October 11th, 2005

kick it!

CoRo UK autumn mini tour, Oct 6th

I'm definitely getting too old for this groupie kind of existence: I slept till noon today, having been on the road for the past five days, of which three were spent following CoRo around, and not getting much of a chance to sleep for various reasons, not all of them CoRo-related.

For a while, it looked doubtful that I could even go on this trip, since adverse weather conditions kept delaying my flight -- I had hoped to arrive in London in the forenoon, but ended up thanking my lucky stars that I made it there around half four. When I got to the Lord Jim, it was strangely reassuring to find that nothing had changed from my last visit: there was same surly desk clerk whose greeting consists primarily in asking for the balance to be paid up front, the same workmen who were still doing up the same rooms and, surprise, surprise, the same pokey little room on the first floor I'd shared with roissy0 before, where this time I found anonypooh in residence -- who'd even left me the same bed to sleep in! After the pre-gig squee and welcome drink, we made our way to the Troubadour where we were greeted by a very different looking Davina, whose changed hair colour required we look twice, and then we moved on to our usual spot in the back room where pohewa was already waiting for us to join her. Going into the club, we were pleased to see the placard outside advertising the gig, but no signs in the window or flyers on the table, so I asked permission to put up some posters for CoRo and Corn Mo at the same time as ordering my coffee, and Julia did the necessary. It wasn't long before we were joined by love_by_137, miss_fairfax, and a girl called Andrea who is a new fan, having discovered the band at the Milton Keynes party a few days earlier. Geoff came in fairly early too, and Mezzer, and so the Street Team was almost complete, just missing freakspawn, who was still in New York. Then quietlychaotic and party were spotted as well, and after we'd had a quick bite to eat, the doors opened and we took up our positions: Christy on the fire escape, Davina to the side and Geoff, Mezzer and Andrea in front of the stage, and Nai, Jo, Jo, Julia and me at the back of the room near the sound booth. The Germans took their usual place next to the stage door, too. It's funny how we all have our little preferences when we troop into the Troubadour's basement...

Corn Mo came on and played all our favourites, Lollipop, Angel, Busey Boy, and as he'd hired a piano, had Jordan join him on trumpet for My Best Friend. We joined him in a rousing chorus of We Are The Champions and then of course, he ended his set with the ultimate crowd pleaser Havi Nagila Monster. If you haven't heard this before, and you want to know what that sounds like, check it out on http://www.myspace.com/cornmo -- I promise you, you won't regret it!

I sneaked a look at CoRo's set list and thought there were no surprises there, but boy! was I wrong...They opened with Normal Sea as a duet sung by Adam and Eric, and proceeded to spoil us with new renditions of old favourites. There's a lovely intro to More Than Once Before It Takes now, with Adam playing the glock; How To Lose is no longer a 3-way a capella song, but works very well with the new musical accompaniment even if it owes a lot to the Firefly-theme according to the old adage that 'good writers borrow, great writers steal'; and Belfast was sprinkled this time with some Tears For Fears (Shout) and Depeche Mode (People Are People). Corn Mo got back on stage to help them with You Ain't Going Nowhere, Eric's solo for the night was Victims, and for the finale, a rip-roarin' version of I'm So Bored With the USA made all the more enjoyable for Jordan ripping open his shirt in true rock 'n' roll fashion! Then, contrary to expectation, they didn't do an off-mic song to end the evening with, but sang a traditional country tune called Put My Little Shoes Away, telling the tale of a little girl on her deathbed that tells her mother to put her little shoes away to let her playmates know she won't be joining them ever again.

After the gig, I purchased Eric's solo album, and we hung around with our friends and acquaintances and Corn Mo, who did very well on the merchandise and seemed to have made several new fans, some of whom came back the following night. Chucking out time came, and we went back to the hotel where we stayed for a drink and a piece of Geburtstagkuchen with the Germans, before heading up to our own room and Morpheus's arms.

