When The Mechanisms invited us to share a gig with them in Oxford we jumped at the chance. They’re a dissolute bunch of rascals, but we figured we could trust them.
The day arrived and it was, as I might have predicted, rather damp and dull (I have never visited Oxford without rain, so I see no reason to believe that the sun ever actually emerges in what friends call ‘the other place’). Nevertheless, our spirits were high and after a restorative herbal tea in Georgina’s Cafe (clearly the place to go for students and their visiting parents) we were ready to sound check.
The Cellar is, as its name rather suggests, is a small underground venue, not unlike a number of places we’ve played before in London. It does, however, have a very good sound system and a brilliant sound man, Jimmy. Jimmy only confirmed for us what we’ve come to realise over the past couple of years: cello, banjo, guitar +3 vocals is not, in itself, an impossible sound combination. In his capable hands, we had a swift and painless check and departed for burritos post haste.
The Mechanisms have a wild and enthusiastic following, and they were kind enough to lend us their ears that night. It’s wonderful to have attentive audiences and it was a real joy to play to everyone. Will’s list of pre-gig self-inflicted injuries grows ever longer, and he was forced to spend most of this gig perched on a bar stool to save his shoulder, but his banjo work was luckily unaffected (any more of these, though, and I may begin to wonder at these so called ‘accidents’…). After signing off with the Decemberists we melted into the audience to watch The Mechanisms’ new show, Ulysses Dies at Dawn, an impressive mix of song and storytelling. They’ve already raised a significant amount on their indiegogo page to help fund recording the project, and I’m looking forward to hearing the results.
We headed off into the rain just in time to catch the last train home to London, which was filled with the usual mix of Steampunks, drunks and the odd overly friendly man. It was a good night.