The Blog ‘bout Belfast Bob’s Birthday at Bowden Bugger Club...

by Emmett Stapleton

BEING a thoroughly professional outfit, The Fraudsters’ preparation for this 40th birthday party encompassed a “research session” with the Birthday Boy himself at his house the week before the gig. After Bob had cooked some delicious burgers on his barbeque, we talked about the forthcoming party and how he wanted us to play it. It was Bob’s mate Gillo who later summed up the discussions by saying: “I tell you what, there’s nothing better than sitting in the sun, drinking beer, talking sh**e with a bunch of di**heads!”

With that we were prepared for anything, be it a gig or legal proceedings.

Wives and girlfriends were invited as guests to this one, so Kev and me brought both of ours which was a bit awkward in Kev’s Volvo because my bass had to fit on the back seat which didn’t leave much room for passengers. “It’s a good job we’re not picking anyone else up” remarked Fii-fi…… which reminded Kev – we were picking Jim up! (we hadn’t gone past his house by then, honest!)

Yeah, Jim is our honorary Fraudster, standing in on LEAD guitar tonight while Emmett goes large in Ibiza with Jean and Kevin & Perry. Rumours that Emmett deliberately sabotaged the lead guitarists effects box are totally untrue…. But Jim did encounter some strange noises coming out of that particular piece of equipment, and we had a lot of work to do at the soundcheck to overcome that particular problem.

Once technical difficulties had been sorted (there’s nothing a bit of gaffa tape can’t fix…. Except for maybe a cloth skirt to the front of a stage) we got changed into our gladrags (which in Mr X’s case means leave your scruffy shorts on and a T-shirt that accentuates your ever-growing beer gut) and started circulating with the party guests.

And soon enough it was time for the gig. Bob is a HUGE Stone Roses fan, so we had a special treat rehearsed for him, but more of that later. First up we had to impress Bob’s kids (and Howard’s aswell) so we did a half-hour mini set early doors so the kids could see what this rock & roll lark is all about. The pressure was on as the little ones lined up a row of chairs right in front of the stage and sat just a few feet from us with a look on their faces that said “Here we are now – entertain us!”.

Now it must be said that The Fraudsters are NOT Dazzle the Clown and his kids’ entertainment with magic tricks, sweets and groovy gang catchphrases, so we just blasted ‘em with our tunes…… the kids LOVED it! Teenage Kicks, Ever Fallen in Love, Riot, She Bangs the Drums, Use Somebody, There She Goes, Heart of Glass and Dakota all went down like a balloon water bomb thrown onto Dad’s head from yer bedroom window. After our mini-pops set, the little ones were suitably settled to go home and get to bed and I didn’t even have to pay them the 50 pences I’d promised for getting their parents up to dance!
After a break of 45 minutes for food and beer and food and beer we hit the stage again to do a marathon 90 minute set of the rest of our songs plus the specially rehearsed ones. Mr X had to abandon ship with just 5 songs to go however – desperate for a crap – but no worries as we had already had the guests up on the dancefloor looking good.

During Sit Down, I found myself giving Squire a kick (to get him out of the way) then lying down on the dancefloor amongst the crowd! A few bum notes came out of that one, but although we maybe weren’t completely technically at our best tonight, the party atmosphere was brilliant and we were at our inspirational party band best, so no one noticed the slightly dodgy start to “This Charming Man” (except for Burkey).

After the 2nd break, we went back on stage with Bob as Ian Brown with wig and Stone Roses T-shirt, singing Sally Cinnamon. We went straight into I Am The Resurrection, a song we haven’t played live before (well, not the current line up) and we’d only rehearsed it twice, eek! But it slotted together perfectly and I even got the bass solo spot on!

Another pleasing one was The Foo Fighters “Learn to Fly” which Bob had requested, he also being a HUGE Foo Fighters fan, so we resurrected that one and it went off without a hitch and was very enjoyable.

After “One Day Like This” we handed over to DJ Webby and headed off to the bar for several well earned Jaeger Bombs, then some outrageous dancing of our own, including the classic “Reach for the Stars” which we did better than S-Club ever could.

A minibus home at 3am with a raucous sing song was a fine end to the night. Having to go back to Bowden Rugger club to collect all the gear at 9am was not.
NEXT UP – THE URMSTON FIESTA, 25th JUNE (We are on the main stage at 2pm and it’s FREE!!!)

Davebass