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 Post subject: My review of Nelsonica 2012
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 2:34 pm 
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This was my first ever Nelsonica although I had originally planned to go to N10, that fell through at the last minute. So I was determined to attend this one and booked both accommodation and train travel from Edinburgh as soon as I could. My ticket was number 075 and the build up to this day was quite exciting.

I arrived quite late on the Friday night, glad that the recent flooding had not affected my B&B and I decided to do the 15 minute walk from the train station on foot rather than take a taxi, as the evening was dry and pleasant. I was aware of the fact that many other attendees had planned a meet-up that evening but I was too tired to be able to go there. I retired to bed very soon after arriving.

After a great night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, I decided to go to the centre of York to find out where I could have lunch before the doors opened at 1pm and to orientate myself. As I walked towards the centre, what struck me most was the old city walls, dominating and domineering the skyline. As I neared the Skeldergate Bridge, the result of the local flooding was evident with road closed and the vast number of people on the bridge photographing the massively swollen river. It seems this unfortunate event had turned itself into a temporary tourist attraction.

I spent an hour looking around the centre, finding a good place for lunch (El Piano on Grape Lane) that would accommodate my dietary requirement and took the short and rather windy trip on the Wheel of York to see the city from high above. That was really interesting and allowed me to put my travels into perspective. I also saw the very close-by Park Inn and knew where I needed to go. Luckily it did not seem to be affected by the now slowly receding flood waters.

I returned to my B&B, changed and gathered what I needed for the event, not least my rucksack to put all my goodies in. After all, that illustrated guitar was going to be mine!

I had a superb lunch, filing me up nicely for the afternoon and arrived at the Park Inn at 1:20. There was along queue awaiting entry but it moved quite quickly. Once in, my name checked off, I received my bundle of goodies: a N12 badge, a flier for the event, a photo of Bill and the brand new CD, Return To Tomorrow. There was also a list of the any prizes available in Eddie’s Famous Raffle. At this point the queue stuck a bit. Immediately after the entry desk was the raffle table, then the merchandise table, the Esoteric table and then the guitar raffle table. People were stuck doing this in sequence so I headed round to view the venue a bit more, knowing I could review the tables later.

The whole area was essentially a large square room where we entered from the north west corner. Along the north wall were the aforementioned tables. Along the east wall were a couple more tables (more about the last one later on) and then the start of seating around tables leading up to a large screen with projections playing.

Along the south wall was the stage, flanked by this screen and a similar one on the right hand side. The west wall had more tables with chairs and lead around to the entrance doorway. In the middle were more tables and chairs, two set-up video cameras and the room was divided by pillars. As these pillars obscured views for folk seated nearby the merchandise tables, there were more video screens set up for them to see the shows.

As the room filled up, a few faces were recognisable by me. I saw Martin, Paul (Nipper) and John all of whom I met at the JTA CD launch party earlier this year, along with many familiar event staff rushing a round doing last minute fixings, like Ian, Martin Bostock and many others.

The timetable of events was posted and close to time (1:55) Ian took to the stage to welcome the absolutely packed room to the event. There were few far flung attendees which was nice and even a birthday boy in the audience. Then, without further ado, we were treated to the new video of Bill’s guitars. This catalogued in chronological order the guitars he had used in his very long career, using photographs, many not seen before of the bands that Bill had been in. It stopped at Red Noise, only because after 45 minutes we was barely halfway though his timeline!

And then it was time for the first performance of the day. On stage came Bill to rapturous applause and he proceeded to play a set of inspiring instrumentals. The crowd loved it. At this point the video cameras started and we had neat interspersions of live pictures from two angles with accompanying videos and this really helped everyone see all they needed to and added to the enjoyment of the event.

After about 45 minutes, it was time for a short break. I should mention that just outside the entrance door was a bar area which allowed for necessary expansion room but also serving the drinks folk needed. To their credit, the team had also organised an area of the bar that quickly served a cup of tea or coffee for £1 which was most welcome.

At 4:15pm, on came Orchestra Futura and this three piece played a superb set, some planned, some improvised and they too played for about 45 minutes. A couple of sound issues caused a bit of anxiety for Bill as feedback whistling was interruption his playing. He hoped to get that sorted by the time the Gentlemen Rocketeers came on. It was!

Another short break ensured and then the anticipation of the main event was due but was also preceded with a teaser screen showing the line-up and who was playing what. Bill was playing “every guitar in the building!”.

