In May, we travelled across Spain, performed a house concert, picked up rings of power, drove back, flew to Leeds, visited my Mum, drove to Inveraray, Scotland, got married (more of this later), flew back to Alicante, rehearsed, played with Valencian funkmasters Mr Pink, met a Parrot, performed two gigs with my brand new Spanish band and brand new wife... Phew.
Right at the beginning of the month we ended up accidentally rockin' out with our new friends in the Russafa area of Valencia 'till very late. Messy, but quite perfect :) Photo by the lovely Phil Kneen.
Since moving to Spain I rekindled a friendship with the very charismatic, Ant Alonso and his partner the amazing Maria. Amongst other things, Maria makes jewelry and offered to forge our wedding rings as a present. Such generosity could not go unrewarded and hence we set up a small gig to celebrate the sixth anniversary of the opening of her store, Ur.
Great crowd. Great event.
Maria Arozena del Campo is a very spiritual being. As we wanted something totally handmade and original, we couldn't think of a better person to create them. She made them with love, and you can feel it...
I have always liked bitter but it doesn't exist in Valencia. This of course has done wonders for my waistline , but I do miss it.
The thought of a good pint did cross my mind as we descended into Leeds / Bradford airport. We flew in here specifically to visit my mother who lives in Settle, North Yorkshire.
I arrived, she chewed my ears off (as is her custom and the only real way you can tell she is well) and after 53 minutes was summarily dismissed :)
Quickly seeking out my old haunt the Red Lion, I relaxed with a creamy pint of Wainwright in front of a log fire and even took my hat off.
On May 12, I married my partner, musical collaborator and very best friend, the amazing Suzy Starlite.
Inveraray is the home of the Campbell Clan and as such we thought a suitable place to tie the knot. I will be writing a full article on this in the next couple of weeks, but I have to say now, the ceremony was fantastic and we all had a wonderful time. More to follow soon...
We arrived back on the Wednesday and on Friday our great new friend, Simon Taylor invited Starlite and I to play with his funk band Mr Pink at Pub Terra in Castelló. It's actually more than a pub; it's a proper music venue and one of the oldest in the town. I had a great time just 'checkin out the groove'; my wife sang a few songs. Great night with fantastic company.
[GEEK ALERT - check out the Gartone Bandmaster and Fender Nocaster Relic on the left under the Nord].
The girls (Hummock and Bob) eat copious amount of grub and hence we visit the local 'Pet Supermarket' pretty regularly. This time we met Carlos...
Who are you lookin' at... Who are YOU lookin' at??
We were offered this gig pretty early and it soon transpired that neither our drummer or bass player could make it.
We still wanted to do the gig as UBIK is one of the coolest places in town, so we tackled as a four piece... Gerard Vercher on Hammond (aka NORD) / accordion, Starlite on electric piano / bass, Simon Taylor on sax and percussion and little old me :)
The audience were quite lovely and really 'dug' the new acoustic / country material.
There is a healthy respect for musicians here and it's common to be given a free bar and food. Wonderful. Lorenzo was a great host and wants us back soon!
The Green Espai is essentially a community centre on the Industrial edge of Puerto De Sagunto, Valenciana. It's a great place and headed by Fede Viure Dignament.
Pictured here in the soundcheck is our ace new drummer and colourfully named, Danilo Adriano Argenti Gener. Joining us on bass was the marvelous Diego Barberà Ucher.
The band sounded fantastic and such a great feeling to be back with a full six piece.
Again, the crowd were amazing and the gig reminded me a bit of the Bottom Line in NYC where people are eating before you take to the stage. The Valencians eat no earlier than 2200, hence the 2345 start.
When we were packing at the end of the gig I thought that they were clearing up for the morning. No, they were clearing up for the Karaoke that started at 0300. Different culture, and a great one. ¡Viva España!
See you again at the end of June :)