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Thursday 12 May 2005
Give and Go!

Presumably as you reading this page you are either a supporter of or are interested in AFC Wimbledon (you may of course be neither, but welcome anyway). One of these two scenarios being the case, you are therefore fully aware that AFC Wimbledon are one of the best-supported clubs and most famous clubs in non-league football. Not too many other clubs outside the Premiership or Championship regularly field a current England international, a current New Zealand International, have a player so skilful that he recently appeared on primetime TV performing tricks and keepie-ups and among their host of honours can justifiably include the FA Amateur Cup and the FA Cup. OK, so the England international is at five-a-side level, but still...

However, AFC Wimbledon is not just a football club. It's a social club too, and its supporters regularly put on quiz nights, race nights and a whole host of other activities, mainly held at the club's Kingsmeadow Stadium that it shares with Kingstonian FC. You may also know that the main bar at Kingsmeadow also doubles as a thriving live music venue, again run and promoted by AFC Wimbledon supporters.

Held roughly once every four Fridays during the football season, Give & Go is, at the time of writing, in the throes of organising it's fifth night, and continuing with its relentless attempt to assign each night an amusing name, it's been branded Cinco De Give & Go, and yes, the organisers realise that would have been far funnier had it actually been held on the Fifth of May. The previous one was called Give & Go Forth, the next is The Give & Go Live Six Show (although they may be entering questionable territory in October when the first of two shows that month is going under the slightly dubious name of An Eighth of Give & Go). You can see what they're doing there...

The mainstay of Give & Go is lifelong Dons fan Kevin Borras, perhaps best known to supporters as the writer and singer of 'Smells Like Team Spirit', the lead track on the Dons CD of the same name. After almost 20 years in bands that had a varying degree of success ("ranging from very little to absolutely none whatsoever"), running Give & Go maintains his involvement in the music industry, and it's thanks to him that Kingsmeadow have played host to more top quality bands than a bar in a non-league football club's ground should have any right to.

So far Give & Go nights have featured: Snow Patrol's favourite band, The Ghears; former Snow Patrol guitarist and now a singer/songwriter making his own mark, Iain Archer; the Coldplayesque sounds of the stylish and hotly-tipped Fifty Views; the vastly experienced and tubthumping rock of DeBooter; the 'please don't call us emo' emo of The Dopamine Theory; and a band that look destined to be selling out 2000 capacity venues before the turn of the year, the well-connected but highly talented Brigade. Next up are the natural successors to Reef, Surbiton's The Warming, and the old-school punk pop of The Stabilisers. They both visit Kingsmeadow on 3 June.

After a break for the summer, Give & Go's Live Six Show kicks off the new football season with three bands on Friday 19 August. The recently-signed Three Quarters (described in the press as 'extremely Good Charlotte') and the atmospheric post-rock of Prego will join headline act, Everstrong.

Everstrong set the ball rolling in December when they played at the first Give & Go night, supported by the shambolic but entertaining Fast Lane Roogalator, who sacked their drummer half way through their set. The now-Manchester based band are fronted by AFC Wimbledon fan Simon Vaughan, and their single, 'Take Me Home', made it into the top 75 in April, thanks to some frenetic advanced ordering on HMV.com by Vaughan's fellow AFCW supporters.

On 16 September, the beautiful and often delicate rock of Brunswick comes to Kingston, with frankly bizarre punksters Larp on the same bill. October sees two consecutive Fridays occupied by Give & Go. On 7 October, the man recently described by Eddi Reader as "the best songwriter in Britain", Boo Hewerdine, comes to AFC Wimbledon as part of his UK tour, something of coup for Give & Go. He?ll be supported by Dan Donovan. Then on the following Friday (14 October), two bands fronted by Dons fans take to the stage, namely Sodared and Daddy Long Legs.

At just 6 to get in, you really would struggle to find a music venue anywhere in Greater London that is providing such high quality bands at such a low price, and with a huge bar catering for your every beverage-related whim, there really is no excuse for not getting down to Kingsmeadow on 3 June, 19 August, 16th September and 7 and 14 October to not only support your favourite's team's most exciting venture, but also to see some of the best new bands around perform in a familiar and intimate setting. You'll have to take our word for it, but the likes of The Ghears and Brigade won't be playing such a small venue ever again, much as Borras would love them to.

For more information keep looking at the AFC Wimbledon home page for Give & Go news. If you know of a band that would be interested in playing at Give & Go, please send an email to kevinb@giveandgo.co.uk and you never know, you might just have propelled your brother's mate's sister's boyfriend's band onto the road to fame. In the words of Tenacious D ... ROCK!