Tinyfish @ The Peel 21 December 2008

As usual over this time of your year I have lost complete track of what day it is, been overtaken by events, and have not got done all those things I planned to get done.  And so I find myself writing this blog way after the event itself, which is not good enough, and especially not because it was such a fun experience.  Anyway, at lunchtime on Sunday 21 December, Tinyfish played a free acoustic set at The Peel (which looks smaller inside in the light) to an audience of about 40 people.  Frost had sold out the night before, It Bites had sold out the Sunday night, and this was a free gig inbetween – so a lot of people missed out on a great time.  And on the chance to obtain a limited edition 5 track ep, which was only on sale at the event – I love little touches like that – available as a precursor to The Big Red Spark, which remains a work in progress.

Tinyfish are the world’s smallest progressive rock band and with Leon Camfield on drums they will long keep that record intact – but what he might not have in height he more than makes up for in humour, and was a laugh a second throughout.  I will be careful not to refer to the drummachinegizmo as a toy, but surely that triangle in pastel green and blue came from the Early Learning Centre…  The set got off to an upbeat start with Motorville, off their excellent debut album, and then because it was Christmas they followed it with a song abut hate, Too High For Low Company.  Then there were a couple off the ep, Eat The Ashes, and Driving All Night,which Leon had heard for the first time in the car on the way over !  The atmosphere was very relaxed, lots of banter between the band and audience, and it really was following on well from the night before with Frost – and then another nice touch as Jim Sanders let us in on one of the secrets of Simon Godfrey’s setlist book – a page declaring No Pirates Here – Turn The Page You Tosser.  Then a little tale of how they used to call themselves Wizards Fist when they played acoustic sets, and while it turns out there is a (real) band with that name already out there, it was under that name they had played with The Reasoning and developed the next track, Build Your Own Enemy.  And then we are in prog paradise – Let’s Get Invisible coming from a 20 minute concept part of the new (double) album, a mellow ballad about a man who invents a machine which destroys everything.  After a song which I thought was called The Big Inside but now suspect was Sundried, they are joined on stage by Rob Ramsay, on voice and harmonica, and sporting an excellent Jump tshirt, for a song they used to play on the acoustic circuit when they were Men Are Dead – it is a song which is not about Simon’s brither Jem, who is part of the genius behind Frost.  It is called Jem You Bastard.  Tinyfish claim to only be on the edges of prog because they only have one long song, but they did play All Hands Lost for us, and epic it was too, with an intro from Steppin’ Out, no less, and a dramatic pause where the mellotron would have been…  And then they hit a problem because the assembled masses wanted more and were not going to let them go without an encore – and so there was a choice as Simon suggested they could play one of the tracks again, Leon suggested that they be given 2 minutes to write a new song, and the crowd suggested they continue with a song which Leon had not even heard yet.  The obvious choice was taken and Leon heard Wrecking Ball for the first time…and Paul Wormwood finally allowed him to join in towards the end.

It really was a brilliant gig – excellent music, a wonderfully relaxed and humorous atmosphere, and a story abour Santa on the cross.  They play The Peel again on January 10 with support from Sine Star Project, who recently supported Marillion on some of the Happiness dates.  This time it will be a full electric show from Tinyfish in preparation for a performance at the ProgRock 2009 festival in Katowice, Poland on 16 February, which will be recorded for a dvd.

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