"we were confronted by the towering spectre of perhaps the finest Victorian concert hall in the world" - Lawrie's diary entry about The Royal Albert Hall gig

Diary History


Personnel Changes and London, England

So, Jebo were booked to play the Borderline once more. After parting company with our keyboard player Phil there was only one thing left to do. Cancel.

But we didn't. Unfortunately, Elton John was busy so we settled for James’s friend Big Nick.

Nick used to play with James in a band called the Electric Druids. Whilst this may conjure up images of pagan sacrifices, they were apparently very influenced by the work of Pink Floyd. Nick agreed he’d like to give it a go, so we settled him in with a rehearsal in Shepard’s Bush. In this idyllic location of urban sprawl and poverty, Nick was treated to a full band rendition of the set, whilst he busked his way through.

But Nick doesn’t busk. Nick is a consummate professional, and played some wonderful, classically influenced piano and (synthesized) Hammond parts over our songs. And they sounded great. Nick added a new dimension to the songs (correct piano parts not-withstanding) and took us to the next level.

He also dressed in classic session-style dress, a black T-shirt, black jeans and black shoes. Nice one.

Then the beast arrived. Swain Electronics (the finest purveyor’s of vintage Hammond equipment this side of Hammond town) brought in a classic Hammond re-invented in a lovely blue covering. This was one classy Hammond. With its matching Leslie, this is a Hammond that could growl a group of Emerson, Lake & Palmer imitators of the stage.

Once Nick had this at this disposal, there was no looking back.

So, we waited patiently, and made our way across London to the gig. Today we were playing with a bunch of low-down, dirty, disgusting men I’d ever seen. No, they were Blues guys so this is actually a compliment.

The band themselves were the Imperial Crowns, LA ‘Legends’ and Blues purveyors extraordinaire (copyright their website). They seemed like nice guys, who had absolutely no idea we were playing.

But they were good and gave us some nice apple beers from Belgium. Which was cool.

So, we set up and banged through the set. Seemed strange having Nick there, but his impact was immediately felt. The gig began with a bang, no not a Hammond fire, but the sound of 4 men playing in unison (always a good sign) and a good looking, slightly disheveled singer doing his thing.

James, ladies and gentlemen, looked brilliant. His new look complementing our outfits and his stage presence outstanding. He led us off on a merry dance, and when supported by Nick, the gig went fantastically.

Big thanks to Panik PA’s finest, Spider. A man of outrageous talent. His soundsmanship giving us a real edge when it comes to playing live. And his choice of staff is interesting too. A really nice chap, and we’re glad to have him on board. Unfortunately, we are contributing to his marital strife… But, well, happens, deal with it…

This gig was special (great sound, lovely crowd, large guest list…) What could be different you ask? Well, were being filmed for what is due to become the first (and highly successful) JEBO video! Our entire set was captured on 3 camera’s (1 fixed, 2 ‘roving’) and will be cut and pasted into a usable piece.

You never know, if you were there, you might be on it.

If you weren’t, don’t worry. We’ll be returning to the Borderline again on September the 19th.

See you there.




London and beyond!!

Hello everyone! This is less a diary piece, more a news update. So I shall adorn my newsreader stool, and fornicate with your intellectual nerve ends and update you.

As a news update, I’m duty bound to tell you. So here goes: We are currently mixing our album with Peter Gabriel’s live engineer Ben Findley, we have been approached by a transatlantic band agency, are working with a worldwide press agent, are currently having a German website constructed, we have an endorsement deal with Swain Electrics of Derby (renowned purveyors of fine Hammonds) and are currently discussing other endorsement deals, and are re-booked at prestigious London venue the Borderline again after a highly successful first appearance. And we’ve formalised our agreement with our long standing Manager. Gasp.

Oh right. So, not much as you can see.

Firstly, the gigs. We played a wonderful night in London with the Reggae-tastic ‘Beautiful Girls’ of fine Australia. The gig was fantastic, and introduced us to this central-London venue with a reasonable bang. In fact, they liked us so much, they’ve booked us for August 1. We’d love to see you there, you pretty people.

As for the illusive album, almost all recording is now complete, with some tracks already mixed. The tracks are sounding great, with a real rocky feel. Dynamically, they’re just what I expected. The only problem is Ben keeps leaving to do other work. I mean, Live 8 Ben or our album? Come on it’s decision time. Alright then, we’ll let you off.

