BAiT’s first gig since 31.12.2002

BAiT played our first gig since New Year’s Eve 2002 last night, and, considering our initial worries about stage space requirements, and Andy’s pain-management strategy to deal with his toothache, which involved a cocktail of various pain-killers, all went very well.

We were the headline act at the The Sunday Roastin’ at the Spencer Club in Coventry; an all-day event featuring twelve bands in total. The stage was, well, compact and bijou, but somehow we managed to fit all our stuff on – no easy task when you have four keyboards and bass pedals in addition to the space a drum kit requires.

The guy who organised the gig, Dan, kindly let all the bands use his drum kit to minimise set-up times (thanks, Dan).

I was speaking to Andy on the way back home after the gig and commented that it only really hit me during the early part of the gig how strange it was to suddenly be on stage with guys I’ve worked with for more than two years now and with whom I’ve recorded a couple of albums.

The monitor was generally pretty poor (not helpful when we have a lot of three-part harmonies going on), but we’ve been rehearsing without monitors for some time now in order to condition ourselves to ‘worst-case scenarios’, so it wasn’t too bad. Overall, Mike, who flew the front-of-house mixing desk, did a cracking job.

I had a flying drumstick incident towards the end of the gig during the song 25, where the tip of my left stick caught the underside of a tom and flicked out of my hand. Drummers will understand the sheer terror that goes through your mind when something like that happens (akin to one of the slow-motion moments in movies). Your life flashes before you and you’re terrified that people will notice (people do tend to notice when drums stop mid-verse of a song), but fortunately I managed to grab the stick as it veered off to the left of the kit and I carried on playing. Everyone I asked said they hadn’t noticed (other than Andy – cheers, mate!)

Nice to see some familiar faces in the audience too – it’s always appreciated when people make the effort to come and see you rather than to take the easy option and put their feet up in front of the television.

All round, a pleasant time was had by all.

Looks like the outcome of the German general election has been quite interesting, with the strong favourites before the election (the CDU/CSU) obtaining a mere three seats more than Chancellor Schröder’s governing party, the SPD. This could bring all sorts of interesting scenarios into play in the make-up of a new coalition, and maybe even the first Grand Coalition since 1966-1969, when Willy Brandt headed what was, generally speaking, a successful coalition. The concept seems strange to us in Britain, where confrontational politics is the norm – imagine a Conservative/Labour coalition – just doesn’t fit right. Other possibilities seem to be what the Germans are calling a ‘traffic light coalition’ of the SPD (social democrats), FPD (liberals), and Greens, or even a ‘Jamaican coalition’ of CDU/CSU (Christian democrats – centre-right), FDP, and Greens. Anything seems possible in the make-up of a new coalition, apart from any role for ‘die Linke’ (The Left – a party formed around the PDS, which in turn emerged from the SED, the old governing party of the former German Democratic Republic). So, there’ll be a few days of wrangling in smoke-filled rooms in the next few days as deals are cut to try to produce a new government.

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IQ gig

Emma and I went to see IQ this evening. IQ are a band who’ve been around for nearly 25 years now – a Prog outfit who emerged at the same time as Marillion. They are an impressive band, both live and on album. I was introduced to them by my old uni mate Dave, who I tend to see on an annual basis now when we make the trip to the Classic Rock Society’s Band Of The Year awards. IQ played at the awards last year and I have to say that I was pretty impressed – even more so when I bought their latest album, Dark Matter.

The gig was great. Emma said she’d go with me, as none of the guys in the band wanted to go – Chris was brushing up on lyrics for tomorrow’s gig, Nick was generally knackered after a night out last night, and Andy was nursing a tooth infection he’s developed. Additionally (and fundamentally), I think they’re all bored of being dragged along to Prog gigs :-). Nevertheless, Andy very kindly agreed to baby sit Murron and Philippa whilst Emma and I had a rare night out together on our own. The gig was at Bilston, near Wolverhampton, so it was approximately 45 minutes away on the motorbike. I knew Emma would enjoy the ride there and back (as did I) and she also enjoyed the gig to the point where she didn’t want to go when I suggested we went at the start of the encore to avoid the main traffic leaving the venue.

Anyway, I have to say that IQ are one of the finest bands I’ve ever seen live, and they have the very important (in my mind anyway) ability to be able to enjoy themselves and entertain, not taking themselves too seriously, whilst playing very complex songs very well. It was the new drummer’s first gig with them too and he played a blinder. Looking forward to seeing them again later this year.