At 5:30 the 7 piece band took the stage to great applause and they launched into “The October Man”, blowing the ears out of the folk that were close to speakers! That went down really well and it was clear we were witnessing a solid band in full swing. But, as the set progressed I did start to feel that we were just about to experience the same set as the Metropolis gig. I had not read earlier that a few new songs were planned and so I was really surprised to hear Imps In The Undergrowth and Alto Vlota being played, hot off the JTA album. This was really great to hear and they played them live very well. Just so there is no repetition, the set list for all three shows are posted by Saurpod here -> viewtopic.php?f=1&t=20375

Each song saw a new guitar being used but at one point, one failed to work properly so it had to be rejected. Other than that, the set went very well, backing vocals neatly supplied by Dave Sturt who seemed to be having a great time. Indeed, Bill, for the first time that evening, seemed relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed doing rocking guitar solos in the songs. Song of the night for me was God Man Slain which I thought was at its best that night.

Once over and the loud applause died down, it was 7pm and we were running about 30 minutes behind schedule but no one seemed to mind. There now was a one hour break for folk to go out to buy food. I browsed the merchandise stall, bought 10 raffle tickets and 10 tickets for the guitar prize draw, as well as a few CDs from the rare stall. There were many current and recent CDs for sale and the last of the low stock ones like Rosewood Vol 2, which now seems to have sold out. There was also a hand written list of really rare items like Rosewood Vol 1 and the like. As these were sold, the list was updated by scoring out of the items now totally sold out. Paul grabbed the Hyperdreamer book just before I could (good purchase Paul) but I took the chance to buy a rare CD off that list, happy that the money as going direct to Bill.

The Esoteric stall was doing well and it was good to see the Trial By Intimacy signed CD box set selling well at a bargain price of £25 along with many of the other recent re-issue releases. The Practical Life box set seemed to sell very well too!

During this food break, I took the chance to introduce myself to Radium Girl who was manning (or should that be womaning) the guitar prize ticket stall. It was lovely to meet her. I also ribbed Paul about his constant spending of money at the stalls but I did encourage him to get the Trial By Intimacy box set as, after all, you are saving on P&P. It was the right thing to do!

Come 8pm, it was time re-start the proceedings so a Q&A session was held with Ian roaming the audience with a microphone to get folk to ask questions to Bill onstage. A few good ones were asked especially around how song titles can inspire the music rather than the other way around and I decided to ask one too, only partially to annoy Ian who was right across to the other side of the hall and he had to battle his way through the tables and chairs to get the microphone to me! I asked about having noticed in York that there was a Blossom Street lined with trees and whether that was inspiration for the Blossom Tree Optimist album title. As it turns out, no, but hey you don’t know until you ask.

That session lasted 15 minutes and then it was time for the meet and greet that started at 8:30pm. All in-between the shows Bill’s music played on the PA and occasionally some videos played too, most noticeably some old BBC footage of Be Bop Deluxe on the Old Grey Whistle Test was shown.

Bill was set up on the last merchandise table along the east wall and the queue started from there and was phenomenally long, stretching to close to outside the door on the west wall. He was to be there for a long time.

I took the chance to chat more to Radium Girl and we were both close to the meet and greet table but also had a good view of the monitors to see what was being played to thrill the crowd. About an hour into it, Eddie’s raffle took place, with Top Of The Pops annual being a much promoted prize by Ian, the compere, but not really being taken up until close to the end. He was very happy promoting it though!

As each person won a prize, they would go up to the stage, take their prize and then had to choose the next winning ticket. With my 10 tickets, I had not really expected to win anything, but as it was within about two draws, one of my tickets was drawn and I battled my way to the stage, while Ian joked that I was either outside or gone home. Once on stage I found out that the way the draw worked was that you chose whatever item you want from the table of prizes and I took the 5 CD Japanese set of the Be Bop Deluxe albums. Very nice indeed, thank you.

Once back beside Radium Girl, she was really pleased for me. She had bought two tickets and had joked that she always wins a prize with both her tickets in prior Nelsonica event and sure enough, one of her tickets was chosen and she went up to claim her prize. She chose the 12” promotional edition of the Eros Arriving single which she was really pleased with.

Things were going well, and even Paul won two prizes and many others got the pick of the table. Strangely the much coveted Top Of the Pops annual was not being chosen. Ian was however, having a great time reading through it, though. During this time, I was chatting to Radium Girl about the fact that a record clock was in the draw. It was 12” white Harvest label vinyl with a clock mechanism attached and we speculated it was the Live In The Air Age LP.

All of a sudden, another one of my tickets was chosen and so once again I had to battle my way up to the stage. I decide that the clock was too tempting to resist so I took it, to jokingly disparaging comments from Ian. I think that was his payback for me dragging him across the room for my earlier question. Once back at my seat, Radium Girl looked it over and we were both surprised to see it was the Drastic Plastic album. Neat!

And then her other ticket was drawn but she asked for a re-draw having all the prizes she wanted but yet again her 100% win record is intact!

The prize draw came to a close and the Top Of The Pops annual was claimed and the winner received another mystery prize too so they were really happy.