Seriously, Ben and Johnnie are really getting to grips with the tracks, and hopefully we’ll have something to show for them really soon. I’ve heard a few rushes, and they’re knock-out-good baby. Ouch!

Our recent and !ahem! “fantastically well received” performance at the Royal Albert Hall has paid dividends. Firstly, we were approached by a German representative. He is currently working on creating a German website, and is going to be focussing on raising our profile in Germany. This is all good.

Then we were approached by an arts foundation/company working primarily in Italy and Canada (long round trip to work!). They are currently putting together a package to see whether it will be mutually beneficial to work together.

It’s heartening to see all these people “getting” what we’re doing, really. Often bands operate in a shielded way, and the machinations are never clear. We’ve now formalised our relationship with our manager, the wonderful Dave/Greg who goes under many aliases. He’s a real nice guy, and has been holding our slightly sweaty palms through this adventure we call an adventure.

Dave has been working his proverbial legs off, and has produced success! Our great friends at Swain electrics in Derby, purveyors of the finest Hammond shaped Hammonds in the Derby region, and, dog-gone it, the country, are now official endorsees of JEBO. Since seeing our first ever gig with the aged-rocker Wilko Johnson, they have appreciated what we are trying to achieve, and have lent their considerable expertise in helping us. For this we are eternally grateful.





The Royal Albert Hall and York

So, the day drew closer and the nerves they did mount. To make the day easier we amassed perhaps the greatest road-crew known to man.

Spider (a.k.a. Dan) his prowess on the mixing desk and P. A. construction skills are second only too…

Bob (big fat Bob) the driver and second in command on this wonderful journey. Accompanied by:

Fatso: P. A. constructor extraordinaire.

And the freelance Alf.

And the freelance Alf. No, this is not a typing error, this was photographer Alf.

With this crew we were ready to take on the world. I won’t bore you with the laborious details of our many live rehearsals, we’ll just get straight into the good stuff.

So Jeff hired the best van available, and we all dived in. And there was much rejoicing. We began our drive with Steve at the wheel. And there was much rejoicing. We stopped at a ludicrously overpriced services. And there was much rejoicing. Then we got to the Royal Albert Hall.

And there was no rejoicing.

When we were confronted by the towering spectre of perhaps the finest Victorian concert hall in the world, there was no rejoicing. Just lots of men nervously laughing.

You know the kind of nervous laughter tempered with fear when you meet your girlfriend's ex boyfriend.

And then we entered. To the booming sound of Genesis Taurus pedals. The hall was immense, and the stage set up was too. Nervous men nervously doing nervous things.

So, we waited and waited some more. Then it was time. Jeff set up his kit right in front of the 20 foot inflatable womb that a man dressed in tennis balls from head to toe would be emerging from. Well, this is a Genesis show.

And yours truly sat down and tried to take in the job at hand. Unfortunately, due to the God given problems with my eyes, it appeared to me to be the back room of a slightly smoky pub. Good job really.

So, Spider checked the sound, and we did a run through. From 80 watts t 80,000. Bass booming around that place. Pity it was the wrong note. As we went through the sound-check, we got more and more relaxed. Until we’d finished and got to the Green room.

Then we sat there, looked at each other and knew what we had to do. Except we had to wait 3 hours to do it! Longest time of my life. Then it was the Royal Albert Halls turn to infuriate. The Tannoy ratcheting up the tension with periodic curtain calls.

So we took to the stage, me surrounded by basses to simulate that “bedroom” feel. Unfortunately, I nearly tripped up! Still, I took to the stage and stuck on my drum stool, I was ready to take on the Albert Hall. And then we rushed into the first one, adrenaline pumping, galloping through…

And then we waited. And people began to clap. The sound reverberated through the hall, and it felt brilliant. So we played another. They seemed to like music.

In all honesty it was a defining experience for JEBO and one which I thoroughly enjoyed. Just didn’t want to lift up me head! Truly, the place, set up and people were amazing.

Here’s a huge thankyou to Duncan, the Musical Box crew and everyone else who helped make the day possible.

So we were asked to play with them at York. Yep, another one! 1,000 or so people. Have that.

The gig was much the same, just a more intimate venue with 1,000 soon-to-be-friends. The place was a delightful space with vaulted ceilings and a baroque styling so typical of the period.

Guide books huh?!!

