Ploughing an unlonely furrow..
Speaking as a member of The Star Copiers we were dead excited to get the chance to play Brad Dear‘s open mic night in The Plough, Warsop again. It’s a great chance for an on-stage warm-up ahead of Farmer Phil’s, and a chance for our ‘secret weapon’ to blow the cobwebs out of live performing. With added excitement of course of getting to see Brad perform too, along with The Band With No Name and a quick set from Herb at the end too!
Brad Dear was up first – he opened with the yet to be titled New Song, then followed it up with old favourite Circles and Roundabouts. Then it was time for New New Song – he’s been on a bit of a songwriting marathon lately apparently which bodes well! The Only Road I Know was up next then he dipped into his arsenal of cover versions for Levellers track Together All The Way, he finished up with Special Brew with The Lindleys bullying everyone into a conga-line around the pub, ha!
The Band With No Name could do with a name really – with the very familiar Russ on vocals, two guitars and cajon made up the remainder – and they were really rather very good. They kicked in with Land Pirate’s Life by Gaz Brookfield, and then into Whiskey In The Jar (I think by this point Mark was probably getting a bit pissed off by his band mates asking him why he couldn’t do that on guitar!). Unconditional was up next – with Ken sitting in the front row Russ got over his nerves to deliver a cracking version.
Calming it down a bit Whereever You Will Go by The Calling, they then moved back to more familiar territory with Fifteen Years (a song that was in our set list too – although TBWNN go for a Leylines style slow-burn start – and very nice it was too!). I missed the name of the penultimate song they played, but they finished up with Snow Patrol’s If I Lie Here – Russ has a very melodic voice so it works really well. A cracking set.
In the meantime my folks had arrived to watch – which actually didn’t heap any undue pressure on to be honest. Good job really! We (The Star Copiers) got ourselves set up and it was underway – should you really want to see, then Ella live-streamed the whole set! Aside from a few feedback-related wobbles from the sound-desk at the start I was really pleased with the set – it sets us in good stead for Farmer Phil’s next week (we’ve held back a few surprises for there, don’t worry). We even timed the set to within seconds of our allocated half an hour too!
It was nice to be able to perform Wish You Were Here, which we play in honour of my Uncle who passed away last year, and now for my Aunty too who was reunited with him this week, with family members present. It did feel a bit weird singing (or closely approximating singing) with Ken and Bart in such close proximity – luckily I’d remembered my ‘stage wear’ (aka sunglasses) which rendered the audience largely invisible. Worked a treat, haha!
Once we’d cleared away the actual open mic proper opening now Herb was up with his guitar – either his first song didn’t have a name or he couldn’t remember it, but with lots of finger picking it was intricate and lovely. It was reminiscent in parts to an Elvis song but I’ll be damned if I can remember which one – he treated us to another one too before withdrawing. Herb’s a really good performer – I’m hoping to see him get some festival slots soon.
Under duress from his mum Brad wen’t back on to perform Don’t Look Back in Anger, then a sneak peek of a track to be included on his forthcoming album (can. not. wait. for. that). A raucous rendition of Dirty Old Town got the crowd singing along, and just as he was ready to call it a night he was bullied again into playing I’m Yours by Jason Mraz. A top night – as one of the performers we’re endebted to our patient friends and family who never fail to support our endeavours, and as observers we were treated to some cracking music – lovely night. Thanks Brad!