Misty evening, Twycross Zoo. This wasn’t where I expected to be 15 minutes before the time that the venues box office had said that Drunk In Public were due on stage, but a couple of wrong turns meant I was now miles from where I should be and I couldn’t even see the Monkeys.
A spot of what seemed like night time rally driving, 20 minutes, a broken watch reading 11:50, a quick burn down the A5, three penalty points and a £60 fine (probably) later and I’m at the venue listening to the last couple of songs from Dan Donnelly.
I like Dan. Good songs, holds the crowds attention well and he treated us to a nice version of The Boys Are Back in Town, amongst others.
I’d missed all of the first band, Carousel Circus, but I did spend most of the night stood next to them and they seemed like decent blokes.
The Palace is a nice little venue in what I assume is the centre of Tamworth . It’s a bit bigger than the venues that I have seen Drunk In Public in before but still small enough to give the feeling that you’re all in the same room. Judging from the posters advertising the bands recently playing there, Drunk In Public are the biggest thing to hit Tamworth for a while and the local populace had turned out on mass as the venue seemed to be sold out. It promised to be a great evening, with the Christmas tree at the rear of the stage twinkling away happily.
At 11:50 (according to the broken watch), resplendent in full evening dress, Drunk In Public took to the stage. The time was probably nearer 9:30 and the band promised us two hours of entertainment.
Drunk In Public (picture courtesy of tinternetradio.com)
Opening with “The Ballad of Robbie Jones”, they took us through a set of old Levellers favourites including “15 Years”, “Confess” and “What A Beautiful Day” with a smattering of Rev Hammer’s own material (“Caledonia Rain”, “Ole Welsh Soul” and “Wedding Ground”). I love Rev’s own stuff and it’s great to hear it live once in a while (can we have a small solo tour next year please Rev? One day I will hear “Every Step Of The Way” live).
Wedding Ground – Drunk In Public (Quality: not great)
Mark Chadwick was on top form, asking a girl in the front row “What was that? Come back to your place and you’re going to do what to us?”, to much laughter and, after the first song, asking “I know it’s not very rock ‘n’ roll, but has anyone got any Rennies?”
Just before “Julie”, Rev explained that they were going to take a 15 minute break after the next song, as this was the first time that they’d attempted a gig since the smoking ban was introduced and it was proving to be a bit of a struggle.
Strange interlude moment was when some chap appeared from the front and pointed at my shirt and sang “Subvert, Subvert” at me, before muttering “I don’t know any more of the words” and wandering off towards the bar.
15 minutes later (at 11:50 by the broken watch) and Drunk In Public are back on stage for a much faster second half. A mosh pit has broken out and people are bouncing about happily as the band blast us through “Carry Me”, Rev’s “Burford Stomp”, “Riverflow” and an incredibly sped up version of Rev’s “Down by the River ‘O’”. The band were joined onstage by Dan Donnelly at one point (I think it was for “Carry Me”) and he stayed for a couple of songs, taking some of Simon’s musical responsibilities and allowing Simon to field a couple of text messages, the rest of the band jokingly telling him to concentrate. Mark then asked if Simon could have a pint of Carling passed down from the bar as Simon had managed to spill his.
Somewhere amongst the second half we were also treated to “Dirty Davey” and “One Way”, before the band left the stage and were reintroduced to the audience for a second encore of “Another Man’s Cause” (I think) followed by “Just The One”, before ending the evening with the fantastic “Ragtime Annie”. Glorious.
Leaving the venue I looked at the broken watch and it still read 11:50, but on getting back to the car, the time was 11:50. Spooky. You’re probably expecting the watch to start going again now. It didn’t.
Special thanks to Roy and Debbie at tinternetradio.com for getting Drunk In Public to Tamworth.