Spin Doctors – Croydon Fairfield Halls – 21st February 2014

I did a very surreal thing on Friday; I met the ORIGINAL Spin Doctors after their Croydon gig at the Fairfield Halls! Blimey?!?

The Spin Doctors came on after the very energetic and entertaining ‘Brothers of the Mothershovel’ support act; the brothers are a decent bunch of local lads who just about stomped the stage to pieces whilst going about their set.

The brothers in funky hats impressed me so much with their mixture of folk and ragtime swing, I bought their album (Nicely produced it is too!). Hopefully it’ll pay for new strings after the guitarist broke a few during his vigorous strumming!

I last saw the Spin Doctors at the Islington O2 academy on the 30th of January 2013; the main thing I love about seeing the band live is that you never experience the same gig twice! They are an exceptional jam band who love to improvise and it’s a privilege seeing them ply their trade at such small and intimate gigs.

They covered ‘Revolution’ by the Beatles this time which was very cool, before belting out the vast majority of their most excellent back catalogue along AND some tracks from their recent album ‘If The River Was Whiskey’. Oh yes, and the Goodies inspired ‘Everybody Loves String’ improv piece! Genius.

Waiting for my turn to meet the band afterwards, I was extremely nervous. What do you say to Gods? Do they like small talk?

I eventually stumped up the courage to walk over to Eric Schenkman and ask why they didn’t play the excellent ‘About a Train’ from their new album? The track absolutely grooves with lazy blues attitude and I was disappointed not to hear it “Yeah, we’ll do it tomorrow!” came his reply.

What?!? Are you for real?!? I thought it was just lip service, you know, banter?

So I cheekily asked if they’d play ‘Refrigerator Car’ as well (also absent from the Croydon gig) as it’s one of my favourites. “Yeah we’ll play that too!” said Eric. What a genuinely lovely fella he was though, chatting to anyone who popped over, trusting fans to hold his customised telecaster?!? A class act.

It’s one thing for a DJ to take requests, but a world class band? I think I was probably beaming so much, I’m surprised the smile didn’t cut my head in half.

I eventually made it to talk to lead singer Chris Barron after briefly ‘chatting’ to Mark White (bass supremo) about his love of BBC comedy ‘Are You Being Served’ which was very surreal; Chris and I chatted about the new album while he enjoyed a pint before reiterating that they would play the tracks I mentioned to Eric before we all went our separate ways around midnight. Huzzah!

It was an utterly, utterly, utterly bizzare experience that I’ll never forget; thankfully for my nerves, the band are extremely down to Earth and they genuinely seemed to enjoy chatting to everyone who stayed behind.

Good thing I had bought tickets for the following night at the Garage in Highbury and Islington eh?!

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