Ned Luberecki and Stephen Mougin are touring this month in England, and Stephen is sending along a travelogue of their time across the pond. Day 5 turns into a wild goose chase.
Ned needed to get a bunch of radio stuff done this morning before we checked out of our “hotel” in London. We walked out the door at eleven and headed for the Tube with luggage and instruments. The rental car place was supposed to be at Victoria Station, which is a tube stop… and a train station… and down the street – a bus station. After several blocks of walking, and directions from several strangers, we found the place. They ALWAYS try to up-sell you on cars. And we wound up with a bigger car for a slightly higher price. The tour vehicle is a Peugout something-or-other. She called it a van, it’s a wagon.
We swung by the Chelsea Space art gallery on the way out of town to pickup our Fishman gear, then headed out. Or so we thought. The GPS told us to go Left where we couldn’t, then modified the journey to keep us in traffic for an hours worth of small streets. Nedski did a fine job of driving on the… well, lets face it… wrong side of the road, wrong side of the car… Yeesh! I felt weird in the “passenger” seat. From that view it feels like I should be in control of the car, but there’s no wheel or pedals. Roundabouts are mind-numbing. Clockwise, merging, left side of the road. Help.
We got to the venue early, but it’s a sports club and we couldn’t load in unil 7:00 p.m. We decided to grab some late lunch/early dinner at a pub down the street that advertised free wifi.
The Ram Club show, in Surrey, turned out to be amazing. It is a folk club that has been going for thirty years in various venues. Currently, they house it in the great hall of a football (soccer) clubhouse, which didn’t look like much when we got there. The shows are every Friday evening, and within an hour they transformed the room into a concert hall.
It’s nice to play for an audience of people who are truly there to hear the music. The Ram Club is a dedicated folk music organization, complete with an open mic and group sing-along. The evening started with an accapella sea chanty. COOL!
Our portion of the show was well received. It was a little spooky how quiet they were during the songs (no clapping for solos, no small chatter), but folks went out of their way to tell us how much they enjoyed it! One gentleman told me: “I didn’t think I liked bluegrass until tonight.” Nice!
I have to mention that on this tour we are staying in some “hotels,” houses of friends, and houses of strangers. You never know what you’re going to get. For the Ram Club show, we were hosted by club members Bob and Maggie Wood. Bob is an amazing fingerstyle guitarist originally from Scotland and he did a few songs before our second set. They understand what musicians need… wifi, food, showers, comfy beds, late wakeups. We can’t thank our hosts enough!