There’s a real joy about hearing a great new song live for the first time, especially by a band you’ve never heard of in a pub. Let It Go by the Wildflowers is 2016’s first classic, a real tearjerker that had more one old bloke welling up a bit. “Well, that’s the hit of the night” says the taken aback lead singer, which is understating it a bit.
It’s the highlight of a joyous set at the Albion in Hastings, reminding me a bit of the Boothill Foot Tappers and early Lone Justice, which tells you where I was at 30 years ago. The rest of their set of originals, plus a countrified White Stripes cover, was just as enjoyable. I wasn’t the only gig-goer buying their CD (remember them) at the end.
Free live music gets no better. Their CD almost captures the energy of the live set too. #notpunk.
I only popped in to the Albion out of curiosity, and while it looks more live venue than pub, it has some classic features, including original Wm Younger tartan panels. Pints were served in Bass glasses too, which I can tell you adds to the quality of the sound (excellent) and the Harveys (NBSS 3). Yet another excellent pub in Hastings Old Town.
I’m in town watching some gigs as part of their folk festival, and a superb documentary about the ambiguous David Thomas Broughton in the world’s best small cinema. I had a bottle of Long Man (£3.50 for 500ml) which only reminded me why I almost never drink from bottles. Nice chocolate though, and a real experience.
Hastings is a wonderful town, particularly when you lump in the adjoining (but hillier) St Leonards. It feels a bit more like the best of East London (Hackney) every time I visit, and less like the run-down Kent seaside town it’s long been painted as.
Before the film I visited a new Beer Guide entry in the Crown. This is probably the smartest pub in town, with posh bar snacks, craft keg, snowdrops and designer children. I like it a lot though, and not just because I get called “Dude”. I may only have one set of clothes but they are very tasteful, particularly the socks.
It’s just a shame the beer isn’t a bit better. The Old Dairy Blue Top is a bit underwhelming, and at it’s best (Windmill, Sevenoaks Weald) it’s been brilliant. Perhaps if I’d popped in later for their live music I would have a better pint; turnover is (almost) everything.
I do wonder just how much classic songs I know nothing about; most of the bands who’ve impressed me of late were complete newcomers. Stick to your cover bands and miss out folks.