit red tape when they are doing a job the shits in suits should be doing.

The audience didn't amount to much and with someone's wedding reception happening upstairs the support bands hit the stage to warm up the sparse crowd. Special shout to The Bram Stokers, formed in the late 70's their brand of Buzzcocks/Damned style rock n roll truly had me and JG smiling. For old boys they sure did rock, songs about spectres and aliens, there was not a lot to dislike about these guys and hope I catch them again soon.

By the time the Bombs hit the stage it was nearing midnight and the crowd was still sparse. Class gave a shout out to all those who had stuck around, the real rock n rollers that make gigs like this worthwhile, the hardcore following that care enough to check bands from out of town out and give them a chance. With big applause for the people's champ the set that followed went down a treat, especially the cover of ‘Running Down A Dream’ by Tom Petty. For the first time, within my friendship with the Bombs, I acted as guitar tech when JG's D-string snapped. With a quick "oh fuck, my string has snapped glance" I grabbed the spare and swapped them over without him missing too much of his playing. Pure professionalism and brilliance on my behalf, I thought.

After the gig was done and what seemed like an eternity of packing up and loading, we set off home at about 1am, having to drag Damo away from the bar with his freshly acquired bottle of wine (which me and Class promptly stole, saving us all from rambling nonsense and saving him from getting so pissed he gets drawn on or can’t remember where his house is back in Blackpool). We then came up with roughly 68 nicknames that Damo has acquired over the years such as Big Slick, Chick Stealing Bad Ass, Double Denim Damo, Peanut Dick and my personal favourite – Ginger Sparrowheart. The journey home was uneventful due to sleeping rockers. We made it back in record time and with a well-deserved weekend off from gigging looming, we knew it wouldn’t be too long before we graced the capital again.

Barnsley Rock & Blues Club, Barnsley (27.06.15)

The weekend off was indeed welcomed as major business was settled with the track-order finalised for the new album. A new group was set up on Facebook purely for the hardcore followers we have acquired (cheers guys, wouldn't be worth it without you) and the game plan laid down for the album release and new merch ideas. What also happened was an impromptu night in the local casino for The Freaky Naughtiez, as Damo taught me the exact way not to gamble and lost 40 quid in about a minute and a half, although the food and waitresses were well worth the trip.

Anyway, back to business with the next gig and final one of this blog - Barnsley supporting Moretallica (I’ll let u guess which band they do a tribute to). We set off with no time to lose, JG threatening to stab me in the dick if my fag ash went anywhere near his chippy tea (Saturday chippy, it’s a rule, gotta have a chippy tea at least once a week if you’re from up north). The mere two-hour journey was a breeze with only the slight annoyance of someone farting in the car and had us cowering for cover, we surmised it was either Damo due to his guilty face or Scott had let himself go slack and delivered a fanny fart.

Body gasses aside we arrived with 3 minutes to spare and for a tiny Polish social club the stage was immense with fog machines, a crowd barrier and a killer lighting rig. Bombs were on first to a reasonably sized crowd who soaked up every chord with increasing enthusiasm. Totally warmed up for the headline act, by the time they closed with Jackals that brought the house down. Big shout to Jonny from Immersion and his good lady who had not seen the SB before but quickly became good friends with merch being bought and a promise of a cracking' night out in Barnsley should we wish. With JG being at work early the next day it was not to be, so it was homeward bound for the 5 amigo's.

After recent high jinks involving accurate strikes from Class's quick feet (used to be an amateur wrestling champion don't you know, even had his own leotard) and Damo's expensive beer at festivals, I was ready as Class unleashed a kick towards my sandwich. I managed to keep a grasp but poor Scotty wasn’t so lucky, his £3.99 motorway shit sandwich was booted to the ground with a massive cheer
and huge amounts of laughter from me, Class and Damo whilst Scott stomped off to his car in anger. JG surprisingly came to the young bearded one's defence with a maggot reply of "dude that's out of order, go buy him a new one" when we knew damn well if my butty had been kicked he would too have been pissing himself. He only stuck up for Scott due to the Coffee Club having a sacred bond between them, not something the other three are allowed to be involved with. Comically, Scott bought another sandwich at the next services and pissed Class somehow managed to knock that out his hand, out of the car and into some petrol. Scott ate it anyway.

The last of the journey had us tanning the new album again, full blast. I truly can't wait for the public to hear it, it's of the highest standard and I can't see this doing anything else apart from propelling the boys to the next level. With only one gig in July, back down to London for the Total Rock Radio Showcase, stay in touch via all the regular social media sites for updates on touring plans and single launches. Until the next blog sometime in August, stay heavy homies \m/

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