After last year’s phenomenal gig in Rochdale, we had no choice but to go up there this year. The hospitality, the road trip, the long set and just the general sense of adventure meant that we were going to be back at The Old Bricklayers Pub for a second helping. But it was no easy feat to get up there and back, and in many ways “Wanted Dead or Alive”, a song about being on the road became our anthem for this trip 🙂
A Frozen Wasteland Almost Stops our Trek
Rochdale is always an unusual gig for us musically, it is the one time of the year we actually do cover versions..and as we only do this once a year we have to prepare for these as well! So, this led to a manic two weeks of rehearsals before our big gig.
The big day for travel was close, a day before on Friday the 3rd, the country was just recovering from heavy snowfall and there was still ice and snow everywhere, including our starting point London and our destination Rochdale. We almost had to re-think our trip but after some phone calls around we decided to stick to our initial plans and ride our steel horses on snow, ice and whatever else was to get in the way
Stuck in London for 3 hours
Barely out of London, one of our cars was not starting up at a petrol station after filling up! This meant that we now had to wait for a mechanic to come over and look at car number 3.
This was causing us some anxiety and we were coming up with some back up plans. Luckily as we had set off at about 8am we still had plenty of time to get North, but this time was being cut short. Double luckily the car started up before even the mechanic had a look at it. We still waited for the mechanic for another hour though. He had a look, could tell us nothing new and we all headed up on our trip North. Yes! We were finally moving.
Yuck, the x-factor was on while we quickly set up our stuff in the pub. We had just got in time to Rochdale and Martin’s house there. The pub was on the other side of Rochdale and there was sh*tloads of stuff to set up. So we went there and started getting our amps into place, the backline and drumkit set up.
The Gig 🙂
With about 40-50 people there the place was pretty full, more full than last year. Many friends were there and friends of friends plus of course the regular locals. We blasted out our first set starting with Green Day. The ending of the first set was a surprise for all with the legendary Pete Lord doing Breathe by Prodigy for us.
This then led to a break followed by another set up by the Jam Band featuring Martin on bass, Greg on Drums, Pete on Guitar and Rob on vocals. They did some classic rock and blues covers, Mustang Sally, Long Train Runnnin included. We danced along to the groove and got happy (while Martin and Greg slaved away ha ha!).
And so this led to the final set. The gentlemen of the Box were seen wearing wigs. Matt in a mullet, Greg with a blonde one, Martin with a dark one and Atul in the purple one. This meant only one thing…we were going to cover Eye of the Tiger, followed by Poker Face by Lady Ga Ga.
This could not be serious!
But it was and we did some awesome rockage of both these tunes back to back. Our party anthems continued and our original “Crap Day” got a massive response, so much so that we had to bring it out again for an encore (or we wouldn’t be given breakfast according to Martin’s mum). We did a sweet cover of The Bodyrockers song “I Like the Way You Move” and threw in lots of other sing-along classics. The list is simply too long to mention.
The dog steals the show
The pub dog stole the show at the end though. The landlord locked the pub, gave us more beer, we all singed along to some guitar jams and tunes on the pub PA, we even jammed. I mean everything was thrown in there. The pub dog and landlord played the angry landlord and last customer trick to all our amusement. The pub dog Duece played pool and finished the last drink of the day. Woof woof we say to that!
And so with this gig we pretty much said goodbye to Martin our bass player for the last two years. It was him who bought up to his hometown and introduced us to all these crazy Northerners. While Martin will be in New York, we will make The Old Bricklayers one of our regular outings in the year to feature him again as guest bassist and also just to make this one of our regular trips out of London. See you again next year then folks.