26 March 2005: Bleeding Hearts + Dangerlust + Pornovurt – Junktion 7, Nottingham, England, UK

This was a charity gig in aid of Cancer Research UK and the £5/6 entrance fee was a bargain.

Fist of all, in complete contrast to every single other gig I have ever been to, I arrived too early.

Far too early.

Luckily Junction 7 is a nice pub as well and the bar downstairs kept me entertained until it was announced at about 9 o’clock (two hours later) that the first support band would be taking the stage shortly.

Slightly the worse for wear, having been drinking almost continuously since the England (4) V (0) Northern Ireland World Cup qualifier game in the afternoon, I wandered upstairs to the venue to catch brief glimpses of the two support bands.

The first were, according to my flyer, called Pornovurt and only seemed to remain on stage for a few minutes.

The second, again according to my flyer (although I can vouch for that as well as I recognised them from the pictures on their Website), were Dangerlust and these again only seemed to remain on stage for a couple of songs and a few minutes.

However, time is relative (especially when you’re slightly the worse for wear) and I suspect that Dangerlust’s set was the longer and the better of the two. I enjoyed it more and it seemed to bolt past faster, although I can honestly say that I remember very little of either band.

(Apparently, having looked at Dangerlust’s Website, the lead singer, “Rachel Santini, is so small she has to play a miniature guitar”. Well there you go. You can also download a free MP3 file of “King of the World” – which I expect they played (in fact, now my memory has been tweaked, I am sure they did) – and see where they are playing in the not too distant future, including this venue on 01 June 2005)!

More people danced to the Dangerlust set (but not me, I was sort of leaning upright by this time)!

A Lady who had tried to sell me some raffle tickets earlier (sorry I didn’t buy any, I didn’t realise what they were) appeared on the stage and, after a bit of a build up, announced Bleeding Hearts, and the crowd cheered in expectation.

The band lined up from left to right, Nick, Steve, Gel and Baz (at the back, bashing the drums).

I’d seen the Bleeders before (at Sherwood Pines supporting the Levellers) but they weren’t like this then. For a start they were a long way away (the room they were playing in this evening was about as big as the space to the first row of fans at Sherwood Pines) and they weren’t as LOUD.

Tonight they were loud. Very loud. They weren’t as loud as when ariel-x played in Derby, but they were not far off!

They were also different – and better. Maybe it was the smaller venue, but the band kicked off fantastically well and produced the same high quality punk driven folk with an edge for the rest of the evening. Steve singing his heart out with passion and aggression until the most steadfast of “stand still and don’t move” merchants was, at the very least, tapping their feet (or swaying unsteadily)!

As I don’t really know any Hearts stuff, I’m a bit stuck when it comes to naming the songs (even if I could remember what they played), but what I can say is that the band were driven, and the entertainment was ongoing, constant ,invigorating and above all, enjoyable.

And the crowd loved it, with people dancing about from left to right, as if their lives depended on it. Marvelous stuff!

Just one thing. Turn the fiddle (and Vox) UP!

Oh and it all ended a bit suddenly and somebody mentioned that Steve looked a bit disappointed with the crowds reaction. He shouldn’t have been. I thought the crowd and band were great.

Roll on the next time and I’ll definitely be buying a CD or two.

17 March 2005: John Hegley “Uncut Confetti” – The Guildhall, Derby, England, UK

17 March 2005: John Hegley

“I’m off to see John Hegley”, said I with sense of glee, “Your going to see a weatherman?”, my friend he said to me. “That’s John Kettley, Not John Hegley”, I gave a curt reply. My friend he turned his head to me and looked me in the eye.

And said “Never heard of ‘im”.

Those of you less ignorant than my mate will be familiar with John’s style, those of you who have yet to be enlightened, don’t be put off by my feeble attempt at mimicry.

The tickets for this gig were a very welcome Christmas present from Lisa’s sister as we had missed the Nottingham date, so I was very excited about going to see John Hegley in the flesh even if some of my friends couldn’t get what the fuss was about. The Guildhall in derby is a nice little theatre right in the city center, and as expected, the gig was a sell out.

Slightly the worse for wear, having been drinking almost continuously since the England (4) V (0) Northern Ireland World Cup qualifier game in the afternoon, I wandered upstairs to the venue to catch brief glimpses of the two support bands.

John Hegley is a committed glasses wearer, dog lover, Luton town supporter (we all have our cross to bear!!) and poet. Armed solely with a mike and a mandolin called Steve and no small amount of audience participation, John proceeded to sing songs, read poems and muse upon his life from it’s early beginnings in a Luton Bungalow, through school days, his family life and recent visits to Scotland, New Zealand and Australia.

John seems to be able to pluck things from even the most mundane situations and turn them into little gems of humour that we all can relate to. Sometimes sad and sometimes downright surreal John has a talent that will crack even the most sour faced old maid.

A great night’s entertainment and I got some books signed too, fantastic!