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William Aston Hall, Wrexham 19.06.03

(by Steve Allan Jones)

So here’s the deal…for some of my working life, I play and write music. Another part of my busy schedule is passing on the skills I have learnt to others. And so, I find myself at Newi in Wrexham, watching The Waterboys after a gruelling three school, one youth club day. It’s a small world as they say and I have just bumped into Moose – our driver on the last Spear of Destiny tour. He is currently chauffeuring the Waterboys around. He tells me that the tour has gone well and judging by the turnout tonight, it will be another good ‘un.
A swift chat and Mike and Jules Peters, and I decide to go and see the support act – hang on, it’s the Waterboys! In a master stroke, they do an acoustic set to kick off the night. Its tremendous – Mike Scott (the main man) accompanied by a piano player (sometimes a little quiet) and mostly a violinist. For a couple numbers an upright bass player appears to add some low end to the proceedings. I was never a fan so I cant tell you song names but, at one point the violinist did a fuzzed up solo that knocked my socks off. Passionate, lyrical music like this is quite rare these days. Looking around I would estimate the average age of audience to be around 30- 35. I suppose the younger element are out trashing phoneboxes and listening to hard bag house – my, I remember when I saw the Sex Pistols… They finish with a song called Universal Hall – a new, less impressive song but still finding its feet amongst some classics.


Next, a half hour break in which I stand next to a guy with a Holywell Lads on Tour T-shirt and text all the people I should really be working for right now. I can hear drums… the band are on.Mike Scott still wielding his acoustic, pianist now with a rather snazzy Hammond organ, bass all electric, violin still plugged up and drummer with lots of hair (I remember the days …) Songs – again I didn’t come to review but second tune in is Piece of Iona during which Mike Scott stops the band, runs into the wings, whispers something to a roadie and then starts the song again from verse 2. Third song – Strange Boat, Scott pretends to count all the audience and announce they will all fit in to his Strange Boat. Half way through, he abandons the acoustic and straps on an electric guitar. It only take a few swipes from the plectrum to get the seated audience up on their feet and down the front. The show really takes off from here…next tune The Pan Within, great song elongated to 9 minutes…solos, quiet bits you name it. A bloke and his date for the night stand next to me during the tune. He asks if I am one of the security guys and, on finding out that I am not, proceeds to light up a cigarette. He then asks me why I look so serious and tells me I should be "rockin" Meanwhile his good lady has snuck around to my right hand side. At this point,it becomes clear that :-

  1. He is very pissed – I am not.
  2. He won’t shut up
  3. His girlfriend is either about to fondle my arse or pick my pocket

I decide that its time to leave with my nether regions intact. Another quick chat to Jules and Mike about future plans and I am off into the night with Fisherman’s Blues bringing the house down inside.

Its great that North Wales has got a venue like the Aston Hall. Its big but not too big and its within an hour’s drive of most of the area. Parking is fine and the drinks aren’t too expensive. Next gig is Arthur Lee and Love and then Mike Peter’s own Gathering style weekend Alarmstock over August Bank Holiday. This will be a return visit for me for I shall be the ivory tinkler on the Sunday night. All reviewers be kind to me.You see, I remember when I played with The Associates


(Steve Allan Jones 2003)


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