It’s that time of year again where we visit one of the top small theatres in the country to perform our show. If you’ve not been to Thwaites Empire before, you’re missing a trick! This venue is one of our favourites because it boasts great views of the band from every seat and great acoustics, so you can be sure of a night to remember, listening to your favourite Genesis tracks.
We were very happy to be asked to appear at the 2012 Tribfest in the VIP tent (Marquee if you want to get all technical on us) and we must have made a good impression as a week later we were asked to appear on the main stage at this years event. The festival itself is billed as the largest tribute band festival in Europe and has been going a good number of years now. Most of the top UK tribute bands have appeared there at some time or another with quite a lot (Simple Minds and The Cure tributes leap to mind) from abroad. Tribfest is a three day festival with various stages and tents and has expanded into original bands and a DJ tent if the whole “tribute thing” doesn’t float your boat.
Old Faithful is Old and Really, Really Faithful!
Our day started at 7:30am as we were opening the show at 12:00pm on the Sunday, by loading James’s drums into “old faithful” (aka The Van) and after a quick stop to quench her thirst, we were on our way to sunny Chorley to collect Dave our bassist, bass pedals, backing vocals and lighting guru. The banter started almost at once about lots of stuff and it became clear that we were all excited about being on the “big stage.” An uneventful trip and we made good time chugging along UNTIL, we hit the “Hill of Doom”. This is a steep hill about 10 miles from the site which is around a mile long. Old Faithful complained as I shifted her into first gear and we were all panicking that she would give up the ghost as she crawled along at 10 miles an hour. The queue of traffic behind us wished us well by honking their horns loudly and several drivers waved as they went past. Some even indicated that they knew we were using first gear by the amount of fingers they held up to us… Nice touch that!
Musicians? Slumming it? Never?
Anyway, that over we met up with John C and Mark (who had been slumming it in a hotel in Hull the night before) at the site and we were soon ushered to the rear of the main stage. Fugging hell it was HUGE! By far the largest stage we have appeared at. Did nerves get the better of us? Nah we were all having too much fun for that to happen. The stage crew were a joy to work with and soon we were set up and ready. John C had slimmed down his keyboard rig for this show as set up and break down times were vital if we were to not hinder the band after us by cutting into their set. He ran through all the patches as a check and they all sounded as good as they usually do so kudos to him for that. A lot of work on his part but worth it to help out the other bands. Once were we soundchecked they let the crowd in. We all went backstage and changed and waiting to be given the nod to start. We were due on stage at 12:00pm which came and went and still no sign of us being allowed to do our “thang.” Finally we walked out in front of around 800 people at 12:07pm (yes I am anal about things like this and I did check my watch).
There’s Always a Plan, There Really is!
Our plan was simple; give the people at Tribfest the BIG hits of Genesis and some solo hits. The reasoning for this was simple. Not everyone there would be a fan of Genesis and so if we played some of the more “classic,” “proggy” songs, a lot of the people there would in truth not be interested (think Queen at Live Aid here). We started with Turn It On Again which soon had the crowd clapping along and indeed trying to dance in 13/8. At the end of the song we heard the roar of approval so without introducing ourselves we launched into Land Of Confusion. The crowd sang along to the parts we knew they would and suddenly the song had finished. A quick “Helloooooooo Tribfest” and we were into the single version of Abacab. By this time more and more people were realising that there was a band on the main stage and the numbers swelled to around 1,100 by the time we finished the song. The roar after each song gave us all the confidence to play at our very best and indeed by the time Mama started we knew we were on top form. Dave’s bass pedals really kicked in on this song and we could feel them vibrate on stage. There were a few Genesis friends of ours who took their places at the barrier in front of the stage and they all joined in the “ha ha ha” parts. The ending was powerful and indeed drew the biggest cheers and applause so far.
Next we decided to hit them with a Peter Gabriel classic, Solsbury Hill. Mark picked up his acoustic and started playing the intro when, “TWANG,” his E string broke…. Much good natured giggling while he changed back to his electric and the song proceeded without incident. More and more people were filling the space now and the roar after we finished was amazing. We did want to do something for the people who were Genesis fans so James started the beat for I Know What I Like. I personally was very surprised at just how well this went down with a lot of folk singing the chorus and joining in on the “Stagnation” section. We brought it back to the We Can’t Dance album with No Son Of Mine which also went down very well indeed.
In The Air This Afternoon!
Now I have to be honest and say that we did get the odd shout for “Supper’s Ready” and “The Knife” here but we decided to showcase James on In The Air Tonight. As soon as we started the song a roar went up from the crowd and they sang every word and of course air drummed THAT drum fill. Again the bass pedals kicked in and all in all it was one of the most powerful versions we have played.
To Run Over or Not to Run Over?
I looked at my watch again and saw that the time was 12:53pm so rather than run seven minutes over and play for exactly an hour, we decided the professional thing to do would be to play one more song and help the running order stay on track. Sadly this meant dropping Follow You Follow Me so after thanking the crowd and crew, John C started the drum loop for Tonight Tonight Tonight. By this time another rough estimate of the crowd gave me 1,500 although they sounded like 15,000 singing along to this with us. Invisible Touch closed our portion of the show and it seemed like everyone wanted to dance. Again at the end the crowd gave us a great response and we felt we had entertained them. A quick band bow and it was all over.
It’s All Over for Genesis. Bring on Blondie!
Very quickly we broke our equipment down and settled back to watch the band on after us, Heart Of Glass; a superb Blondie tribute. All too soon however we had to start the journey home in “Old Faithful” while John C and Mark stayed to watch some of the other bands. The drive home was great as the adrenaline rush of playing (and going down a storm) to that many people was still with us.
Special Thanks to Tribfest!
So again, a great day out and a job well done. Thanks to ALL the Tribfest staff and crew for having us and we are already booked for 2014!
Special thanks to Jan for the cool mobile phone video above! 🙂