So… Another quick blog (brief as I didn’t take many notes and consumed rather a lot of ale and gin, so the memory is a little hazy) on my foray into Southsea on Saturday evening.
A couple of friends mentioned the gig to me during the week. I thought it sounded fun, and was informed ‘chap’ attire was the order of the day. I have the waistcoat, bowler hat and moustache wax, but something was needed to top things off. Cue a two-hour trip to Fareham, land of the charity shop, and the return with a jacket and a cravat (the latter from In With The In Crowd – great vintage shop).
After a couple of pre-gig pints and a bite to eat, four suitably attired chaps entered the Wedgewood Rooms.
There were two support acts. The first was ‘That Dani Bird‘ – a Southsea-based singer-songwriter by the name of Dani Uziel.A bluesy mix of guitar and vocals with definite leanings towards the great female solo artists KT Tunstall, Megan Henwood and Thea Gilmore. Dani seemed a little unsure in the talky bits between tracks, but oozed confidence as soon as she was singing.
It was in the break between Grant Sharkey and the main act that I took stock of the situation. I was standing in the dark in Portsmouth, drinking gin from a plastic glass, standing in a row of four dapper looking chaps. It was quite surreal. There was Jeeves Chap and Wooster Chap (quite an accidental outcome, but when they stood beside each other, especially from the back, the image of Wodehouse’s characters was perfect), then there was Lounge Chap and me, Hippy Chap. And we were receiving compliments left right and centre. Life was, if surreal, rather fun. (Jeeves Chap was also likened to an undertaker and a bank manager at various points of the evening, and Lounge Chap was the spitting image of Donald Sutherland).
A resounding ‘All Hail The Chap’ signified the start of Mr B, The Gentleman Rhymer‘s set. Solo on stage, with a banjolele and a small table holding three bottles of mineral water and an iPad containing the backing track, the next hour was filled with pure chap-hop.
Mr B went on to document the history of hip hop before his reminiscence of Bavaria introduced a rather well played cover of Kraftwerk’s The Model. The lights were dimmed and Bohemian Rhapsody was sung using only the light from a phone borrowed from the audience in a flashback to Glastonbury, which then seamlessly merged into a bass-heavy rap. The first ever chap-hop tune came soon after – A Piece Of My Mind.
They wanted me to go to rehab and I said ‘That sounds nice’…
Towards the end of the set, Mr B played a selection of ‘folk songs from t’north’. This included the folk greats ‘This Is How It Feels To Be Lonely’, ‘Moving On Up Now’ and a bit of Stone Roses.
The set was drawing to a close with a flourish of 90s dance hits played on banjolele, sung in the finest ‘chap’ tones. I Like To Move It, Good Life and On A Ragga Tip were real crowd pleasers. When the set finished with Outer Space by Prodigy, rapturous applause followed. Just one encore – a tribute to Bowie – Star Man. Performed rather seriously in relation to the rest of the set. A fitting finale, but did lead me to wonder how long it will take before a Bowie track is no longer the go-to encore? No disrespect to the genius that he was, mind, just an observation.
The evening continued at a random pub I forget the name of, a taxi ride to Fareham, purchasing a last minute pizza and sleeping on Jeeves Chap’s floor. Roll on next weekend!
I don’t have anything lined up for this coming weekend yet. Any suggestions will be gratefully received!