The only other time I’ve had to leave a show part-way through a review was at a play in Cardiff where the performers were engaged in acting out a DIY abortion – not a sight for the squeamish.
It was a 30-seater venue, stiflingly hot, and I had the misfortune to be in the second row, close enough to see the whites of the leading woman’s eyes.
Stomach churning, ears buzzing, a white light began to blot my vision. Abandoning any sense of shame, I clambered over the string of couples to my left and bolted for the door, managing to avoid fainting by mere seconds.
My exit from Forgotten Sons’ late night gig at Lerwick’s Captain Flint’s last night (Friday) was marginally less dramatic.
However, for the avoidance of doubt, it is worth emphasising this early on: Forgotten Sons are a perfectly good band.
It is no surprise they have been signed by a record label. You would be hard-pressed to find a weak link in the group.
Admittedly, their songs are far from ground-breaking – inheriting the sound and style of the likes of Biffy Clyro, Green Day and the Foo Fighters – but they are right on the money, arguably no less emphatic than the chart-topping efforts of their famous ancestors.
Robert “Birdy” Burgess’s clean vocals are well served by local music veteran Craig Watt on bass, Sandy Middleton – resplendent in Christmas jumper last night – on electric guitar and John Gair’s virtuoso drumming.
In front of me, two women were excitedly mouthing the words to each other, bobbing up and down and passionately gesticulating as they did so.
Unfortunately, though, not everyone was ready for such high-level involvement.
Perhaps the screeching from the microphone during the soundcheck should have been sufficient warning, but this was a VERY LOUD gig right from the off.
Initially, I thought it was only me who felt this. Yet the gradual trickle of guests towards the exit suggested otherwise, as did the person moving towards the bar, grimacing, with their fingers stuck firmly in their ears.
By the time the fourth song began (a cover of The Enemy), it was all too clear that this was an event for the die-hard fans – or at least those well accustomed to ringing ears…or in possession of ear plugs.
Indeed, when the police entered the room, it seemed plausible that a noise complaint was the reason for their arrival.
And so, just 20 minutes and five songs in, I drained the remainder of my Tennent’s and slinked off into the night, faintly embarrassed.
Perhaps the only thing more premature than my exit was the guitarist’s outfit: a Christmas jumper on 24th November…really?!