Monday, 15 May 2017

North Finchley Festival - Final rehearsal for The False Dots

Image may contain: 1 person, on stage, playing a musical instrument and guitar
The False Dots in action live
When you've played in a band for as long as I have - 38 years - one of the joys of getting together for a rehearsal is the opportunity to chat with the guys about life, the universe and everything. These days, we tend to have no more than a couple of rehearsals before gigs and we try and have a fairly relaxed final session before the the gig. We tend to concentrate on newer material, as the older songs are pretty well set in stone. The current incarnation of the band, with Allen Ashley on vocals, Fil Ross on bass and Graham Ramsey on drums, specifically got together for a gig to mark the end of the occupation of Friern Barnet library in 2012. At the time, I had no plans to make it a permanent line up, but nearly five years later, we have an album in the bag and are working on a second one. Toniight, we discussed the Library gig, Allen thought it was quite appropriate that we started our second incarnation of the 1985  line up in a library reopened by Occupy! Allen is a poet and author, which is why I specifically wanted to do the library gig with him.

As I drove back, I thought about the next gig, for the North Finchley Fest, which is one of the biggest weekenders ever in the Borough of Barnet. It has grown in size and scale way beyond the idea of  "a few bands playing in the High Street over a weekend". We were plugged on Radio London at the weekend by both Joanne Good and Robert Elms. There are over 50 artists playing. But my mind also cast back to various festivals and gigs that we've played over the years in the locality. The first festival gig was set up by Nik Turner of Hawkwind, in 1981 on Hampstead Heath. The festival was entitled "Stand Stoned Starkers" and little known to us, it was a protest against wearing clothes. Sadly, we didn't play because it was unlicensed and the Police shut the whole thing down in a very heavy handed fashion. The next Festival was The Montrose Festival in 1982 in Montrose Park, followed by The Grahame Park festival in 1984. We were asked back and played an expanded festival in 1985.

There then followed a local festival hiatus until 2005, when we played the Mill Hill Music Festival, which became a regular biannual event for the band, until the Mill Hill Sports club closed down. We also played a festival at The Green Dragon in Barnet that I can't recall the name of. I'm not really a fan of open air gigs, so we've tended to only play where there is an indoor options such as The Sports Club, as there is the stressful issue of the weather when it is outdoors. The North Finchley Festival should be good, as The Bohemia is a great venue. I did an acoustic set with Allen there when it was in its Occupied phase. It was a good night, with plenty of decent musicians on parade.
Fil Ross mixing the new album by The False Dots

As to Saturday nights gig, we are really looking forward to it as we've got a couple of new songs which we've been working on that sounded pretty good tonight. As I mentioned above, it was the second rehearsal for this gig. Apart from some recordings, it is only the second time the band has got together this year. I see Allen to play football with on a Sunday, Fil works with me at the Studios, but Grahame has not been around much. I had hoped to play Allen and Graham the final mixes of songs that they haven't heard, but didn't get time.

Our album will be released in late September all being well. We need to film a video and are looking for a video maker to work with, who can do it justice. We are pretty pleased with the final product and are excited to be able to finally start to let people hear it.

Some of the songs have been recorded for over 2 years so it has certainly been a long time in the making!

Anyway, we really hope you can make it down to The Bohemia on Saturday night. We are playing at 10pm and it's free.

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