Tour Diary - Day Three

Surrey – Katie’s House
 
As day three of our quest dawned with a yawn, we peeled ourselves from our beds – Me enthroned like Nero in a lovely big bed, Louis bent like a drainpipe around the floor (I sense this Karmic imbalance will not go unaddressed) – we toasted, coffeed, hugged and waved our way out of the door, and bid farewell to lovely Nardia and Elly as we headed for the motorway and Katie’s House.
 
Katie is a long-time friend and confidante of the band, having hosted our first ever house gig on Mark and Karen’s beautiful Surrey farm last year. She is also in charge of the magnificent Front Room on the Farm festival that we shall be headlining in September (check out the flyer below and get in touch asap if you want to come. Tickets are nearly all gone!). But this time our venue was to be her sitting room.

This will be amazing. 
 

We got there very early, and as the work of a freelance composer never stops (but frequently rarely starts) I had to colonise the performance space to deal with a soundtrack I’ve been working on. I like the fact that there will something on TV with music written and recorded on a floor in between gigs.

I hear John Williams has a similar setup.

 
That dealt with, we tucked into sandwiches, homemade quiche, couscous and tea with Katie and her family, revelling in the warm hospitality of veteran house concert hosts. Our stage was set, demarcated and lit beautifully, and as 7.30 rolled around the hordes of guests began arriving. It was great to see so many familiar faces. This is my third gig under the Front Room Songs banner, and it was delightful to forgo the initial curious barrier that can exist between musicians and audience members and just have a lovely chat with old friends. This would be the first time many of them had seen me perform in the nude, so to speak, without the comforting blanket of six makeup-caked, groovy rock nymphs smashing away around me, and I began to get unusually nervous. Nerves are rarely a problem once you’ve faced down hundreds of crowds for years (or shown them your penis in ONE MEMORABLE CASE), but I became very aware that I was going out in front of some real connoisseurs armed solely with my voice and some songs, bringing a penknife to a bazooka fight. The pressure to nail it was palpable.
 
Louis was up first once again, and the crowd gave him the warmest of welcomes, which he earned in spades. They loved him! I knew they would.

Man caught stealing guitar
 
My turn. This was the biggest audience we’ve had so far, and I stepped out in front of a sea of expectant faces and with a deep breath, cracked into it.
 
What a crowd. It is often said that a gig is a team effort, the crowd and players working together to make something fun. And these Surrey beauties picked me up and hugged me with their loveliness. I felt emboldened and polished by them, and the gig felt bright and easy. My nerves evaporated, and I felt like I was riding this lovely wave of goodwill. This all doubtless sounds like nonsense, but when you’re sitting in the cockpit of a performance, these clouds of intangible feeling are as vivid as the sun.

"Oh! Are you taking a picture of me? I hadn't noticed."
 
We all sang, clapped and danced together, and saw off the night with a rousing, stamping group singalong to my song Molly. The tip hat had done the rounds a couple of times, and we could barely lift the bloody thing. You lovely generous kind people.  After that the guests all politely and quickly left the building, with various extravagant and lovely messages of thanks and praise.
 
Katie magicked up peanut butter and banana sandwiches from somewhere, and followed it up with huge meringues with fruit and coconut cream. It’s so hard to be a starving artist these days.
 
We chatted into the night, then I slunk away and curled up on a pile of sofa cushions, one of Katie’s Massive Cats purring away beside me.
 
This is the life. 


Next stop: TWICKENHAM

Read Louis' account of the tour HERE

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