#34. Private Party, Grange Over Sands, Cumbria. 27.7.07.

It's not so grim up North!

The Phantoms previous furthest venture into the badlands (North Wales – see gigs #6 & #7) was eclipsed when the band made the gruelling 270 miles up the M6 to play the wedding of mate & roadie Richard (Monkey) Lomas at Grange over Sands, Cumbria. Not such a grim journey for our singer who spent the entire 5 hours with his nose in Harry Potter! The Phantoms base for the weekend was the fantastic Cavendish Arms in Cartmel (home of the Sticky Toffee Pudding!) where we were treated like the rock stars we really are with our own private dining area and special late breakfast agreement! Nice! Whilst enjoying a meal and a few local ales during the first evening it was discovered that we had forgotten to bring any lights with us! Bugger! This led to some frantic phoning around with the aid of the local Yellow Pages (although some of us seemed more interested in the ‘Adult Services’ section!) and we eventually managed to hire an elaborate lighting rig at great expense from the wedding hotels resident DJ! Panic over! The rest of the evening passed in a lager fuelled blur which half the band spent the following day sleeping off (awaking to realise that some over-excited locals had been sooooo desperate to get their hands on some Phant memorabilia that they had pinched our jackets)! Only the hardy Phantoms (and crew) were to brave the shark infested Lake Windermere the next morning! Remarkably without incident the day passed (although certain members were spotted living the R'n'R lifestyle by cruising the craft shops of Cartmel, returning loaded with furry toys!) and it was soon time to set off to the wedding venue. We eventually arrived (no thanks to the directions provided by the helpful ‘local’ lass who obviously didn’t know her left from her right!) to meet a relieved Phantoms keyboard player who was beginning to think he may be doing a solo gig! That will teach him to stay at the posh hotel on his own! As for the venue, the happy couple appeared to have hired ‘Hogwarts’ for the occasion! With the wedding party chowing down the band set up the gear in the beautiful wood panelled ball room, played a quick soundcheck and then slid off to Nov’s spacious (!) room to change into our suits and ties (colour co-ordinated with the lovely bridesmaids' dresses). You have to be impressed by the Phantoms attention to detail! It was soon time for Monkey & Gill’s first dance. This was all going magically well until ‘Immobulus’, the CD stuck two thirds of the way into the song (which is what happens when you nick cheapo blank CD's from your work, Monkey)! Making the most of a packed dance floor, the Phantoms hastily launched into their opening number, a rousing rendition of ‘Let Me Entertain You’, a song not previously heard since the Phants second gig! The rest of the first set saw an unending stream of drunk relatives and friends bopping along, during which we discovered that Richard obviously inherited all his dance moves from his Dad and remembered why we enjoy playing weddings so much, as numerous ‘bouncy’ young ladies wrestled to keep their strapless gowns under control. Very pleasing! During the interval the Phantoms presented the happy couple with their wedding presents. For the groom, an inflatable guitar signed by all the band and Rob Deering (the brilliant comedian that entertained the ‘stags’ the previous week) and for the bride, a limited edition Phantom t-shirt, personalised with Gill’s new initials (well, it would be if Gill was spelt Jill! Oops!). With bacon butties consumed (what, no pies!) and token ‘Yorkie’, Shrek managing to avoid catching the dreaded ‘red’ rose, the Phantoms again took to the floor to play the longest set they had ever performed (17 songs in one stint - blimey!). Highlights being the bands rendition of ‘Stockport Dagger’ and the feverish reception to ‘I Predict a Riot’, despite Leeds being a dirty word to the majority of the crowd! At one stage the revellers were joined on the dancefloor by a bunch of gate crashing kids from the adjacent party who thought the band were the Arctic Monkeys! I wonder who gave them that idea? So, with the band rapidly running out of songs they knew how to play, last orders were called as the Phantoms aptly performed ‘Closing Time’. After the gig the boys retired to the balcony to enjoy the lovely night air over Morecombe bay, show a bit of London Flash (champagne anyone?) and marvel at the skill of wedding guest Mike attempting to pull a well phit/well drunk cutie (assisted by the chat up line ‘I’m mates with the band!’). With all concerned high on emotion/lager/country air (and various Phants proposing to each other!), the dreaded packing up ritual passed as if in a dream, ending with Bri getting free cigs and an email address from the barmaid whilst charming her with stories about the streets of Pheltham being paved with gold… Could the evening get any better? Well yes actually, as that grim troll Charlie was evicted from the Big Brother house! What a top night! The following day saw Nov elevated to greatness by being invited to breakfast with the wedding party while the rest of the boys departed for home via a tour of the lakes annoying druids & owls! Thanks to Rich & Gill for inviting us to share their day and the best of luck to you both for the future. Thanks also to Lizzi, Stevie & Shrek for your company & our Landlord Richard for an enjoyable stay. As it turned out, it's not so grim up North!

The Phantoms were: Mark Gibson (lead vocals), Paul Castle (bass & vocals), Simon White (guitar & vocals when he remembers!), Brian Spencer (guitar & vocals), Jon Novice (keyboards, guitar & vocals) & Alun Westoll (drums & vocals).
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