WIRED!Sessions.. every last Wednesday of the month... see you at the Wrotham Arms, Broadstairs.. 8:30ish pm kick off!!!!!!

Friday, 26 August 2011

The Birth of WIRED!

They say what goes around comes around, well…

One Monday evening, some nine or ten years ago, at The Lord Nelson in Broadstairs, a few local musos got together and had an acoustic open jam night; that was where it all started. After the first one, without exception, people would be there every Monday night. Some weeks, there were just two or three of us, with just one or two in the bar as an audience – Monday not being a popular evening out. Other weeks, there could be up to twelve or fourteen performers; with drums, guitars, violins, harmonicas, mandolins, shaky eggs (mustn’t forget the shaky eggs) and, for most of the time, myself. Yes, I can say I was there at the dawn of it all – along with a handful of others. It quickly became a regular feature: Every Monday night, there would be some people at The Lord Nelson – an eclectic mixture of instruments, singers, and all shades of ability. If we were very lucky, there were even people who came to listen.

The content was mainly Folk music – both modern and traditional – with some Blues, and even a little Country; there were even some original compositions thrown in for good measure. Often, the songs would involve death, heartbreak, booze, or obsession – frequently all in the same verse!

It was not too many weeks before some of the Blues-men in town, who had heard about the Monday nights, rocked up to add their particular edge to the evenings. They soon felt that there was not enough volume with just acoustic instruments and so a few small amps, and even electric pianos, started to appear.

It has to be said, some of us timid acoustic folks felt a little intimidated to start with; however, after plugging our acoustic instruments into an amp, singing into a microphone, and hearing the sound that was created – well, most of us became converted. This was, in its way, the forerunner of WIRED! Indeed, many of the guys and girls who were at those Monday evening are now regular attendees of WIRED!

Ken Wards, one of the first to come along to these Monday evenings, asked me if I would be interested in doing “something similar, but plugged in and ‘wired’ up.”
“Not keen, to be honest,” I said. “I don’t really understand all this electriconical stuff” – but, then again, I am a bit of a push over and so decided to roll along with it. It was decided that these ‘wired-up’ sessions would occur once a month – on the last Wednesday – due, in part, to the extra time and effort it would take to set up all the equipment and take it down again. On the last Wednesday of January, 2006, WIRED! held its first session. In the small, dark, and intimate function room of The Rose, WIRED! came to life. I am very proud to say that I, along with Brian Langsdon, had the great privilege (tinged with a significant amount of nerves) to open that session.

After many successful years at The Rose, WIRED! moved up to the Bradstow Mill. Unfortunately, I was never a part of that section of WIRED!’s history, as I was working in Spain at the time. However, WIRED! never felt settled there and, after a relatively short period of time, WIRED! moved again. This time, it came to The Lord Nelson, where Di (probably one of the finest Land Ladies this town has ever seen) has been looking after us ever since. So, now you could say that WIRED! has come home. What goes around comes around!

Below are some photos taken at one of those early Monday evenings – many of these are still regular contributors to WIRED!, but all were part of the reason for its conception.

There is, of course, one sad exception:
From those very early days at the Nelson, through to the first years of WIRED!, we had a resident drummer who held a special place in our community. Les died on Tuesday 11th March 2008 - his unique style and character were synonymous with WIRED! and our community of musicians and music lovers. He is greatly missed and will always be remembered.