7 January 2010

Cosy night at the Grey Horse

The Grey Horse used to be conveniently situated between my house and Kingston Station and town centre which made it a good choice for a quick pint on the way home after an arduous day of working or shopping.

But I moved away from the area thirteen years ago and so my visits have become much less frequent. My last visit there was back in June and that was to see Hoaxwind play in the music room at the back of the pub.

I was summoned back there this week for an open mike night which one friend was participating in and another wanted to see. These sessions are held in the main bar which makes them much more informal and also free!

We settled ourselves on a long bench by the door and I made the obvious choice of Winter Warmer as my companion for the evening.

There were two distinct groups in the pub, students aged 19 to 21 and old fogies aged over 50. Guess which group I was in!

But this age difference quickly disappeared with the first students to the mike choosing to play old songs like Hotel California. Each act was limited to three songs but at the end of the evening a few were allowed a second turn.

The music was quite varied with lots of songs familiar to me, e.g. Creep by Radiohead, some new to me, e.g. stuff by Richard Thompson, and a few presented there for the first time. Most turns had two guitars but there were solo acts and a drummer too - he was asked by some of the other performers to accompany them unrehearsed which he did well and so won my unofficial award for musician for the evening.

At some point in the evening the accumulation of Winter Warmers collided with a stirring rendition of Bowie's Starman and even I was compelled to join in the singing.

The snow fell gently outside all evening while the musicians played and I enjoyed the sounds, the company and the atmosphere before trudging home happy.

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