Friday 26th January 2024

We had been in conversation with Darren Watson about playing at E.L.F in Battle in April. Every Last Friday is a mini music marathon in 5 different venues in Battle. We did it once before a few years back and enjoyed it. One venue, a restaurant was really quiet (one couple eating and trying to pretend we weren’t there!), another was so loud nobody could hear us, another venue, a cafe, was full of people listening to the music. So we knew roughly what to expect and were looking forward to taking part again. Then on Friday we had a message from Darren asking if we could by any chance step in that day to replace a duo that had to drop out due to illness. ‘Yes!’, we said.

Some of the venues were different to last time – 2 of the pubs were the same but the café and restaurant were gone – so we weren’t as sure of what to expect but were looking forward to it. Our first gig of the year wasn’t planned until 7th Feb so we weren’t totally ‘gig ready’. Earlier in the month we’d done a radio appearance with 2 songs and an open mic with 2 songs. Plus we’d recorded a folk song cover (more about that project later) and we had a good long practice in the afternoon so felt confident we could perform reasonably well.

smiling selfie in taproom

Venue 1 – Battle Brewery Tap Room. This is a great little place at the top end of the High Street – small but busy. We arrived with 10 minutes to spare and one of the servers showed us where we could set up. Darren had said there would be a PA with one mic and stand at each venue but he advised us to bring our own just in case. We’ve got a good little busking amp and a trolley so it was easy to be self sufficient. There was no pa set up in the taproom but Jim did see one in the bar area so presumably we could have used that. A few chairs needed to be moved but a table had been reserved beside the side door – enough room for us to squeeze in side by side slightly on an angle so we could share the mic.

There are 2 rooms in the venue, the one with the bar was full and in the room where we were playing 2 of the tables were occupied. A small group at the table near us got up and left as we were setting up, followed by the other. But almost immediately 2 people settled on stools by the wall bar and the other tables soon filled up, the volume gradually increasing. One group said ‘hello’ as they arrived and seemed to have come for the music but they talked through the whole set, as did most people there but we did get rounds of applause at the end of each song. And we really enjoyed playing again – there really is nothing like performing!

You get a 25 minute slot in each venue with 10 minutes between including set up, get out and travel, so it’s pretty tight! We packed up and left as soon as we finished our last number. We were offered drinks on arrival – Jim was given a pint of the house beer but he didn’t get a chance to drink most of it.

Onto venue 2….