Hard Rockin' Times

Bad Ass Bash, Black Mass Bar, Wakefield (25.02.18) 

Back to business with a bang for our third gig of the year ‘The Bad Ass Bash’ at Wakefield’s Black Mass Bar (FKA The ‘new’ Snooty Fox). This ‘Bash’ tends to be our first gig of the year but with the Bullets & Octane dates blasted out the ballpark and this second-to-headliner spot - things couldn’t have gotten off to a better for 2018. All is grand in SB land. 

For the third time this year Scotty had trailer issues having to use a hacksaw to cut a seized lock off to load the gear, we departed the blackest of pools for the wakest of fields. Discussing JG’s recent excellent efforts on the forthcoming album took up most of the time as did general chit-chat of TV series, music, F1 and Class’s eldest’s birthday party… very nice indeed, although not a lot of noise was coming from me or Damo, both of us feeling under the weather from alcohol abuse the night before. 

Once we arrived the Coffee Kids ventured inwards for reconnaissance. Me, Kage and Class knocked back some beers as they interrogated me about new dating tools. I showed them how to operate Tinder and Class swiftly spotted my profile photo and said I look a wrong ‘un (black and white photo, mohawked and swigging a beer in Copenhagen), kindly offering to take some newer shots for me given I’ve grown my barnet out. With my phone 4-inches away from my mush, flash on and under strict orders not to grin with them two plonkers laughing, my impromptu photo-shoot didn’t go well at all. My chin looked too big, I was too pale and my smile was lopsided trying to stifle giggles. Mocking and mucking about over and done with we set off for a restaurant we couldn’t get a seat for last year and thankfully they fit us in this time. The burgers were quality and so was the waitress. 

As we got back The Midnight Dogs were on, we’ve got three gigs with them coming up and they are a quality band. Rolling Stones vibes in places with a smooth blues style running throughout, down a guitarist nowadays but a fine display nonetheless. Seriously cool stuff. Kings Lot were up next and were very good, commercial rock played very tightly and with heaps of flair, a tad too pop for my liking and not rough round the edges as I prefer but they were excellent at what they are doing, props to the drummer for excellent vocals. 

SB next and they fired it straight into high gear, with the crowd having dispersed for beer and smokes it quickly filled again, applause getting louder and louder after each song. I got my regular piece of friendly abuse from JC half way through and decided to give a bit back… 

JC: Billie Joe from Green Day is knocking about if you wanna buy some merch, when he ain’t in Green Day he sells for Senton Bombs, where are you Billie? Oh there you are, you ain’t done a good album in years Bill what’s happening? 
KK: Neither have you, not liked a single one of yours so far. 
JC: You don’t have to like them, you just sell them for us. 

Damo wasn’t safe from a ribbing either, Class dedicating ‘Train Wreck’ to him, a song about all the band’s calamities and catastrophes in earlier years, mainly assisted by his younger brother Jimmy who JG replaced. Smashed drum kits, broken guitars, peckers out on the dance floor, you name it the Kage boys have done it. After a successful merch run by moi and a swift pack up we ventured off into the night, work beckoning all in the morning. Excitement for the next gig at HRH AOR was building and that gig’s review is featuring juuuuuuust below… 

Hard Rock Hell AOR Festival, Pwllheli, Wales (10.03.18) 

Here we go!!! Biggest gig of the SB career so far, in my opinion anyhow. I mean as the main support for Skid F'N Row how can it not be? In actual fact The Quireboys supported us which is gonna look sick on the EPK (as long as nobody mentions we were on the second stage). It was time to load the uber reliable trailer up and get on our merry way, because fate wouldn’t conspire against us on this gig would it? 

Course it fucking would! Fourth time in a row we have had car issues and Damo once again saved us by driving me and JC whilst Scotty Shitcar drove Gibbons and the gear in the back of his. We set off from Blackpool in high spirits with it being my 25th birthday the day before and having the near completed masters for the new album to enjoy. We critiqued wildly and enjoy the serene views as we rocked our way into Wales, just a couple of solos to redo and its then the process of final mastering. 

