When there’s something strange in the neighbourhood..
Well this weekend we’ve discovered that The Lindleys can host one hell of a party! With Doozer McDooze embarking on a series of house gigs, they threw their house and garden open to the masses for a Hallowe’en themed party, nay, mini-festival. John had made a stage in the garden from pallets, chipboard and a gazebo, Russ had provided a PA and lighting, and Angela had really gone to town on spooky decorating to create an amazing space for the guests descending for good times and entertainment.
Not only did we have the treat of Doozer’s set, we had four acts preceding him. We arrived in the car – Ella had dressed up as an undead Romany girl, I’d dragged out my evil jester costume – certainly the other costumes on display from the guests were impressive – most folk had really entered into the spirit of it, and were tucking into spooky snacks or mysterious glow-in-the-dark jellies. A sinister bird chirped in the kitchen, whilst even the toilet had been made to look suitably eerie.
The weather was very kind and the firepit gave the option of heating up if it did get a bit chilly, and there was a dazzling array of warming food inside – the forty or so odd revellers were very well catered for indeed! In the meantime though the first act up on the stage was Dusty Herb, for the second time in a week for us! He started up with Sometimes as last week, and was sounding really good – and followed it up with Black Dogs Eyes again – the fact he forgot the first verse makes me feel better for once again not noting his third song (might be partly down the food becoming available, haha!).
The lyric of sweet satisfaction of solitude might give a clue to the title – or might not! A diversion from his own songs he slipped in an acoustic version of Sex Pistols’ Anarchy in the UK which worked really well – finishing up with Tattoos and Relationships. Lyric slip aside (happens to the best of artists!) it was a really confident performance again – Herb is definitely getting into his stride on the stage with a mic and his guitar.
It must’ve been cool to play on a stage once night had fallen with lights on too! Northern Monkey were busy setting up their gear once Herb had finished, with a bass, guitar, two mics and a cajón it gave Russ plenty to sort with what I think was a first outing for his new PA system, but soon enough he got everything plugged into the right place and got themselves going into their set.
They made the revelation that their songs are bipolar in nature – either euphoric or miserable, but since this was a party they were going to fill it with the former end of the spectrum. Give Your Life a Kiss got the set underway and then into Not Going Old. It was certainly getting the feet tapping – playing a party like this must be tough as inevitably there’s going to be socialising going on, but folk were doing so at a decent distance from the stage so those of us watching the bands could do that too without interruption. I’d expect nothing less from a gathering of these fine folk!
I missed the title of the third song (third song curse? (It was called Co-exist – thanks John!)), but it was dedicated to John – then into Rocky Road to Nowhere. I think it was Bar Room Philosophy that had a singalong section which was lustily joined in with by the assembled crowd, then on to Ketamine Kim which took me back to Ey Up Mi Duck in 2016 when Bart made me sit and listen to the said same song! They finished up with Benidorm which was a lively and fun way to finsih the set up. Given I only knew Doozer was playing this was shaping up to be an extra special evening!
New to me Ren Stedman was up next, he’d been kidnapped by Doozer and Birdy – his alternative ‘parents’ and brought by force to entertain us – or so he said. He didn’t seem reluctant to play though, I really enjoyed his set. Intricate and clever guitar work, great passionate vocals and clever lyrics – just my cup of tea. I didn’t do brilliantly at getting song titles but he opened with The Whisky The Liar and The Thief, the second song had the phrase ‘I’m bored of being so bored with my life’ in it, something I can relate to at times!
New Friends was up next, then one I missed the name of – Cursed or Worse led into a ‘bitter ex song’ that I don’t think he revealed the name of, then a ‘back to reality’ song which must bite hard for creative folk who need the rat race to survive whilst really only wanting to be on a stage. I Don’t Believe You led into State of Unfair which was inspired by the current political climate, then She Left Me. I missed the title of the next song, but suspect it might be I Am My Own Worst Enemy from listening to the lyrics.
The set wound to a close with Corridors and then a rousing cover of Teenage Dirtbag which had the crowd singing along like good ‘uns. An excellent set – apparently Ren played at Farmer Phil’s so he ought to have been on my radar, but well, you can’t see everyone at a festival like Phil’s try as you might – but I’ll certainly be keeping my eye out for his name in future. He’s a thoroughly nice fella too. Top discovery!
Warren Ireland was up next for a solo set, which was a treat – he’s such a talented performer. John had apparently forbade the use of his loop station (maybe he’d got an eye on his energy consumption? Or just preferred him without his tricks? – ha, treat, tricks – geddit?)… he kicked off a short set with (I think) Folsom Prison Blues (my notes are a bit dodgy) – but his guitar skills and voice are brilliant. Next up were a couple of original songs – Summer Alone was the first of them, which sounds great, once again I’ve managed to fail to note/discern a title for the third song in a set.
He revealed he’s got an EP in the works which I’m looking forward to hearing – Warren is an exciting talent on the scene. Phat Bollard’s Millionaires was up next, then another couple of original songs – the last of which was called I’m Crazy, the first once again I missed the title of. A short but sweet set, it took a while to get underway thank to a few technical gremlins but well worth it even if it was a bit abridged. Keep an eye on his Facebook page for announcements relating to the EP release (and of course any other forthcoming gigs).
Which left the stage set for the main man of the evening – Doozer McDooze took the stage and was on excellent form. He launched into Searching, cheekily saying he thought he’d open the set with a Star Copiers song, harking back to our covering it at Rockstock and Barrel. Next up was Dreams, and then Pirate Captain which had been requested by one of the guests. Stepping Stones is a fairly new song of Doozer’s, then there was another which must be newish too as couldn’t put a name to it, it might’ve been In one hand and out the other – or maybe not, it was catchy and ace, though!
Apparently a prerequisite of playing a folk festival is having a song or songs with alternative tuning, which was up next – I don’t know the name of it, but it’s really nice and it has a Quantum Leap reference in there which tickles my geeky tendencies. It might be called Born to Roam. Next up was Panic Attack which deals deftly with, well, panic attacks! Then a brave a capella rendition of the ‘there’s so much bloody good music’ song – I’m not sure what it’s actually called!
Next up was It’s Nice Down Here which as usual morphed into a cheeky cover of Gaz Brookfield’s Solo Acoustic Guy. For the rest of the set he was joined on stage by Ren for some double-guitar work on The Outlaw Song, I Don’t Wanna Go Home (pretty epic singing along), it was during The Fuck You Dance when he finally managed to snap a string and end up with a guitar being handed over whilst Joel dashed over to attempt a re-string for him. With time marching on and being mindful of the neighbours, there was time for Razorlight are Shite, the Drink Drink song and finally the one involving Flick the V Sign.
An excellent set to round of an excellent evening’s entertainment. There was still time for further jollity and socialising – before hitting the road for us. As ever it takes a while to extricate oneself from a social gathering particularly still in at least partial swing – particularly for Ella who had discovered the joys of pink gin over the course of the evening, but eventually we hit the road for home! Thank you very much to John and Angela for hosting such a wonderful gathering, the artists for performing, Joel for excellent work doing a collection for the artists and of course all the lovely guests. A top evening!