Saturday, 29 June 2013

Foxwood Steel at Leeds Waterfront

Debs, it's a summer Saturday and the beginning of a three day mini-tour of Leeds, today with Foxwood Steel at the Waterfront, tomorrow with East Steel at Miggy Park, and Monday with Sparrows at a local school's Awards ceremony.

It's a sort of brace-yourself moment: pack the van in good time, make the setlists that none of them seem to want. Charlotte put hers in her pocket; Lizzie shouted, "Just shout them out!" There's only Vicky left reading it, so I shout the tunes out.
Varshika brought half of herself - we got her into a matching hoody, but not sure she ever properly woke up.

I forgot the floor tom and the hi-hat clutch. We borrowed them from the stage kit. People told us we were great even before we had set up. Bex was away, so we were all agreeing [actually even she does now].

 Anyway I had to refuse the offer of a 12 midday start mostly on the grounds that it would have been a trio at that time of day, and had they all got up, they would have drunk their earnings between Set One and Two. [I'm simplifying obviously].

There was a jazz quartet on stage when we arrived, and there was just room for them. We set up our ten piece steel band on the concrete in front of the stage left. So, just as well, the weather was good: warm, dull and only the slightest draft emanating from the Bridgewater Building.

The audience included passengers at Leeds City who were only after the 3 o'clock to Manchester, or Edinburgh or wherever, and found themselves bopping along with [well staring at at least] an unexpected steelband.

We had 40 minutes and I like to think we rocked. Joanne and Del took their annual holiday from the Malty to come and support. I managed to sneak one new tune past the band. Two more sneaks and they will have learnt it. Yippee! It was massively helped by Katie squeaking, "I love this song!"

Georgia found herself doing some unexpected solos.

Afterwards, Lizzie started on the pavement, and this really before she had started drinking. Bizarre. I just had to take a couple of photos.

Ah, before you ask: we were me, Daisy, Charlotte, Natalie, Katie, Lizzie, Amy, Stewart, Varshika, Vicky and Sophie

I went home and Sarah brought her lovely new baby round, and we talked stuff about childbirth, breast-feeding and sleep deprivation. I explained how to play chords on a single second with one hand holding two sticks and the baby balanced under the other arm. Looking back at this photo of me and Daniel in garden, I appear to be wondering, Hmmm, is this a baby and could it be in Bflat?

Whatever it was, it was very small.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Foxwood Steel and East Steel at Otley Carnival aka The Wrong Van

Well Debs, I'd say it was tempting fate when Karen turned up with paper decorations! Did it rain, then? No, Debs it hailed! On June 15th, it hailed.

First off, me and Rick [okay, Rick and I] park the vans end to end, then Bex and me [okay, Bex and I] load pans from one to another [or back into my front room of course]; eventually Tim hoves into views dragging a ton of ironware that is our second drum-kit.

Setting up the float, we found that we had only left behind the second hanging tom on this occasion, a great improvement on forgetting the snare. However, life was about to take a strange turn for the worse!

First we unloaded the van, then Rick moved it to the organisers' designated area; I asked Wanda to start putting the empty cases back in the van; Wanda asked someone which was our van; someone pointed to a white van; Wanda pointed the key fob to said van, went over, it was open, put the cases in. Then Tim realised that the clutch of the hi-hat was still in his cymbal case, and the cymbal case was now back in the van, and someone went back to the van, but the van that the cases had been put in had gone. So, the wrong van. Hmmm. We tied the hi-hat cymbals together, and advised Tim against fretting.

Debs, all this excitement and we hadn't even set off. Anyway they've levelled the road surface at the turn out of the cattle market, so that bit where your stomach lurches was all in the anticipation and not in the reality.

At first the rain just sparkled a bit, threatened, then withdraw. Next minute, Debs, it was all hail let loose, and heaven help me, Amy, Anne, Lynn and Cathy and all of us on the windward side, Otley High Street.

We were me, Lizzie, Gig, Natalie, Bex, Varshika, Daisy, Vicky, Tim, Amy for Foxwood Steel and Anne, Wendy, Lynn, Becky, Peter, Wanda, Wendy, Kirsty, Jeanette, Ruth, Karen, Alli and Joyce for East Steel.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Foxwood at Wykbeck, GUO workshop, and Four Go to the Brudenell

Holy Smoke Debs!

