Brad-bothering on Sunday..
I’d deliberately planned a quiet weekend for the one just gone, and it was very welcome – a chance to relax, watch the England match with my Dad and generally not be dashing about all over the place was great. But come Sunday with the working week looming I had a craving, and spotting Brad Dear was playing at the Workman’s in Warsop for Star Bothering on Sunday I fired off a WhatsApp message to Andy to see if he fancied a sedate road trip oop North.
He was! So we were off – Brad was due to play as well as of course a bit of Star Botherers and a couple more acts… or so we thought. A young lass due to play did arrive, but hadn’t realised the start time would be a bit later and had another open mic night to play, a pity – Bart too wasn’t around so no Star Botherers – and I’m not sure what happened to the third act – Warren Ireland – but well, it all worked out pretty well for us all told.
Brad arrived – and with a fairly small crowd of friends to watch we basically had a lovely ‘evening with Brad’ – he kicked off the evening, unusually opting to sit down with his guitar (I think he wanted the novelty of moving a mic-stand downward. A quick initial set took in the likes of Far Away, Festival Bar Blues (see first video) and Maid of the River (unprompted – and my favourite Levellers song too!). With just a few locals, Dave and myself and Andy initially it was a very up-close and personal session!
Soon a group including Sam, Kathie and Barrie arrived to swell the numbers – I asked Brad to play Walls then his Mum rang him up mid-set to see what time he was playing. Andy answered the phone much to her confusion! She was asking mainly because John and Angela were planning on heading down – but with no other acts, they were assured via Julie that there’d be more to see even if they missed his first set!
Distraction over and Brad treated us to a new song The Only Road That I Know, more roads – inspired by his travels around Denmark earlier in the year. Back to the Levellers he reeled off a lovely version of Levellers’ Another Man’s Cause (see second video!) and finished up his set with a cover of Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower which apparently has the same chord progression as the previous track. Who knew?
An unplanned (as far as I know) treat though was when Barrie and Sam hit the stage – Sam armed with his new guitar, Barrie with his voice, and played an awesome set of gritty bluesy covers (why on earth didn’t I video them too? 🙁 ). Sam seems to be relishing the taking-a-back-seat thing lately – contributing guitar, stamping foot (in the absence of a stomp box or a kick drum) whilst they improvised a set with quick consultations and checking of phones.
It was ace – Barrie has an awesome gravelly bluesy voice – they ran through an assortment of covers like Jumping Jack Flash by the Stones, Johnny Rivers’ The Snake, I Feel Fine by The Beatles (dedicated to Mark Chadwick fans – a nod to a reminisce Dave made earlier in the evening when Mark had played the Black Market only to be asked by a local if he knew any Beatles songs, haha – there’s more to that, story, but later..).
Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash led into a bit of an Elvis montage of That’s Alright Mama and Heartbreak Hotel. They finished up an excellent set with Hey Joe by Jimi Hendix and It’s All Over Now by the Rolling Stones. I really enjoyed it very much indeed. It reminded me to get Sam’s EP back on my commuting listening list today – he’s been cursed with a glut of new music so hasn’t had the airing it deserves – when I’ve had a few more listens I shall do a review, it’s bloody excellent.
But the Barrie and Sam combination – well it should become a thing – I really enjoyed their performance.
John, Angela and Joel had arrived as well as Julie by this point – so we basically had an awesome gathering of friends just chilling in the Workman’s club listening to good music, having banter with the artists, making requests, singing along – it was lovely. It’s a shame more people weren’t there of course, but selfishly it was also pretty nice. With the other acts not being there we got bonus Brad time and unexpected Barrie and Sam.
Back on stage Brad kicked into If I Ever Leave This World Alive by Flogging Molly, then Mark Chadwick’s Red Sky. Much as I love Brad’s original songs too, it’s great to hear his voice lent to a cover version too – and they kept coming. Old Man by Neil Young, The Battle of the Beanfield by Levellers, Where the Hell Are We Going to Live? by the same before quickly dipping back into his own material – The Only Road That I Know revisited for John & Angela’s benefit.
Then we had Long Road Home and Special Brew – there was even a miniature conga-line, it has to be done really. Although Andy’s maneuvering of Joel around the bar was a little on the boisterous side (he stopped doing it when I tried to catch him on video!). Then back to covers with Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry before the second half of the Mark Chadwick anecdote comes to the fore.
At the same gig where he’d been asked to play Beatles songs another wag in the audience either wittingly or unwittingly shouted ‘can you play Wonderful Day, then?’ – much to the bemusement of the Levellers’ frontman. We goaded Brad into playing it, Dave re-entered the bar laughing his head off having told the story a good while previously. Meanwhile Dave was trying to get us to buy crisps so that he could make another ‘elf ear’ to match the one he’d made from the pack he had earlier!
The music ended on a Levellers tip with The Likes of You and I (with a bit of lyric help from me – that wasted youth suddenly useful!), Julie (more lyric help from my after returning from the loo before Brad ultimately gave it up as a bad job) he finally opted to finish with the flourish of One Way as 9pm loomed large which was when the pub quiz was due to start. Time for a longer-than-intended natter with everyone before grabbing some chips and heading home.
To say I had no real plans what an awesome evening to round off the weekend – as much as I’m sure I’d have enjoyed seeing Jodie Rose and Warren Ireland perform it was a real treat to basically have an intimate gathering to just watch a very relaxed Brad enjoy himself in comfortable surroundings, and of course the unexpected bonus of the evening provided by Barrie and Sam. It wasn’t really a gig, it was a jam. I just wish it wasn’t an hour’s drive away!