Toots, Man!


Sorry for the delay in updating our blog, again. I’m too busy for sitting in front of my computer. I haven’t answered emails in over a week. I don’t even have time to drink. Shocking! It’s the festival. I hate it. It’s not the shows, the tourists, the buskers, or the fact that it makes it impossible for us to promote our own events in the general hullabaloo; it’s the fact that it takes three times longer to do anything in Edinburgh, such as drive across town, or get a bus from Leith to Oxgangs. And I know that I will be involved in working at it, either driving or doing sound for something or worse, both. And it hasn’t even started yet. Aaaarrgh!

Not much to say in this instalment of our blog except to say, well people, we played with Toots and The Maytals. And yes, it felt as great as it sounds. The Arches was sold out. Nine hundred people. It was certainly the biggest crowd we’ve played to this year. When Toots finally came on, I don’t think anyone in the place was disappointed. I’ve read a few lukewarm reviews of his performance, but from where I was standing he was excellent. Some have said his voice was a bit shaky. I couldn’t hear it but I suppose that anyone can have an off night. Highlights for me include watching Matt’s girlfriend Susan getting past the bouncers at the front, presumably because she had a Bombskare access all areas pass, and getting on stage with Toots. He gave her a big kiss, but even then she didn’t want to get off the stage, until she was politely encouraged by the security guys.

On a personal note I can barely remember the gig. I wasn’t drunk or anything. The previous day and night I had been working on the crew for a Queen tribute band up near Keith. I had worked a 23 hour shift, drove back to Edinburgh and had grabbed about three hours sleep before driving through to Glasgow with all our gear for the sound check. By the time we came on I was dead on my feet. I know I enjoyed the gig, I’ve seen the clips on YouTube, I just can’t remember enjoying it.

We met the great man himself, Mr Toots Hibbert. He was even a rather personable chap. I got to ask him “Hey Fred? What’s with the effeminate nickname? Do you really want people to think that you play for the other team?” I didn’t really ask him that. I wanted to, but some of my band mates stopped me, thank god. You can’t say something like that to the man who wrote Pressure Drop and 54/46 was my number. Well, you can’t, because you never met him. I could because I did, but I didn’t do it. The question is valid though. Why is he called Toots? Answers on a postcard please.

Thanks to the Arches and to Craig for putting us on. I’ve heard we may be returning to the Arches later this year with Jerry Dammers of The Specials. That would be cool. Watch this space. Our next gig will be a trip back up to Lochinver and then over to Nairn, followed by a gig in Edinburgh supporting Pama International, featuring, amongst others, Lynval Golding, also of The Specials. Aren’t we lucky?

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