Having booked the Friday (30.4.10) off I set out from home fairly early considering Dan’s gig was not until around 8pm that evening and given that I was heading to Liverpool I thought it was a good opportunity to visit some people I know through work who are based in Manchester. Now because I have managed to drive around for the last 25 odd years without the sultry voice of some non distinct women calling out “Turn left” I do not own a Sat-Nav using instead the quaint method of sign posts I navigated my way to the first destination of the day and spent an hour or so with a guy I’ve known and spoken to pretty much everyday for the last seven years but never met in person.
After a light lunch it was time to hit the road for sunny Liverpool, actually up until the outskirts of the city it was sunny but then the heavens opened. Now I don’t know about you but following directions off a bit of paper clutched on the steering wheel while peering through a rain drenched windscreen and having kamikaze Liverpudlians hurl their vehicles at you from all directions is not really my idea of fun. Of course I missed numerous turnings and had to do U-turns on roads that was not designed for that sort of manoeuvre, luckily I spotted a small parking sign that said “Mount Pleasant Parking” given that the Aachen hotel where I was staying was in Mount Pleasant it seemed a good bet that I was in the right place however this is where the fun starts as I said it was throwing it down, there is no parking outside the hotel they have secure parking round the corner but you need the key for that so you have to park first, book in, get the key then move your car all in monsoon weather nice!
With the car parked and dragging my now soaked and dripping body up the stairs I was introduced to my little haven for Friday night, after the mandatory “Here is the sink, tea making facilities and TV. The bathroom and toilet is over there” I settled in to my 15ft by 10ft room! I suppose they are only being polite but I always find it funny when they feel they must point stuff out that’s like only 3ft away from you “Ooh stuff me, a bed? I’d never have guessed” 😉
Ten minutes later after unpacking there was a knock on the door “Erm sorry to disturb you but would you mind moving your dripping wet carcass to another room? We made a mistake and someone else would like this one” now I was ready to explode at this point I mean I’ve driven nearly 180 miles I’m soaked through, hungry and desperate for a cup of tea but ever the ‘deal maker‘ I thought there was no harm in having a look, wow what a nice room and complimentary bottle of white and red wine thrown in!
Next up was texting yamatt to say I’d arrived and where could we meet, yamatt responded with “we are going to Alma-de-Cuba for Taco’s and Burgers and then heading to the Bad Format for the gig” now that sounded OK so a quick sploosh up and change of clothes and off to the restaurant which was just round the corner. The restaurant was very nice I should have smelt a rat when this expensive looking girl sat at sort of desk greeted me, looked me up and down as if I looked like the type to strip the wiring out the walls and said “Can I help you?” after assuring her I did have the gift of speech and was unlikely to drink the finger bowl I was allowed to walk in and there was some of the rouges and renegades that make up Linux Outlaws such as yamatt and his partner, redbrain the mad Irishman, jontheniceguy, crunchbang maintainer corenominal and his wife bobobex, heeed and his wife, biglesp, and who could forget vz the Norwegian with the unpronounceable name plus some others who if they get in touch I’ll add their names here.
yamatt led the way and we all sat at the table ready to devour said food items like a pack of unwashed jackals and hyena’s, whereupon the waitress placed the menu in our hands “OMFG” clutching my wallet pocket I surveyed the lottery-win-prices poking their tongues out at me “yamatt you bastard wtf is this?” it turns out the Taco’s and Burgers menu finishes at 6.00pm as it was now well after six we was on the retirement fund menu, I had a small piece of chicken breast a sort of smoky sausage a desert spoon of diced potatoes and some beans £15.00 odd! I did consider licking the plate in an attempt to get my monies worth but thought better of it.
