“FOUR CITIES / ONE DAY”
Marshall A. Quinn’s BEACHBUGGY “tour” diary
BEACHBUGGY TEAM B: London ‘Silver Rocket’ @ the Buffalo Bar Highbury: Friday 18 November 2005.
OK, lets get one thing straight from the start – it was THREE cities and one TOWN, accuracy buffs. And I’m still not sure if ONE gig counts as an actual tour, but if you’ve read the News section you’ll know I’ve never knowingly let the truth get in the way of a good headline. Soo… the day starts off with me leaving my Manchester base and, taking my chances on the UK rail network, I head for Doncaster and consider it a moderate success to arrive only 20 minutes late. I’m heading for Jack’s house (that’s “Beachbuggy HQ” to you) and arrive just in time for a nice cup of tea (like, so rock ‘n’ roll, kids) and a quick catch-up with Jack before loading up the car and heading off towards Jim’s Sheffield base.
We pick up Jim and after a brief delay we hit the road (cue soundtrack of “Born To Be Wild” – actually it was more like Foo Fighters, Pixies and whatever was being served up on XFM). Before we know it we’re pulling up outside the Buffalo Club, right outside Highbury & Islington station. Jim sustained a back injury in a bizarre ‘rock n roll van loading’ incident during the run-up to last week’s Sheffield gig so it’s down to me and Jack to haul the gear down the two short flights of stairs. Luckily, this is a “Team B” outing so we just have one drummer tonight and the guys are travelling relatively light. Bassist Robin has already arrived with his amp and Jim’s using one of the other band’s drum sets so we only have a couple of guitars, a guitar amp, Jim’s snare and cymbals and a few other drum bits to contend with.
Once this is dropped off we head for something to eat and I meet bassist Robin for the first time – nice guy, since you ask. He’s brought a few friends along to watch so we know there’ll be at least a few punters on BB’s side. Back at the venue we catch a few snippets of the other bands – all pretty good even though I don’t catch their names – and Jim and I bump into original BB bassist (and more recently, occasional drummer) A.D who’s now London-based and has come along to lend his support. Before long it’s time to set up for BB, who’ve decided against a soundcheck so it’s a straightforward case of plugging in a couple of amps and getting Jim’s drum set bolted together as Jack tries to remember how to hook up his pedal board.
And there off…!!
“Anything could happen in the next half hour”, says Jack, and it almost does! Evidently, Jack didn’t get those pedals hooked up right and opener “Just A Little Punk” kicks off with no vocals. This is quickly sorted out and before long BB are racing through a set which takes in tracks from “Sport Fury” (Little Punk; Kickin’ Back; It Might Be The Jets), “Killer-B” (Killer Bee; Dirty Mouth; The Hitt), one from “Unsafe..At Any Speed” (set closer The Driver) and three new songs. The new songs (sorry, didn’t catch any titles) slot into the set more-or-less seamlessly as they all bear the distinctive BB/Straker stamp, but it’s the more familiar stuff the crowd cheer loudest for. Clearly a significant number of people have come specifically to see Beachbuggy so they generally get a good response – I reckon they may have converted a few newcomers too. So there’s no need for Jack and the guys to applaud themselves between songs – but they do anyway! And is it just me, or are there virtually NO guys in the front row? Hey, you heard it here first – chicks dig Beachbuggy!
Halfway through I decide this is the best BB gig I’ve witnessed in years. I reckon the band are feeling this too: Robin seems to be really getting into it (hard to tell tho as I can only see the back of his head for most of the gig), Jim is hitting ’em REAL HARD (and personally I think it’s great to see him back) and Jack is having a great time, getting quite animated (well, as much as he ever does) and wringing all kinds of bizarre and magnificent noises out of his guitar.
It’s all over too quickly and before I know it I’m helping Jim pack up his drums and shifting amps and guitars off stage. There’s time for a quick beer before we lug the gear back up those stairs and into the waiting car. A few farewells follow – Jack and Jim say thanks to promoter Rachel while I give my regards to Robin and hope to see him again soon – before Jack, Jim and myself jump back into Jim’s motor and head back home. Post-gig analysis is all pretty positive and both Jack and Jim seem to think the gig was a success – Jack even says he wants to play some more real soon. But it’s late and it’s been a long day so we soon settle down for the journey back. Jack and I catch some zeds while Jim drives us back to his place and before long we’re back in Jacks motor and heading for Beachbuggy HQ ready to unload the gear one last time.
Marshall A. Quinn