When a band complements the audience on beating Hull to the crown of Dogging Capital of the world, it's going to be an interesting gig, and so aFridaynight in Cannock watching Dodgy turned out to be. It was a journey back out to that neck of the woods following the brilliant gig at Woodys watching Tom Hingley from the Inspiral Carpets (Blogged here) a few weeks ago. The original poster publicising the gig was a little odd given it gave the wrong venue, and missed the fact that it was a run through of the current and first albums in their entirety but it gave us a clue. It was reasonably challenging to find out about the gig, resorting to tweeting the band and we were off. With Bob driving we took the interesting approach of him looking at a map on line then driving hoping to remember the location or the venue name when we hit Cannock, and it worked with only one misplacing and asking of passers by for directions. Walking through the streets of cannock we were first hit with the sounds of Agado do do by Black Lace wafting over us from a venue above Boots the chemist, I was mildly perturbed hat this may be the warm up tunes, but luckily this seemed to be a disco going on. Walking in, an apologetic front deskier noted the ticket machine had broken, and had to be hand written, to which quick as a flash I thanked her for the 'Dodgy ticket' to which she sighed, obviously having had the same comment from everyone prior in the queue.
Dodgy ticket - Boom Boom
Passing a decent merchandise stall, including sew on Dogging badges in the shape of Northern Soul ones, we entered the venue, (which Bobs little daughter had performed Ballet at recently) and I can hand on heart say I have never been to a venue like it. Nice stage, standing area and then a bank of cinema seats at the back with a DJ booth, with Northern Soul songs filling the venue. Looking round though the most bizarre thing was the randomness of the audience, usually at a gig you will get a tribe there, indie kids, rockers, etc and some theme but here it looked like the audience was just a sample of people plucked at random from Cannock shopping centre, lots of interesting people, a veritable giant, luckily seated at the back, line dancers, old bloke in shirt tie and red braces, rumours of a member of the Charlatans in attendance, massive bouncers, I was just waiting for Peter Kaye and the cast of Phoenix Nights to wander round when... From the sound desk the Paul Weller barneted promoter announced the ability for us to purchase raffle tickets, one prize of a Dodgy signed guitar (cue second Dodgy joke) and to buy merchandise, Dodgy gear on sale in the foyer....boom and indeed boom. Support act Sam Forrest playing acoustic shit (by his own admission) was prior Nine Black Alps front man, dressed in lumberjack shirt, cartoon mop hair, but good banter, nice tunes, probably a bit narked to have Driven for 3 hours to get there and everyone was chatting loudly over his acoustic songs. Good stuff and got warm applause. Another break, Raffle drawn, and Dodgy came on to premier their latest album, Stand Upright In A Cool Place, first in 14 years played start to finish. It's an anomaly amongst recent bands coming back from the Britpop era as it is definitely written from a grown up perspective, the Autumn of the career, and all the better for it. They were very tight at that point, Nigel Clark lead singer looking in rude health, chatting throughout, Drummer and bvs Matthew Priest now sporting an excellent white beard, he always was a larger than life character in the Britpop wars. Bassist wearing well..., guitarist looking like he had had a tough life and not over the moon to be in Cannock.
Highlight for me for the first album of the night was track 2 'What became of you', coupled with lead singer getting told off for swearing to the crowd (you came her to hear the hits, where's f****ng Staying out for the Summer, where's f*****ng in a room, and wheres f*****ng staying out for the summer ) as his cousins lad was in the crowd. I must admit I was thinking the same a little.
Band off, with the promise of taking us time travelling back to 1993 on their return, a specific request for April 11th was made, more tunes, back on, having partaken of a bit of the rider, and launching into a run through of the Dodgy album, their debut. This was typical Britpop, thoroughly enjoyable, and an album I never bought, but will seek out. You got a sense of melancholy from lead singer going through this, a few barbed comments and the tunes becoming a little less tight as the gig went on. Finishing off with We're Not Going to Take This Anymore they merged into back to life back to reality then went off waving to the crowd.
Promoter leapt back into life, encouraging the audience to be cheering on Indie Legends Dodgy, and to stamp our feet. And we were rewarded with a returning band, half full bottle of scotch in hand to do a Ragged if your thinking of me and good enough, both good tunes, receiving decent sing alongs, from the crowd and including in a long intro for Good Enough a jumping into the audience, pushing people forward to dance and launching of water bottle from one side of the gig to the other, danger danger.
That Bottle of Scotch - the Rider!
Great experience, Dodgy great value for money for the 2 albums and wrapping up at11:45was a long old gig, we could have stayed for the disco but were probably right to leave rather than cut a rug with the chap in tie and braces. Final announcements from the promoter promised loads more gigs in Cannock bringing more legends, I would hope he promotes them in the future more widely than flyers in Cannock chip shops as this has potential.
Crowd full of pent up excitement for gig (braces dead centre)