As anyone recently following The Cherry Bluestorms knows, the band recently left for their second trip to England. For an hilarious account of the band’s 2008 adventures, see earlier editions of this Blog. This time ’round, the band consists of Deborah Gee, Glen Laughlin, Steve Giles and newest member Mark Francis White on drums. The band arrived in London on Thursday, along with MFW’s lovely wife Lucy and lovely daughters Taylor and Payton. Upon arrival, thoughts quickly turned from bloodlust for airline personnel to food. Most civilised humans will admit that “good food”, and “London” were at one time mutually exclusive to a nicety. In the past few years we have been told that the trend has been steadily in favour of edibles being edible. If the fish and chips at our local pub across from the Maida Vale Marriott is any indication, the reports are true! The band enjoyed the traditional F&C along with some traditional ales (non-alcoholic in the case of tee-totaller Mr. Laughlin), and a merry time was had by all. A bit of scouting ensued, followed by much needed rest. Next day the troupe descended on Euston Station, where panic and hilarity ensued. As it turned out, Lucy did not realise that the e-tickets had to be printed to be used on the train. The White family barely made it on board, still ticketless, before the train pulled out of the station for points north. Once the train was underway, it was discovered that Deborah’s, Glen’s and Steve’s tickets had been misplaced! They all had visions of being thrust before the Right Honourable at the Old Bailey. Instead, they threw themselves upon the mercy of Virgin Rail personnel, who were clearly not concerned. As it turned out, the tickets were found later.
The troupe arrived at Liverpool Lime St. Station, just around the corner from temporary digs at The Liner. Once again, travel fatigue took its toll and sleep was the preferred form of entertainment, interspersed with a bite and sup. Deborah’s back was giving her prostestations of the painful kind, necessitating a trip to the Royal Hospital. Apparently nothing serious, just one of those transitory episodes of mechanical back pain that many of us experience from time to time. Once the patient was made comfortable, it was back to The Liner to meet up with the others for a walk about Liverpool and a Chinese meal. Liverpool is really a colourful city. There is a palpable sense of working class pride, along with a refreshingly down-to-Earth pleasure in sharing their history and fine culture with all comers. I realise I’ve reduced an entire city to my impression, based upon the narrowest experience. Still, I’ve been there twice now and my impression of the town as a most unpretentious and welcoming place is intact. The group circled back to The Liner on foot, making their way down Mathew Street, home of The Cavern Club, The Cavern Pub, Mathew St. “Live” and Eric’s, all themselves homes to International Pop Overthrow. In the case of The Cavern, it was once home to The Beatles and on account of that connection oft referred to as the birthplace of popular music as we know it.
The first gig of the 2012 UK visit was at Mathew St. Live. Birmingham area friend Steve Winall met us at the club, as did our Scottish friends Eskimo Blonde. The band turned in an impressive set and made a few new fans in the process. For the record, the setlist was:
She Said She Said
Just A Kiss Away
Purple Heart Magic
As Above So Below
Glen was very happy to see a VHT combo amp on stage for his use, designed and manufactured by his old friend and fellow Dickies alumnus Stevie Fryette. Stevie no longer owns VHT, but they were and presumably are great amps. Speaking of gear, this was the first gig to feature Glen’s 1968 Vox Mark IV Teardrop guitar, lately acquired from MFW! After TCBs’ set, Eskimo Blonde tore down the house with their straight up, no chaser rockstorm. Singer Mike Loszak, guitarist Tim Bennett, bassist Lee Heineman and new drummer Graham were in rare form, well appreciated by the audience.
Later that night TCB returned to Mathew St. and to the Cavern’s iconic front stage. The band gave the nearly packed house a great performance, prompting lots of post-set appreciation from fans, many of whom had seen TCB’s performances in 2008. IPO impressario David Bash announced from the stage that The Cherry Bluestorms are one of his favourite bands and that Glen’s guitar sound rates top honours!! Apparently the audience agreed, as IPO merchandiser Jason Bonham told your humble blogger that TCB sold more merchandise than any of the other 100+ IPO Liverpool bands!
No rest for the weary! After the gig, Manchester DJ Vicky Richardson conducted a telephone interview with Glen Laughlin for the Night Moves radio show. No sooner was the interview over than Glen was contacted by Scrub Radio, who loved the tunes Vicky Richardson played and wanted some Cherry Bluestorms for themselves!
Next night, The Bluestorms returned to The Cavern’s second stage, known as the site of Paul McCartney’s “Return to The Cavern” shows. Despite some technical difficulties, the audience were visibly moved by the performance. This blogger personally overheard several audience members comment to the effect that The Bluestorms were the finest band at IPO. Eskimo Blonde again followed The Bluestorms and if anything turned out an even more blistering set. After which, it was time for Blondes and Bluestorms to revisit the site of past revelries, Liverpool’s Heebee Geebees club. A few lagers later, goodnights were wished and all returned to their Liverpool digs with promises to meet up one last time for breakfast before traveling on for points north and south. Tomorrow The Bluestorms play their first ever London show!