Thursday, 28 August 2014

Chim Chim-in-ey

Sinead is a bad influence on me.  I was at work one day, happily minding my own business and pootling along with my day to day tasks and projects (and telling everyone I met - and a few people that I just shouted it at over the Campus Shop floor - all about the major speaker I'd just scored as part of a week I'm organising in the autumn) when my face book messaging service pinged at me.

I ignored it.

It flashed at me.  
I considered closing it down but by then it was too late.  I knew that there was something there, and I would be distracted until I read it.

It was a message from Sinead.  It was short, sweet, and to the point.  'Chimney Boys playing tonight in Broadstairs, if you fancy joining me?'

Ooh, it was tempting.  So, so tempting.  It was also a school night.  You can start to see why Sinead is a bad influence?  It was alright for her - she had just come back from the Edinburgh Fringe and was still on annual leave.  I, on the other hand, was very much still in work and had to be in on time for a meeting the next day.   On the other hand, I hadn't seen any of the Broadstairs Folk Festival yet (I had been a coward about it over the weekend when the weather was bad and I decided that the sofa was too warm and comfortable to even consider entertaining the idea of setting one toe outdoors) and this was the last week of the Festival.  I also liked The Chimney Boys, having seen them perform before at one of Green Diesel's gigs at The Ballroom.
Steve was going to be playing darts all night, I didn't have a rehearsal, so why the hell not.  I threw caution to the wind, messaged Shay back and told her I was on, and we arranged to meet at the Wrotham Arms (which was handy as that was where the gig was).
The Wrotham Arms is well known in Broadstairs as being a major live music venue, with gigs held every weekend and some major claims to fame if you have a nosey amongst the posters gracing the walls.  There is also a monthly Blues and Roots club.  I have no idea what Roots are when combined with Blues, but I would quite like to find out! It's probably nothing like the image I have of a banjo strumming, porch reclining, bit of hay chewing country boy band (although I secretly quite hope it is).
I rocked up to the Wrotham Arms only to be scared shitless by Ben when he bounded up to me and startled me when I was looking the other way.  Considering he and his band mates were on their 17th gig in about 10 days, they were looking surprisingly energetic; energetic enough to give me a minor heart attack anyway.

The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed by now that the Chimney Boys lineup that night was looking remarkably similar to Green Diesel's regular line up.  The bands around here have a habit of swapping members for one off gigs when numbers are a bit low.  Sinead commented that seeing the Chimney Boys as an all male ensemble for a change (as none of the girls could make it) made a real difference to their sound.
The pub was packed - standing room only, and hotter than hell inside.  Beer was required so we snuck off to the bar and stocked up on some pints of Whitstable Bay Pale Ale - a light, refreshing beer that is easy to drink and not too strong.  It is brilliantly thirst quenching and seriously quaffable - perfect for a night like this.
We then squirmed our way to the front, threw our bags defiantly on the floor to mark our territory and engaged in conversation with the nice people around us as we waited for the band to finish warming up. 
The Chimney Boys have just bought out a new EP, Everything That Rises (buy it, I did, it's good and you can also get Morality Rises on Spotify) and the gig was splattered with songs from this throughout, as well as old favourites.

There was a bit of a pause after the first 8 songs or so and a mass rush for the loos (all that beer) plus a mass rush for the doors (seriously, it was SO hot!) and predictably a rush for the bar and then we launched into the second half.
Inevitably, we had lost our place and were much further back than before which gave us ample opportunity to watch the antics of the sound guy as he got up every 2 minutes to check and adjust the levels again.  The man resembled a jack in the box.
I've described their style before so I won't bother again, but you can listen to a couple of (incredibly poorly filmed) extracts from the night below! 
I think what I enjoy most about gigs like this (other than the fact I am out midweek with my friends) is the fact that the band members themselves seem to be genuinely enjoying themselves.
Everyone also gets a chance to showboat.  The drummer came up and sang in French (show off), the guitar players chopped and changed between various string instruments, and they all belted out the songs.
The atmosphere is joyful as well, with people who have come along simply because it is a live music night as part of the Festival standing, singing and dancing next to people who know all the words to the songs.

It's a good way to spend an evening.  Even if I didn't get home until gone midnight. 

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