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Sunday 14th April 2013 - The Auld Shank, Ballingry

Having checked my website for my last date at the Auld Shank (I tend to check to see if there's anything I should remember about the stage set up, equipment etc for a gig I haven't done in a while), I was shocked to find it had been over four years since I was last here. 

It's a lovely wee place, with the emphasis on wee!  But a great community pub (there are so few of them left, looking after their punters and keeping things fresh), with a great manager, Andy.  He was very welcoming, and pointed out two Mackie 450s that are set up in the pub for acts' use.  Great!  It's been a while since we worked without Dave (The Maui 28 ), so it was a different experience for Al listening to the sound around the place, but we were relatively happy with the set up (those Mackies are a bit high for optimum sound quality).  I'd advise singers to use the speakers provided though, as there's not a lot of room for your own.  We took the speaker cables and plugged them into our Mackie mixer, which suits me better - familiar knobs to twiddle...

The only downside I found was the fireplace being right behind me while I was singing, but the fire died down soon enough and I was able to turn my fan down after the first set. 

To all who were there, and headbanged and danced their way through the afternoon, I'd like to say Thanks. It was John's birthday (21 again, doll?) and I must say Hi to my mate Baguette (Big Eck).  I misheard his name and asked if he was called baguette cos he was long and crusty!  oh you don't just get me singing you know - I like to have a laugh too!

Saturday 21st February 2009- The Auld Shank, Ballingry

The Auld Shank has changed hands since the last time I visited. It's now run by a lovely couple called Edward and Christine.  They were very kind in letting be hook into their speakers (they are the same as mine).There's not a lot of room to set up in there, so every inch counts. 

After a tough first set, the crowd began to warm to me - possibly being a little more 'relaxed' themselves.  I was struggling with a chest cold, and relied on Vocalzones and water to get me through.  My last couple of songs were quite taxing, given that I had coughed and spluttered through the last set, but the audience seemed to be over the moon.

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Saturday 23rd June 200?- Auld Shank, Ballingry

New venues can be a bit nerve racking, especially when you've been a bit low, through dodgy gigs and bad feeling...

I find it hard to put into words how uplifting a venue like this can be.  Visit this lovely wee pub and see what I mean. When I arrived I was made to feel welcome from the moment I stepped through the door. I was promised a good crowd and they were all ready to take over from me at midnight with karaoke and to have their `Open the Box` draw during my break.

Jock and Shelley, the gaffers, (sorry if I spelled anything wrong, guys!) were heading off to Benidorm, starting their travels at 3 in the morning, so they and a few friends who were going along, were in high spirits to start withI was, however, unprepared for having a packed room of revelers who were out for a good night. The banter was flowing, an ideal night for me because I love the chance to be me, and be cheeky.

I have to say hello to Ann, who won a couple of drinks in the prize draw, and chose number one for her lucky box, which netted her £115! Quote of the night had to be one guy who shouted out "no one ever picks number one.... it's never that!"... just as the computer generated key turned in the lock - and opened!

The `Open the Box` game is just a fraction of the entertainment they can provide, as they have a computer hard drive machine full of quizzes, karaoke and games.

I enjoy pubs with management who go that bit further to get a crowd who are out for a good night, and I hope that if you are in the area you will visit them and say hello.