It was funny when it came to paying for it everyone, including me, wanted to scrutinize the bill to make sure they only paid for what they had then proceeded to throw notes, coins, buttons and a washing machine token into a pile. Of course there had to be one or two awkward gits who wanted to pay with credit cards so bobobex took control, well someone had to, and paid the bill while handing out ‘black spots‘ to the credit card holders. The bill paid we then organised our move to the Bad Format originally the talk was “All share a taxi” but supposedly, we was told, “Its only round the corner” so off we traipsed in a typical blind leading the blind fashion, I noticed yamatt’s partner desperately trying to get her phone to pinpoint our position but all to no avail we ambled our way through the streets shoe leather beginning to fray along with my happy demeanour.
Ok I bitched a bit I mean I’m used to the finer things like having rose petals scattered in my path, the general populace waving palm leaves and transported in a manner befitting my status jontheniceguy said “Ah shut up you’ve done nothing but moan” he was right, I had and I planned to do some more moaning but I was running out of listeners fast so decided to ‘perk up a bit’ hopefully I could get him back with an uber moan later?
Turning a corner there was The Bad Format where our methoddan was due to perform waiting at the door was Katy fabsh‘s better half. Having been searched and asked “Do you have any weapons? Would you like one?” our hands was stamped (on?) and after being fleeced for some raffle ticket money we was ushered downstairs into what appeared to be a cellar come dungeon. First port of call was the bar and then a suitable seat for our little group to retire into before the show got under way. First up was Reflect Harmony Group a girl duet led group singing boogie woogy type songs I’m afraid I cant give you a run down of their set as to be honest I was far too busy talking to nybill and windigo from America and gettting my glow stick from yamatt however they was pretty good I certainly don’t remember thinking “Christ they stink” we was stuck round a corner and could not see the stage but could hear, that was one of the failings of the venue you had a choice sit with your friends but see nothing or stand up all night in front of the stage.
Next up was Attila the Stockbroker, OK lets get a couple of things out the way, Dan likes him I think they are friends to be honest so Dan I’d skip this bit if I was you.
Attila is one of those political monologue/poet acts this sort of act was very popular in the late 80’s early 90’s one of the more famous ones that springs to mind is Alexi Sayle who could be Dan’s long lost brother looking at his face? Attila did his set slagging off all and sundry to whoops from the younger, less worldly wise members of the audience I honestly think someone should tell him to cut along to the nursing home he looks 20+ years older than most of the photo’s I can find and in my opinion his act is 20 to 30 years out of date too I don’t mean to be cruel but it looked to me like a desperate man desperately attempting to hang on to the lime light and as with most desperate people it calls for ever more desperate measures to stay in place so as you can imagine the poems was angrier and angrier. The final unforgivable thing he did was attempt to steal Dan’s set. I stood 10 feet away and watched him stick his wizen old foot on Dan’s stage watching intently as if he was some sort of music agent or something then proceed to either lecture Dan on lines of every song Dan did or talk to the crowd about elements or supposed meanings of Dan’s rendition I felt like walking up and whispering “FO you old fart you’ve had your turn”.
David Rovics was next I’m afraid he was ‘nothing to write home about’ in my opinion he sang, well, Hoe Down music NYbill seemed to know his songs and confirmed they was pretty old having said that they was listen-able to, again I cant give you a list of songs as I was too busy talking or waving me glow stick but I suppose in truth I was just waiting for Dan.
And so we come to the main event Dan Lynch and his as yet unnamed band. yamatt, jontheniceguy, vz, heeed, biglesp and I got as close as possible to the stage and an eardrum bursting speaker, actually I cunningly made yamatt stand next to that well he is younger than me!
Dan opened his set with Jumping Jack Flash by the Stones it was really very good and had the audience dancing and singing along but then Dan hit us with his version of Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie OMG I’m a huge Bowie fan so now, for me, this was the acid test. Would he cock this iconic song up or could he pull it off? Dan just blew me away with his version he just, well, nailed it my only moan that I spoke to Dan about afterwards was the famous held (now ziggy) ‘played‘ (guitar) note/lyric at the end of the song which is more a test of breath holding than anything else Dan didn’t sing it that way, chicken. 😉
As if we was not all fit to burst like a bottle of pop Dan then hit us with Psycho Killer by Talking heads I honestly considered stabbing myself not because Dan stank, no because I honestly felt I must have died and gone to heaven or something “He is playing all my favourite songs!” the band blasted this track out while I threw my usual reserve out the window and threw my body round like some demented lunatic. Dan was on a roll now and hit us for six with Down Under by Men at Work “I said to the man are you trying to tempt me” this had us all doing quirky Madness type walk dancing.
