So here it was the second night at The Dog In The Lane, Astley. The always tricky follow up album to the hit debut and once again John had come along with me the help/enjoy his night off/part run the gig. First night it has been run as free entry but had ticketed this second show at £2 a ticket however upon on arrival we were greeted with some shocking news….none sold! not a single ticket had been pre-sold but “loads of people say they are coming along, they promised they are defiantly coming” ..won’t lie felt dead inside, thought this gig and venue was going to die there and then and the acts would be going home gigless… I really did think that … (I was wrong as the rest of this review will show)
Me and john set up the PA and lights and laid the room out ready and then an audience did start to show! as a family of 4 came in and ‘reserved’ their seats on the back row….maybe it won’t be as bad as we thought! Dave Dinsdale had been the compere for the first night and at the request of the landlord & myself had been asked back to do the second night but due to a serve chest infection had had to drop out and was replaced by Crown regular compere Nick Clarke who himself was ill on the day and had to be replaced by Jon Pearson (great saver of bacon that guy), with another act also having to withdraw and Masai Graham now needing a new driver. Rob Kemp was added in to complete the line up, but 8:30pm we had a comfortable room of about 25 or so punters (stayed all night, didn’t loose a single one in either break). Apart from the family of 4 at the back they were all older, conservative, same as lat month.
Jon Pearson ”opened” as he pretty much went straight in with material and got some laughs pretty quick, the foursome at the front were a gift throughout out the whole night (Laughers, up for a good time). Not a lot I can say about Pearson’s material expect he’s come in leaps and bounds since I first met and saw him about 5 years ago and is professional as they come now, did his job as you’d want. Funny moment when we was bantering with the crowd was when it turned out the head of the family sat at the back were the biggest celebrities in the room as they’d been on BBC’s home under the hammer once (My mum is literally ADDICTED to that show sure she’d have known his face). Colin Harris went first and I assumed he’s gell well with an older audience and I was correct about that. He did his standard 10 set tonight (not new material based around a subject) and it was fun to note the stuff from the new material spots at my crown gig all last year has made it into his set now and it all fits and flows well. Although I think he lost it a bit in the last 3 minutes or so when it started to trail of but overall proved a nice opener for the night. Dave Tomlinson went next who always done well at my gigs but was a bit ”too” quirky for this crowd it seemed, he opened with material which involved puns on former labour cabinet ministers though and I’m not to judge but I’m pretty confident most people in this area are going to be Tory voters (just a hunch) (and I’ll come to back that at the end) that might have upset them from the off but his classic pull back & revel about the tracksuit never fails anywhere. Slow, dead-pan works for him, needs to work on the material more though.
After our first interval Pearson didn’t do much material (not required) and pretty quickly brought on Theresa Farlow who I have got a lot of time for as a person and act and she’s one of those acts that when she gets the right audience and the right dynamic in the room she is just amazing and loves it (can see she’s having a blast) and tonight was one of those nights. She’s got the confidence, the charm and the material which isn’t perfect yet, like everyone’s could be improved and edited but she’s got the punch lines in all the right places and audience REALLY took to her tonight and she had a blast. By complete contrast from story telling to straight forward one liner gags it was Ryan Brown next who too had an amazing gig, such well written and delivered one liners and he laughs at his own gags which just adds to it and builds momentum, 9/10 of his gags are really good and he’s got the odd one which wouldn’t be out of place in Gary Delaneys set, his only pitfall as I’ve said in previous reviews is he has his comfort blanket his piece of paper he keeps looking at….learn the gags and it would be a slick as hell and unbelievably strong then, regardless he really had the audience belly laughing throughout. They really are a ‘gag’ crowd at this and the landlord Colin clearly loves the ‘gags’ too.
Final section and Rob Kemp who has been nominated for an award for his solo show at the Leicester comedy festival. ‘Comedians’ Comedian goes without saying and tonight he confused them for the first minute before declaring “Yes I’m the weird one. Every comedy night there’s a lady comic, an ethic one, and the weird one and that’s me tonight” this spelt it out to them pretty clearly and won a lot of them over to him. His whole set is ‘meta comedy’ and he’s so self aware it’s hard to tell where he’s going and thus difficult to explain so you either get on board with it or you don’t, tonight he was a surprise hit overall but I will say he lost them somewhat in the last few minutes with stuff about the bible. The payoff at the end of that bit is totally worth it though and a really good bit as part of a longer show. He’ll hate me for saying this his ‘zombie comedy’ bit still makes a better end to a short 10 set. Masai Graham closed the show and the guy rightly won the title of UK Pun Champion a few weeks ago (he beat me don’t you know) and I’ve reviewed him many times before he does jokes and puns with banter around the jokes and they range from corny to seriously dark. Tonight he joked and bantered with them flawlessly and I expected totally knocked it out the park and did a solid 25 minutes (I’d put him on last so that he could do as long as he wanted anyway) hit after hit after hit and he still left them wanting more. I couldn’t fault, perfect closer for the room. Night ran as smoothly as it could have, everyone there was there for comedy and the show was finished by 10:35pm and thus we didn’t loose a single audience member everyone stayed. A completely successful second night and all good for the next one.
Although to anyone reading this it must be said! Older, conservative audience, must hold back on the swearing and filth (must only be done in context when needed) and despite the budget being low for the time being. It’s not a gig I can book anyone for really it’s just not a night for new material and must be acts who can at least deliver a good well rehearsed 10 minute set with confidence. They like the ‘gaggy’ stuff and can’t be anything political and needs to have punch lines etc so won’t be able to book just anyone for this one for the foreseeable future and I will have to turn some people down sadly. Lovdev Barpaga, Phil Pagett & Rob Coleman will be perfect for this though in the coming months…. to give an idea.
I have a success on my hands it seems, just hope it doesn’t loose momentum quickly and I’m not taking anything for granted yet.