Saturday 25th April 2015 saw us heading off to the Melbourn Rock Club’s 35th anniversary gig at the Eternit Social Club in Meldreth, Hertfordshire which is close to the Cambridgeshire border (I.e. Way out ‘in the sticks’).
The thing was, this was an overnighter and the first time that Fender’s Den, a.k.a. Kevin’s caravan had had an outing since last year’s adventures and it was in desperate need of a good spring clean, so, lunchtime saw me heading off to Stevenage station to catch the train to Arlesey to meet Chris and then off to Langford to get the job done.
With the help of Henry the Hoover a duster and a can of Mr. Sheen the inside was soon clean and sparkling, the outside benefited from a good soapy wash down and a high power jet spray, yes, Fender’s Den was once more habitable.
With the caravan hitched up we set off through the winding country roads to Meldreth with a short detour to Royston to pick up a suitable present for Maurice’s 65th birthday and then to our regular overnight pitch by the side of the club to await the arrival of our friends Tim & Jo.
The bar was open, it was about 17:30, the ‘Trooper’ was on tap and fresh, well, rude not to really.
After a couple of pints we decided it would be best to get the caravan properly pitched and sorted for the night and Tim and Jo had also arrived and set up their tent next to us, Chris cooked up some fine cheeseburgers and we were ready for a night’s rock and roll.
One of the great things about the MRC rock gigs with the overnight camping (Coupled with an early arrival) is that you get to see all the bands sound-checking, meet them, meet the other punters, especially the other mad souls going for the overnight experience and it gives the whole thing much more of a festival atmosphere rather than just another gig.
Anyway, our general exploits are all ‘captured’, as usual, in the commemorative poem below, so, onto some real comments about the music, I could summarise it all very simply as, three excellent bands, but that wouldn’t be fair so I’ll expand a bit!
Lovehats, this was a band I’d not come across before and hence knew nothing about, an obviously very experienced three piece these guys certainly knew how to rock, it was rocky, it was bluesy, at times it was even funky, a damn fine start to the evenings proceedings.
Kaine, a band I’d not only seen a couple of times before but I was lucky enough to have been in the enviable position of reviewing their last / current album, The Waystone, which I personally count as one of my favourite metal albums in my somewhat vast collection.
Kaine’s take on the NWOBHM genre is by no means a retrospective one, it is fresh, up to date, played live with a really infectious passion and considering they’d not gigged for a while the performance was absolutely spot on.
Very much keeping me firmly in the here and now I was also ‘taken back’ to those days when I used to go and see bands like Saxon, Samson, Witchfynde, Tygers of Pan Tang and when I first heard Iron Maiden the first time round!
I also really like and respect the perspective these guys have with respect to their band, the rock and roll business as a whole and, having themselves been messed around by ‘labels’ and seen friends bands completely screwed up by the corporate machine, these guys are fiercely independent and make no bones about it but, as far as I’m concerned, good on you and keep fighting the good fight.
|Rage Sadler of Kaine|
Pig Iron, one of the hardest working best well known and yet for some bizarre reason nowhere near as famous as they should be, hard rock bands, with their fusion of metal, dirty southern blues rock and heavy heavy tunes (Often referred to as ‘Biker Rock’) these guys know how to rock and rock hard.
Currently touring the new album Sermons from the Church of Blues Restitution and doing a fine job of promoting it and I must say a damn fine job with the live performance of it too one of the surprising high points of the evening was when Johnny Ogle (Pig Iron front man) addressed the punters as ‘Country folk’ (Not in any derogatory way I hasten to add) which, despite the clubs location and with most of us being part of, or indeed closer to, the urban or at least suburban / townie type, his remark was met with cries of Ye-Ha etc. which was followed by Pig Iron playing a song that was, despite its obvious heaviness, somewhat country blues based, during which some rather amazing ‘country dancing’ ensued!
|Ye Ha, It's Country Rock and Roll|
The rest as they say, is history!
“Ye-Ha, It’s only Rock and Roll”
For me it started with a taxi to the station
To catch the northbound train
For the short hop up to Arlesey
To wait for Chris until he came
So I waited by the river
And watched the wild birds until then
Chris arrived and we were Langford bound
To spring-clean Fender’s Den
It was cleaned out, hovered, polished
Until the inside was spic and span
Then Kevin washed down the outside
Until it shone like new again!
We were soon hitched up to Kevin’s Disco
Yes we were on our way
To Melbourn Rock at the Eternit club
For another great music night away
We stopped off in Royston Tesco’s
To pick up Maurice’s birthday gift
Time was getting on now
So we really had to shift
We got to the MRC site
Sometime just after five
And started on the ‘Trooper’
How would we all survive?
Tim and Jo soon turned up
And erected their fine tent
Chris cooked us burgers in the van
That was time well spent!
We caught the bands as they sound-checked
So we knew it was to be an awesome night
And as the ‘Lovehats’ took to the stage
We knew that we were right
Next up came the amazing Kaine
And they played an awesome epic set
Their brand of NWOBH
Is just about as good as you can get
By now the Trooper had run out
Good grief where has it gone
But we didn’t despair too much
Because they’d put the Ruddles on
Chris cooked us all more burgers
Which kept us nicely fed
We skipped a beer at this stage
And had Honey JD instead!
Now in the mosh pit for a change
We had some competition
Those young lads down from Cambridgeshire
Usurping our position!
Pig Iron were on tremendous form
As they played to us ‘Country Folk’
Some who danced a sort of ‘Ye-Ha’ jig
In response to this ‘In’ joke
Now country dancing at a rock gig
Is not as easy as you might think
But some seemed to find it easy
It must have been the drink!
We stayed up late after the gig
With the few that stayed behind
Doing shots with Pig Iron Johnny
Oh well, we didn’t mind
Safe tucked away in Fender’s Den
Were Kevin, Chris and I
Tim and Jo inside their tent
We all stayed nice and warm and dry
In the morning after breakfast cooked by Chris
And coffee courtesy of the MRC
We were homeward bound well satisfied
Tim, Jo, Kevin, Chris and me
Another splendid overnight adventure
Done and dusted once again
With great music fun and Fellowship
With the very best of friends
So thank you Mo and the MRC
For a damn fine splendid night
When it comes to putting on the rock
You guys always seem to get it right.
Well, that's it for now, more than enough to be going on with I think, who knows what the next adventure will be? Until then, keep rocking, keep supporting live music and fare thee well.