Waking in Wolverhampton I feel sad that it’s the last day of the tour already. Today is the London date that no tour would be complete without and so we’re off to The Lounge, Archway, London after breakfast which is a fun meal. There are a few bleary eyes about and, thinking about hangovers, I’m reminded of the old Elvira joke;
“How’s your head?”
“I’ve never had any complaints”.
I have a partial English (I’m not a sausage fan, contrary to what you might have heard) and a black cherry yogurt. After breakfast and freshening up Heavy Metal Panda decided to be the first panda in history to ever leave an extra towel in a hotel.
We do more standing about in a car park. We realise the Terminus vehicles are going to be cramped so Emmy, Heavy Metal Panda and I get to go to London with Gaz of the Sykko Dollz and his lovely wife Helen. Part way through the journey Heavy Metal Panda is a bit star struck, thinking it a privilege to hear great vocalist Gaz singing along to Absolute Rock radio. We get to Archway first and have a cosy meal in McDonalds before everyone else arrives.
The venue is plush. There is a glitterball and a celebrity sound guy, Danny Felice from Breed 77. On the journey from Wolvo I’d said “I wonder if we’ll see any celebs in London, apart from the ones we’re taking with us of course”. I take a picture of a mural of a woman in her undies on the wall. Alan explains this is Jessica Alba and he describes her talents, looking wistful. Alba, if you’re reading, I think you might be in there.
Soundcheck is fast and precise. Doors open at 8:00 and Terminus take to the stage at 8:30. Some Oxford locals have come out to see them which is much appreciated. Terminus play a short set that includes Rose Tattoo’s “Sweetmeat” (otherwise known as the grind wiggle wiggle song), Kiss’s “Detroit Rock City” and they finish with Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World”. It’s the highest stage they’ve ever played on. John’s hat is very sweaty after. I don’t assess the sweatiness of the rest of the band because that would be weird.
Next up we have the Sykko Dollz. They play only their original material tonight. I’m at the front with the Dollz faithful singing and dancing along. I really need the Dollz to get into the studio and record. I’d love to have been able to take these songs home with me. The crowd is jolly and a section of it keeps breaking out into a chorus of “You’re so vain”. The dancing to “Riding All Night” is as suggestive as that in Terminus’s grind wiggle wiggle song.
Headline act Stone Trigger round off the weekend with an enthusiasm impressive for chaps performing for the fourth time in a row. I’ve developed a deep fondness for the tracks “Rattle Your Bones” and “Children of the Night”. You can get their album from Stone Trigger Big Cartel and become fond of them yourself.
I have Stone Trigger’s Tommy to thank for making me feel like I was back at the Queens Arms, Oxford in 1989, because he was in the ladies’ loo, doing his eyeliner. When I first began frequenting rock pubs there were always blokes in the ladies’ using the mirror. I overheard Sykko Dollz singer Gaz say “Was there a dressing room? I was still in my boxers when punters were coming through the door, I was putting on more of a show than I should have been”. Further glamour was added to the evening when we spotted beautiful alternative model Dani Divine. This inspired Emmy to attempt to teach John and Alan to walk like a model. More work is needed on this project.
Now the sad bit. Goodbyes. I think of the Dr Seuss quote; “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”. Helen echoes my thoughts when she says she wishes we could create a heavy metal island to all live together on and never have to go to work. Music is escapism. It’s what makes the boring bits of life bearable. It’s what accompanies our celebrations. It’s what brings people together. It’s what thunders through the veins of all the Sunday night gig goers. It’s what makes us feel alive and in the moment. It leaves us better than it found us. It becomes part of us.
Heavy Metal Panda and I would like to thank everyone for a wonderful weekend.
The gig in brief
Most disturbing sentence of the night: “It’s time to go home”.
Number of Motörhead T shirts in the venue: 1.
Number of middle aged men enrolled in Emmy’s model school: 2.
Number of crisps flavours available behind bar: 0. The bar man told me they used to have crisps but they don’t now. I think the people who usually come to this venue are probably too cool to eat crisps in a bar.