I've gone out of sequence.

How will you ever keep up? Before Sparrows and East Steel got to Holy Rosary, Foxwood got up at the crack of dawn [well, not anybody's else's crack of dawn, but mine and Tim's, and actually quite possibly Amy's] to play at Amy's school, Wykebeck Primary, Gipton, Leeds.

The local vicar was leaving for pastures new and we were a surprise steelband trio. And we were asked if we knew his favourite tune, Three Little Birds. Which, as you know, Debs, we know. We played it and then scrambled, Tim and I just in time for our next school, where we turned into teachers.

After that we played the Holy Rosary gig [see previous post], then some more Sparrows joined us for a Grand Union workshop at City of Leeds School  on rhythms. Sparrows were Claudia, Naomi, Georgia E, Rameice, Bella, Millie; Sparrows staff were ,e. Bex, Natalie and Tim; Grand Union staff were Tony, Youseff and  Daniel; and then we went for a beer, first at Akbar's in Woodhouse, while Tony and  co had a late dinner, and then me, Nat, Bex and Tim went to the Brudenell.

Which was pushing it really as all four of us are playing Otley tomorrow [Saturday] . . .

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

East Steel and Leeds Silver Steel Sparrows play Holy Rosary St Anne's

Before we got to Holy Rosary, the sun was shining.; we set up under the tree, and the heavens opened.

Obviously we played  Singin' in the Rain. I had brought several large umbrellas and a cheap plastic parasol. You will see them all in the pictures. The audience conga-ed round the school grounds under their. We were all, mostly, relentlessly cheerful.

East Steel were Karen, Alli, Trish, Anne, Lynn, Wanda, Kirsty, Sparrows were Claudia, Georgia, Millie S, Bella, Tim played kit and Natalie and I played whatever.

Claudia the Music Stand
I left the snare drum behind, so Tim put the hanging tom on the snare cradle, and then we totally failed to find anything that would rattle on top of it.

Claudia made a great music stand.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Five Go Down to Woodhouse Moor: Foxwood

Well, Charlotte would call this another fine mess!

I met Helen from Rock Solid on Friday at City of Leeds School, found out they were having a little festival on Woodhouse Moor this Saturday . Indignantly I asked why no steelband.

Next I find myself arguing to Bex, Vicky, Tim and Gig that we could do that. And then we spot Amy who had agreed to come to play low chords with East Steel  at Beeston. Before she knows it we are all heading towards Hyde Park, with the pans strategically packed in the Little Blue Van.

Meanwhile, Stewart is innocently coming walking past my house on his way back from a five hour session at the Uni. Hoping for a cup of tea, instead he finds he is sharing the Panda pan and James-and-Michael with Vicky.

Then one of my primary school pupils turns up, films us and puts it on youtube [he is eleven, and he has computer skills well past mine. Why am I surprised?] Just type in Foxwood Steel.

Debs, that was probably one gig too many on a sunny afternoon, but at the time, seemed like a good idea.

Saturday evening? No idea. Can't remember.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

East Steel play Beeston Festival

Debs, I gotta tell you that this was the best organised festival that we have had the pleasure to play at in a very long while.

And I have written that in bold. That's how good it was!

We were me, Bex, Vicky, Tim, Ruth, Alli, Karen, Anne, Lynn, Wanda, Kirsty, Katie, Cheryl., with guests:Tim and Amy.  The weather was great, the stage was proper; the overheads mikes did their job; the band played really well - lots of new tunes, and no arguing.

Hilary Benn, local MP [and also my MP] opened the show and yet again found himself sharing a stage with one of my bands. Told Kirsty off for letting him play some notes on her double seconds.

We introduced a few new tunes, favourite being El Condor Pasa. Then I drove the van round to Cross Flatts whatever, and with the help of bemused local resident, Simon, loaded it over the fence from the park.

Then Debs,  as you do, the Foxwood Players drove over to Woodhouse Moor . .  As you will see from next blog.