Brand X at the Chelmsford Common

The following reflection was written in 2003, when I was between 25 and 26 years old.


The set Brand X played as part of the Chelmsford High Play-A-Thon on Chelmsford Common on 28 September 1996 was the second best show we ever did, right behind a show we would later play at Westford Academy in my estimation. It was a nice length, somewhere between the way-too-long shows we’d been playing for most of our existence and the short sets we’d be playing over the next couple of months. The thing that sticks out most in my mind about the show was that it was clear skies just before we went on and then it clouded up and looked stormy for our set, then got bright again right after we went on. It was as if someone upstairs was providing a little mood lighting for our schizophrenic, half-gloomy, half-poppy group.

The set went like this:

  1. Orange (Hicks)
  2. Spun By You (Martin/Hicks, Dubner, Murphy, Mills, Clark)
  3. At The Movies (Clark/Hicks, Dubner, Murphy, Martin, Mills)
  4. 3 O’Clock and Sleeping (Hicks)
  5. Dominated Love Slave (Green Day)
  6. Country Feedback (REM)
  7. Never Forget (Clark/Hicks, Dubner, Murphy)
  8. It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) (REM)

Yup, the set went like that and generally it went great.

I can’t believe that we played “At The Movies” but the rest of the set was pretty typical for that period. The only thing that seems odd to me is that we only did one JonMartin original. That was probably made up by the fact that we did the two REM covers, both of which Jon sange lead on. We usually liked to keep the sets pretty even. If we did two Andy songs, we did two Chris songs and two Jon songs.

I think the crowd dug us and there were a few other great acts during the day, including an impromptu jam-thingy where a bunch of kids went up to the microphone and made a noise which was then set on infinite delay, so as to create a human techno song.

The rest of the day is a blur though, because KenMills announced to the world that we had landed a record deal — which wasn’t true. I don’t exactly know what the truth behind it was and I’ve never bothered to ask. Ken had his reasons for saying it and the others had their reasons to be pissed off when it wasn’t true. I don’t really care. I’m not going to get pissed at anyone for anything that happened with our silly little band.