Updated: Mar 18, 2019
A rainy cold evening to be wandering the streets of Hastings Old Town, were my first thoughts getting out of the car with camera over my shoulder. About a mile of wandering those rainy cold streets to even get there. Differing from Saturday's acoustic 15 minute sets, this evening promised 24 bands playing 3 sets of 20 minutes (nominally) each, in a trimmed down list of 12 Old Town venues.
I'd decided to make my first pub venue for the evening to be The London Trader, as Glen Matlock of Sex Pistols fame was due on 2nd there, so by going along for the first gig a band called Suncharmer, I'd guarantee my place next the stage for Mr Matlock. 4 piece indie rock filled the low rafters of the Trader and gave me the chance to set up my camera for the evening's entertainment. Influenced by classic rock giants such as Bowie, Zeppelin, Hendrix, and T.Rex, the foot was a tapping whilst the shutter was a clicking! With the imminent arrival of an ex-Pistol, the Suncharmers packed up and left through one door, whilst more equipment filed in through another, followed by not only an original Pistol but also Neil X of Sigue Sigue Sputnik fame.
No set by Glen was ever going to be played without Pistols choons filling at least a part of his repertoire and sure enough Pretty Vacant, was belted out to thunderous appreciation. Who said punk is dead!? Not from where I am standing.
Now, I am an amateur photographer - yes I have a real job that pays the bills - but when I am out and about taking snaps I wear a lanyard that holds business cards, should anyone want to see these images. So when I got to my next stop, Porters in the High Street, and I see a queue of people trying to get in and a gaggle milling around the windows, I'm thinking I'm not going to get to see my new favourite skiffle band, Cheap Dates.
Ah! Security is at the door - what door doesn't have a security person standing next to them nowadays - I'll ask her. She takes one look at my camera and another at my lanyard and ushers me in the door, through the packed crowd and I find myself up close and personal with spangly suits, a washboard, a ukulele and the inevitable kazoos. The crowd here were fairly well lubricated and were responding to the jokes from front man Jim Proudfoot with as much gusto as their joining in with the songs - highly recommended band should you see them playing live somewhere.
Along the High Street to the Jenny Lind, to see Sister Suzie and the Right Band, and another PACKED drinking establishment. Hold your camera in the air and wave your lanyard ... well it worked last time, and sure enough I find myself at the front again. Fronted by Suzie, classic rhythm & blues soon gets the crowd, and me, tapping the toes of whichever foot we're not standing on. What a voice! This is how tight amateur bands can be when they really know what they are doing.
A quick dash back to the Trader - not bothering with getting prepared for rain by this time ... only outside for a few minutes - to see the rising fast The Kiffs; a group of young ladies who put the heavy into rock. Watch out for these girls because they will be huge, and soon.
One final dash into the precipitation, and across the road to the Admiral Lord Nelson, to catch Longdaylatenight - an equally young but male band hailing from Berkshire. As indie bands go, this bunch of lads will go far - rhythmic, melodious and extremely talented, with an attitude to match, you can't help but be impressed that the future of rock is in safe hands.
And so to the last gig of my venture into what is Hastings' version of Mardi Gras, and what better way to sign off, than with local favourite's Matilda's Scoundrels. Folk-punk at it's very best. Having built up a strong local following, the crowd new what to expect and the Scoundrels didn't disappoint. When the rowing song was called for, pretty much the entire front bar found themselves sat on the floor squeezed between stranger and friend alike - the beer flowed, the floor bounced and the Scoundrels sang their hearts out.
Thank you Hastings, thank you Fat Tuesday, and thank you to all the bands I saw and the ones I didn't get time. See you in 2020...