Sunday, 17 April 2016


Saturday the 16th April 2016 and my journey begins as I wait for a bus into town and it is bitterly cold, cold enough for snow and by the time I was standing on Stevenage station waiting for my train to Hitchin it was indeed snowing!
Arriving in said town at least it had stopped snowing but it was raining hard so I jumped on a bus into town and took a stroll past the church pausing to watch the swans and a large flock of various birds being fed by a lone soul in the gardens, despite the wet it was in fact quite beautiful and peaceful, a portent of the afternoon and evening that was to follow?

I met Chris and Kevin in the Angel Vaults, one of the most interesting Weatherspoons around, formerly the home of the Hitchin Conservative club for many years and steeped in history.
Much refreshed by several fine ales and a damn fine Weatherspoon’s curry we slowly made our way through Hitchin towards Club-85 stopping off at The Sun Runner for a splendid albeit expensive craft beer and The Vic for a pint of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord but by now the sun was shining and it had turned into a beautiful day.

We met up with Alex just as we arrived at Bar-85 and as the doors were not quite open we availed ourselves of further refreshment including a packet of Hobgoblin Crisps, very tasty, and went outside to chat to some of the crowd that were gathering.

Picture by kind permission of Peter Gill, me, Chris, Alex & Kev
Gigs like this one do not come around very often and almost certainly never in the same place twice and the line up for this one was simply awesome if, like us, you are into Gong and the music of the late great gone but never ever forgotten, Daevid Allen.

First to grace the stage was Jah Buddha who treated us to a fabulous improvised set of psychedelic electronica, in parts refreshingly ambient, in other parts lovely trance dance that had a few bodies jigging about even though it was still only early!

Jah Buddha
Next we were treated to a looping master class by the legendary Shankara Andy Bole building the most amazing soundscapes with bass & lead guitars & a variety of instruments including a bazouki.

Andy Bole
Paradise 9 played a fabulous set that really rocked things up a notch or several! It was great to see Greg McKella and the boys again and a special treat having Lee Russell (of Peyote fame) on the keys for a couple of numbers.

Paradise 9
Three piece experimental psychedelic rock outfit Nukli were up next and keeping things really rocking along, we decided that heavy psychedelic / space rock is really only a step away in one direction from Blues Rock and Classic rock in another, which I must say is no bad thing as we love all the said genres!

Next to grace the stage were the mighty Deviant Amps along with ‘new’ bass guitarist Subassa and by all the moons of Jupiter ‘The Amps’ up for it tonight, maybe it was the occasion or the fact that Paul Woodright was largely responsible for putting the whole thing together, the Deviant Amps are a great band anyway but they had the Club-85 crowd up on its feet and dancing as they really rocked the place to its foundations.

Deviant Amps
Keeping everything running like clockwork and acting as Compere / host was the one and only Kozmic Ken and the awesome lighting throughout the evening by The Odd Light Show.
With a history that goes back to Krishna Lights at the Roundhouse circa 1968, and comes bang up to date with contributing to Pink Floyd's launch of the Endless River album at Porchester Hall. Neil Rice and friends got messy and gave us a traditional liquid light show, creating constantly moving images that followed the music which really created the most uplifting of atmospheres, that and the music of course, getting back to which, the penultimate band, The Invisible Opera Company of Tibet treated us to a selection of Gong Classics which had many of the crowd singing along and brimmed full of happiness!

The Invisible Opera Company of Tibet (Thankfully highly visible)
Never before have I seen, nor I suspect has Club-85 played host to, so many guitarists on stage at the same time as The Glissando Orchestra assembled to play Daevid Allen’s 7 Drones,!
Each major key connects with one of the 7 chakras and this really is music of the spirit, it was a universe beyond gobsmackingly awesome.

The Glissando Guitar Orchestra
As Chris said, “I feel like my soul has had a spa day” hence the title ‘a spa day for the soul’, enough said I think as there are no more words I can think of that would do this mind blowing blissful event justice.
But it wouldn't be the same if I did end here now would it? All Fellowship of the Stick events have to be chronicled, so:-

A Spa Day For The Soul

A quote from Chris Foskett that I think says it all
“Yesterday was a spa day for the soul”
April in Hitchin was at first wet and cold
But we still ventured out because we were bold

The first time for The Fellowship’s founding fathers to gather
For many a day but what really mattered
Was we had the time and we were in no hurry
So we met in The Angel Vaults for beers and a curry
And a leisurely stroll to the ‘new’ Sun Runner
For a craft beer that was expensive but still quite a stunner
And a chat to the barmaid she was bubbly and fun
But there was still more serious drinking that had to be done
So we called into The Vic before Bar 85
Beneath the club that keeps live music alive
Where we met up with Alex and tried Hobgoblin crisps
A rare tasty treat and one not to be missed!

The gig this evening was special and long
Doors at four thirty, five o’clock first band on
Jah Buddha was the man to open the show
His improvised electronica was amazing you know
Then we had the pleasure of  the wonderful Andy Bole
This was indeed turning out to be a spa day for the soul
Paradise 9 came and rocked us to the core
Before the three piece Nukli took to the floor
Then the Deviant Amps oh what can I say?
They were on fire tonight and just blew us away
The Invisible Opera Company of Tibet
Played us classic Gong numbers that we’ll never forget
And then came the climax what it had all been for
The ensemble known as The Glissando Guitar Orchestra
Playing Daevid Allen’s Seven Drones in full
It was awesome, immense and just wonderful

Gigs like this one, in a lifetime are so special and rare
I’m just so glad that The Fellowship were there
For when life in general is taking its toll
We all need something special, like a spa day for the soul.

Grant Meaby

So, as Daevid Allen said, "See you next time round the plastic spiral" Tata for now, a very blissed out Grant.

No comments:

Post a Comment