The Muffin Men, Three Tuns, Gateshead

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I found the Three Tuns without any problems and parked outside. I went in and there was a sign saying ‘music venue” and as I went through the door I was asked if I was there to see the band. I said I was and handed over the £4 entry fee (which was half of what I paid to see them the first time in 2003!) They were just setting up as I went for a pint and no sooner than I had it in my hands they started playing – talk about good timing!

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It wasn’t a very big audience – probably about 30 people At first I had people in front of me but as I was still drinking my beer (using the term loosely as it was John Smiths)I wasn’t bothered but I had my eye on a space next to the toilet door to take pictures from but just as I was about to make my move someone else nabbed it! I ended up on the other side of the door which meant everyone who want to go to the loo had to squeeze past me!

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The venue itself was a bit odd. It looked like the room was once the lounge bar where the genteel folk of Sherriffs Hill went to sip their sherry or half of shandy in peace and quiet away from the riff raff in the public bar.  There was a stage at one end, mostly lit by red lights (grrr) with a few chairs and tables pushed off to one side. It was dressed for Halloween and the posters on the wall suggested that the usual fare was more heavy rock cover bands!

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Right from the start the clowning around from Mike the sax played started – just like at SoL where he read books or played an inflatable guitar during the solos he plonked himself on a corner reading a Blue Peter annual while they rest of the band finished soundchecking! He also pulled out a TV guide which he read with horror while the band played I am the slime!

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I took photos with both my Nikon and my phone, the red lights causing havoc with the images but thankfully there were white lights across the front which made it a bit easier. After the interval I stood on the other side and got some more shots with the Nikon but standing right in front of the PA was a bit noisy so I eventually retreated back to where I started and put the Nikon away to listen to the end of the set.

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Everytime I see the Muffin Men I come away thinking that I don’t know Zappa as well as I thought because there are numerous songs I don’t know. Some of the ones I remember them playing were Peaches and Regalia, City of Tiny Lights, Cosmic Debris, Let’s make the water turn black (instrumental version) and I am the Slime. It all finished just after half eleven so it was quite late by the time I got back home! Still had to take dog dog out for a wee though!

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