On our 1st birthday show last Sunday, I played a cover of The Kinks track Sunny Afternoon by the Stereophonics. I love finding alternative/cover versions of tracks, most of the time the original is the best but most bands will bring their own style to a cover version. I like the track anyway and as a fan of the Stereophonics it felt fitting to play that on a Sunday lunchtime slot. Anyway, this blog isn’t about cover versions but it’s about how a song can transport you back to a time and place, as if it was yesterday. Here we go back to the summer of 2010, Hot off the heels of their debut album I’d seen Mumford & Sons at one of the various London venues, but they were playing at the Hop Farm festival near my birthday. My friends bought me a surprise ticket as a birthday gift. I was so stoked to see Mumford & Sons I didn’t really pay much attention to the rest of the line up. Saturday comes around, two trains and two buses later we arrived part way through the magic numbers set (such a shame as not had a chance to see them again). While Mumford & Sons were what we were there for, we got a real treat from the other acts on the line up. Laura Marling, Seasick Steve but before the main headliner (who was Bob Dylan) was Ray Davies. Yeah we were there to sing our hearts out to Little Lion Man (and readers, Mumford did not disappoint) but for me Ray was the best set of the day. I wasn’t particularly a Kinks fan, I have to confess I didn’t even know who Ray Davies was without the songs for context!
Maybe it was the sun setting on a glorious day full of great music, maybe it was the multiple pints of warm overpriced Carling Lager, just maybe it was the buzz of the crowd. All those things can make a gig something extra special (ok not the Carling lager but any festival goer will have a place for that in their memories). What makes a gig special and memorable for me? The music of course but I love a good performer. Ray Davies was exactly that. He played to the crowd, he was enigmatic and engaging, he played the hits, and you could sense that he knew Dylan was the main draw but he gave it everything anyway.
Now, whenever i hear a song by The Kinks, it transports me right back to that day, that moment. Isn’t music wonderful for that?
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