Thursday, 12 July 2012


I have a bit of a confession to make. It's quite difficult to own up to this, but, well, we're all friends here aren't we?

I mean, it's not a wholly shameful admission. It's not up there with impaling infants on spikes. Think about it as being somewhere on the same level as admitting a fondness for steam traction engines or Morris dancing, perhaps.

I don't like steam engines or Morris dancing, by the way. Just in case you were worried. No, I'm owning up to something else that is spoken about in hushed, slightly aghast terms. Something that you'd never admit to at a smart dinner party. Or a shabby one, come to that.

It's a musical thing. I like lots of types of music - I have the weirdest iPod in the Western world. But a significant part of it is filled with sounds coming from men (and it is normally men) with strange instruments. Banks of keyboards. Guitars with more than one head. And bass played on pedals.

I'll stand up and admit it, here and now. My name is Phil. And I like progressive rock.

I've loved this type of music since my early teens - even then it wasn't trendy. While my schoolmates were listening to Wham, I was the one digging out some obscure Emerson Lake and Palmer. I knew what a Mellotron was when everyone else was getting excited by drum machines.

This explains why I was to be found the other week at a music venue in Bilston. Bilston doesn't really feature in many rock and roll history books. I think the drummer from Slade was born there, but that's about it. But what Bilston does have is a music venue called the Robin 2. And on this occasion, a Genesis tribute band was playing. The Book of Genesis, if you're interested.

So I went to a small town near Wolverhampton to see a progressive rock tribute band. That is possibly the least-fashionable sentence I'll ever write.

But it was ace.

The bass player used pedals to accompany himself while he strummed a double-necked guitar. There were keyboard solos. They had immense technical skill. The singer wore a cape at one point. There was a bit of a lightshow. The audience was 99% male. Interesting facial hair abounded. Marvellous.

And through it all, the long-suffering Katie was there with me. This had been part of my birthday present which she had bought. She offered to drive back, so my evening was lubricated by pints of Banks's Original.

"Are you enjoying this?" I asked worriedly as the band ploughed into Supper's Ready, a 23 minute epic of dystopian nightmare visions.

"Yes, I'm fine. Look, you go up to the front if you like. I'll be ok here."

Bless her. She had an evening of my nonsensical music, poured beer down me and drove me home.

Good God, that's love for you. Think I'll write a 17 minute song about it.


Tom said...

I totally remember Slade. Emerson, Lake and Palmer. That Katie is a saint. Or possibly a little deaf. It helps when you're a little deaf.

Tim (Kalyr) said...

Bilston Robin 2, one of the great rock venues in the country, and the only reason anyone would ever want to visit the arse end of Wolverhampton.

Always a great crowd whoever is playing.

Anonymous said...

If you like Genesis tribute bands, there's a far better one called Regenesis playing the Robin 2 as part of their nationwide tour on the 13th October.. I'm not a member of the band but I have seen them both and 'I Know What I Like'.


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