Then it was auction time and all the items which had been on display around the illustrated guitar were gathered up and take up for auction. This went well and most items went for at least £50 each. Prior to that, a few folk had been up to the table and were coveting certain items. It appear that they were successful in their bids and got the items they desired which is always nice.

All the while, the meet and greet was continuing. It was close to 11pm by now, which was the scheduled ending time, but there was still so many more people to meet. Sensibly, the team agreed a short break with Bill was necessary to do the guitar prize draw. Bill took to the stage and chose a ticket out of the tombola that had all the bought tickets in it. Number 733 was chosen and the whoop of delight showed that the guitar was about to go across the pond to the States. Superb!

Bill then gave a final closing speech, thanking everyone for their hard work. It is true that there was so much preparation went on behind the scenes to make this go so smoothly. It was very much appreciated. With that, the crowd who were not still in the meet and greet queue slowly moved to the outer bar area as the stage was slowly dismantled.

Bill carried on with his meet and greet and I too moved out to the bar area, where Gavin (Radium Girl’s husband) was, along with BradfordMick. I had a great chat with him and Gavin and others. Every so often I would check to see how the meet and greet was going and it was only by about 12:15am when the queue was down to the last person. I decided not to do the meet and greet as Bill deserved it to end but what a trouper he was, because that did last nearly 4 hours.

As it died down, I got chatting to Martin Bostock and we both agreed that both Nelsonica and the venue had reached its capacity and were there any more people then the meet and greet would suffer. That is one of the main draws of the event – that personal touch that you just do not get with other artists. We did joke that it was touch and go as to whether the stage would be cleared before Bill finished the meet and greet.

Back at the bar, I chatted some more but by 12:45am I just had to bid farewell to Mick and his son and I headed into the dry night with my now expanded goodies bag, thanks to the raffle, and got back to my B&B well after 1am but very happy.

A good night’s sleep ensued and a fabulous breakfast once more, and after I had checked out, the walk back to the station across the bridges showed the flooding to be subsiding. Then the once-dreaded 4 hour wait for my train was now happily filled by writing this review.

Nelsonica 12 was a resounding success and I really enjoyed my first time there. Meeting such nice people was very welcome and I was made to feel right at home.

Like I say, the venue was at capacity and a few bottlenecks understandably appeared, some at the bar and, most noticeably at the merchandise stall, but that is to be expected when rare items are up for grabs. For me, the tea and coffee bar was a really good idea and I had taken my chance to browse the merchandise stall at my leisure during the 1 hour food break. I may have missed out on some really rare items but I am more glad that someone now owns them.

One thing has struck me, with the Gentlemen Rocketeers now having two gigs under their belt I think that if Bill could find the time, maybe going into the studio to quickly drop all their tracks into full studio recordings would be a great way to preserve that band’s tight sound, I know the Metropolis set is available but by adding the two new JTA tracks and having all the songs recorded in that environment would be a good move. I do know that Bill has so much to do that this may not be possible but that band are really good and their sound deserves to have the proper studio treatment.

I wish now to thank Bill (via this method rather than the meet and greet, given I decided not to last night) for the whole event. It was great fun. I feel that we all want him to know just how much we all enjoyed and appreciated his determination to see yesterday become a success.

Thank you Bill


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 Post subject: Re: My review of Nelsonica 2012
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 2:47 pm 
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PlackPaperCrown: superb rundown of Nelsonica 12 from your perspective.

Well done! :)

.

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 Post subject: Re: My review of Nelsonica 2012
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 3:07 pm 
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Great review BPC :D very appreciative for us who didnt make it.

Wadcorp...watch out !!!! your avatar is about to explode :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: My review of Nelsonica 2012
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 3:19 pm 
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Great review BPC, almost feel like I've been there now :D You paint a good word picture, thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: My review of Nelsonica 2012
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 3:45 pm 
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Thanks for that, Blackpapercrown, I've only just got back from Hong Kong so I couldn't make it. Would have liked to get that Eros Arriving 12" !!

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 Post subject: Re: My review of Nelsonica 2012
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 3:45 pm 
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Well done, BPC! And it was nice to meet you! :D


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 Post subject: Re: My review of Nelsonica 2012
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:30 pm 
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Fab review, lovely people all! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: My review of Nelsonica 2012
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:35 pm 
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Thank you 'BPC' for presenting and sharing your detailed encounter with 'Nelsonica 12' in the 'Dreamsville' community. It was very interesting and insightful. After reading it, (like with Fellini) I feel like I was there too. I hope to read others' perceptions of the event as well. Chris


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 Post subject: Re: My review of Nelsonica 2012
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:00 pm 
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Excellent review BPC! If I remember correctly, didn't you write another review recently, i think maybe for the JTA launch party?

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 Post subject: Re: My review of Nelsonica 2012
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:01 pm 
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Good review, BPC. I didn't realise you were there. I can't believe felixt1 missed you!.. :wink:

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