Fortunately Dan took pity on us and lowered the tempo slightly with his awesome track he wrote a couple of years ago The Elephant In The Room this is such a cool song and Dan really ought to make sure it becomes his signature tune. I’m convinced Dan put together his song choices for me personally he must have done because next up was The Great Leap Forward by Billy Bragg if you’ve never heard it, find it and listen to it that man knows how to write a political song for Christ sake! By now I have lost all hope of retaining any mysterious aloofness jigging around glow stick in hand transported back 20 years ago when my dancing actually was pretty good but of course now I probably look like Moby Dick on a trampoline.
You would have thought the next track Redemption Song by Bob Marley would have calmed us all down a bit? You’re having a laugh! The room is now banging everyone and I mean everyone is up and dancing old, young and even people who was not part of our crowd all joined in singing and dancing while Dan sweating like a stuffed pig ripped our guts out with his fantastic rework of the song. Dan’s supposed final track was State Of Love & Trust by Pearl Jam by now I’m a slobbering mess occupying a place on the dance floor seeing as it was, so he thought, his last track Dan put his heart and soul into it.
But lo the RatholeRadio clan would not let Dan leave the stage and did threaten all manner of evils unless he sated their hunger with at least one more song, poor Dan tried pathetically to say “The rest of the guys have left to stage” hoping this would get him out of it but there was a shrill scream and whaling from the drunken bums in front of him which left him with no choice but to finish up with Half The World Away by Oasis What can I say I’m not a fan of Oasis but Dan you’re the man you made the song your own you made the event your own and the crowd did get on bended knee and chant “we’re not worthy” (This actually happened).
By now we was all pretty shattered the event seemed to empty at an alarming rate even though the Lone Gunmen still had their set to do which was partly why yamatt had brought the glow sticks and whistles we listened to a couple of tracks but decided it was time to slope off as well, oh I forgot to mention yamtt won the signed banner that was being raffled his better half was not very impressed at all “I dunno where he thinks he is putting that?” my suggestion of the front room did not seem to go down all that well.
vz is pissed out of his brains: So yamatt and his misses, redbran, vz and I poured out of The Bad Format we stumbled up into the main town, where are you stopping vz? “In a hotel” the razor sharp whit did not go unnoticed I guessed that, where is the hotel you are staying in? “Its about 10 minutes away I have it written down on a bit of paper” and so a drunken vz staggered off to the taxi rank accosting the drivers with his tatty bit of paper “you take me this place please” I was slightly worried about him but hey I was worried about myself too!
So that left four of us walking back, we noticed a rancid burger bar “what you reckon? Anyone hungry enough to risk it?” course we are, we placed our orders with the beat up old hag running the joint I tried to pay for mine with a £10 note “I aint got no change” oh dear neither have I, redbrain came to the rescue and stumped up £2 towards it, now he said “Forget about it its only £2 but a debt is a debt and you must wait for OggCamp to find out what happened. I decided to engage the burger woman in polite conversation “Busy night?” “What time do you finish?” and various other niceties she looked at me with an expression that said “Why are you not stabbing me and robbing my bloody corpse?” I felt a bit sorry for her too all alone surrounded by thousands of drunken revellers with that in mind we moved briskly on in case the locals mugged us for our greasy cheese burger.
We all walked to yamatts rented apartment and said our good night’s and I carried on alone passing people who either was just starting out at 2am or getting more cash to carry on. Reaching the hotel I let myself into my room and crashed out ready for OggCamp in the morning.
I just pray Dan has another event next year what more can you say but “Thanks Dan what an awesome time you gave us”.