Jim Bayes, A Portion Of Quips , as Birdy, The Parliament of Birdy Laws, looks on
The format was to be house band to play 1st then an hour of comedy followed by 2 more bands, however comedy was up 1st followed by 3 bands. The Venue was in the basement of the George (Cellar 7), a nice room but as there was limited seating it meant that a crowd gathered around the bar with a few people seated at the back, I mean I suppose, that with them not being able to see the acts they felt a little disconnected from the night. A problem we would address in future evenings. To the left of the stage area was a table where we as acts were able to situate ourselves, however in hind sight, that area may have been better served as a front row seating area for the audience. Jim Bayes would start the proceedings and got under-way it was 8.15. The place was rammed, around 50 or 60 people squeezed in. I began with some details about the night and get them to support our acts, they listened and were very accommodating, Jim did 8 mins of random chatter and threw in the odd bit of rehearsed joke before selecting a lovely lady to be our cheerleader. Charlotte was her name and she was a great at he duties as a front row audience member.
Up on the stage 1st was Ben Gibson doing his 3rd gig and it was a new set from his 2 previous, he did a set of one liners to the delight of the crowd although they would laugh loudly at one joke and groan at the next I feel they were very receptive to Bens set, more so than he realised and given that more than half were there to watch the bands it was a good response. Bens best joke was one about his uncle, (and in my humble opinion one of the most memorable – I tip my hat to you Ben) he did 8 mins and was warmly applauded off.
“When I was in my teens my uncle had a little stroke…
…Didn’t call the police though”
Jim returned to the stage, did another 4 mins and tried to pick bits from Bens set to work off and again make a little chatter before bringing on the next act.
Rich Hodkin was next, His delivery was smooth his act was slick…and sick!!! Literally at one point! Again the crowd laughed and also groaned…. a groan is a response and one that is not negative. Rich was also in good form and was applauded off, 2 great sets so far. I did another 2 mins before the break, im not sure if it is the done thing for an MC to do a little bit before the break but i went with it, so far i was getting a mixed response but while i was not being laughed at they were at least listening.
After the break Jim did another 8 mins to make sure he was not giving the acts on to a cold audience. Jim had a chat with one or two of them, I established that the guy in the front row wearing a hat was an Aussie, there was a Scottish guy, some Spaniards, a girl from California and remarkably few Loiners! This was not MC gold but it was Jim finding his feet in the role a bit more before introducing Ross Brierely.
Ross had won Mr Bens with me recently and we knew what to expect, his set would be full of energy and witty asides. Despite being ill, he was very funny and entertaining, he has a great ability to adapt to whichever night he is performing at and even with some of the usual energy missing he delivered to the delight of the audience. Ross did a solid 10 mins and again the crowd seemed happy. It was coming to a close, we had one more act left.
First, Jim had to tighten the reins as when Ross had finished, the audience began to chatter and some headed to the bar, Jim managed to get a handle on it – He was even able to interact with one guy.
It was not a total disaster though, Jim got the applause going for Steve Goodall, who was to headline.Jim chose to call him a headline, not to add pressure but to give the audience a definition of structure to the night, that may not make sense but whatever way you look at it Steve delivered a headline performance. Steve is likable and has a great presence that has warmth and yet he is cheeky, the jokes flow freely and he held the audience throughout his 12 mins. Steve finished the comedy off superbly and Jim thanked our cheerleader Charlotte and all the guys who performed before bringing the comedy to a close.
This was not the end of the night though as the 3 bands were to follow.
First up was our twisted folk troubadour Look Yonder, who played to an audience that were gee’d up from the comedy, he took the bull by the horns and launched straight into Arab Spring. His voice soothed the their rabid chatter, frothing from their mouths.
The Parliament of Birdy Laws were the second band,playing their retro versions of contemporary music - Arctic Monkeys in the style of Edith Piaf (a personal favourite). The energy emanating from the audience, Sam’s dexterity on the keys and Birdy’s performance with the microphone, all fed into the electric atmosphere, (the only thing missing was cigar smoke). I also think all of the comedy acts had decidedly fallen a little in love!
The last band were The Aristophonics, keeping that up tempo jazz vibe (all aided by the appearance of a double bass!) they played us out in style, with Alexa’s vocals really opening up and the lead guitar of Loizos “Louis” Pafitis dappling the performance.
All in all and to coin a phrase – Great Success!
The next Madness of King George will be occurring on the 16th of June!
PS. Here is a video of a more tender moment courtesy of Look Yonder – The Weakness in Me by Joan Armatrading