On arrival we were treated like kings, firstly the accommodation provided (2 deluxe static caravans no less) were more than perfect for the ropey SB5 who are more used to soggy fields and, if we are feeling flush, a cheap hotel. We spotted the Idol Dead finishing an interview having just slayed the second stage (as if they wouldn’t). We exchanged greetings then got down to our own interview, this was a first for me getting to sit in with the lads whilst they gave a blitzkrieg of verbal about the bands history and a host of other music relating good stuff. David Wilson proved a real gent and I hope we can chat with him again some time. 

Next up was beer time at our lodgings; Class claimed the double bed to himself leaving his brothers in excellency to a pair of singles in a shared room. No bother for me, as long as the lanky night pisser doesn’t decide to get up to his old tricks. Scotty and JG joined us, having not told us where their lodge was so we didn’t annoy them… Scott turned up with some complimentary beer, quaffed two and refused to share, the shithouse. Didn’t take long for him to claim he had a headache after two stubbies and handed the rest over... serves him right. Piss-taking aside we were all loving life at that moment, even JG seemed a little bit hyperactive. 

Set-list sorted we ventured back to the arena to greet friends and fans alike, taking in Midnite City who if I am honest I didn’t like very much. No offense to them personally but all that "HOW WEEE DOIN TONIIIIGHT?!?!" and "DO YOU WAAANNNTTT SOME MOOOORE, I CANT HEAR YEEEEEAAAAAAUUUU?!?!?" in a lame Californian accent doesn’t do it for me. This ain’t 1986 and you ain’t C.C. DeVille! 

Soon enough we had a second interview to do, this time with Jeff Leppard of HRH radio. More great fun ensued where even I got to chime in with a couple of points, again this really felt like a huge step, professionally run and they couldn’t do enough for us. After taking advantage of backstage catering we scouted the merch areas for quality T-shirts (more on them later) and contemplated selling kidney's for uber cool patched up leather jackets and cowboy boots. I wasn’t allowed to sell merch at the festival as a company were being paid to do it for us, suppose I didn’t have anything to do but party, ho-hum. We ventured off to see who was on the main-stage, the answer was Dare. I enjoyed the track they were playing at the time called "Home", super cheesy and catchy. I thought I walked past Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy fame on my way back from the pisser, naaahhh no chance I thought. Checking out Dare online the next day proved the singer was Darren Wharton who played keyboards in Thin Lizzy. Shit, now if that’s not a co-incidence I don’t know what is... sure it was him, must have been checking out his old buddies progress. 

Back to the second stage to get the lay of the land for our set, seemed simple enough. Turn up on one side of the stage with your gear, play then do one stage left, pack up and party on. We mingled with many folk whilst taking in another boring 80's rip off in Sin City, nice fellas I’m sure but lame all the same. It got too much so I ventured away to score a sick KISS Tee I had spotted earlier, £15 was a good deal and having broader shoulders nowadays I tried it on it and it felt great, getting it off was a whole different matter though. The three middle aged female vendors had no issues helping me out of my seemingly latex Tee, promptly going all Weinstein on me and naughtily groping away whilst I stood there hopeless and helpless. Disrobed I ending up scoring a sicker and better fitting shirt with Twisted Sister emblazoned on it, Dee Snider pointing straight at you from the centre of my pectorals. I said the SB should get band photo shirts but they ain’t so keen... are you? Comment on the blog and let’s see if they succumb to public pressure. 

Finally it was stage time and time for me to be a proper roadie, carting gear and on-hand with spare guitars if anything went wrong. Broken guitar strings, tilted cymbal stands, empty beers were all things I had to keep my eye on stage side. It was to be a fine occasion, starting off acceptably attended then filling right up. The set itself was pure quality, a greatest hits so far kinda affair. Words can’t describe how much the boys were enjoying it, I mean - I’ve seen nothing but good gigs since my early days with them in 2014 but once every now and then everything comes together, the songs, the crowd, the lighting, the response, the onstage banter, the cheers and applause all amounted to something very special. We thank you all who saw and supported us to this stage and for anything that comes in the future. I even had my moment of glory getting invited onstage for a Happy Birthday cheer from the audience, t'was quite a moment for your narrator being in front of hundreds of people trying to hide a massive chinny grin whilst making sure I don’t trip over a monitor or shit my pants with excitement. 

