In her continuing series on the life of a pit photographer, Voice’s Julie Thompson pulls focus on The Bloody Marys Christmas Stocking at The Lemon Tree, Darth Elvis & the Imperials and Juicy Juicy Juice at The Moorings and The Lorelei, Brothers Reid and The Deportees at The Lemon Tree.
As Christmas is heading towards us at great speed, I went looking for seasonal musical offerings this week. Unfortunately, with two of the things on my schedule happening on the same evening, it meant a curtailed evening for both events.
Heading off to the Lemon Tree for The Bloody Marys, I encountered many more women than I am used to these days.
There was also an extreme preponderance of feather boas. Hardly surprising, given the nature of the reason we were all there. We were all there to party.
The Bloody Marys are a trio of guys who, considering what I had heard about them, were pretty sedately dressed in matching Christmas jumpers (a Reindeer pattern with a flashing red nose) for the first half of their set.
I was waiting in the pit – which I had to myself – when they walked on and ripped straight into Fame, which quickly had the place jumping, followed by Disco Inferno & Mama Mia.
The stage was curtained by shimmering material, and a Christmas tree adorned the raised platform normally occupied by a drum kit.
Under the tree were a series of wrapped presents. Snowflakes dangled from the ceiling. All very festive.
My 3 songs were up so I wandered off up to the second tier as they began Pray – which they accompanied with choreographed boy band style dancing. At the end they had the first present giveaway – punters had to vote on who was the best dancer and the winner got to distribute a present to someone in the crowd.
I caught a glimpse of the contents of one of the parcels later on – they were limited edition Bloody Marys t-shirts.
I went down into the dance area to get a bit of atmosphere before I had to leave for The Moorings. A Grease medley, Heart Attack, another Abba number, Hungry like the Wolf and Gloria later, I headed off, as Gimme Gimme Gimme began.
When I had arrived at The Lemon Tree, I bumped into someone I knew from a shop I frequent. I asked her how the second half went – apparently the guitarist & keyboard players reappeared in wee white frocks and the lead singer in an angel outfit. Stockings, wings, full make-up – the whole works.
It was a shame I missed the second half as it would have made for some fun photographs. Maybe I’ll be able to catch them next year.
So, a great gig for a girls night out and even the guys had fun – yes, I saw you there!
So, on to The Moorings and Darth Elvis.
I had timed my arrival to the estimated stage time for the main act, but I was lucky enough to catch the very end of the debut of Juicy Juicy Juice, as things were running a bit late.
I had time to grab a few shots and get my camera adjusted from Lemon Tree to Moorings settings.
Darth Elvis – now there’s a name that plays with the imagination.
From their Facebook page bio:
“Darth Elvis & The Imperials are a Star Wars themed Elvis tribute band from Viva Mos Eisley. In 1977 Elvis didn’t die he turned to the Darkside of the Force and ever since he has been playing music venues around the Outer Rim Territory. The time has come for the Dark King of the Sith & his band of Imperials to return to the Galaxy where he is best known.”
OK, right now I am going to give some major kudos to these guys – especially the drummer, TK4468, who was in full Stormtrooper gear.
They stay in costume the whole show.
Anyone familiar with the Moorings knows how hot it gets in there – sweatbox is the word I hear used most often by bands to describe the place – so how these guys were not puddles of goo at the end, I have no idea.
The band – minus the lead vocalist – mounted the stage (it was actually quite amusing watching the Stormtrooper trying to bend his knees enough to climb up there) and began playing The Imperial March as Darth Elvis advanced through the audience, jingling bells.
Under the dark cloak wasn’t the bejewelled white Vegas suit I was expecting, but a red & white Santa suit.
So, it seems we have a Darth Elvis Santa tonight.
Between such numbers as Gungan in Disguise ((You’re the) Devil in Disguise), Viva Mos Eisley (Viva Las Vegas), Burning Sith (Burning Love), You ain’t nothing but a Nerf Herder (containing the memorable line “You ain’t never caught a womp rat and you ain’t no friend of mine.”) Darth distributed presents from a snowman stocking.