ETA: This is what you get in trying to remember three shows -- you mix them up in your head. According to the audio evidence, it was Offstage Lines that had the snippets of Shout and People Are People in it, and it was played the following night, not this one.
offstage lines

CoRo UK autumn mini tour, Oct 7th

(I should so have thought of doing just a summary...)

So, next morning, anonypooh and I literally had 5 minutes to wolf down our continental breakfasts before hitting the street; she to go to the McDonalds around the corner to write up her gig report for the forum, and me, to go window shopping (love_by_137 had wanted to come with me, but found herself unavoidably detained). I spent a few hours checking out and trying on shoes in L K Bennet, Office, Poste Mistress, Bertie and a host of other shops, but couldn't be persuaded to part with my money in any of them. In the end, I just picked up a manicure set in Boots and went back to the hotel to wait for Julia and the others, who arrived soon enough. love_by_137 had packed in such haste that she'd forgotten to bring any towels, toothpaste or eye pencil, while miss_fairfax seemed to have been more organised or methodical in her packing, carrying a ruddy great bag with her. We changed into our evening wear and headed out to the Troubadour once more, again to meet up with the usual suspects.

The bar soon filled up; there were far more people there than there had been the previous night, and a proper queue was formed on the stairs. Again, we took our regular seats; and I asked Cam, the sound guy replacing Brian, whether I could have the set list when he was done with it. He told me that in the event that he got one, it would be his pleasure; and we had a little chat about the equipment he had to work with...in the course of which, I reminded him to pick up on the banjo more, prompting him to explain there had been a problem with Jordan's mic the night before. What am I like, telling a perfectly lovely sound guy how to do his job? He didn't seem to hold it against me though, and we had several friendly exchanges as the evening progressed.

Again, Corn Mo set the tone for the evening with a wonderfully energetic set, in which Jason Kline made an appearance (or have I mixed my nights up and was Jason Kline the night before and Busey Boy this night? -- no matter), and then...if I'd thought opening with Normal Sea the previous gig had been a bold move, what word can I use to describe their decision to start off with a brand spanking new song, not even a UM yet, with the working title of Smile II? I was in awe, I tell you, awe! And by the looks of it, I wasn't the only one. We were all there, mouths agape, totally enraptured...And the surprises just kept coming: a stripped down version of True Hollywood Romance, banjo on Union Dues, muted trumpet on Offstage Lines (still one of my all time CoRo favourites, especially in this new mellowed rendition), a lovely version of Belfast with a snippet of Folsom Prison Blues in it, slide guitar on Smile, delayed trumpet on Auctioneer...Eric's solo was I Saw That Film, but by then, things had started to turn ugly. On the other side of the room, a heckler had begun to annoy those around him, the band and particularly Adam, by repeating the words "Look! It's Warren from Buffy!" the entire time...and why do drunk people always seem to think they are dead funny? So after a while, Adam had had enough and handed the guy one of his harmonicas saying "Here, suck on this!"...but instead of being suitably shamed into silence, the guy then proceeded to play the thing and put it down a fat girl's sweaty cleavage before putting it down his own pants. The heckler and his troupe of toadying females continued to annoy until Eric stepped in and took the harmonica off them, but the damage had been done and I missed half of Given Signs, a song I love, through their antics. Cam was equally ticked off and when his shooting pellets at them didn't work, stepped out of the booth twice to call them to order, finally succeeding in getting through to the guy...who I hear apologised to the band afterwards, but not to the many other people he upset on the night.

Anyhoo, they did do an off-mic as their last song this night: the topical Louisiana 1927, with Cam holding a flashlight up from the stage so the people who now found themselves at the back of the crowd (i.e. us) could see the band surrounded as they were by the audience. After the song ended, he said to me that it had been totally awesome, and that he'd never seen anything like it before. I think the band may have made a new fan then and there! But Cam was our hero for the night.