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Ageing Rockers

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16th March 2010

Alex Torres

It can be hard for ageing rockers....

Last Sunday I was at the second day of the new Winter's End festival in Stroud, UK: five excellent bands (Sanguine Hum, Crimson Sky, IO Earth, Touchstone and Galahad) playing from 12:30 to 11pm. The venue was a small but suitable hall housing 200 people: the acoustics were good and the sound was excellent for all but Touchstone (their own fault for trying to make it too loud), so that goes down as a good venue in my book. It was a standing venue, which is good for atmosphere, but not so good for ageing rockers!

Nearly 11 hours standing watching bands can be taxing for a youngster, but for us old bones....

About half way through the opening act this chap next to me starts unfurling a big contraption that initially looks like a set of fishing rods, but it turns out is in fact a portable seat! Now, I prefer to stand near the back, despite not being too tall, because I favour the sound there generally. So this fellow puts his seat together and promptly sits down, at the back of the hall, where he can see "sweet fa" and stays in a navel-contemplation pose for the remainder of the set!

He was in the same position for the second and third bands, perhaps occasionally contemplating his left knee rather than his navel. He didn't even have a pint to sup. Clearly he was enjoying the music or he would have moved.

I nearly fell over myself during the penultimate set, Touchstone, when I saw him stand up: then I heard him moaning to someone next to him about the sound you see, I told you he was listening!

I moved near the stage for Galahad and lost track of him, but I'm guessing he'd sat down again.

Can you blame him? It's just odd that he was in this sea of bodies, rather than finding a position in the hall from which he could see the bands (but then the sound would have suffered I guess!).

As for me, I tried to prolong the onset of back pain by going for a stroll in between the sets but, by Touchstone, the back was grumbling away and I was finding it difficult to stand. Luckily there was a meal break before Galahad, which meant a trip to a Thai eatery, more for a nice sit down and useage of their cleaner toilet facilities rather than an enticing meal!

Quite a few didn't return for Galahad, probably hobbling home, some of those left were clearly teenagers or in their twenties but, luckily for those of us old bones that did stay, we were treated to an amazing, energising performance from a band celebrating its 25th anniversary: anything less and we would all have collapsed in a broken heap! So, Galahad get my vote for "band of the day"!

And the moral, twisting an old adage, "you're never too old to rock 'n' roll if you're too young to die"!


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