The TR5's [Rock & Roll, 5 piece]
100 Club, London - Saturday 23rd April 2022.26 Apr 2022100 Club, London - Saturday 23rd April 2022. As followers of The TR5’s will know, I host 3 different radio shows on 2 radio stations. Whilst doing this I get sent and get to hear some great new music now and again. This happened with a studio project called Bus Stop Lovers. I got sent the first album. This is the originals project of one Dave Fletcher, lead singer of Jam tribute band The Jam’d. I played some Bus Stop Lovers on my radio shows, I played some Jam’d too. Dave and I got talking. I saw that The Jam’d had a gig coming up at the legendary 100 Club in London. “Any chance The TR5’s can support?” I asked, it being a very prestigious venue that we would love to play at. Dave checks out our Facebook page and comes back straight away, “Yeah, I don’t see why not” he says. We’re in!Valentine kindly agrees to give me a lift to Finn’s house on the day of the gig. We load up and head to the rendezvous point. Upon arriving we are greeted by Finn in his work clothes. “I’m off for a quick shower” he says. Valentine and I unload his car and he heads off. Richey arrives soon after. We start to load his car up and Finn arrives back, fully dressed and gig ready. We’re just about to drive away when our exit is blocked by a local fire crew. They’re investigating the huge fire on the ranges behind Finn’s house. They say it’s significant but they have it under control. That explains all the smoke outside my house 2 miles away!We hit the road and despite the odd recalculation of the Sat Nav we’re soon on the familiar route of the A3 in to London. The journey is smooth and painless until we get nearer to the centre of town and then we just slow right down to a crawl. The joys of driving in Central London! It takes us about an hour and a half all told but eventually we find the stage door entrance to the venue. We’ve arrived just after Ted too.We’ve already been warned about the 3 flights of stairs to get down to the venue so we know what to expect as we unload the cars. Richey and Ted head off to their allotted car parking spaces as Finn and I lug the stuff down. The Jam’d have finished their soundcheck so we say hello to soundman Phil and set about setting stuff up around The Jam’d’s gear. The stage is nice and long so we decide the best place for Ted to set up his drums is at the end. We’re taking a break from our normal 3-1-1 formation to go for a 4-1 set-up with Finn just behind.We really are walking in hallowed footsteps at this venue. I chat with the guys from The Jam’d and it really is such a pleasure to meet another band who like a bit of banter and who have a great sense of humour. We love that! Within 5 minutes we’re all taking the mickey out of each other! This is going to be such a great evening.Rusty soon arrives and we run through a couple of quick songs to soundcheck. Straight away the sound is great. Phil clearly knows what he is doing. With everyone happy we take the chance for photo opportunities. We pose on the stage in front of the big 100 and then outside the front door under the 100 Club sign. Ricky and Patti take the photos and we’re well chuffed with how they look.There’s still an hour before show time so, as everyone else decides to go for food, Richey and I decide to head to a local pub for an alcohol-free beer and to keep an eye on the football scores. His team is playing. They draw 0-0. My team had won 3-1 earlier in the day so I am happy. The pub we’re in is heaving but it was good to find a seat and chill out away from the venue for a bit.Richey and I then head back to the gig. We’re greeted by a queue of people waiting to get in. It’s not quite time for the doors to open yet though. We sheepishly walk past them and make our way down the stairs and in to the venue. Security guys greet us and furnish us with wristbands and we head to the bar again before hanging out in the dressing room briefly for more banter with The Jam’d (honestly Dave, I didn’t turn your fan up to 2!) Not really ones to enjoy hanging around backstage we head out front again to witness a steady stream of people coming down the stairs and in to the venue. Before we know it, the place is packed.With everyone back and fed and watered it’s time for us to take the stage. We go straight in to ‘Hello World’ and we are really rocking. I look around from the stage to a sea of people smiling and loving what we do. Each song we play is greeted with huge roars of approval. There’s lots of dancing too. The Jam’s music was inherently built on 60’s sounds so it is no surprise that the audience are loving what we’re doing. We’re loving this too!With time running out I realise that we’re going to need to drop a song from the set, the last thing we want to do is overrun our time. I shout across the stage “Let’s go on to ‘Do You Wanna Dance’ “. Ted just looks at me blankly. Ah, of course, he’s got his ear plugs in. I sidle across the stage and explain the plan. Everyone else is made aware too. ‘Do You Wanna Dance’ really rocks, the whole place is rocking now and the applause at the end of each song is almost deafening, even with ear plugs in!We finish our set with ‘Slow Down’, it’s an old Larry Williams song that The Beatles covered (we play their version really!) but The Jam recorded it on their debut LP as well. It’s a real crowd pleaser. The place is really rocking. I’m dripping in sweat too (No, Dave from The Jam’d, I didn’t turn your fan up to 2!) but that’s it! It’s all over. We’re on a tight schedule tonight so there’s no time for an encore. We depart the stage to huge cheers of approval.With everything packed and out of the way, we settle down with more alcohol-free beers to watch The Jam’d. Many people approach us to say how much they enjoyed our set, we’re really buzzing, this whole place is really buzzing.The Jam’d hit