The EP came out, and the only job we had left to do was to give it a decent send-off. For this, we convened at Artisan Tap, in Hartshill. I figured that, seeing as I live ten minutes' walk (at most) from the venue, I would take my gear across in two trips, especially seeing as my amp (being digital) isn't that heavy - certainly not as heavy as my old Laney GC50. It turns out that the short walk is still slightly too far for comfort even when you're carrying a Marshall CODE 50.
Sadly we didn't have Matt Tyrer with us for the show due to circumstances (much love to our Synth Wizard and Lord Of Door Noises), so it was myself, Jack, SBT, and Duncan. After a modest soundcheck (during which I helpfully noted that wearing a denim jacket onstage makes for me being too warm), I made desperate attempts to pace myself through an 8% peanut butter stout.
We set up, had a chat, our support act for the night, Kez Liddle, arrived, and the mood was good. Kez supported us two years (and about ooh, three lineup changes) ago when we released 'Here Comes The Brim, so it was nice to have her back, and she played a great set. I love Kez's songwriting, as the melodies and chords are easy to get lost in, but the delicate lyrics are sharp enough to cut through and counteract the hypnotic arrangements.
As AOTV time neared, I was figuring out where to put my setlist, and SBT had a genius idea: I had written my set on the back of an All Saints returns label, so she unpeeled a bit of it and stuck it to the top of her kick drum (a Ludwig 300, per chance?) This somehow made MacGyver look like a Blue Peter presenter.
We kicked off the night with Forty Eight, and rode along through the songs with little issue (apart from my own cursed memory, which re-named Jack twice and the EP title once - I believe I'm turning into Count Arthur Strong). My favourite things about the gig included:
- playing 'Misfitz' for the first time in ages (it's been written out of so many sets when Duncan & I have done duo gigs, purely for time reasons, so to play it again after such a long time was great)
- Jack, SBT & Duncan jamming a variant on the 'Two Hearts' chords while I was telling a story about the recording. I was honestly so delighted at them doing this that it took serious effort not to display actual glee, instead strumming a chord between sentences.
- playing 'Flyswatter' by Eels. I used to play this in my first ever band (we had a rule that I had to get the riff right twice in a row before the band would come in, and that was unspoken for this show, too). We managed to seamlessly merge the end of this into the beginning of 'I've Still Got Your Blood On My Curtains', for added effect.
- the 'Job Satisfaction Audience Singalong'. I love it when I play a gig where this can be pulled off - if you've heard the song, you'll know there's a choir at the end, and I like to get the crowd doing as much of this as they can/want. It's my favourite way to end AOTV shows, and thankfully the audience were willing conspirators in our choral rock nonsense.
I'm so happy to get 'The Impartial Age' off my project shelf, and I'm proud of the results. I'm also glad that we got to play this show to celebrate its release. As Jack & SBT move on to focus on TASKRZ and Don't Call Me Ishmael, and as Duncan gears up to release more albums with The Jake Leg Jug Band, I will take a moment to reflect on this gig, and everything these folks have done for & with AOTV (Jack's been on it since we started, would you believe!). Who knows how or when our paths will cross again, but these are lovely people and I've appreciated getting to do this with them.
John xx (see below photo for the setlist)
It Kills You In The End
Two Hearts Are Better Than One <Sometimes>
I've Still Got Your Blood On My Curtains
An Apology From A Distance (Puppykicker)
What You've Lost In Job Satisfaction, You've Gained In Meaningless Aphorisms