Saturday, 30 August 2014

10/3/2012 Girlschool @ The Garage

SubjectGirlschool @ The Garage
DateCreated3/16/2012 6:42:00 PM
PostedDate3/17/2012 12:06:00 AM

Tonight is a rare event - a London gig from that London based band Girlschool. However, it's at The Garage - which would be fine if it wasn't for the venue's overpriced bar.
Shame as it used to be one of my favourite venues - although I still like it apart from the bar prices. I was looking forward to getting to this show early to see the the amazing G.M.T. supporting. However, as of yesterday they are no longer on the bill.
The same thing happened for the Manchester show a couple of days ago. It appears that someone didn't want G.M.T. on the bill and the goalposts were moved regarding various matters to make things increasingly difficult and expensive for them to play these shows - until the band were eventually forced to pull out of these shows. All this doesn't seem to be anything to do with Girlschool themselves - it seems all down to the promoter.
I and quite a few other people are pretty pissed off about all this - we had really been looking forward to seeing G.M.T. as they don't play in London very often. Some people I know who were planning to go to this gig now give it a miss for that reason. I don't blame them at all, but I'd have been there to see Girlschool anyway. G.M.T. have posted online that they wish Girlschool all the best and people should go to the show and support them in spite of everything.

As G.M.T. are no longer playing I decide to spend as little time in the venue as possible and not give them any of my money over the bar - so I go straight to the pub. I find I am not the only one doing that! There are quite a few people in there who are going to the gig - but not any earlier than they have to. There is a band called NG26 supporting Girlschool, but no one seems to have heard of them or know anything about them - so we vote with our feet to protest about G.M.T. not playing and spend our beer money in the pub instead of the venue.
Having found out Girlschool's stage time I and some others stay in the pub until the last minute and enjoy some better quality and far cheaper beverages before the couple of minute's walk to the venue.

Arriving at The Garage I find a venue containing more people than I was expecting, but maybe only around half full. With proper promotion (and G.M.T. playing) NWOBHM legends Girlschool should have been able to sell out this gig - they seem to have trouble finding the right people to work with and I'm sure they are not reaching anything like their full potential at this stage in their career.

It's a shame the band don't play in London more often 'cos they can still deliver the goods - this show is a cracker!

Girlschool are obviously enjoying themselves - which makes you ask why don't they do this more often? They have a following (which would be a lot bigger with better promotion to let all the old fans who thought they'd split up years ago know they are still playing) and a rich back catalogue to pick their setlist from. They continue to make quality new music, although they have thrown a bit of a curveball with their recent re-recording of the classic 'Hit And Run' album - it's kind of like preaching to the converted really.

In spite of obviously not selling this show out the venue is still fairly full and the atmosphere is excellent. The songs are played with obvious relish, and the setlist is drawn mostly from the band's first three albums and the three most recent ones - with the 'Hit And Run' album covering both bases!

Not surprisingly the 'Hit And Run' album is probably more heavily featured than any other - although it is one of their best so why not? I'm surprised frontgal Kim McCauliffe doesn't plug it more between songs to bump up merch sales as they have CDs on sale tonight.

I was wondering if there would be any 'special guests' appearing on stage tonight, but there are none. Not that the band need them as their own stage presence and strong back catalogue are more than adequate to keep the crowd entertained. It was a different story last time I saw the band at this venue as they were joined by their late (and much missed) guitarist Kelly Johnson as well as former guitarist Cris Bonacci and Neil Murray. The band's last proper new album featured guests such as the late Ronnie James Dio, Lemmy, Phil Campbell and 'Fast' Eddie Clarke from Motörhead, Neil Murray, Tony Iommi, and a guitarist from Twisted Sister. Doro appears on a bonus track on the recent re-recording of 'Hit And Run' as well. And even all that lot didn't get them any radio play! With or without any guests Girlschool were on top form tonight and turned out a highly enjoyable set.
Lets hope they don't leave it so long next time - and they can find a promoter who actually 'promotes' and lets all their old fans know they are still gong - and doesn't screw their support bands over.
I was planning to stay for maybe just one or two drinks after the show in the venue's Minibar - where aftershows often take place with the bands turning up a little later. However, the bar looked shut and empty, and the security guy wasn't letting anyone in. I wasn't about to waste time hanging about on the off chance it might open later, so it was back to the pub round the corner for a reasonably priced beverage or two instead.
Fortunately I then managed to guess the train times right and left the pub in time for a quick train home and was back in my local in plenty of time to catch the last part of the cover band's set. - and the pub was open for another hour after they finished. Result!

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