Brilliant day launching my new album ‘Not On Our Watch’ at WSO Central, The Station Hotel in Ashton-Under-Lyne. I cannot think of a finer way to send an album out into the world than in trying to help change lives and that’s exactly what we did.
Pauline Town had put together an amazing bill featuring my Punk Soul Brother Daniel Lucas, the fantastic Tony Auton, Dan Hetfield, Nina Gerstenberger, Chris Neale, Steve Davis, my WSO Brother Jamie Bramwell (who sadly fell ill and couldn’t make it….get well soon, comrade!) and Josie and John Caton-Greasley; and the whole event was run as a We Shall Overcome/RMT Solidarity gig with all proceeds going to help house some very vulnerable people. Thanks to a donation from Sean McGowan and the RMT, plus the funds raised by the WSO Xmas Party in York already in the pot, we needed to make £500 from the gig in order to fulfill our aims and we SMASHED IT!
The day was made all the better by the arrival of a mini-bus containing assorted Hatfield Brigade reprobates who later joined me onstage to sing ‘They Could Not Break This Town’; and I also had the honour of singing ‘Halo’ with Daniel once more, which is always a special point in any set.
The most moving moment though has to be singing ‘Keep The Faith’ unplugged. We had made this ‘The Sandra Lanaghan Memorial Gig’ and to sing THAT song once more for Mick and Karl and Kerry and all who loved her so much was very special indeed.
The day was also recorded by Michael Lee Toas who had travelled from County Durham to capture some of the gig for the forthcoming WSO Documentary. Incredible solidarity from a superb young filmmaker, and we can’t wait for the results.
Not much could better a night like that except the outcome. We were £35 short of our target as I left, but arrived home at 2.30am to find a message from Bandcamp telling me there had been £41 worth of downloads while I’d been out and I’ve since sent that over to Pauline to see us over the line.
This is the very essence of what We Shall Overcome is all about, a demonstration of street-level solidarity, a grassroots fight against austerity from people who DO give a damn and WILL step up when needed.
Thanks to this event, and all who bought CDs/downloads in the week leading up to it, and WSO York and the RMT, we have been able to find a young woman facing a life sleeping rough a flat; get a man who had lost access to his daughter through his homelessness somewhere to live and reconnected him with his little girl; and moved a family in a very dangerous situation into a new house where they are safe and can raise their unborn child without fear.
What a way to start the year!
‘Not On Our Watch’ has been sent off out into the world with the finest of starts, and this is how #WSO2018 means to carry on.