The gig flew by as did the packing up, after which we then flew to the main stage to watch Skid Row, Kash and Class made our way deep into the crowd having just missed Slave to the Grind and for the next hour we were treated to a killer set, sublime from start to finish. Hit after damn hit throughout, ZP Theart formerly of Dragonforce was on fine form and the band was equally impressive. During Monkey Business a ten minute guitar duel between Messrs’ Hill and Sabo, super fun and I wouldn't hesitate to see them again, £25 quid for a shirt though... Jesus lads! 

When Skid Row closed out the main-stage we met with the others for a final few drinks back at the second stage to the sound of Honeycomb Love. Felt a tad sorry for them given the sparse crowd but they were loving it nonetheless. Trekking back proved a bit of a ball ache though. Drunken Kash and Kage's directions had us roaming in all sorts of wrong directions. Class took over, pushed Damo in a puddle, and got us back to the caravan in no time... had it just been the two of us we would still be wandering around three weeks on! 

Driving home hungover and weary was eased by Mcdonalds and Throw Rag on the stereo, elation at an all-time high... awesome times indeed, plus we get to do it all over again in September with L.A Guns and Backyard Babies... SSIIIIIICCCCCCKKKKKK!!! 

The Waterloo, Blackpool (23.03.18) 

Home town gig time again at our beloved Waterloo Bar in South Shore. A cool one for me bringing my new lady Lauren down to meet the lads and witness the awesomeness I get to partake in on many of my weekends. We arrived early to chill and catch all the bands. Silk Road were good stuff, really impressed by the vocalist, Heartbreak Remedy were good too. We've been on bills together before but I don’t recall seeing them so it was nice to put faces to the band name and they rocked big style (big props to the guitarist who looks like Edgar Winter in that cowboy hat). 

Bombs up next and as per super fun set, Class had much of his family in. When Damo was tuning Class filled the time stating Damo had broken  his masturbation record with fourteen in a day, noting that I’d been cleaning my face ever since, cheeky bastard. His shocked mother shouted up from the crowd and JC engaged in some comical banter about masturbation not being around in the 1920s. Even got our artwork designer and quality dude all-round Dean Reilly up for a cheer as well, highly deserved. 

Outside for a quick vape during Stevie Pierce's set is where things got a tad unpleasant though... for folk who ain’t in the loop on Blackpool geography, South Shore isn’t the most pleasant place to be. The Waterloo is the only reason we venture down that way and as we were all hanging out and having a whale of a time we heard a slam of a car door in the distance and yelling. Some prize tit had been ejected from a car and was now making his way over towards the bar. Next minute the knobhead had started being all aggressive towards two of our female entourage and had to be forcibly restrained by Joey, Deano and Scotty to stop him causing bother. This guy was clearly under some special effects. After the bouncer had appeared and sent him packing we thought it was over. Next he was found bouncing his head off gravestones in the cemetery, putting his fist through a taxi window and then battling two police officers as he was wrestled to arrest and bundled into the back of a police wagon in front of the entire gig attendees. Never let it be said there is ever a dull moment at an SB gig eh? In case you’re wondering if there were any injuries to our party I’m afraid to say there was... JC's cool Mario shirt got ripped across the collar, although I thought it looked pretty cool mind, gave him a bit of an Ultimate Warrior look. 

A whole damn month off gigging now, with JC off on his jollies with the Class Clan to sunnier climates. With the album almost finished we also have heaps coming up in May and the rest of the year… so catch thee at a bar near you, or if you don’t attend then catch up on the festivities on this here blog, cheers for reading. Rock on!!!

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