the stage and go straight into ‘In The City’ and what follows is a set of Jam songs played with power and passion by a band that clearly loves the band that they are a tribute to. As the only known Jam tribute band on the circuit with a brass section their choice of songs includes some not often heard classics like ‘Tales From The Riverbank’ and ‘Just Who Is The 5 O’ Clock Hero’ (dedicated to John Weller on the anniversary of his passing). The banter in-between the songs is plentiful and the whole set has been a real pleasure to witness from start to finish. Amazing.Richey and Ted then head off to get the cars and then we set about loading our equipment out, up the 3 flights of stairs! We’re still buzzing though, so we don’t care!The venue has pretty much emptied out at this point so we say our thanks and goodbyes to soundman Phil and the guys from The Jam’d. “Aren’t you going to stay and help us load our gear out?” asks John from The Jam’d. “No” I say straight-faced, “We’ve done ours”. Oh yes, the banter has been good tonight!With that, we’re out of there. Our first gig at the one and only 100 Club is done. Let’s hope we can do it again sometime. Finn and I jump in to Richey’s car and we’re back out in to the London traffic. It’s heading towards midnight now as we crawl past Carnaby Street and there appears to be an inordinate amount of people still out and about at this time of night. Many of them are scantily clad females causing Finn to remark “Blimey, it’s like Newcastle”!! We crawl past the stage entrance of the London Palladium too. Outside which there is a lot of people hanging around. “I wonder what’s been going on at the Palladium tonight” I muse in the car, “Dogging” says Richey. Finn and I guffaw and the tears of laughter roll down my face. Classic. What an excellent night all round.Lucky.
The Star Inn, Guildford - Friday 4th March 2022.7 Mar 2022The Star Inn, Guildford - Friday 4th March 2022. In 2021 we had some great support slots (Dr Feelgood, Showaddywaddy, Geno Washington) so it is really good to be able to continue 2022 in that same vein. Having released our debut double A-side 7” vinyl single of 2 original tracks (Mr Lucky / Rock ‘N’ Roll Good Times) in December 2021 it was great to be announced as the support act to the superb up and coming rock ‘n’ roll / soul band “The Hawkmen” at The Star in Guildford. A great, proper venue on the gigging circuit. This was something we always felt we could do, be a functioning covers band but also an originals band with kudos as well. They seem to be blending together effortlessly currently.In the lead up to the gig Ted puts together a banger of a 45-minute set list and we start to look forward to what we think will be an amazing gig. Lucky plays tunes by “The Hawkmen” on his rockabilly radio show too. We’re well up for this. Advance ticket sales have been very good as well.Finn and I arrive first, just as soundman Nick pulls up too. He recognises me from many years back. It’s going to be one of those nights I think as promoter Chris and I used to put on gigs many years back as well.Finn and I start to unload as Richey arrives and we load all our gear in while Nick goes about setting up all the stage microphones. “The Hawkmen” are already here and have set up on stage. They’re just milling about, killing time. We say hello and head off to get a round of drinks in. Finn’s friends arrive just in time to make the round and they settle down in the bar. Richey and I head back to the gig room and are soon joined by Ted.“The Hawkmen” soundcheck and sound amazing, their live set is going to be just as amazing as their recorded stuff we think.Then it’s our turn to soundcheck and Rusty arrives just in time. We run through a couple of numbers (with Finn having to change over leads) and then we have to abandon the soundcheck because Chris needs to open the doors. There’s a lot of people waiting to get in. We’re pretty happy with the soundcheck though. We jump off stage to greet the people filing in, there’s a few who have come specially to see us. We like that. There’s even a couple of guys here who were at our Woking ‘village hall’ gig a couple of weeks back. This is great. We’re picking up fans all the time.Stage time comes and we go for it. With Ted’s well written set list it isn’t long before people are dancing and singing along. Opener “Hello World” really grabs people’s attentions and we have them right where we want them. Lots of great banter on (and off) stage ensues throughout the rest of the set and, despite having to cut some songs for fear of over-running, we have had the greatest time. We’ve played really well. We’re very happy. We leave the stage to huge cheers and lots of applause.Equipment duly stored away, brows well and truly mopped and thirsts definitely quenched we relax in the audience, ready to watch “The Hawkmen” do their stuff. They don’t disappoint. 3 Very talented musicians and the fabulous lead vocals combine to create an effortlessly cool mix of rockabilly and northern soul and they leave the crowd breathless with their energy. There’s no airs and graces with these guys. They clearly love what they do (as do DJ’s like Craig Charles) and they’re very good at it. This shows. Great stuff.Post gig we buy vinyl and cd’s from “The Hawkmen” stall and we wish them well for the rest of their tour. Tonight has been superb all round.Lucky
