The Locomotive is what put myself and Ed on a more secure path to being full time music promoters. When it opened in July this year we were asked to run the music, every Friday and Saturday night a gig which came with a decent nightly wage. It took very little time to decide but things aren’t always as simple as they first seem.
Most of the art, music, culture, food and the like of any worth in Swindon is found in Old Town, generally speaking, an area, as the name implies, that pre-dates the town’s industrial boom of the Victorian railway era and seems to be the towns artistic and cultural heart. The Locomotive is not in Old Town. This venue is found in the night club, late night bar and drinking culture of downtown Swindon and area more used to hosting X Factor drop outs, Robbie Williams tributes and large scale street brawling. Still, we like a challenge so the chance to bring a bit of what we have been doing in Old Town to this location seemed an interesting idea.
Of course what happens when a new venue opens is that everyone barred from other venues nearby has a new place to drink, innocent until proven stupid I guess but it doesn’t take them long to reveal their true colours. So the first few months were like Jeremy Kyle: The Musical, industrial drinking during the day and bickering and resentments meant that by the time we turned up to sound check the bands in the evening, things where ripe to kick off. It also meant that every time something did happen they were barred thinning the numbers of idiots and moving us one step nearer to making the place a music orientated bar. A few months down the line and by and large the worst offenders were long gone.
Friday night is generally cover band night but rather than just offer the same local circuit stuff we do source some much more interesting acts and tonight were no exception. The Heist, a six-piece soul, funk and pop band with some great musical choices, James Brown, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder etc and all amazingly talented players. Sound check was complicated just due to the amount of voices and instruments to mic. up, but Reuben, our sound man was more than up to the job.
So the sound check is underway and all you can here as we try to get the kick drum sound sorted is “this is shit” constantly from couple of “professional drinkers” in the corner. Comments such as “all the bands that play here are crap” whilst staring straight at me who they know to be the booker or “I come here every week so if I say they should shut up then they should shut up.” The concept of going to a music venue whilst the sound check is being sorted and complaining about the noise is one that is lost on me. The singer even tried to make light of their comments and was meet with the offer to have his “lights punched out.” Nice, but it did give the staff reason to eject the offenders. Still the band kicked into life and blew all arguments out of the window. They were sheer class and the rest of the night went off without a hitch.