MJ Hibbett & The Validators

Blog: The Vandella

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I arrived in Shepherd's Bush last night to see something DEEPLY UPSETTING: Mr S Hewitt, reduced to sitting in an O'Neills. It was against all that is good in the world, and had been caused by him arriving before The Vandella (venue for the evening's gig with me and Mr G Osborn) had opened. Luckily it looked like it WAS open, so we put the whole appalling situation behind us and went over the road.

There we found that The Vandella was Quite Swanky, with a range of POSH BEER (i had bright red, white and... well, BROWN coloured beers over the course of the evening), POSH FOOD and a VERY fancy backstage area. I think it's mostly a COMEDY venue, hence the PLUSHNESS.

Within all this we found the aforesaid Gavin "Osbourn", as the board outside said - it felt odd to be playing with someone ELSE's name spelt wrong! He seemed a bit NERVOUS about the gig, but he explained he was FLUSTERED as he'd been playing FOOTBALL all afternoon with COMEDIANS, and was a bit done in. First rule of GIGS: don't play football in the afternoon beforehand!

The room gently filled up, and we couldn't help noticing that the gender balance was about 30/70 men to women - Steve said this was because of Gavin, I thought it must be because women admire the bravery of CERTAIN PEOPLE who, even though they trapped their right hand index finger in a car door (FOR EXAMPLE) a few days before were still prepared to STRUGGLE BRAVELY ON and do a gig. It's the only thing that makes sense.

This HEINOUS INJURY meant that I had to have a HARD THINK about what songs I could play, as even my very rudimentary version of finger picking would be impossible, and I ended up doing THIS:

  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • Don't, Darren, Don't
  • Strangely Attractive
  • Chips And Cheese, Pint Of Wine
  • We Did It Anyway
  • It Only Works Because You're here
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths

  • It seemed to go pretty well - concentrating on FINGERS meant i was also concentrating on the SONGS, so there weren't too many mistakes, although STRUMMING It Only Works Because You're here felt a bit weird. I was a bit nervous to start with but once I got going I settled down and enjoyed CHATTING. There was quite a bit of CHAT! I also think I have FINALLY got the hang of playing to Comedy-Type audiences. They don't like SHOUTY songs very much but DO like the gentler stuff, where they tend to laugh more at the, well, more GENTLY WRY parts rather than any GAGS anywhere. This is a very happy realisation, especially as it means i CAN play those sort of songs a bit more. I hope I DO get to do some more comedy gigs - doing them WRONG for the past couple of years may have put people off!

    Anyone requiring a MASTERCLASS in how to deal with ANY kind of audience would have done well to take notes for the evenings headliner, as Gav came on and, despite protestations of shambling, WOWED the very happy crowd with a PILE of fantastic songs. Pretty much ALL my favourites were there, including "Sweet Bedford", "Over Thirty" and "Albert Went Out To See Rock Bands", and I was happy to realise that MOST of the set was stuff from his wonderful NEW album, "Come On Folks, Settle Down". Beforehand I was telling him he should DO loads of them as it WAS an Album Launch, but they were all so ACE you weren't really conscious of it, if you see what I mean - sometimes a band does The New Album and everyone's waiting for THE HITS, but this time it ALL seemed like HITS.

    He also played the new songs that he'd PREMIERED at Totally Acoustic the other week AND slipped in a couple of older ones I'd not heard before. It was MAGNIFICENT and I HEARTILY recommend the new album too you - go on! You can get it direct from the label or Leading Retail Outlets. It's GRATE!

    The evening ended with thank yous and chat before heading off into the BALMY evening, amazed to find that summer was CONTINUING to shine. Next stop for the Osborn/Hibbet/Occasionally Frankie Machine TOUR: HIBBETTFEST!!

    posted 30/5/2012 by MJ Hibbett

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