Ironed Maiden 28.8.20 Parkstone Trades and Labour Club

The Gig Desert of 2020

Last gig I went to was 15 March, just before we were plunged into five months of Covid-19 induced live music silence. What started as a nuisance soon became a miserable reality and you have to wonder if it will be the same again for a long time.

Having been to 75 gigs (on my established counting scheme) in 2019, adapting to the live music void has made me try anything. I booked a couple of drive-in gigs – Gary Numan in Bristol and The Lightning Seeds in Cheltenham – that I thought might offer something.

All they offered was a bit of hope and enthusiasm for a few months before they were cancelled. A little unclear as to why but my deduction was poor ticket sales, uncertainty and insurers quaking in their boots in the face of experts’ uncertainty 😷.

After those folded I even eagerly booked a ticket for a tribute band drive-in festival on a farm in Wimborne, Dorset. That was subsequently cancelled also but the organiser, Mr Kyps, at least had the decency to provide an honest statement outlining why poor ticket sales meant the plug had to be pulled.

There is still uncertainty and confusion about what is allowed. It is legal at the moment to put on a live gig indoors unless in an area under special restrictions, but a risk assessment, social distancing and other safety measures need to be considered and implemented. Clearly outdoors is easier at the moment but then there are noise worries. Organisers are clearly nervous so I salute those giving it a go. However the uncertainty is obvious and guidance ever changing.

Great young Bournemouth based band Capulus were due to play this Bank Holiday Saturday in a pub near Wareham – I rang up to book a table or whatever you had to do but someone had pulled the plug days before.

This weekend The 1865 venue in Southampton is trying two days of indoor socially distanced table seated gigs which I’ll be interested to hear about. I know Saturday went ahead.

Covid pastimes

In some ways I have enjoyed months of exploring on-line offerings with varying degrees of success; TV Glastonbury in the garden; John Peel session archives; Radio festival days; Saturday nights in with Mike Peters of The Alarm; Teenage Kicks on Forest FM; Kirk Brandon’s Monday night video premieres; YouTube feasts; Swill’s Sunday Sessions; a deep mining of Spotify, listening to albums from Rolling Stone Magazine top 100 and discovering Bob Dylan for myself; taking suggestions from anyone and even listening to a load of Beatles albums in full 🙄…but all this is just an attempt to fill the live gig void.

Outdoor pub gigs

The Leggomen at The Horns, Wimborne

As a build up to the eventual first post-Covid indoor gig for me, I did manage a few outdoor pub gigs: Weymouth’s Leggomen at The Horns, Wimborne (20.8.20) where we found an empty table in front of the stage to enjoy some top covers live, close up and amplified, and Dorchester’s Nina Garcia singing her new original material and covers beautifully, with her electric fiddle, in the well set out and spacious garden of The Three Tuns, Bransgore on the leafy western edge of the New Forest (20.8.20).

Nina Garcia garden gig, Bransgore

I applaud the pubs that have tried to liven up the end of the summer against the odds. As we go on I can envisage more innovation for outdoor set ups, heaters and beer garden audiences. I think I’m looking for some sort of outdoor garden niche punk and 80s club….. the search for a blast of guitar through some meaty amps continued.

Stand up to the plate, Weymouth based, Ironed Maiden and Parkstone Trades and Labour Club.

Only been here once before, for another tribute act Oasiss.

Don’t you just love tribute acts’ band names. Special emphasis required on any diversion from the real name as in ‘IronnnnED maiden’ and ‘Oasisssss’ or the gloriously named all girl tribute, ‘the Sex Pissed Dolls’ (they have changed that now as I presume it was overly amusing and a distraction).

“ARE YOU READY PARKSTONE!”

Ironed Maiden

Unfortunately the answer to “are you ready Parkstone? Let’s hear you!” was ‘not quite, where are you?’

We have to start somewhere though and me and the 21 others watching looked to thoroughly enjoy the show. What a professional effort from the band of excellent musicians lead by frontman Carl Williams in red spandex trousers. What a top tribute band they are.

Beyond buying the single ‘Running Free’ from Sunbury Record Scene when I was 16 I own no Iron Maiden material and I’ve never seen them live. I was exposed to them by school friends (Rich and Curly, RTh ACu ) as they lapped up the NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal, as Sounds badged it) and I guess it rubbed off. I know the singles and after chancing upon Ironed Maiden at gig in The King Charles pub in Poole in January, I vowed to see them again. Little did I know what would happen between then and now….Covid-19, ‘the number of the beast’, the new number anyway.

Ironed Maiden are back, Parkstone

The upstairs room in the club is substantial and could easily accommodate 200 I’d guess so the 22 of us were able to socially distance from the spaced out tables and perimeter seating. £5 admission which in my case was paid for by London Pride at £3.30 a pint.

The set was advertised on the band’s Facebook page as 1980-88 so I’d done some Spotify ‘revision’ in the weeks beforehand.

An early song hit the right note: ‘Die with your boots on’. I feel a sense of let’s get on with life, and live music. There will be needs to adjust restrictions as we go but on the South Coast there’s more chance of being run over by an enthusiastic new cyclist than bumping into someone with the dreaded virus.

Frankly I’d go to a normal gig and just get on with it if I could but I appreciate that everyone has their place on the spectrum of perceived Covid safety. People have got to be comfortable to enjoy any form of optional entertainment. Hopefully I won’t die with my boots on.

‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ was another epic number that was notable in this full-on performance. The hairy enthusiasts knew ’em all and some seated headbanging escalated to a three-man mosh pit 🤫 and a token stage dive (jump, as a dive would have been hazardous onto a vacant dancefloor.)

Frontman Carl’s ‘let’s hear you Parkstone’ cries and arm waving were met with loud socially distanced cheers. The lighters even came out for one song….I looked on enviously and waved my empty hand.

Rock on! It’s a start. For a while it might be a case of ‘stay local, shop local and ROCK LOCAL’.

Thank you and goodnight

Thanks guys and thanks Parkstone Trades and Labour Club. We bought our tickets for the Halloween return….numbered 1 and 2…now that’s enthusiasm eh.

Published by ivaninblack

Still wild about live music - bands - gigs - festivals - after 42 years at it. All photos have been snapped by me or I will point out otherwise - I'll even own up to any blurry mobile phone ones. If gigaholic is a phrase then in recent years I think I've become one.

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