I take about a week to come down after a big gig these days and The Fall support was all of that and more.
It all happened very last minute. Simon had suggested us to the tour promoter weeks ago and was told they wanted a younger band. Then, a week out from the gig, I started getting emails from him asking from some sample tracks of our music and we spoke on the phone a couple of times. He remembered us from The Buzzcocks support some years back so we got the gig.
I’d not been to Bodega since Sva’s wake and hadn’t played there for several years so I went in to see Mo on the Friday and met Sam the sound man. Mo was happy we had the gig and said he had put in a word for us as well – it felt like a welcome home thing, I love that bar and have had some great gigs there over the years.
It had sold out and was a very exciting prospect – playing to a hard-core Fall crowd for fifty minutes
Sunday morning started off in spectacular fashion with that big win by the All Blacks over France. We had our regular rehearsal after lunch and ran down the set. We played everything really fast because I knew that we would on the night anyway in that kind of cauldron.
Soundcheck was at six and was painless – we just parked our gear in front of the Fall’s and between us and Sam, we got our sounds and played through a couple of songs leaving it all set up and ready to go.
I just played the Gretsch that night. I introduced us as the Spines and got the feedback happening in the body of the guitar – the B minor that is Here Comes My Ruth and let her rip.
The whole band did. It takes a couple of songs in to get a frame of reference for the band and the audience at these big support gigs. The band was up for it, energised and just enjoying the sound we’d been working on and the spirit between us. The crowd were curious at first then more interested as the night unfolded.
The second song was You Seem To Be Happy off Idiot Sun. I’d picked a song from each of our 1980s recordings so that anyone who ever had a Spines record would know something and a lot of the heavy stuff off the Monsterpiece album. It was a colourful set and had some magic moments like Hannah’s violin in Lily and I or the guitar/vocal breakdown in Unscathed and the killing groove we got on Losing Colour and Subhuman Love – we even did Sex Can Be Sad.
It’s a great stage when the bar is packed and you’re on fire and Dan took some great photos. Towards the end someone yelled out – Who are you?
We finished with Your Body Stays as always and had our own little Green Room downstairs where we laughed and debriefed. Bodega looked after us and we got to see The Fall
In the madness and the flurry afterwards I ran into all these rock writers and critics one after another – Sweetman, Smithies, MacLennan, Tuckett… a couple of them said that this is the best Spines line-up ever.
I think I know what they mean.
Click here for the Off The Tracks review of The Fall
The Ghost of Electricity – War Stories by Jon McLeary is a new initiative at Off The Tracks, a series of stories and reflections from painter, writer and musician Jon McLeary