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Friday 18th December 2009 - Royal Tavern, Thornton

I must admit to putting off writing about this weekend.  My expected pub full of firefighters turned out to have been out all day, and they were all getting ready to go home after demolishing the buffet laid out for them.  It can be a bit demoralising when you start your first set and all but empty the place!

I was asked to come along a bit early, and I did quite a bit of preparation for the "do", downloading tracks, learning songs and gearing up for a big night.

You can never predict these things, and I must stress that the situation was nobody's fault, and could happen to any of us. 

The lounge is lovely, and has been newly decorated from floor to ceiling.  You should definitely make the effort to come in and have a look.  Hazel and Ralph couldn't be more welcoming. And the staff are lovely too. 

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Friday 21st August 2009 - Royal Tavern, Thornton

I was looking forward to coming back to the Royal Tavern.  Hazel and Ralph are two of the nicest people you could meet.  They are genuine and straightforward, and I felt welcome as soon as I set foot in the pub.  I was set up in a different part of the pub, right inside the front door and to the left, where the sound could be heard both in the bar and in the lounge area.  Last time I was set up towards the back of the lounge, and must admit I felt a bit isolated way back there.

The crowd were small but appreciative, and people came and went throughout the evening.  As any singer knows, it's important to change the style of music you play depending on the amount/age/taste of the people in the crowd, so I did just that.  A bit of middle of the road to start with, then a bit of rock (at the request of a few punters), finishing off with some dance and cheesy disco for those who had had enough "refreshment" to want to boogie.

All in all, a good night.  I hope I'm booked again soon. 

Sunday 24th August 2008 - The Corner Shop, Thornton (8pm til 11pm)

I haven't done very many gigs in Thornton, and I must admit I don't really go there much, but I was pleasantly surprised at the interior of the Corner Shop.  What looks like your average wee pub turns out to be a beautiful wee bar with a HUUUUUGE lounge.  When I first visited here during the week the smell of bar lunches greeted me as soon as I went through the door, and I must say they smelled lovely. 

The lounge is long, with a partition maybe a third of the way back, followed by a big beam going right across.  This meant for a challenging set up for Al, but he made sure to keep the speakers down low so the sound would travel well.  It's an ideal set up for the crowd, really, as those who like it loud can come up close and personal, but only a few metres back the sound is low enough so that people can have a conversation without being drowned out.  Even further back, the music acts as a background, and the pubgoers who are just out for a pint can relax in relative peace.

Ralph and Hazel, the owners, could not have been nicer.  They apologised for the lack of people, and were even a little worried I wouldn't want to go back!  The truth of the matter is that there had been a Highland Games organised for the town that day, but it had been called off due to bad weather affecting the ground where it was to be held.  I reckon the pub would've been heaving by 8 o clock had the games been on as planned.  As it was, despite the pub's best efforts, the crowd was bijou.  There were maybe a dozen people in all night, but those dozen seemed to enjoy the music I picked to perform.  It can be difficult to read a crowd sometimes, but they all seemed up for a good night, so that made things a bit easier for me.

I hope to come back to the Corner Shop, and would heartily recommend you "drag yer tush along" and soak up the atmosphere.