Octourber Finale Back!

January 27, 2009

Yes…after being removed by youtube it’s back….part four…the final part…the finale….the end


Octourber Part III and Part IV (Finale)

January 5, 2009

Part III

Part IV (Finale)

enjoy!

(directed and filmed by Christiaan Faberij De Jonge)


Highland Spring Advert

December 28, 2008

performed by yours truly on the beaches of St Andrews. directed and edited and coaxed into shape by christiaan faberij de jonge


My First Tour – Forth and Final Part

November 3, 2008

[Photo – Trying to show the bizarre difference in size of my manager’s tv and remote]

My First Tour
Part Four

The final and exciting conclusion to my first tour!

The shows so far.

Part One
1st – Start The Bus in Bristol
2nd – The Grapes in Sheffield
3rd – Old Blue Last in London
4th – The Assembly in Leamington Spa
5th – The Playhouse in Cheltenham
6th – Resident Instore (afternoon) and (evening) Digital in Brighton

Part Two
9th – Cockpit 3 in Leeds
10th – The Duchess in York
11th – The Welly Club In Hull
12th – Xscape in Castleford
13th – Photoshoot in Leeds
14th – Pure Groove Instore in London
16th – BBC 6 Music – George Lamb Session (morning); New Slang @ McClusky’s in Kingston
17th – The Regal in Oxford
18th – Moshi’s Tenth Birthday Party @ Matter in London

Part Three
22nd – I Fly Spitfires @ Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh
23rd – The Tunnels 2 in Aberdeen
24th – Deaf By Stereo @ Met Lounge in Peterborough
25th – Fuzztival @ Sheffield University Student Union and then Stealth in Nottingham

Part Four
28th – The Railway in Winchester
29th – Drift Bar in Portsmouth
31st – Bumper in Liverpool
1st Nov – The Deaf Institute in Manchester

So we established my lack of car in part three. Alas the lady is still not for turning…over.

This weeks hire car was Herge (the Peugeot 207) a delightful little number. Sprightly and full of zest…very much like a lemon. Although faster and not so bitter.

It was pretty speedy getting to Winchester. We arrived ahead of everyone, even the promoter! Soundcheck was a breeze as the sound guy Huw or Hugh certainly knew his onions. The sound in there was great. Loud but not loud enough that everything was distorting or feeding back as I’ve come to expect from loud gigs. It was an absolute pleasure from start to finish. Three great acts on before me. Reno, Nina Schofield and Mr James Bright.

The crowd went mental as I played. The vibe was great and I was pleased to see lots of dancing. A stark comparison to my gig at the Regal in Oxford.

The Drift Bar in Portsmouth was equally as fun. The night was put on by longtime fan and friend Iain. (So much of a friend that I don’t know his last name…who needs to when you’re on first name terms anyway!) Great sound courtesy of Joe (again…no details here). A wonderful night with extra special support from Peter Mosley, Damian Flynn and The B Of The Bang. And to top it off I managed to get some people to travel from the Isle Of Wight! None other than the maker of the best cheese in the world 2007! (I’m so going to track him down and request some free cheese!)

We then headed up to Liverpool for the last two gigs of the tour. I was supporting Noah And The Whale at Bumper. It was Halloween…let’s just say there were lots of crazy looking people…a few nurses too…not sure whether they’re meant to be frightening. I guess it’s all about context. For example if you knew a nurse who cut off your balls…that would seem pretty frightening!

It was a great gig. Lots of fun…met a lovely couple called Joe and Ali (I think that’s how you spell her name). They said they were just friends, but by the way they were going for it, they certainly looked like more than that…

We didn’t actually hang around for Noah and his peeps, although i did hear them do a good cover version of Kids by MGMT. We were too busy packing up the car and slamming our foot down. Had to get to Manchester and to my managers vacant house in Fallowfield.

We arrived at about three in the morning, bear in mind this place had been empty for a while. So no heating on for a while…it would probably be cold. PROBABLY?!! It was INSANELY COLD! I had to sleep in all my clothes, with my scarf on, in my sleeping bag with my coat over my head. I felt like I was in Withnail and I. You know it’s cold when you have to say it out loud to an empty room!

So after a frost bitten night. I emerged from my sauna-like cocoon and down to the shops where i proceeded to buy the essentials. Mainly coffee and milk, a few yoghurts for sustenance.

After a yoghurt or three and waking up properly, we headed out to the smaller of the Trof cafe collection. Indulging in a full fry up we discussed the heating situation the previous night. That over we realised it was 3.30pm and should probably think about moving on. Perhaps to the Venue where I was to play the last gig of the tour.

The Deaf Institute in Manchester. What a venue! Even my sound guy was special. None other than Sean (the drummer in Alfie!). A fun show with lots of my managers friends coming along to support. Maybe a few pints of Guinness were had…danger! And then the mandatory 4am curry as is tradition now, whenever i play in Manchester.

So that was it. I know this part of the tour diary might seem like I can’t be arsed to write it and that’s not strictly false…cos it’s already taken up a full month of my time and I’m desperate to do other things!

I had a great tour and it was cool seeing far flung places in the UK and meeting all the lovely people who lived there. I learned a good deal about what it’s actually like to play intensively for a month. Mainly that it’s very important to treat your voice like an instrument. Nothing frightened me as much as when I lost my voice on stage in Aberdeen. The only thing I could think of was how I would be letting down all the people who’d come to see me. Okay…on a few nights it might have been just a handful, but it still means people made the effort to come along. The least I could do was try and play well for half an hour. Not really akin to being a nurse or someone who actually works for a living.

I also know now why touring bands as soon as they load in to a venue ask ‘You guys got Wi-Fi?’  

