Following the summer gigs of 2020, Coronavirus took a tighter hold of the UK and we went into two more lock downs. For a while, the live music world stopped. To enable us to practice we discovered Jamulus which allowed us to practice online with zero latency.
During this time Batchy was unable to continue with the band so Peter Hawes from Chippenham stepped up to the plate and joined us as our new drummer! Welcome to the gang Pete. Glad to have you here!
And then at the beginning of June, this happened:
(an online live gig with everyone playing from their own homes)
Lockdown restrictions were then extended to 19 July. So still no more physical gigs.
Whilst the full lockdown restrictions were not able to be lifted until 19 July the advent of some major sports related items meant that some easing was allowed. So, with the rule of 6 still in place, we got to play a Salisbury Live Fundraiser at the Salisbury Rugby Club. Alongside Becca’s Crew, Slidestone, The Evolution Choir and China Wolf, and coinciding with England beating the Ukraine in some football thing we got to play an actual gig in front of live people. Pete was fully introduced to the world and the band sounded terrific. It was good to play fully live again.
And then, also in July, we got to do a full, proper outdoor gig at Ebblefest. Although, a more subdued event compared to previous years – oh my goodness! It has been mentioned that the band has a new, bigger sound. Well, this fully came out to play on a big outdoor stage with lots of lights and a nice big PA. It was sooooo nice to play a full set, on a big stage for people who could sing along and dance.
August kicks off with another outdoor gig as lockdown continues to ease. More people are allowed this time and certainly a lot more alcohol.
To round out August and after six years, we got to play at the Bear Inn Beer Festival in Wilton again. This was a crowd that was ready for the return of live music. The weather was brilliant, and the pub was packed from beginning to end. A really special night. Thanks to the Bear for having us back.
September sees us “launch” music at the newly restored Figheldean Club. The club is looking amazing and is a great venue for live music, so expect lots of music here in the coming months and years. This was our first indoor gig in eighteen months. We had forgotten how sweaty playing indoors can be!
At this point, we acknowledge that we are extremely fortunate to be getting gigs. The world has not returned to normal; a lot of people are not ready to go back out into the world and that means some businesses are changing. An example of this is one of our favourite venues, Qudos Music Bar & Grill has rebranded as Qudos Bar & Restaurant and is no longer hosting live music twice a week. There is still one gig each month, but the stage has been replaced with a breakfast bar and bands now play at the opposite end. Qudos have done an amazing job at staying open through these extremely trying times and we are delighted that we, and others, still get to play there. They are a great example of the lengths that businesses have had to go to, to stay open.
At the end of September, with the weather still mild, we manage to sneak in a trip to the New Forest at the beautiful Red Shoot beer festival! The band is sounding better than ever, and it was great fun to blast our sound across the forest to some extremely vocal and grateful customers as well as some very playful donkeys.
October starts with a bang. As a result of the Bear Inn Beer Festival, we were asked to restart live music at the Barford Inn down the road at Barford St Martin. We arrive to find a beautiful country pub in a bucolic setting. Towards the end of the first set any thoughts of a quiet country pub are completely dismissed as the crowd demonstrate their love of music and the atmosphere becomes absolutely electric for the rest of the night. There is nothing like playing to a packed pub with the audience two feet from your face. What an audience – what a night!
As October started with a bang it finished with one too! The Salisbury Live Spooktacular was to feature four bands, but a member of Lump was taken ill just before the gig – hope you get well soon!! Ukulele Vagabond gave his unique set followed by some cracking tunes from Beyond the Storm. We took to the stage a little late but extremely excited to be back playing for this great audience and they did not disappoint. This one will go down in memory as the first time we’ve been asked to play five encores. That was a complete blast, and it was lovely to play here again.
November and we are at a new venue – The Globe Inn Andover. Sat directly on the High Street so lots of passing foot fall to entice in with our unique blend of covers all nicely rocked up. Lots of lovely comments from this first-time audience so hopefully we will be back again in 2022!
Also in November, was one of those rare, extra special gigs where we were asked to play for Friday Night music with Wiltshire Creative. Tickets sold out. Twice. And we got to perform on the main stage at Salisbury Arts Centre. So many more photos to follow but wow what an incredible experience.
The additional photos are now available to see. A huge thanks to former band mate, superb photographer and all-round great guy Andrea Penna for the amazing shots. Click the photo below to see the full set.
After 11 gigs in 2021, more than double what we managed the previous year, in December, we saw out the old year in Qudos. Playing the bar but in the window, after 23 months away, it was like coming home. Thank you to the magnificent staff who looked after us so well and the amazing party audience that made the absolute most of having live music back at Qudos – thank you so much. Here’s a to a great 2022!