It’s not always something that occurs during a performance - the reaction of a crowd, the sound, or even a crazy engineer that makes an event memorable. A chance encounter with two random guys is one particular case in point…
We did a gig at The King's Head in Fulham – bloody great venue that was. They had this big live room next door to the bar with a good sized stage and a big floor; and it had a massive 10k point source PA system that deafened anyone within 20 metres!
There was some serious history attached to that place too. Back in the day, Led Zeppelin used to jam there, and used it as a practice venue; they had this really cool signed picture of the band hanging on the wall in the bar, and rumour has it they even once played a gig to an unsuspecting crowd, billing themselves as a Zeppelin tribute act. Can you imagine being there and never even knowing?!
We had already played and packed away, so naturally decided a libation was in order... Enter a modern-day, slightly deformed, Laurel and Hardy pairing... I say that purely because it’s exactly what came to mind when I first set eyes on these two crazy looking characters - one huge man leading the way, followed by his taller thin associate.
The big man was bumping into absolutely everything in the room whilst trying to get to an empty table; massive, he was - and at the same time, his sidekick was falling over all the debris he’d left in his wake - this one was a funny looking chap, all pencil neck and hook-nosed; he looked like some sort of badly made spitting image puppet!
We had to go over and engage with these two, as I had never seen anything like it in my life; we needed to find out what their story was. It turned out they were there to see this all girl band; and they claimed to have their own record label, and they only dealt with female singer songwriters. Now, these two were so clumsy and disjointed they couldn’t manage to get laid in a brothel with a bunch of tenners hanging out of their ears, let alone run a label - and add to that this band had already played... They couldn’t get anything right! We invited them over to our table, and they spent the next hour spilling out the same old story about who they nearly signed up, blah blah blah. It was all crap and lies; neither of them could get their story straight, but we indulged them purely for our own entertainment, I just could not stop grinning.
It got worse, as later on, our heavy-set new found friend went to the loo and came back with half of it all down his trousers; sodden wet, they were – and he never even noticed! When his mate then stood up, his bottle comes out of his hand and lands smack bang into the middle of the table sending glasses and drink everywhere like a set of bowling pins. These two were unreal, I had to look around to see if we were being filmed in a stitch up; this just couldn’t be happening!
Our band's manager then turned up and whispered to me, “Who are these two idiots? Look at the boat on that one!” I told him to “Grab a seat, we’re in the middle of telling them we’ve just come back from a month’s stint in Africa playing with the locals out there and sleeping under the stars”. “But we haven’t been to Africa..." “Yeah, I know, but they really believe that we have, they're even asking us what we ate, how we dealt with the language, etc. These two have told so many porkies, they can’t tell fact from fiction anymore.” It was so ridiculous, I don’t know how we all didn’t explode into laughter.
Sadly, The Kings Head is no longer; it got turned into a Steakhouse... I just hope they still have that Led Zeppelin picture up on a wall somewhere…