Friday, 6 May 2011

The spirit of "Spinal Tap" is alive and... well

My band, "Nightflight" had a gig last Saturday at one of our more regular haunts, "The Old Ship" in Macclesfield. 

This is a great little boozer. We generally have a good time when we play there, so we're always happy to accept a booking. 

Up until about a year ago, the space available for setting up the equipment was pretty cramped. We had to find a way of shoe-horning four people, a PA system, a bass amp and speakers, a drum kit, a keyboard and sundry microphone stands and foot-pedals into a small alcove surrounded on three sides by bench seating and an upright piano. Playing in tight spaces is difficult enough, but setting up the gear is even worse. Everybody is in each others way and it becomes hard not to have a massive sense of humour failure.

Fortunately, it's much better now. The landlady had all the benches taken out, along with the wretched piano and installed some extra power sockets and a nice new floor. We've got sufficient elbow room to set up the gear without constantly bumping into each other and our performance is less likely to be marred by the guitarist getting  a cymbal stand jabbed up his rectum every time be takes half a pace back from the microphone.

So the gig went pretty well. There were quite a few familiar faces there, so we played the usual mix of classic rock covers and our own original songs and this was very well received. We had a good time. In fact I think I may have been enjoying myself  a bit too much.

A couple of our most loyal fans had come along and as they are keen on our version of "Holding out for a hero", we decided to finish the night with it.
Yes, I know it's completely cheesy and that Bonnie Tyler should never be forgiven for inflicting the song on humanity; but it's fun. There is no way that you can overdo this song. It is an excuse for all manner of over the top power-chord nonsense, monstrous drum rolls and neo-operatic vocal drama.
The fan club was lapping it up, everybody was up and dancing and "Hero" was going down a storm. 
For the big finish guitar solo, Dennis, taking advantage of his wireless guitar rig, set off across the bar into the midst of the dancers, so I decided to join in too. As we shredded away surrounding by the bopping throng, I had a brilliant idea. 
"I'll try that thing they did in the Spinal Tap film, where the guitarist does his solo and leans backwards so far that he ends up lying on his back, still playing."

It started well enough. I went into a sort of limbo posture and dropped down on my knees, then gradually leaned further backwards as I pounded out a thundering bass line to underpin the howling guitar solo. 
Further and further backwards I went until, inevitably I lost my balance. 
My shoulders hit the floor and I continued playing. as I lay on my back surrounded by completely perplexed punters.

Now why I ever thought that this would be a bit of quality showmanship, I have no idea. After all, in "This is Spinal Tap" it didn't exactly end well, but at least they looked the part. Check out the video clip of the trailer at about 2 minutes 30 seconds, and you'll see what I mean.

When I did this, I just ended up looking like some poor old bloke who'd "had a fall".

It was a very long way from rock and roll...


  1. ha ha aha ha.... so sorry for laughing... but I can't contain myself... I should think you added to what was a brilliant evening... wish I had been there!

  2. If anyone is ever rash enough to book us in your area, you'll need to come up with a very convincing excuse not to come and see us.
    You should be pretty safe though, we don't normally venture outside Cheshire ;)

  3. You're obviously a bit more "Laid back" than most bassists I've worked with.

  4. Unfortunately, on this occasion it looked more like I was "laid out". Ho-hummm...

  5. Aah! But did you switch the amps to 11?

  6. One guitarist that I worked with a few years ago, insisted that a bass amplifier wasn't turned up loud enough unless the sound made you trousers flap like a flag in strong wind.

    That's certainly greater than 10...