The weekend began with a drive down to Greenock on Friday to collect Woody and the RFPB backline. After a few months away from gigging, we were a bit out of practice in the game of Roadie Tetris. So, by the time we made it to Glasgow Dan had the challenge of getting his remaining gear (and himself) into the car for the ride to Dundee. A quick stop-off at the now, and growing, familiar Perth Broxden McDonalds, we made it to Cerberus Bar to load-in for the evening’s show. The Friday and Saturday shows were a bit different to the usual punk shows that we usually play in that for these ones we were the only act on the bill, in full pub band mode to play a mix of (mainly) our own songs and covers.
Cerberus is a tiny bar near the University of Abertay in Dundee. It is made even smaller with a rock’n'roll band set-up in the corner. By around 8.30 we were ready to go and play for the small but enthusiastic crowd of early evening Friday drinkers. Starting off with the idea of rehearsing our headline set for Sunday’s all dayer, it soon descended in to a meander through a bunch of songs based on what was working and away from what wasn’t (Teenage Kicks was in, Malaga Airport was Out, and Jeremy was a Bass and Drum Solo). Afterwards, the night descended into a lively night out with some old friends, at the overtly hip and too expensive Dukes Corner before some of us had fried chicken, and others had whisky and a 4am walk back to the hotel from the other side of town.
For this run of dates, money (see: playing two pub sets instead of 45 minute original song set) allowed the convenience and comfort of a Travelodge for the nights in Dundee and Inverness. We surfaced around 11am in the stuffy, too warm, airless Dundee room and set about finding a cooked breakfast but ended up in a Weatherspoons with some Brocolli and Stilton soup. Well, I thought it was ok, Woody didn’t. After loading out of Cerberus (they were gracious enough to allow us to leave our gear there overnight), I went for a coffee with a close friend and Dan and Woody went clothes shopping for my Sunday evening outfit (their idea, and they were ultimately unsuccessful).
The drive up to Inverness was uneventful, arriving, checking in and solving the second run of booking errors at the Travelodge around 6pm. A small amount of watching TV news, internet browsing, and general relaxing occurred before we headed off to the evenings venue, The Eagle Bar, to load-in and soundcheck. We have played at the Eagle Bar before, and always enjoy the reception we get from the folk it attracts. It’s a very long and narrow pub, with the stage area facing the bar rather than down the length of the room, which makes things awkward but not impossible. After soundcheck, we were made aware by the sound-man of the strict noise limits due to complaints, which meant that the on-stage volume was pitifully low (giving the engineer full control out front). I can totally understand why limits are there, but they always give me the sense of dread because I know that our band can easily top the 110dB limit on a good night.
As it happened, everything went well and inside the limits. There was a lovely transient but constant crowd of Saturday drinkers throughout the night. The show became special to me when a person who I hadn’t met previously called out for my track Despite the Blackout. I tried to remember how it went, but the chords and lyrics evaded me. In my anxiety, I thought that he had merely googled the band and found a song title to shout out, but when I said that we were going to play Mirrors (track one on the same album), he sang his heart out louder than myself and I knew was genuine. That made my weekend. Seriously.
We finished playing around half-twelve (it was a late show), got paid, and loaded-out, arriving back at the hotel around 2. As is usual for our Inverness shows, we went on a late night shopping expedition to the 24hour supermarket next to the hotel for crisps, juice and sweets. We had an early start the next day to drive to Glasgow for load-in at our All-Day birthday gig, so it was best to avoid the drink and get some sleep.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get much sleep because of the weather raging outside our window. Luckily though, it seemed to be moving south roughly an hour ahead of our drive. By around 1pm we were at the Old Hairdressers in Glasgow, load-in in our backline and PA for the day’s festivities. Normally, when we play shows it is only our backline that we have to provide, however, for this show we were using our own PA too in order to keep costs as low as possible. The venue was up three sets of stairs, so you can get an idea of the exercise and work-out this generated. By 3pm, we were all set up, with Gareth at the soundboard, ready for the show to start.
In general, the day went well and the people who made it out despite the weather seemed to have a great time. We had a cover song auction to try to raise as much cash as possible, with the winning songs being: Screamager (Therapy), The Middle (jimmy eat world) and Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison). We played a much more static set-list than previous nights, with a few acoustic songs here and there to try to represent the various sounds that the RFPB has had over the years. Naturally, as I usually do though, I through in some other songs just to try to keep the momentum up.
In all honesty, there were a few things during the day that pissed me off, but I’m trying my best not to dwell on them. Instead I’m focusing on the fact that we put together one of the best bills we’ve been on, saw old and new music friends play amazing sets, rebuilt bridges, raised cash for the Scottish Association for Mental Health, and didn’t fuck up anything we played (mostly). After the show, all that was left to do was to load-out the gear and PA and head home.
By 1.30am I was tucked up in my own bed, exhausted and ready to sleep like a log.
Many thanks to: Cerberus Bar, Emma (photograph extraordinaire), Stu and The Eagle Bar, Highland Park Optimist Club, Jonny Gill, Turtle Lamone, Chris Devotion, Joe McCorriston, Mark McCabe, Daniel Versus the World, Roscoe Vacant, Gareth for doing the sound at Glasgow, and everyone who came along to the shows, bought CDs and partied with us.