The Wise Wound were passionate about performing live. We had a busy gig schedule and festivals to go to, but we could always squeeze in some busking between rehearsals, and we usually had a weekly residency somewhere.
This is where we were really in our element. Stage, café or campfire, I have many magical memories of playing with the band at festivals big and small. But only a couple of photos, and considering the number of festivals we played that's slim pickings indeed. Camera phones weren't around then and we were just too busy playing. When we played Glastonbury ('92-'95) we would clock up over a dozen gigs over the weekend in cafés and on stages such as the Avalon Stage and Green Futures and countless small stages. It is incredible to see how big some of these, such as Croissant-neuf, have become.
We were first booked by the Healing Field, then by The Field of Avalon ('93 and '95) and Green Futures ('94) but we always ended up playing all over the Green Fields. (See also Bri's Intro.)
We also played The Big Green Gathering, The Forest Fayre, Guildford Folk and Blues Festival ('93), and a few small festivals like Earth Spirit and Happy Harry's.
This recording of Under the Bamboo was taken directly from the desk at The Forest Fayre in 1992 (where we first met Sally). It was before Brian joined and after Shanti-Tony left so it is lacking percussion but it's quite a spirited rendition. (Line-up: Sue, Maz, Den, Liz and Claire.)
Over the years and different festivals we could often be found with firm festival friends Café Sanctuaire. I found a photo of Café Sanctuaire, Glastonbury, 1992 on flickr - Somewhat smaller than in the photo below taken in 2008.
Café Sanctuaire served their last patra in 2010.
Talking to Brian, we think the photo below is from the Big Green Gathering - the year the public were kept out and it was a traders' festival. We think we might be performing outside a café behind the camera.
If anyone has got any photos of the band at festivals please get in touch.
Pubs and Clubs
We played at acoustic nights all over London and beyond. We often played for Survivors' Poetry and particularly loved the club Ructions which the late PJ Fahy ran. I just found this Resonance FM broadcast on YouTube: A Tribute to P.J. Fahy
Another favourite club was run by Adie Sweet at The Bull in Clapham. This recording of King for a Day is from there in about 1994. (By this time we have Bill on board.)
From a different Bull, this photo was taken at The Bull in Highgate where we had a residency - also in about 1994.
We also had residencies in The Rose and Crown in Highgate and regularly played in a lot of local pubs. There was also our lovely Sunday Roast Residency at The Landor in Clapham.
In '92-'93 we had a residency at The Railway Finsbury Park. A grotty little pub at the back of the station that was empty all week but that we packed on a Sunday night. This advert in the NME in 1992 is from when we "got paid" for some recording with adverts in the NME and the Melody Maker. We opted for "Secret Gig" billing with a number to ring as we didn't dare put "The Railway"!
We would proudly have put "Bunjies" though, not that you needed an NME ad to fill it. As well as being regulars at other acoustic nights since '92, we held a weekly residency there in '94. (It sadly closed as a music venue in '98.) Bunjies Coffee House and Folk Cellar in Litchfield Street, off Charing Cross Road was a tiny yet legendary folk Club, with a rich tradition of acoustic music. It boasts an impressive list of artists to have performed there including Bob Dylan, David Bowie and (during our time there) Jeff Buckley. (See wikipedia entry and coffee-house-culture.com) Our Friday nights often included a session from "Planet Bob" Bob Cairns. ("Bouncy Bounce!")
Bob Cairns on Soundcloud
This recording of Static and the photo are from Bunjies in 1993.
Throughout the life of the Wise Wound we also played larger music venues such as The T&C2 and The Standard. We usually seemed to have sound problems at PA gigs. Amplifying our acoustic instruments often proved difficult for stage sound engineers who were used to dealing with more typical rock band line-ups. In 1994, in an attempt to gain more control and consistency over our sound, we started to use our own effects units and amps. This was also inspired by Brian getting behind a kit at a Bikers' pub in Manchester where we went one weekend on a whim after a Bunjies gig. "Hitting" Manchester in the same way would sometimes hit a local pub randomly and ask to play. Other Out of Town gigs have included The Assembly Rooms and The Rifleman's in Glastonbury. In 1995 we gained electric guitarist, Paul, who took Bill's title of youngest member. We had a residency at The Hare and Hounds in Islington and right at the end of the Wise Wound in '96 at The Cole Shedd on Kilburn High Road. Unfortunately this was soon taken over by the evil music mogul, Vince Power. We briefly moved to the pub across the road but really this was about the time we disbanded.
From the platform of Oxford Circus tube to the slopes of Glastonbury Tor on the Solstice, taking in Camden Lock along the way, we loved busking. Sue and Maz in particular busked a lot, the whole band though would often go out in different combinations and en masse, helping to fund the gas-guzzling Lance.
Camden was our regular favourite, but Leicester Square, St Martin's-in-the-Field, and various you'd-never-get-away-with-it-now-(we-didn't-exactly-get-away-with-it-then) tube stations were other places you might have found us. (Somewhere we have a nice pic from this session featuring a London Underground official moving us on.)
In 1992 we were involved in a scheme to promote live music in shopping malls (no progress there then) on which The Independent ran an article.
Full article available online at independent.co.uk: Exiles from Main Street - Article in The Independent, 16 December 1992.
If you remember seeing us live at a festival, pub or busking, get in touch on our Comments page - we would love to hear from you.