I’m pretty sure he said one of the objects he tossed into the crowd was a tin of lube, but maybe my ears were playing up.
Of course there was the obligatory Christmas song – Merry Sithmas Everyone – and lots of laughs and singalongs.
It was an easy shoot, apart from the hood obscuring the face of Darth a lot of the time. All in all, a fun, totally non-serious but exhausting night.
My last festive gig was at The Lemon Tree with the ever popular The Lorelei – possibly my favourite local band – which I first encountered at Belladrum this year. Always a fun bunch, I’d been looking forward to this one. Sadly, Diane (who is currently cooking a new mini-Lorelei, due next year) was unable to join the boys on her viola.
The Lorelei – ‘Imagine a rock band and a folk band having a fight and the rock band just coming out best.
That’s The Lorelei!’
The stage area was decorated with tinsel and fairy lights and there were a few balloons scattered about the place.
There were two support acts before the main – The Deportees and Brothers Reid – both providing pleasant folk/rocky music to get us in the mood.
Before The Lorelei came on, I went to check with Captain Tom if it was ok to shoot from the floor after my time in the pit was up.
He was happy to let me do that and also said I could go behind the magic curtain (well, the side curtain that the band use) so I could photograph the shy and elusive Keith the drummer.
John came on stage and began to sing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. There was a murmur from the crowd and I turned to see a white bearded Flossie (Mandolin/Fiddle) leading a dancing Rudolph through the crowd.
Beefy (Lead Guitar) & Jonny (Bass) hurriedly disrobed brown fur and the band joined John onstage. Keith the elf took the drum stool and away they went, 100 miles an hour as usual.
Something soft bounced off my head at one point and I looked around to see what was it was. Oddly, there was to be a lot more balloons about than there were between me walking down to the pit and now.
I had no idea where they came from, but better a balloon to the head than any of the other things it could have been.
My 3 songs were up as the pit started filling up with balloons, so I waded through them to the exit and took up position at the pit wall for the rest of the gig.
I’ll tell you this, it is really hard to keep a steady camera hand when you’re bopping to the music. I’ve been in The Lemon Tree quite a few times now – on some very busy nights – but this was the first time I had actually felt the floor bounce.
There were bets taken as to how long Keith would wear the elf suit before evaporating and we were treated to a striptease – with appropriate music – when he finally gave in.
The elf suit made its way across the stage and was thrown into the audience with a call of ‘Who wants to smell the drummer?’ This brought a reply of ‘We already can!’ The last time I saw the costume, it was being worn by a brave chap who may have been lacking a sense of smell.
There were explosions from confetti cannons but sadly the snow machine was not co-operating – which I’m sure pleased The Lemon Tree staff.
The crowd was fantastic, there simply to have fun, exchange some banter, sing along and dance.
The inevitable Christmas song was the Bob Dylan song It Must Be Santa (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8qE6WQmNus). A nice change from the typical songs you hear and oddly in keeping with The Lorelei style.
A great gig that really helped kindle some of my festive spirit, greatly lacking until now.
As the evening came to a stomping close, I wandered over for a chat with Beefys wife, Captain Tom and one or two other folk before being politely asked to vacate the premises.
As I left, the brushes were out as staff cleared up the scattered remains of burst balloon skins and confetti.
Candy canes from the tree were being eaten by the bar staff, as this was the last event before Christmas.
I have some gigs lined up in the weekend between Christmas and New Year but George Mackie is proving rather elusive to pin down long enough for a chat.
Maybe I need a tranquiliser gun to slow him down a bit.
Have a very Merry Christmas, Festivus, Midwinter, Yule, Dies Natalis Solis Invicti – or whatever you may celebrate at this time of year – and I hope your New Year is a better one.
The Bloody Marys
Juicy Juicy Juice
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