Mean Mr Mustard loves his audience. He talks to them all the time. Mid song he may comment on his own performance, respond to a comment, or exhort participation. Listening to Mean Mr Mustard involves clapping, shouting, singing along, and joining what amounts to a conversation. At an indoor venue Andy's exuberance is confined to arm waving, shouting, and thrash; outside he will be leaping in the air.
At Shoka in Felixstowe tonight, Mean Mr Mustard occupied a corner at the front of the narrow bar to the left of the entrance. The bright bar is recently refurbished in clean colours with black leather seating and pale wood tables. This is very different to the smoky snugness of the pubs and the outdoor festivals in which Mr Mustard normally plies his trade. This evening the atmosphere compromised the set; under full lighting, most people are too self-conscious to let themselves go and join in. And tonight only the more outgoing were singing along or answering the calls. The audience did not live up to the performer.
Roll on Saturday 12 May, when Mean Mr Mustard plays The Buregate pub, Sea Road, Felixstowe.