Thames Hospice, Maidenhead - Wed. 22nd December 2021.29 Dec 2021Thames Hospice, Maidenhead - Wed. 22nd December 2021. The TR5's have had a great 2021 it has to be said. Thank you everyone for your support this year.We have had 30 amazing gigs (pretty good going considering we could only gig from May onwards and the gigs included supports to such legends as Dr Feelgood and Geno Washington and a host of great festival appearances amongst our own village hall events) plus the release of our debut single (of the 2 self-penned songs “Rock ‘N’ Roll Good Times” and “Mr. Lucky”, recorded by Eric Rupert and mixed by Mark Stratton) on Weekend Offender Records (available as a 7" vinyl release from www.weekendoffenderrecords.com and to stream / download from all major platforms https://ditto.fm/the-tr5s-radio-edit )So, to round off the year we choose to give something back, we give our services free to play a little morning gig for the patients of the Thames Hospice in Maidenhead. It’s a low-key affair, no drums, so Ted sits this one out.The rest of us have to do lateral flow tests before we go to make sure we are all Covid free. All our tests are negative so we’re good to go.Sandy and I load a small version of our PA in to the car, just on the off chance that we might need it. Having never done anything like this before we aren’t quite sure what we will need. So, we go prepared. We pick up Rusty, who almost forgets the important bag of Christmas hats! That could have been disastrous, we want to make this as fun as possible for everyone concerned.We arrive at the hospice and introduce ourselves to the lovely Sarah who has organised the entertainment for all the patients every day in the run up to Christmas. She informs us that we were going to be playing in the café but not everybody who goes in there has to be lateral flow tested so she decides that to keep us (and everybody else) safe we will play in the day room because everyone in there will have been tested. She leads me off to check it out.It’s a nice sized room but not big enough to need a PA so Rusty and I will be purely acoustic, Finn and Richey can play through their small amps. We chill out finishing our coffees and cakes in the café before Sarah comes to get us telling us the room is set up and ready.We head in there with the little equipment we need and proceed to set up. While this is happening, we are given mince pies and offered cold drinks or more coffee. They are really very nice here and are treating everyone superbly. When everyone is in position and we are given the go ahead from Sarah we proceed to jump straight in with our opening version of “Twenty Flight Rock”. I look around and the patients and staff are all either singing along, grinning from ear to ear or tapping their feet. They are clearly enjoying themselves. So are we. This is fantastic to be able to make these guys so happy. Our set flies by (including our version of Brenda Lee’s Christmas tune “Rocking Around The Christmas Tree”) and they won’t let us leave without playing another song. We duly oblige before drinking more coffee.“Are we allowed to chat to the patients?” Rusty asks the staff. “Of course” comes the answer (everybody is wearing masks) “they would all like to meet you guys”. So, we take the time to go around the room meeting everyone and chatting away. There’s not a person in the room who hasn’t enjoyed the morning and we’ve been told by several people that we simply must come back. Well, as it was so enjoyable, rewarding and heart-warming we probably will do that. Merry Christmas and a happy new year.Lucky
AlexFest, Farnborough – Saturday 11th September 2021.14 Sep 2021AlexFest, Farnborough – Saturday 11th September 2021. This is another new little festival for us, another one of those events that takes place in a pub car park / beer garden. We have always felt that these festivals are worth doing because you get to play to a whole new decent sized audience. It helps get the name of the band out there and helps us pick up new friends and fans along the way.Chas is unable to make the gig today, so we’re doing a ‘skiffle’ set without him. It’s no drama, we’ve done it before and we know it works.Sandy and I arrive first on the day, the sun is shining and there’s a great crowd here. So much so that it takes ages to get served our free drink at the bar. It’s a charity event today, in aid of our favourite local charity Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care in Farnham but the pub has kindly agreed to give all performers a free drink. We get there in the end though, having talked to other band members we know while we have been queueing up.One of the first things we notice is that the set-up is really good. Fabulous stage, decent PA rig, both of which are of a decent size. In fact, we notice that it is loud, very loud. We decide to move away from the front of the stage to the side to save our ears.Richey arrives next. Well, only just apparently! He’d gone to the wrong pub! Yep, despite me furnishing the band with everything they need to know about where they are going etc Richey decides to go to The Crimea in Aldershot, despite the fact we are not playing their festival until next month! He was only a month early for that one!Soundman Robin talks us through the set up and Rusty and Ted arrive just in time to take to the stage, Ted being stuck in traffic and having a nightmare journey to get there.Before we know it, we’re off and running. Great sound, great atmosphere and great vibes. People sing, clap along and bunches of kids rush to the front of the stage to dance. We try to get them on stage to dance with us but the sound guys won’t allow it for health and safety aspects. Never mind. We still have fun; they still have fun and their mums still have fun dancing too.And then it’s over. Our set ends and we have to vacate the stage. We’ve done ourselves proud though and won over plenty of new fans as well. I know this because when I mill around afterwards (watching our friends The Common People play) several people approach me to say how much they enjoyed our stuff.I like these events, they’re easy to do, fun, sociable and we get to play to whole new audiences. We’re playing a couple more of these types of events before the summer is over. We’ll see you out there.Lucky
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