Saturday night saw a return to the splendid Shoulder of Mutton in Shelf, West Yorkshire.
When first I played the Shoulder, my two forty-fives of originals were reasonably well-received by a smallish group of family supporters. Stakes were raised at my second visit when, switching to cover songs, genuine smatterings of modest applause erupted once or twice from small pockets of regular shoulder-goers. But Saturday’s gig was clearly the pick of the braid; my shoes came off, impromptu Metallica requests were indulged, and an old matey appeared to popular acknowledgement.
Something in the water, me reckons – not that anyone was drinking water. One chap was so enlightened he felt moved to perform the entire Them Bones solo break as a vocally-embellished piece of air guitar, and all this from his seat in the audience. Clearly this maverick trend-setter was leading the way with his slick moves, demonstrating the correct way to proceed and paving the way nicely for his next trick. For in an hour’s time, as Karma Police sounded throughout the venue he was to be found holding discarded footwear over my head while we posed for pictures.
And so the evening passed by with a steadily heightening glow of high spirits, good-humoured banter and athletic codas; from old Kenst tunes like Bill From Above to the themes from Blackadder and Red Dwarf; through Can You Imagine an Imaginary Menagerie Manger Imagining Managing an Imaginary Menagerie? and How Much Wood Would Chuck Woodward’s Woodchuck Chuck If Chuck Woodward’s Woodchuck Could Chuck Wood?; lastly to She’s Electric spliced with Creeping Death, via a double-entendre detour and the claim that I might, if allowed, ‘put one wide’.
Big thanks to all involved in making this easily the most memorable solo gig I’ve done. I think in large parts that’s due to the promotion of the wise heads at the Shoulder. No mean slice of gratefulness goes out to sound engineer Daniel Wilson for taking care of the audio recording and front-of-house.
This is the first show I’ve filmed and selected tasty nuggets are to be sampled here.