Jewellery company Christmas Party. Manchester Art Gallery & Mad Friday, The Brook

by Emmett Stapleton

THE FRAUDSTERS rounded off 2011 with three “Mad Friday” gigs in December. We’ve already covered the Pinsent Masons staff party which we did for our mate Howie Zowie Gillo Brillo, so what of the other two?

Well, 9th December saw us playing amongst the neo-classical Greek columns of Manchester Art Gallery (I will probably now get loads of Twitter abuse from Architectural aficionados telling me they are not Neo-classical, they are Doric… except I ain’t on Twitter, so send the abuse to Burkey – @fraudsterboosh)
The function was for a mate of a mate’s mate who works for a jewellery company. It was very posh with everyone dolled up in their best party frocks, and a proper “Events Co-ordinator” (Kate) organizing the show to ensure it all went smoothly.

A professional stage set up and lighting rig had been hired – we had to hang around for a bit while the stage was built and CARPETED. If you ever wondered why there’s always several blokes stood round doing nothing when there’s lots of work to be done, it’s because while the joiners are erecting the stage, the carpet fitters have to wait for them to finish; Then the roadies have to wait for the carpet fitters to finish; Then the band have to wait for the roadies to set everything up before they can soundcheck…

... and the support band have to wait for the main band to soundcheck before they can soundcheck…. So that’s why there’s loads of people hanging round. And YES! We had a support act at this gig – Craig Owen, a virtuoso violinist with keyboardist, upright bass player and drummer using brushes. Mmmmm, niiiiiiiice!
While Craig was doing his stuff, we Fraudsters took up residence in our dressing room with two friends of Mr X, one of whom works for United as a “Legends Co-ordinator”…. She’d never heard of David May!

We were offered some free Mojitos, which would be rude to turn down so we accepted. Moments later the Boss Kate entered and said “I hope you lot are not drinking too much?” Squire’s response: “I never drink too much – I always wake up thirsty the following morning” did not exactly hit the right spot!
Meanwhile, Burkey was having to do EVERYTHING BUT drink his Mojito. Craig Owen’s sound; The carpets had come unstuck; The DJ’s sound; And he had to go and get a little cable from the van….. where he discovered we’d fallen foul of the new 8pm parking restrictions and had a ticket slapped on the windscreen, grrrrr.

After being fed with a delicious free meal (it always tastes better when it’s free) we were ready to rock. The set went like a work of fine art with guest vocalists and female dancers and tambourine players on stage, every song nailed perfectly and the crowd loving it! The festive numbers – Slade and Band Aid – sent the party crowd into a frenzy like 5-year-olds on Christmas morning after Santa’s been. The free Mojito’s were a winner, and we celebrated after the gig by having a few more – Squire needing to slake his thirst.

Afterwards we had to stand around waiting to move our gear while the lighting and stage guys moved their gear, which Squire wasn’t happy about. “We’re the band! We should be out first!” he ranted. Burkey agreed “Yeah, you never get this working for the Council”.

Eventually we were able to wheel our flight cases across the art gallery complex and out the loading bay at the back, into our crappy little Stamford van with only three seats but five kebabs required, two of which would have to be squeezed into the back in the dark.

Speaking of which, Mr X, who’d been moaning about his sore throat all night, couldn’t stop singing all the way home in the van and in the kebab house on Washway Rd. Nowt wrong with him the drama queen. The night was rounded off at 3am with a kebab munching session in Professor Metz’s lounge, where we were introduced to his 15-year-old pet goldfish Scholesy, and also his Missus’s rolling pin……. Good night, until next time………..

……… which came on INSANE Friday 23rd December where The Fraudsters opened the doors of The Brook in Sale for a free festive showcase gig for all our friends and families. Christmas was just hours away, and everyone was in full-on mistletoe mode. The Frauds even went so far as to wear Christmas jumpers, purchased from Primark that afternoon (don’t spill anything on them, and keep the receipts lads – they’re going back in the morning!)

The gathering crowd was FULL of celebrities – members of The Slow Show; Stuart & Lindsey who’s wedding we recently did; All the band’s wives (except for bachelor boy Richie Rich); The entire Stapleton family; Belfast Bob and Geordie Dave; Mastro and Nicko; Ozzy, Critchy, Ditchy and Stitchy; The legendary Reg Cartner with Pet and Mazza; Sniffer & Yvo; Dougie; Toppo..…. The guest list was endless, and so too was the number of people trying to get drinks off the band’s rider!

The gig itself was a fine affair, with the upper room at The Brook packed to capacity, and the glasses shelves downstairs rattling like a train due to all the dancing. Our lead singer Mr X pogo’d like he was on a spring loaded metal pole; Dave bounced like he was on a spacehopper; The guitarists Squirt and Mettzer swayed and postured like a pair of skateboarders; Burkey leathered his drums like that monkey on Toy Story 3……….

The Fraudsters had special guest stars for this one – reserve team members Oz and Jim did spells in place of Squire and Dave respectively, while Prof. Metz’z mate Andy did the Damon Albarn to Dave’s Phil Daniels on Parklife. Aswell as the Primark Christmas jumpers, Richie Rich had a vast array of different sunglasses & hats, and an Elvis wig which the crowd of course loved.

This being their own gig, The Fraudsters were tonight free from the shackles of playing populist anthems for the masses at weddings and parties. As such, they played some obscure chart failures like “Shining Light” and “Post Break up Sex”. It was a band getting back to their indie roots, and it felt good……

… but not as good as the two christmas shopping mall songs Slade and Band Aid, which were encored and greeted with stunned wonder and amazement from the crowd… especially the bit in “Feed the World” where Emmett went off on his own guitar hero tangent, and the rest of the band followed him like shepherds guarding their flocks by night……..

And so, round about the time that Santa was setting off on his long journey by visiting Japan first, The Fraudsters were wrapping up 2011 by playing “Don’t Look Back in Anger” in the Brook. The following morning the gear was collected then we all went to Primark to return the horrible jumpers, an act which completely puzzled the shop assistants because these items usually get returned AFTER Christmas, not on Christmas Eve………

Happy Christmas, Merry New Year, and we will see you all in 2012. Lots of Love, The Fraudsters xx