After a change to my original gig schedule, as i would be staying at Hotel Rob & he kindly offered me a ticket for Tunbridge Wells gig, i decided i just had to go to this one.
Rob drove via Cranbrook so he could visit his parents. It’s funny that after knowing Rob for so many years, this would be the first time i’m meeting his parents + “Betty”. Betty? You ask. Betty is the name for their Basset Hound rescue dog 🙂 Despite Betty being a bit timid due to her previous owners, i think she took to me quickly. (As was proven when i wasn’t giving her any attention & she tapped my leg tried to jump up. Dogs have a good sense of the people to trust 😉 ) After a nice cuppa & a brief chat, we were back on our way to Tunbridge Wells.
After my disapointment of the “improvements” made to The Borderline, i’m wondering how tonights venue will be, especially as i’m told it used to be a toilet !
We parked up behind the venue & there was a side door which was open. I couldn’t resist it & had a quick peak in the place. Yes, it is quite small, but i just had a good feeling about this one. Ally & Danny were up on stage still sorting the load in, but i didn’t want to impose myself.
We went for a walk along the Pantiles. It’s a very nice area with lots of little quaint shops & a few bars/eateries. Eventually, we decided to go to The Opera…a Wetherspoons pub about 10mins walk away ! A walk that was uphill lol. This was one of the smartest Wethers i’ve ever been to. Very swish. We arranged to meet Eva there & it wasn’t long before she joined us.
We had food & then went back to the town centre. Ended up in The Duke Of York pub. I sent Danny a txt to see if he wanted to join us. Whilst in there, Evas friend , Ira turned up along with her friend Andy (?). (A funny coincidence was that he plays drums in the band “Saint Agnes”. The main guy in the band is Jon Tufnell. He’s someone i’ve known since he had the band “Plastic Toys” years back. ) Others who joined us in the pub were Andy, Jill, Eric & Sonia. Of course, Danny joined as well.
Eventually we go to the venue. Rob had arranged for me to have a chair, so we went to the front of a small queue to sort that out. I had my chair at the front, at the side. It was an excellent view….well, to start off with lol. The travelling VMs family took their places at the front, centre & right side.
Tonight, i “got” The Hyena Kill much more than i did in London. I’m sure that the better view & sound played a big part in that. I still need to listen to them more though, before i decide yay or nay.
During their set, the venue got a bit busier. A shortish lass & her BF(?) stood just to the right of me. But i could still see the stage no problem. There was another chap with them & i noticed how he was gradually drifting to the left in front of me. Eventually from my seat all i could see was his back. I thought he was just plain ignorant. I mean, he’d obviously seen i was sat down. Eventually, i stood on the first step to the stage & said ” Well, i suppose i’ll just have to stand here to see the show”. He just grunted. He’d wound me up with his ignorance. I then said to him directly ” You don’t realise just how big you are, do ya? “. His reply was some B.S. like “yeah i’m used to it”. The lass realised what i was saying & she dropped back a bit & so did the big ignorant oaf ! Thank you to that young lady who realised there was a reason for me having that seat & basically helping to move the guy. I could now enjoy my night.
Soon enough the familiar intro of ” Feelin Good ” starts & the guys wander onto the stage. As with the other shows, they start proceedings with “Dead Mans Shoes” then go into “Halo In Her Silhouette”. I look to my right & see the front row full of smiles & chanting the ” Waho-o-oh’s ” towards the end of Halo.
Damn, it’s great to be a part of this,even if i’m not down there jumping around like the old days. The quality & dedication from the band to their craft is still as strong as ever. Plus seeing the crowd enjoying themselves, just makes me enjoy the time even more. “Portrait Of Red ” & “I Wanna Take You Home” just fly by. I’d imagine by now there’s not many in the room who haven’t already heard the new song “Sweet Loretta”. I bloody love it.When we get to “Into Dust”, once again i love seeing the front row enjoying themselves so much.
Once again, before playing “Moths To A Flame”, Ally caught me out. He explained how the VMs have been around for a while now & there are people who have been there since the beginning. “There are people who have followed us all over the UK & Europe….And there’s one guy in the room who’s sat right there, called Simon Clapham. He’s one incredible soul who’s smashing the fuck out of something himself..as well as us onstage…so er, this is to him, it’s called “Moths To A Flame”
I can so relate to the words of this song as i’m trying to hold on & trying to be strong fighting this shitty cancer. Every time i hear these words i cannot help but break down. It invokes the tears. (Around the 3 minute mark into the song, my camera wobbles a bit. The reason for this is that Eva has come over from the other side of the room & gave me the biggest tightest hug. She’s such a sweetheart). When the song finishes, both Jill & Sonia also gave me a hug. I’m proud to be part of the “VMs family” & have such great friends.
Time for another new one. “Sitting Ducks” & then we’re “Off To Another Land” 😉 Tonight we get a change of set when Ally says : ” We’re gonna play you a song that we haven’t played all tour. And bearing in mind that Azdas hard as nails..this is his favourite song..This is called “Walk In My Shoes ”
(I’m sure the reference to Azda being hard as nails is with regard to him dealing swiftly with the bloke who got up onstage the previous night in London. He was a big guy, but it didn’t stop wee Azda dealing with him. Respect to ya 🙂 )
After “Through The Sky”, we get the usual closing songs of “Just A Ride & Ends Don’t Mend”.
Ally briefly introduces the new guy Ross (“He’s only been playing bass about a week” lol), thanks everyone for supporting them over the years & he says they’ll keep coming back if we keep coming back. “Please if you think tonight was worth more than ten pounds, help us out with the merch & make sure we can drive around & keep coming back. This is our last song…& we’ll see you guys…in about 10 minutes…This is Bang Bang Bang…”
Sure enough, about 10mins later, the guys come out to say goodbyes etc. Chatting with Danny i mention that later in the year i’m going to see Skunk Anansie at The Ritz, Manchester (Same venue where i i first met the VMs family). Looks like he could also be going to that one 😉 Of course, the evening wouldn’t have been complete without the “end of tour” band photos (for some of us lol)
Eventually we all say our goodbyes & look forward to the next time we all meet. I’ll finish this with the alternate angle of Ally ,Eva & myself. I describe it as ” Eva radiating her love” 😉 (Yeah, ok, we know it’s the focusing from the other camera, but i prefer my description 🙂 )