Kinks Night at the Clissold Arms 2012
Following the success of the 2011 event, I was persuaded to reassemble the
for another Kinks singalong at the
, Fortis Green, the spiritual home of Kinks fans.
As an added treat, we had Christian Davies as guest vocalist on several songs.
Sadly our usual lead vocalist, Geoff Murrell had to cry off at the last minute. Luckily I had surrounded myself with multi-talented performers and Patrick, Keld and Olga, with 24 hours notice did a sterling job of leading the singing.
It is a lot of work, but rewarding to hear the crowd singing along with such gusto. I might even be persuaded to do it one more time in 2013!
- Geoff Lewis
L to R : Patrick Costello, Ben Elserndoorn, Geoff Lewis, Olga Ruocco, Dick van Veelen, Chris Griffiths, Christian Davies
(Photo: Ben Veltman)
Geoff Lewis & The Kinksfan Kollektiv
Videos courtesy of Neil Griffiths and Xander van Veelen :
For those who are not aware of the UK fan happenings at the latter end of the year, the UK Official Kinks Fan Club has a meeting (generally in November) with the Kast Off Kinks as guests of honour. Over the past few years the numbers of KOKs who have appeared on the stage has grown and of course Ray sometimes breezes in and lurks backstage before he can be encouraged to face the beaming throng.
Years ago, in the mists of time before we had a bright and gleaming new Clissold Arms, it was the Dutch (I think) who encouraged the fans who were in London to meet at the pub for a drink and a chat the evening before the fan club meeting. One year someone brought along a guitar and we started singing Kinks songs in the front bar. Amazingly we weren't turfed out - the locals enjoying our boozy Kinksian outpourings, so the next year Geoff Lewis brought a keyboard and Geoff Murrell led the fans in a slightly more organised singalong. The manager at the time was quite happy with this and so were we, and we had a "booking" to appear a year later on the day before the konvention.
Unfortunately the pub changed hands, the Kinks memorabilia disappeared, and we were left to look for alternative venues. Poor souls that we were, wandering around the district to find places that would take us, we used The Bald Faced Stag (East Finchley) and The Boston Arms (Tufnell Park), still with the 2 Geoffs leading the singalong but the locals didn't really understand what we were about.
In 2009, Geoff L had a prior engagement with The Fingers and Geoff M was otherwise engaged, so we gave up and just went for a booze and listen to juke box music (Kinks of kourse) in the Alexandra (opposite The Clissold Arms).
Then finally, in 2010, our Christmases arrived all at once. George Karageorgis took over The Clissold, opened the Kinks room, and Geoff L persuaded him that it would be a wonderful idea to have the Kinks fans back again on "our" Saturday. Geoff brought along a keyboard, thrust a guitar into Dick van Veelen's hands, and bashed out a bunch of Kinks klassics for the assembled fans to sing to.
In 2011, Geoff got a rather special band together to celebrate persuading lead guitarist Patrick Costello from NYC to make the trip for the Konvention and singalong :
Lynn Zecca also made the trip from the USA to play bass. Dick again played rhythm guitar and Chris Griffiths, who had jammed with Geoff L at the Pete Quaife book signing at the Clissold earlier in the year, played drums. Geoff M was lead vocalist and I debuted as official backing vocalist. Geoff L played keyboards as usual.
The band is called The Kinksfan Kollektiv and the special thing is that we don't have a chance to rehearse together. we rehearse separately in our own countries to the records, and our first number together is the one we play at the soundcheck. This makes for a rather dangerous and edgy evening, but adrenalin flows in bucketfuls and it seems to work.
Following on from last year's amazing response both from the assembled Kinks fans and from George, owner of The Clissold Arms, Geoff called the band together for another bash. Seeing as we had performed 60 songs and an encore in 2011, we couldn't really do fewer in 2012. Emails passed through the ether thick and fast to decide which songs would be dropped (boo) in order to play new ones (hurray). Some favourites had to go, and some new corkers were installed.
Again it was an international line-up: first timers Ben Elsendoorn from Holland and Keld Nilsson from Denmark (both Bass), Patrick Costello (lead guitar) from the USA, Dick Van Veelen (Acoustic) from The Netherlands, Geoff Murrell (lead vocals) from Spain, Chris Griffiths (drums), Geoff Lewis (keyboards) and me (backing vocals) from the UK.
Unfortunately, at the last minute, Geoff M was unable to make the gig because of a bereavement in the family, so the night before the gig his songs were divided out between Patrick, Keld and myself (Geoff L and Chris had already got their own songs). The audience was going to have to work extra hard!
The Clissold Arms was the rallying point for the eve-of-gig chat, and Christian Davies (son of Dave Davies) happened to be in there at the time. He was invited to join us to cover his Dad's songs, which he agreed to, as long as he could also sing Days.
Ben and Keld played two sets each, and worked the sound desk when they were "resting". If we are fortunate enough to perform at The Clissold Arms in 2013, we hope to have our own dedicated sound man to twiddle the knobs. I had some nice twinkly lights around my hat and Geoff gave us all a treat by dressing up as The Headmaster and launching into The Hard Way. Chris Griffiths managed to complete the whole of Dedicated Follower of Fashion without encoring last years prang, when he leaned on the microphone stand, which naturally collapsed. (You had to be there).
As I am used to singing backing vocals and had prepared them all, it was a baptism of fire to be taking lead on some of the songs instead. (I thought it helped to listen to the backing vocals in my head - others might disagree!). However, the audience was responsive and enthusiastic and now I've had a taste of fame.....! Nobby and Val Dalton kindly came along to give us support, and I did ask Nobby for help on Willesden Green, but he disappeared off home before I started it. Ha!
We dedicated Sweet Lady Genevieve to our missing lead singer, Better Things to Kerry Jeffs (who had a serious accident in October) and Lola to Emma and her car (Lola).
The set list changed slightly as we couldn't find Christian in the pub to sing Strangers in Set 1, so he added this to Fortis Green in Set 3, and then came back to do DOAC and again for Days. He did extraordinarily well seeing as he had no real time for rehearsal like the rest of us. It turned out that this was Christian's first ever live public performance - how appropriate that it was at the same location as his father's first ever public performance
Ray had been invited, and definitely wanted to attend, but he had flu (his excuse was backed up by his quick appearance at the Konvention the day after). He asked for videos though, and I've been able to send him a few grainy offerings. I hope he's not going to ask for royalties! :-)
Once again it was a very long but emotional evening; I think we finished about 1 am. The crowd were in great voice and definitely wanted to party all night. We had to be very very firm and say we couldn't play any more. We all needed to be up bright eyed and bushy tailed for the Konvention the next day. At the end, George was doing the Greek thing and dancing on the glass table again, with a glass on water on his head. He had earlier very kindly and spontaneously gone round the raucous and lively audience with a bucket to collect donations for the band, who had all given their services free of charge. Nice one.
Act Nice and Gentle
Tired of Waiting
This is Where I Belong
Too Much on My Mind
See My Friends
Sweet Lady Genevieve
Stop Your Sobbing
Big Black Smoke
Dead End Street
Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues
Sitting on my Sofa
Twentieth Century Man
All Day and all of the Night
Set Me Free
Village Green Preservation Society
Death of a Clown
I Need You
I'm Not Like Everybody Else
You Really Got Me
The Hard Way
People take Pictures of Each Other
I Gotta Move
Juke Box Music
Dedicated Follower of Fashion (with Xander van Veelen taking over the drum kit for this number)
Where Have all the Good Times Gone?
Till the End of the Day
Something Better Beginning
Well Respected Man
You Can't Stop the Music
She's Got Everything
The Hard Way
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