I won’t deny that the last gig at Rock City meant I was eyeing people heading to Brixton to the next leg of the Levellers tour with envious eyes, however, that’s not to say I wasn’t really chuffed to be able to take in a much closer to home leg of Doozer McDooze’s ‘Flick the V sign and do it anyway’ tour. Whilst it was only a few miles up the road for me I decided to take Ludo and take advantage of the hospitality of the pub and sleep over in the car park so I could have a few drinks.
To that end I was in the pub car park mid-afternoon, once I’d got the bed set up I decamped to Dave and Caroline’s van where Murph was kind enough to share his sleeping space for me for a couple of cheeky drinks, Rob joined us shortly after and before long with John, Angela, Russ and Michelle arriving (with the awesome Merlin) we headed into the pub where there was a bit more room (and warmth!). The Yew Tree Inn is a lovely building, I’m really sad that the brewery is moving Chris on as he’s created such a lovely atmosphere in the place.
A few folk ordered some pizzas, whilst most of us decided to hold out for the curry and chilli on offer upstairs. I’d never been in the function room upstairs – what a cracking space, a bar, loos and a nice big room set up for the gig. Doozer was on hand to personally hand stamp people by drawing a picture of himself on your hand (or you might’ve got something worse if Birdy had the marker!), we had plenty of time to find a spot to sit and get comfortable.
First up were the Fox and the Pirate (aka Jonny Wallis and Brian Stone), Jonny kicked things off on his own with Light The Darkness and then Crime of Rights. A quick line-up change and Brian was on stage for a rowdy rendition of Never Drink with the Leylines and then Quiet Anarchist, before they both took to the stage to perform The Boatman together. They looked like they were having a whale of a time up there, as were the assembled folk in the room.
Brian’s atmospheric Barrow Downs was next with Jonny providing backing vocals, before they combined forces fully with Oh You New York Girls (Can’t You Dance The Polka) with a mass dance-off kicking off infront of the stage – I’m not sure it was a polka, but it was certainly impressive! Ward The Pirate gave us another opportunity for a less tiring dancalong before a reprise of Bostin’ Days 2 track Sell Out, finishing up with a hip flask doing the rounds for Why Is All The Rum Gone?
What a way to kick off the night – and next up was Brad Dear. A quick soundcheck and then after a brief break he kicked off with I’m Still Here and Circles and Roundabouts – then a couple of new songs, they sounded ace to me. Lost Children and Sail Away promise to add themselves to the already impressive list of favourite Brad songs, I reckon. Brad too paid tribute to Bostin’ Days with his contribution of Together All The Way prompting a mass singalong.
With time advancing he rattled through The Only Road I Know and Festival Bar Blues before Special Brew gave rise to an impressive conga line that snaked its way downstairs confusing the folk having a quiet drink and definitely puzzling the gig going on downstairs too, ha! Sorry about that! There was only time for one more – and he pulled out a cover of John Martyn’s Over The Hill which I’ve never heard him play before – a nice way to finish up another cracking set.
Which could only mean it was time for Doozer McDooze! I’d spotted he and Birdy creating the set list during Brad’s set, although wasn’t quick enough to grab a photo of it, ha, just its creation! Nearly all Doozer’s songs are rabble-rousing fun, he kicked in with Searching and into Dreams before the slightly more melancholy Let’s Not Forget and Pirate Captain. The mood was soon picked up with Not Going Back To That.
Bimbling Man led into It’s Nice Down Here – then we were treated to ‘a new song I wrote in the shower yesterday’ – so new it was acapella (and presumably titleless) but was a rousing tribute to the amount of awesome music you can find out and about without bothering with the charts etc. I Think Politicians Should Be Put On Minimum Wage was next, with the revelation that he’d apparently had lots of nasty messages on its release from people who presumably didn’t actually listen to the words.
Razorlight are Shite got the crowd singing along in good fashion, then the one who’s name I never get right (it features ‘Remember the days’ at the start and goes on to talk about flicking the V sign and doing it anyway, so maybe that’s the name!). Anthemic I Don’t Wanna Go Home had the whole room doing the vocals, and he finished up with I think a cover of Carter USM’s Sheriff Fatman (I’d had a fair bit to drink by then!).
To finish up the set everyone took to the stage, along with Dave who’d transformed into Dirty Davey for a run through of some Levellers songs – Julie (inevitably!), Battle of the Beanfield and Riverflow had the room jumping before finishing up with Where’s Me Jumper? Such a fun set – we were left to sing along to Gaz Brookfield playing through the PA whilst some folk legged it, many of us stayed around.
With Dave on his guitar I popped to grab my cajón from the van, Ewan had his mandolin and a mandicello (possibly!) and once Russ had grabbed his iPad for lyrical assistance we had a fun jam of assorted random songs before eventually retiring to the downstairs bar for a couple more beverages – eventually bed was calling so I headed back to the van for a sleep with a few hardy souls still in the bar – and slept amazingly well. A top night. I don’t feel bad about missing Brixton any more!