Gig: Friday 10th June 2011
The Station Pub in Killingworth
Experimented with a diffuser on my hair and remembered why I stopped using one in the early 90s: my hair is huge! Nick tries to appease my panic with, ‘Its class man pet (two terms of endearment which admittedly are rather ill-fitting together). Very Motown!’ I know exactly what he means – that phase Diana Ross went through when she sang ‘Chain Reaction’ and her hair was so big she had to walk sideways to get though doors…
The pub is busy, loud and full with a dis-proportionate amount of men ( I’m inwardly very glad I didn’t wear the tutu tonight). While the band are setting up I busy myself with crucially important decisions about the setlist, such as should ‘Do you love me?’ go before or after ‘9 to 5’… After a few minutes of deliberation the feeling that I get at least once at every gig starts seeping in: the utter conviction that I will NOT be able to do this tonight (hot feeling starts in the stomach, spreads up to chest and across face is accompanied by very itchy palms and the desire to run). I go to the toilet and apply even more make up to calm my nerves, it strikes me that this is the reason why I end up looking like a drag queen by the time we go on stage. Still, we’re getting a lovely gay following so every cloud…
Public toilets in Newcastle are much like the ones in Wales whereby the social etiquette is to chat to unknown women while standing at the sinks. Tonight is no different. Geordie Woman to me: ‘We’ve all come here after a funeral.’ Me (typical but inadequate response) : ‘Oh, I’m sorry.’ Geordie Woman: ‘Don’t be, pet! None of us are!’ Thats the thing about performing in front of Geordies: they can be brutally honest.
As always, as soon as I start singing, the red hot itchy feeling goes away. There is the customary ‘winning them over time’ at the beginning of the first set. This usually lasts two songs and involves lots of folded arms, who-the-f@@k-does-she-think-she-is faces and the odd mutter (from them, not me). It’s like singing to a room full of Simon Cowells. Slowly but surely half way through ‘Never Forget You’ arms start to unfold, nods of appreciation are exchanged and two women at the back are up and dancing. Please note: if you are the sort of person whose the first up to dance you make my life worth living, thank you!
The first set goes by without a hitch, apart from when we try out ‘Its in his kiss’ for the first time – amidst some confusion the backing vocals get missed out and I start singing them so that I end up asking myself, ‘Is it in his face?’ and also answering myself ‘oh no, that’s just his charm’ – slightly reminiscent of a schizophrenic patient.
After the first set (I’m never sure what to call this time by the way: ‘the interval’ is too theatrical, ‘half-time’ sounds like a football match and ‘break time’ reminds me of school) a nice man asks about booking us for a big Soul event at Christmas, which is nice, he says he heard of us months ago and has been trying to see us since, which is also nice, he has his own radio show on Magic FM and promises to mention us, again this is nice. His friend later calls me aside and tells me not to listen to him as he’s a compulsive liar. Not so nice. I’m going to sound so horrible and ungrateful now but people always want to talk to you in the Interval- Half-time- Break – thingy and I find it completely over-whelming so I go to the toilet to escape…only to be greeted by the two lovely women who were first up to dance. It seems they are a little tipsy. Dancing Geordie Woman to me: ‘Ah WOW! It’s YOU! We LOVE you! You’ve got the most GORGEOUS voice! How old are you?’. The manner in which she bends down to talk to me as though I were a small child suggests she is going to be shocked by the answer. ’30,’ I say. Her: ‘No WAY! you can’t be! You can’t be 32! I’M only 30!’ Me: ‘No, no, I’m only 30 – too!’ Her: ‘YESS! that’s what I said! 32! I can’t believe it!’ Aaarggh!
On the way back to do Set Two a man stops me to say how impressed he is, that his friend runs a live music venue and that he thinks we would go down really well there. He finishes by saying he doesn’t know how the boys in the band can concentrate playing behind me as he would ‘find it far too upsetting.’ I think this is meant as a compliment. Well, I hope it is. It is isn’t it?…
The second set starts brilliantly with most people out of their seats, singing along, dancing and clapping. ‘Twist and Shout’ through ‘Shake a Tailfeather’ to ‘My Girl’ is a high point until, following Mike the Drummer’s advice, I try to explain that even though I sing ‘My Girl’ I’m not actually a lesbian…I start saying how it must be lovely though to be able to swop clothes and make -up with your partner… I’m digging a hole for myself and it doesn’t go down too well (neither pun intended). After the second chorus in ‘Sex on Fire’ I notice a woman drinking my red wine! She notices me noticing, I’m completely distracted and forget to come in with my third and favourite verse – the sexy one about being ‘hot as a fever’ and being able to ‘taste it’! Nick is singing the lyrics to me loudly as if no one can see what he’s doing and I’ll be able to just subtly slip back in with the end of the verse without anyone noticing the slip-up! He knows I hate it when he tries to ‘help’ me during gigs, I give him The Look and he goes back to concentrating on his guitar until the end of the song.
After the gig Nick drives to Mcdonalds and we sit in the car park eating our chips, burgers and fantas like teenagers on an after-dark joyride. We decide to google the so-called compulsive liar and come across pictures of him with Rod Stewart, Rose Royce and various other famous singers. Nick nearly wets himself when we come across one of the man with Paul Carrack. So he wasn’t a liar after all?
Later I think I hear Nick talking in his sleep: something about ‘Of course Mr. Carrack. Kelly and the Sensations would love to support your reunion tour with ‘Mike and the Mechanics…’
Thanks for reading!
Love, Kelly xxx