So we set up and proceeded to play the show. What do you mean you weren’t there. I’m not talking to you. Alright then, have a listen.

Nowhere Left To Hide (unplugged) - York

So, the story of JEBO continues. After doing these two gigs, we’re really taking things forward. However, in the life of a band it’s not all plain sailing. We still had to navigate the pitfalls of a life on tour. This involved much drinking, much eating of random food and a display of shocking personal hygiene.

That’s another story.

In all seriousness, a huge thankyou to the Musical Box, Duncan, Panik PA and anyone else who helped. Things can only get better. How, I’m not sure...





The Flying Saucer Tour and The Albert Hall

The travails of a band, huh? The sacrifices you make for success. And yet, it’s always worth it.

It’s about 6 months since I took to the keys, and the void in my life has been immeasurable. During the last six months we have taken the “Flying Saucer Tour” to many a location, bringing jollity, cheer and harmonicas to many a dark location.

A brief update would include Rob having had to re mortgage his house to pay for the ongoing recording of our debut album, whilst 70’s rock legends talk themselves to sleep in his living room.

James has completed around 280 gigs, and has acquired a harmonica in every conceivable scale and mode known to man. No longer can one play a diminished 5th without the corresponding harmonica being ‘unsheathed’ from its Lee Oskar branded holster.

Whilst I might jest, the harmonicas have become an integral part of the album, and do provide a wonderful counterpoint to the end of ‘Threw It Away’.

As you can see, I’ve grown up over the last few months too.

Jeff has now transcribed the entire works of Level 42 and is just waiting to get some Motown fills into the set. Talking of Ph(f)ils, he now looks more like Anthony Kiedis then ever, and is finally beginning to settle into the band. Just don’t mention the (war) folder.

As for me, I’ve become a responsible adult and become a “Professor of Sound” at the Access to Music College in Bristol, whilst also teaching at the DBM Music Centre. All this extra income has ensured that, due to the nature of my addictive personality, I’ve acquired 2 Ford Vans full of gear.

And what of the gigs you ask?

Well, it’s not called the Flying Saucer Tour for nothing! We’ve been up many mountains, and down many roads, taking our set to Bideford, Ilfracombe (once more) Downend and loads more!

But this isn’t to talk of the past; this is to discuss the future.

We’ve got a couple of gigs in Downend, Ilfracombe and the Royal Albert Hall.

So the Downend gig…

Yep, the Royal Albert Hall. Following in the footsteps of The Who, Zeppelin, The Beatles and the Stones. Yep, The Royal Albert Hall. Honestly, The Royal Albert Hall. R.O.Y… You get the picture.

We’ve been asked to provide 30 minutes of acoustic material to complement the wonderful and enchanting show provided by the Musical Box Theatre. And it’s a sell out.

Yep, 3-4000 people. Lots. And lot’s.

So, we have to give them a show, filled with spectacular songs and wonderful bass fills. Imagine my trembling hands. Wobble wobble, brown note.

I jest. We are currently working through an amended set, incorporating most of our songs re-arranged for the promoters. This is more difficult than you can imagine. The songs currently work due to the interplay between the rhythm section, and the dynamic melodic counterpoint of Rob’s guitar, and the wonderfully restrained, yet furious when enraged, Hammond of Phil.

Technically, this is what I would tell my students. Truly, we’re rearranging them for an arrangement of acoustic guitar, a restrained drum kit for Jeff with an interesting history, possibly a modular set-up for Phil, and 14 different Jazz basses for me. Seriously, the set-up is a major head-ache. But like having your wildest dreams dropped on your head, it’s a head-ache that we can just about live with.

We’ve gone through various hypothetical situations, in-ear monitoring, on-stage mini-monitors, cans with bits of string connecting the… Everything.

We’ll update the technical specs later, suffice to say at the moment we’re sucking up the anticipation of the event, and are looking forward to taking the band to the next level. Because, at the end of the day, you live to play. And to play at the Royal Albert Hall is a dream come true, and one I fully intend to enjoy. I think I speak for the rest of the band too.

Ohh, Jeff just asked me if anyone knows a good Kebab shop near the Albert Hall..

So I speak for most of the band.




Diary History
2008 - on Bristol Rocks

2007 - on Bristol Rocks

2006 - album tour

2005 - Albert Hall!

2004 - Belgium, man.

2003 - first gig!

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