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Sunday, 20 November 2016

From London to Cairo

Wow, it's been a while!

It has indeed been quite a long time between going out to a live gig, even longer since the original three members and founding fathers of The Fellowship were out together let alone on a trip to London!


We were off to see Luna Rossa and Cairo at the Boston Music Rooms in Tufnell Park but first there were some beers to be sunk in a variety of old London alehouses and a lot of memories to share, this was the first time we had been together since our good friend Mark passed away, too soon, too sudden, too tragically, life at times can be so unfair, but anyway, let's not get maudlin here, what about the day? The Pubs? The gig?

A short walk from Kings Cross to Euston Square saw us calling in at The Euston Tap for the first pint of the day, always a great experience and always a fine selection of real and craft ales and today was no exception, a good start and ready for our trip just round the corner to the Bree Louise for lunch and a pint of the most excellent Fellowship Porter, quite appropriate I would say!

Hubble bubble boil and trouble!
Fellowship Porter, what else?
Suitable 'fueled' a two bus ride took us up the far end of Kentish town to the Southampton which is a haven of real ales and ciders, home made pork pies, roast pork baps, veggie Scotch Eggs, no TV's, no fruit machines, no jukebox, interesting clientele, lots of wood, lots of character and a great place to spend the late afternoon.

Early evening saw us heading through the backstreets for our short walk to The Boston in Tufnell Park, it's so easy to find being right opposite Tufnell Park tube station, another massive old pub which also has two music venues, The Dome (Catfish and the Bottlemen were playing there this night) and The Boston Music Rooms where we were heading to see Rob Cottingham's new band, Cairo, supported by Luna Rossa (Anne-Marie Helder and Jonathan Edwards).

As we were there about half an hour before 'doors' at 7 we sampled the delights of the Boston, an interesting pub with a happy hour from 10 till 7 !!!!!!! That may, or in some cases, may not, be a good thing! Anyway it was a good time to catch up with some old friends and meet and chat to some of the interesting characters inside!

So, the gig, Luna Rossa were absolutely exquisite, poignant beautiful music that really struck some chords on the strings of our somewhat taut emotions, I think it's fair to say that there were a few tears in a few eyes that night!

Luna Rossa
In an obvious attempt to sabotage the chance of getting any reasonable photographs from the crowd the bright red LED lights added a somewhat unearthly feel to the evening and anyway we were here for the music.
Playing songs from both albums, Sleeping Pills and Lullabies and Secrets and Lies, Luna Rossa were on absolutely fabulous form.

Headlining and officially launching the already very highly acclaimed album 'Say' were Touchstone's founding father (and now ex member) keyboard maestro and songwriting genius, Rob Cottingham's new band project, Cairo, there was a distinct and almost physical air of expectation in the room.

Rob Cottingham
 The first thing that Rob did, after thanking Luna Rossa of course, was to drop a bit of a bombshell on us, Rachel Hill, who sang on the album, had sadly already had to leave the band due to ongoing health issues and had been replaced, at relatively short notice by the lovely Lisa Driscoll, what an enormous task she had on this such auspicious occasion, bearing in mind  the success of  'Say' and this of course being the bands fist ever live gig!

Lisa Driscoll
 It took a couple of numbers to get her vocals to the forefront, whether this was down to the sound balance or confidence I know not but when she got going, wow! Cairo, in my humble opinion did themselves proud, Rob has assembled a fine team of musicians in this band and I'm sure they can only go from strength to strength, overall a damn fine night.

Cairo in full swing.

So, once more captured in true Fellowship style, for the archives, the whole day has again been 'captured' in verse:-

London to Cairo

So three of us went to London
But in a way it was really four
Because we three carried with us
The memories, grief and pain
For a dear friend who was no more
I suppose this was somewhat inevitable
No matter how hard we tried
But this was the first time we had been together
Since our dear friend mark had died
So we raised a glass in his memory
In fact we raised several throughout the day
An emotional release in oh so many ways

So, a crowded train to the capitol
Made late by another fatality
Not what you could really call
The best start to the day
But such if life
As they say!

A short walk from Kings Cross to Euston
To the Euston Tap for the first pint of the afternoon
Raised of course to absent friends and finished all too soon
Then off to The Bree Louise
For splendid pies and chips for lunch
And a fine pint of Fellowship Porter
We’re a somewhat predictable bunch


Two buses took us from Euston
To the far end of Kentish Town
To The Southampton
When fine ales and pork pies abound
Wooden floors
Smelly dogs
The aroma of roast pork
And of course
More ales than you can shake a stick at
But the Fellowship of the Stick three
Did our level best to shake our sticks at many!

A short walk through the backstreets to the Boston
‘Happy Hour’ from 10 till 7 should have raised some alarms
But what the heck, with half price JD and coke
The pub had several obvious charms
There were interesting people to talk to
And some old friends to catch up with too
All in all before a gig in London
This is indeed what we often do!
Luna Rossa were quite simply exquisite
Anne-Marie and Jonathan at their best
Beautiful, touching heart rending music
Put our emotions to the test

Cairo appeared amid much applause and anticipation
But Rob had a huge surprise to land
Rachel who sang on the album ‘Say’
Had sadly already had to leave the band
But they had found a new vocalist in Lisa
Who did a damn fine job given the enormity of the night
And wow, what a gig it was, yeah, Cairo did alright!

After the gig, by tube and train
We made our weary way back home
With the Fellowship by your side
You are never on your own.

Grant Meaby
November 2016

So, it's bye-bye for now, between now and the Christmas period there are several gigs to go too so it shouldn't be too long before the next one, in fact it's today!

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