Thursday, February 10, 2005

Asian Tsunami Charity Gig, The Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth, UK, Sunday 06/02/05

It's taken me a while to post about this coz I've been tied up this week. This post has appeared on various forums so apologies if you've come across this info already.

Autons had a great time and thank you to all the nice comments people made about us. I'd like to say some public thanks to certain people.

Firstly, to Paul Wright for all his help getting us on and off stage. The bands all played their part by sticking to the agreed times but Paul, I felt, did a great job of getting everyone in the right place at the right time, and sorting out the dressing rooms. And he was as affable as usual while under a great deal of pressure!

Secondly, as ever, to the Wedge sound crew. Every band sounded great and Dean and Phil, in particular, were as accomodating (as usual, I have to say!) Also to the guys who did the visual backdrops for every band. Stunning.

Thirdly, to all the bands for sharing gear and getting on with the job in hand. It's not always the case that everyone is so accomodating and pulling in the same direction. Not that I expected any problems you understand!!!

Fourthly, to Geoff for pointing me in the direction of the beers backstage...

Fifthly, to the bar staff for I.D-ing my other half. She's 29 so was well happy to be thought of as so young!

And lastly to everyone who came and showed their support for all the bands. The vibe was better than at any gig I've been to since...well, a long time. Possibly since the Hornets regular 'Ace of Clubs' nights. It seemed everyone I've met in Pompey at gigs over the last 8 years, as well as the majority of my friends, were there last night: one drove down from Bath just to see Autons!!! There was a definate 'end of an era' feeling, and a few faces were missing, but the outlook was optimistic (most notably 'Skif'; indeed a lot of people commented they wished he could have been there.)

The whole night was one big rollercoaster for me. Sweetedge weren't my usual cup of tea - quite folk based I thought - but Della has an amazing voice, and I can imagine them being very popular in different circles. One Life Left were a real find. I've never heard of them before but I should imagine us all hearing a lot more about them. Extremely tight, they reminded me of a hard edged Foo Fighters. The singer had a superb voice, and a number of my female friends were insisting I meet him backstage and get his personal details...

Unfortunately I missed Seratonin as we were getting ready to play. Similarly, I was confused by people talking about Bonemachine's "free-jazz-improvisational-interpretation" of one of their tunes, as they were on after Autons and we were putting stuff away. Rolling Dog just get better each time I see them. Their singer is undeniably sexy and works the crowd well. The Hives comparisons people were throwing around were fair enough, but I'd say Rolling Dog are more adventurous musically. And seeing Thirst one last time was a perfect way to end the night. It was good to get a chance to say goodbye to them properly, and I was sooooo chuffed they played 'Dear Sir.' As other people have commented, it does make you yearn for them to return...

In a night full of highlights (playing the Wedge in front of a good sized crowd with Dave Jones and Tony Rollinson will take some beating...being in a room with so many like minded people is another...) Red Letter Day provided my personal 'goal of the season moment', if that makes sense? The Day sounded better than I've ever witnessed before (and I like to think I've seen them in a wide enough range of settings to truly judge this) with a ridiculous amount of 'power' for want of a better word. The band was tight, but it was more than that...the energy was focussed. I think it was Daryn's drumming. He came across like an older Dave Grohl - really driving the band along; he was almost conducting Chris, Steve and Ade. It must be his new haircut!

Anyway. That 'moment' for me was 'Wherever You May Run.' I'm really bad at remembering lyrics, but I know all the words to this song coz it means so much to me. I was down the front dancing to the song and it was just beautiful. As if the chorus of "We've grown up now/Life's much to short" wasn't poignant enough, then you just had to listen to the last verse: "And when the night draws in/The evening of our lives/Still look into the future/Remember all the good times/So much to live for/Even in our advanced years/It's worth all the heartache/It's worth all the tears." Tears in my eyes at least.

Last night, for me, the "evening" lyric didn't refer to growing older. It referrred literally to last night being the evening of our lives. The best night out Pompey has ever hosted. The hottest ticket in the UK. Bearing in mind what I said above about last night seeming like the end of an era, yet in a positive way, then for me 'Wherever You May Run' just summed up all the emotions I was going through.

It was a perfect night. Thankyou to everyone involved, and thankyou so much to everyone at the Wedge for having the vision to pull this off. Geoff, you are a star and you and everyone down there are so vital to Pompey's cultural development.

As I've mentioned above (probably to the point of overstating it, but please understand I'm getting choked up just recalling last night!) it felt to me like the closing of a chapter. But! It also felt like the start of a new one. Various people have said that at one of the Sex Pistols early Manchester shows "everyone who was going to be anyone" was there, and that everyone left the gig on a mission. They'd heard the Pistols gospel and now they were off to forge their own paths. Well, that's how I felt last night.

It's all there for the taking people. Lets get amongst it. As someone wiser than me might say: "Get involved before it's too late"


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