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Chris Pearson introduces the original Fiddling Fool
Looong is good..
27.2.14 - I didn't recognise Chris Pearson when he opened the door at PBS last night just before 10.00pm, partly because I've not met him before, but also because he's changed the configuration of his facial hair since his official PBS pic was taken.
Anyway, we hit it off almost immediately, not just because he was obviously very familiar with the Rudd / Spectrum story but he's also a likeable bloke sporting a pleasantly modulated Scottish brogue - added to which he actually prefers to play long album tracks on his show, e.g. he began by playing Fiddling Fool, followed by The Crab Saga.
Anyway, you can listen retrospectively to the podcast if you somehow missed the live transmission.
Waxin' your snatch..

Ross plays air guitar with The Peaceniks at the arvo rehearsal for The Flying Saucer Club
gig report
Ross Wilson & The Peaceniks at The Flying Saucer Club Sat. 22.2.14
Another fun night with Ross Wilson and the chaps

24.2.14 - Confusingly The Flying Saucer Club is actually the Caulfield RSL in Elsternwick, but although it's not decked out like an alien space craft, at least it has some innate atmosphere, which you'll remember I thought was quite lacking at last week's Ross Wilson gig at the Yarraville Club. Maybe it was that or maybe it was that it was the second such gig in a week, but it felt more relaxed to me and I think the audience warmed to me as a result. I think I mentioned that we were going to do Jamaican Farewell which is a tricky enough song if you heard it in the first place, but even though it was totally new to the drummer, Tony Floyd, he had it all down perfectly and the one-off performance worked out a treat. Once again, many thanks to Ross and Eric, Chris, Colin and Floydy for making me welcome and doing the hard yards to make my spot work so well.

Ged and birthday girl Vanessa Jackson pose with happy Mike at Tago Mago
gig report
Vanessa Jackson's 60th birthday Fri. 21.2.14
A birthday party at Tago Mago
24.2.14 -
The last time the trio played at Tago Mago I was introduced to Vanessa Jackson (pic) who asked whether we'd be up for playing at her 60th at the same venue. As a result, last Friday we arrived early to set up and sound check with the enigmatic Dugald. All of which made for a long night, but the TM lads have done some good work on the acoustics and there was an actual crowd in the room, so it was an absolute pleasure to be there..

1) Craig Horne and Jeff Burstin 2) Mike and Broc struggle with their demons at the Wild Thyme Café farewell (Wazz)
gig report
Farewell to the Seppings' family at the Wild Thyme Café Sun. 16.2.14
A fitting farewell to the Seppings' family at the Wild Thyme Café
23.2.14 -
The Wild Thyme Café in Warby has been a reliable stand-by Spectrum gig for years now. Whenever the bookings ran dry I could always count on Alan to graciously slot in the duo or trio to play the tiny front room, (the world's most intimate gig), or more recently to brave the occasionally challenging conditions on the al fresco stage out the back. Alan, being the generous soul that he is, always made us welcome and would never let us leave without cakes and other goodies to take home with us, so I leapt at the chance for the trio to play one final gig in Warburton, along with a host of other acts equally keen to thank Alan and Carol and all the Seppings' family for keeping local (and general) music alive and well-fed in the township.
It was a pretty impromptu event and there was no backline provided, but there were two stages set up out the back and thankfully the early afternoon showers had blown away by the time we set up. The Hornets' Craig Horne and Jeff Burstin (pic 1) played a solid set of blues songs on the second stage as we set up - and then it was our turn. I think we'd got through just the one song when Broc's brand new bass amp started to fade and then died completely. I half-seriously made a plea for anybody in the audience to lend us a bass amp before suggesting to Broc to plug in directly to the small stage PA - which he did, and we managed to bluff our way through the entire set. (pic 2)
The rain may have gone, but the flies were having a field day and I had the distinct feeling that several flies had gone throught an entire life-cycle in my hair and ears and nostrils as we were playing - but everybody was having a battle with the flies and it didn't really detract from the occasion.
After our set the speeches and presentations were made to the Seppings' family. Alan gave me a final couple of fierce hugs and I fancied that I might've seen the glint of a tear or two in his eyes. The day was a great success and we can only hope that the promise of continuing the live music policy at the Wild Thyme is honoured by the new owners. Thanks to Alan and the Seppings' family for all the years selflessly dedicated to serving the people of Warby and good luck for the future from Spectrum.
Scratchin' your back..

Somebody must have a pic of me with Ross Wilson last night, but here Ross is back in charge
gig report
Ross Wilson & The Peaceniks at the Yarraville Club Sat. 15.2.14
Ross & The Peaceniks welcome Mike back in Yarraville
16.2.14 -
We got to the Yarraville Club way too early for the 5.00 sound check, so Maria and I went off to get a cuppa down the road. By sheer coincidence on the way back we caught sight of Ross Hannaford doing some shopping and looking very at home in his Yarraville manor and so I was given further cause to reflect on my history with the two Rosses. The Yarraville Club turned out to be an unprepossessing looking place and the function room was, well, functional. Mind you, it sounded alright, but it's not a patch on its companion venue, The Caravan Club, for atmosphere.
Right up until half an hour before we went on stage I didn't know how we were going to present Woman of the World and Boy, You're Paranoid. the two Party Machine pieces in my set. Since we last performed them Ross has added Paranoid to his regular set and it's consequently shifted up a gear in tempo and now the two songs could easily be seguéd they are so similar. Or perhaps separated? Anyway, Ross opted for the second option and had me playing guitar in Woman of the World instead of bass, which meant, given that Eric's got all the guitar bits already covered, I found myself struggling a bit. We'll see where that all ends up next week at The Flying Saucer Club.
Ross casually suggested I needed another tune to bulk up the set and Eric immediately voted for Jamaican Farewell, as he'd gone to the trouble to learn Tim's guitar parts when it was released back in 1974. Sounds like fun! See y'all then!

Now that's what I call an AMP! Mike models the MD-20
Massive line-up for Wild Thyme on Sunday
14.2.14 -
The show planned for Sunday at the Wild Thyme Café as a thank you to head honcho Alan Seppings has become a massive one, with sixteen acts on over the day starting at 11.30am and finishing at 8.30ish. Spectrum's on for an hour (we'll see) after The Hornets at 6.00. A full list of the acts is on the Gig guide page
I hope some of you heard the interviews Ross Wilson and I did yesterday. If you missed them you can click on the Neil Roger's link for the Triple R interview, where Ross and I managed to do both numbers the ABC couldn't fit in. (Interview and songs from 01:11:40 - 01:33:15)
Because we were doing Woman of the World I opted to bring an amp (pic) for George Martin - I think he liked it..
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