Had a late night before the big day due to an unexpected call for a Gidea Park gig in Butlins, Bognor Regis – playing on a bill with Gerry and the Pacemakers to a good couple of thousand people in fancy dress. Good fun!

Butlins, Bognor Regis

Managed to squeeze in a walk around Birmingham’s botanical gardens with Ali and Lyndall – very pleasurable and reminiscent of a special day with Lyndall in Botanic park Adelaide. There were some great bits of sculpture amongst all the fascinating plants and trees and Lyndall made friends with a parrot.

Lyndall and the parrot

And so to the 4Talent stage in the Dragon Bar at the old Sanctuary (now the Barfly). Playing at the start of the bill I wasnt expecting a huge crowd and was pleased to see a reasonable number.

Pete Ashton kicked things off with his Thingamagoop a device not unlike the Project X buzzboxes – but using lights to control the sound as well as knobs. It makes a lot of different sounds (so used solo unlike the Buzzbox chorus) and must be very diifcult to control, but Pete did a fine job in his first public outing.

Pete Ashton playing Thingamagoop

Lyndall had a go too.

Lyndall playing Thingamagoop

The sound set up was excellent – and in my set I could feel the bass end of the piano really resonating. The crowd were very responsive too – you could tell they they there to listen to music (even the goth/rock fans of Anathema who had come up from downstairs seemed to get quite into it). One of the most satisfying sets Ive done so far. Love Fulfilled is still a bit of a struggle to play, but is getting there. The rest went pretty well – Completion always being a favourite – altho I used to find it hard to play, im quite comfortable with it now – which means I can let go into the performance that bit more.

Rich Batsford at Gigbeth - photo Pete Ashton Photo Pete Ashton

I was up first at Drop Beats Not Bombs in a room curated by good guys Mark Smallman of Custom Made and the Jon Harris Loafers Lounge. There were very few people in the room when I played so from that point of view a bit of an anti-climax after the earlier gig, but the guys had put a great bill of music together and Drop Beats is such a huge and well put together event, that its a real honour to have been a part of it.

Rich Batsford Drop beats Not Bombs

I particularly enjoyed Manu Delago playing a set of Hangs quite brilliantly with the assistance of stand up bass and guitar as well as a impromptu collaboration with the excellent beat boxer MC Xander.

Manu Delago feat MC Xander

Later on I also caught Subsource – an awesome live dance band on a semi-outside stage who were their usual high-octane and super rhythmic selves before leaving a bit early in proceedings to catch up a while with some friends and then on Sunday working on our camper van with the very kind assistance of Rich “Beard”.

Birmingham Music Reviews

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