I dunno maybe because it’s near Halloween or maybe because I chanced upon my original post of this on my Stranglers forums today but here’s my original review from 2008 of the Wickerman Festival. Note I gave up the ciggies and meat eating some years go. Anyway over to me 13 years ago…..
So this was very inviting.
Walked into the Methodist Church to be greeted by Hugh tucking into fish and chips. Had a natter with him for a few minutes whilst a few other punters walked in.
He eventually sits at the front of the church and invites us all to sit in the first 3 pews at the front (which we did). We’re then treated to him reading a section out from his book and the floor is open for a Q&A session. Which starts out with some interesting questions from the crowd – apart from one chap who seemed a little “refreshed” and keeps telling us all about his red Indian blood.
Eventually, the questions predictably switch to music. Some points below (some of them already covered off on the forums in earlier posts)…..
– Big tour of America being planned for June/July – “What you doing Hugh? East or West coast?” “All of it”.
– UK Tour of churches in Oct/Nov (I’m guessing acoustic here?)
– Working on new book (Doctor in Miami in 2050 – he’s about half way through writing this one)
– Working on new music
– Some festival dates in Summer (one on East coast – is this the Skegness one?)
– No contact with Stranglers although he didn’t mention any negativity and wishes them well.
– He doesn’t run any more and hasn’t done for over 25 years – points out the dangers of running.
Quite an enjoyable evening all round.
Great gig last night – I have a serious headache this morning. Got into Huddersfield at about 3.30pm – Nipped into the first pub we found for a quick pint (big mistake). Next thing we know the landlady is bodyslamming a punter into the wall – I check the time – its 3.50pm – wonder what the entertainment in here is like at chucking out time!! Finishing our pints and dodging flying bodies we make our way towards the venue in time for the soundcheck. Had a brief chat with a nice chap from Derby (never did get your name!) and his son who were both happy to be able to meet Hugh. Hugh appears, coffee and biscuits in hand (where’s ours?!) and eventually we get down to picking out the encores – We’re given a choice between 5 Stranglers and 5 solo songs – we can choose 2 of each. I let father and son choose the Stranglers tracks (they choose ATS and Peaches) Lammy chooses Cadiz and I go for “Street called Carrol”.
Hugh ushers us to the front of the stage and then begins to run through the soundcheck. We’re treated so several numbers whilst Hugh and tech crew get the sound right. The in house sound crew (I think Ruth and Keith) seem a spot on bunch and patiently work through Hugh’s requests. We also offer feedback on his sound – In the end we get a bit of delay and a “chunky” rich feel – I think it was spot on to be honest.
There’s just time to get watered and fed before the main event – We opt for a pizza place just round the corner. Whilst there I get a text from Johnny who’s finally arrived safely and is sat in the pub over the road. We meet him in there for a swift pint then it’s on to the gig.
The sound was fantastic and the performance Hugh put in was just amazing. He seemed very happy and played a blinder. Tramp was my fave of the evening – just stunning. Had a brief chat with him afterwards and he seemed in good spirits. Talk of June for a potential release of the album and then tour in October – I think the dates will be on the official site soon.
I have some pics of the soundcheck which I’ll stick up – None of the gig, got a slapped wrist off one of the staff there for using my mobile to take a photo (flash was off!) – Ah well, fair enough.
Just collected me thoughts after a mini break part of which took in Hugh at Louth.
I’m pretty familiar with Louth as my wife grew up there and has family there. I’m usually there 4 or 5 times a year. It’s a pretty weird place. Pleasant enough but a bit of a bitch to get to and seems like a place famous people retreat to. You can often see Robert Wyatt drinking coffee in the town square, Barbara Dixon at the Co-op and even Dave Formula in the Brown Cow. Like I say, pretty weird.
Incidentally, Dave Formula promoted a blistering British Sea Power gig at Louth Town hall in the Summer a couple of years back and this is where I return to tonight to see Mr Cornwell. I’m fearing a handful of punters for a dark midweek gig in the middle of no where but as we walk up the stairs and enter the main hall I’m pleasantly surprised to see a 3 quarter full Town Hall. This fills up to almost no seats in the house by the time Hugh enters the stage.
It’s an interesting set. The first half consisting of Hugh’s solo material some of which he’s not played for a few years. Couple of audience members behind me talk throughout until it becomes unbearable “Paul….Paul!!” shouts one pissed up lass to some hippy looking bloke. Myself and a couple near me tell him to pipe down. He gets the message “Fuck this I’m off for a cig” 🙄 He gets up and duly fucks off. A small blemish on an otherwise great first half. I’ve my wife’s family with me who’ve not really heard much Stranglers stuff before let alone Hugh and they’re enjoying it.
An hour later Hugh reappears to give the crowd a blast from the past. It’s a strong set, the sound is perfect (possibly the best I’ve heard him). His guitar and vocals warm and rich. Fantastic effort to all concerned and the man himself. Highlights for me were Henry Moore (good to hear it again), Ships That Pass in the Night (which Hugh announces as like “playing a game of chess”), Big In America (sounding big!). To be honest it’s all good. Can’t wait for the next one which I believe will be around May time. See you then.