Along the old straight track.. to Banbury!
I didn’t really have any definitive plans for Friday – Ella made the suggestion of going to see The Leylines in Banbury, which is a pretty good idea – and an opportunity to try a spot of stealth camping proper! Once work was finished I hit the road and arrived to find a handy parking spot, for the princely sum of 80p I was sorted until 7pm from which the parking was free until the next morning – all within a short stagger of the venue!
Once the bed was down in the back and sorted, I was able to catch up with Addie and Jane grabbing some food in the Wetherspoon’s round the corner (seeing most of the band getting settled in to The Swan on the way past) – by the time we’d finished in at the pub we went back round to the venue – Mark and Rob followed, then Maty and Pil and finally Simon and Ella. There was a slight lack of t-shirt communication with Ella and I both wearing a Sweetchunks Bees t-shirt – I had to nip back to the van to change out of mine!
Soon enough the rest of the band arrived – some deft van reversing from Dave gave them the chance to get unloaded at set up. The Swan is a nice little pub with a small area up front which disappears off in an L shape around the bar, with another room around the back. We’d assumed they’d be playing in the back room – but no, they were setting up – all five of ’em – in the front area for what would prove to be a very intimate setting. Suits me! It definitely wasn’t me that set off the smoke alarm with an electronic cigarette. I blame Mark!
No cost to get in, decent choice and price of drinks, what more could you ask for really? No support act either – so there was plenty of time for drinking and nattering before the band got limbered up to start at around 9:30ish to do two sets to the not-exactly-packed pub – certainly the ‘active’ audience at the front were made up of the travelling types (aside from Maty and Pil and their crew who are from Banbury) – although by the end one or two other revellers would be lured to the front!
They kicked the set off with Let It Go and Steve’s customary exclamation of “Let’s fucking ‘ave it!” – inspired or at least reenforced by the addition Simon had made to his Leylines t-shirt (see first photo!) – the sound was really good in the small venue, stone floors and low ceiling reverberating to folky energy. The Reasons was next, Addie was strangely absent for Save Your Soul – a suggestion from the crowd that he might be having a poo proving the catalyst for a theme for the evening’s banter!
Being a small and mostly very familiar crowd saw the band in relaxed and comfortable mode – which is always nice, Runaway led into the new song they’ve started testing out, Long Way From Home is a typically high energy story of the pitfalls of the kind of travel bands have to put in – especially when they’re from Weston Super-Mare which is miles from anywhere! My Own Worst Enemy was temporarily rebranded as My Own Worst Enema – I think this was when Ella started Facetiming the gig to Becki much to her general glee!
Instrumental track (Brian) Stone Circle was next giving everyone a chance to get their feet moving properly, and then You’ve Changed saw Addie and Mark create a new and interesting dance that seemed to involve them slapping each other across the face. Takes all sorts! Before the band took a break they rattled off What We’ve Got to round off a thoroughly enjoyable first half of proceedings. A chance take a breather for band and fans alike.
It wasn’t long before they were back though – the only cover they do, thanks to Bostin’ Days (speaking of Bostin’ Days – have you got your tickets for Bostin’ Days 2 in October yet? You really should!), which is their mesmerising reimagining of Levellers’ Fifteen Years, before treating us to another new song which will be appearing on the soon to be released acoustic three-piece EP called In My Head – lovely song with an awesome harmonised acapella finish. Looking forward to that release!
Emotion and passion were cranked up a notch with For Queen and Country and – given this was the day we found out the result of the EU Referendum, Things I Know seemed to take on an extra special resonance for the day. The mood was lightened but the energy levels remained for Gotta Get Out of Here and then Run for Cover with Ella taking up position to contribute backing vocals on the already pretty cramped ‘stage’ (which was basically just the floor!).
For Sorry My Friends Addie opted to do a mock shoulder-ride for me by kneeling on the floor – Mark, always eager to pick people up and knacker his shoulder further took it one further and picked up Pil to hunch under the low ceiling for a dance (at least until a stern but good-humoured landlady came to tell them off in a nice manner!) leaving them to finish the set with the ludicrously catchy Sat In A Field (something Ella and I would be doing the following day – woo!), before being lured back for another run through of Long Way From Home.
As things were packed away, drinks were finished, laughs were shared – Mark ran for his train, folk headed to cars or stayed in the pub – we grabbed a cheeky kebab and went to eat it in the van before heading to the land of nod, slightly regretful that we’d opted to camp on the main road through Banbury, but it soon calmed down and we had a decent night’s sleep, getting up just before the paying time started again and hitting the road to Thorne.. but that’s a whole other blog post…
.. but for this one an excellent evening’s entertainment – a lovely pub with great folk, on the one hand it’s a shame that relatively few folk were there for it, but then at least one or two local folk came for a dance at the front by the end, and it’s nice to have a proper up close and personal gig now and again! A perfect antidote for not being able to go and watch Ferocious Dog playing at Glastonbury this weekend!