I love initiatives like this – Shirebrook Together intends to revitalise an area, to encourage folk to get out and get involved in local events. I picked up my tickets at Farmer Phil’s, literally within seconds of chatting with Waggy I’d had a couple of tickets thrust at me – for just a fiver it promised to be a good laugh though, Shanks’ Pony and The Star Botherers would provide the soundtrack along with a disco crossed with a megalithic monument set up by the side of the stage. On the one hand I go to things like this and lament the dearth of local folk who take part, but then realise that there could well be similar things set up closer to home I’m not aware of!
With an early start the next morning I drove up despite having a few overnight options, and arrived just as a deluge was stopping mercifully to park just up the road from the venue – the Shirebrook Welfare. I headed in and nearly wandered into the members-only bar to the left, but hearing music coming from further down the corridor I carried on toward the function room, what an ace room it is! Angela was outside on the phone so I knew I was in the right place, inside I found Waggy to hand over my ticket to, and John, Rob, Annie, Rob and Caroline had already bagged a table.
I mentioned a dearth of people above but the room was filling up quite nicely – there was a disco running, one part music system, two parts light show and ten parts skyscraper – it was spectacularly loud! It made conversation very shouty, but well, we can manage that! Moving over to the stage The Star Botherers were up first, a little late in getting on so the set and soundcheck merged into one, poor Bob on the sound being kept well and truly on his toes in getting them underway as the first track / soundcheck track 13 Years in Oregon got everyone’s feet tapping.
Properly underway and One Inch Death Punch was up next – we’d gathered a decent number of usual suspects on our table by this point, but it was fun casting an eye around the other tables as the set went on, some folk hadn’t seen ’em before so it was amusing to watch reactions. Particularly for Star Wars Bride which was up next and then Ringing in Sick – the sound out front sounded good from the start, it was the monitors that took a little bit of jiggery pokery from the desk at the back of the room.
Just Around the Corner brought much mirth from the assembled crowd, The Hubbal Shuffle might’ve confused them, it was good for us though – I’ve not heard it in a while! Bad Guys rarely fails to amuse – again it was good to have a look at some of the folk I didn’t know to see how they reacted, particularly for the part when Hillary ‘pipes up’ – priceless! Bart had snapped a string, and Brad – having coaxed ‘Kila to get him a beer desperately needed a wee so there was a brief pause before final track, my current favourite, When Dave’s Dead.
Is that album ready yet guys? Actually – you can get yourself to The Black Market Venue on 3rd November for their album launch gig. Strange Currencies are also launching their album on the same night, and if that weren’t enough, they have Black Thorn to support them – and it’s FREE to get in! Once they’d finished the disco cranked up again – it was a bit like Phoenix Nights, it was a lot of fun though!
After the interlude it was time for Shanks’ Pony to take the stage – Helen was back on fiddle duties, and to soundcheck I got a bit excited when Paul announced he was going to do a Russian song. Sadly it wasn’t Rasputin, nice though it was (I have no idea!). Then the set started proper, Byron’s Dog I’ve discovered is the instrumental section they play just before Top of the World – called thus because it was played at Newstead but didn’t have a name, a glance over to the wonderful monument to Boatswain – Lord Byron’s Newfoundland dog – and it was named!
So there ya go! Byron’s Dog melds seamlessly into Top of the World. Trigger the mascot was misbehaving as he does, especially when being minded by Angela. He was even spotted vaping at one point! Meanwhile an interesting medley of covers were coming out on stage – Fisherman’s Blues then Galway Girl were followed up with Get it On (or Bang a Gong (Get it On) for any trans-Atlantic readers). I don’t think I’ve heard them do that before so it was a welcome surprise, as was Down in the Tube Station at Midnight (to which we got to enthusiastically do the ‘Whoa-oh-aye-ooooh’ bits!).
Back on to the originals we got Rollercoaster in – and an announcement, Trigger was escorted to the stage by Angela to hand Paul and envelope which contained a very special piece of news. I’ve not seen the resultant video get posted yet so I’d better not post a spoiler! High Street Sell Out was next, and referenced later as being particularly apt for the occasion, then Special Brew – sadly no cans, although Paul made a point of making sure the whole room was made aware of Mark’s special moment in the song, ha!
Then more well chosen covers – Dirty Old Town and Tell Me Ma and then into Raggle Taggle Gypsy – what a trio! Followed up with The Irish Rover, then Cruising in Sanity. There was even time for a brief Elvis interlude when Paul foolishly asked for requests, they finished up the set with Delilah and of course Moshpit Waltz, by which point the dancefloor was nice and full. I’m not sure Teresa and I make the best dance partnership given our height difference – but it was fun! They were asked to do an encore, so they finished up finally with Chasing Cars. An ace set – another band that needs to get in the studio!
The raffle was drawn, which I won the first draw – I grabbed some wine, once the raffle was finished a competition to win a bottle of whisky by throwing pound coins at it was set up – the closest £1 winning. I was nowhere near – ultimately one was pretty much touching the bottle so it found a happy home, by which point it was time to hit the road. A top quality evening’s entertainment, hopefully it’s not the last event the Shirebrook Together volunteers put on. Although Mark did offer our services to play at the next one, so that might put them off!