So “tired” rather than “emotional” is probably the most accurate word to sum up a month of touring (driving).

I wish I’d kept stats like Post War Years did on their tour, but I didn’t so here’s some crap ones I managed to rustle up for the 32 days.

2 blackberry’s
3 cars (one Japanese, two French)
13 hours and 5 minutes spent on stage
20 lemsips sipped (approx.)
Innumerable amounts of coffee and fry ups
and the big one…
3836 miles covered
that works out at roughly 120 miles a day – which equals FUN


OCTOURBER PART II

November 3, 2008

Enjoy!

Part three to come soon!


My First Tour – Part Three

October 30, 2008

My First Tour
Part Three

The shows so far

Part One
1st – Start The Bus in Bristol
2nd – The Grapes in Sheffield
3rd – Old Blue Last in London
4th – The Assembly in Leamington Spa
5th – The Playhouse in Cheltenham
6th – Resident Instore (afternoon) and (evening) Digital in Brighton

Part Two
9th – Cockpit 3 in Leeds
10th – The Duchess in York
11th – The Welly Club In Hull
12th – Xscape in Castleford
13th – Photoshoot in Leeds
14th – Pure Groove Instore in London
16th – BBC 6 Music – George Lamb Session (morning); New Slang @ McClusky’s in Kingston
17th – The Regal in Oxford
18th – Moshi’s Tenth Birthday Party @ Matter in London

Part Three
22nd – I Fly Spitfires @ Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh
23rd – The Tunnels 2 in Aberdeen
24th – Deaf By Stereo @ Met Lounge in Peterborough
25th – Fuzztival @ Sheffield University Student Union and then Stealth in Nottingham

Now. Firstly I must confess a show was cancelled from this leg of the tour. The Other Rooms in Newcastle on the 21st. Apologies for those that were going to attend. It was beyond my control.

It was unfortunate but I can’t say it was badly timed. For during the day after my Matter gig I went to move the car and the Madame was not starting. So i called the AA who managed to start her and directed me to the nearest garage. The old lady needed her Glow Plugs changed (as women of her advanced years often do). The garage quickly turned the job round and as i drove Madame back to her parking place ready for the journey to the north; I was happy.

The 21st came and we were about to set off for Edinburgh. Hurray!..or so I thought. Imagine my shock as I soon realised there was a distinct lack of life coming from the direction of Madame Ananas…

Madame Ananas elle est morte!

After the grieving process and a brief moment of hesitation regarding the newly fitted disco ball. We hot footed it to Europcar. Where a shiny new Toyota was waiting for us. I shall now refer to it as the Moshi Mobile. (NB: en route I was recognised by a random for the first time…officially)

So. restarting the journey in a different car was somewhat emotional to say the least, but we pushed on. Up to Edinburgh – “Home of the Scottish (and it’s little known export)…Cold Weather.”

I have to say that our time in Edinburgh was fantastic. The crowd were brilliant. There were even some fans who’d come from Glasgow to see me. Plus we had the pleasure of witnessing one of the best bands I’ve seen this tour…damn it…this year! Withered Hand was their name. If you get a chance, purchase their ep Religious Songs. Even if it’s just for the line “I beat myself off when I sleep on your futon.”

We stayed with some friends that night and got up early to take in the sights on the journey to Aberdeen. Including rolling hills, power stations by the sea and Lindisfarne Service Station. What a beauty!

The gig was at a highly regarded Aberdeen venue called The Tunnels. Not named for it’s presence above ground as anyone trying to get there with Sat Nav will find out. The venue is situated below the city streets and can only be reached through a series of perplexing one way routes.

The gig went well until my voice decided to break like a pensioners hip . I literally couldn’t sing. Luckily it was two songs from the end of the set, so i bowed out gracefully. Well as gracefully as one can when they sound like a pubescent choir boy.

With the gig over, now came the serious fun. Driving down from Aberdeen to Peterborough for my next gig. Wisely, we decided to drive to Edinburgh during the night. This part of the journey was done by christiaan. The morning shift was taken by me and we ended up arriving just in time for load in down at Peterborough’s Met Lounge (load in for any non gigging musicians is as it sounds…you load in your equipment.)

This was a nervous time for me as I was having some problems even singing, let alone reaching some of the higher notes…mainly the chorus to This Sweet Love and the No Surprise verses. I decided after a shaky soundcheck to bust it down to Asda and raid their cough syrup section. I got myself some chewable vitamin c tablets, benedryl liquid joy and some menthol lemsips (which are genius by the way) although make sure you close your eyes as you sip as it tends to sting. I couldn’t resist buying a big tub of pineapple on my way to the till as I’d heard that it’s one of the best things for clearing mucus etc. (don’t ask me what the etcetera is!)

The gig was alright…I must say I didn’t sing well…but the sound was fantastic in there. Saw a great band called Exit Calm. They were from Hull I think. A mix of Sigur Ros guitars and Kasabian attitude. Loved it.

We stayed in a lovely place that night called the Thorpe Lodge Hotel. It even had it’s own bar down in the cellar. We conducted a small interview for the tour diary as we sipped our whisky on the rocks. Lots of grimacing on my front as I don’t really like whisky! Then we headed to bed, ready for the dual onslaught the next day of Sheffield and Nottingham.

The first of these. Sheffield. Was ace. Not a huge crowd as I was on at 4.30 in the afternoon, but I did have a special audience member in the shape of Mr Steve Lemacq. Who I’m reliably informed by christiaan was nodding along.

As soon as Sheffield was out the way, we cranked the moshi mobile back down to Nottingham and to Stealth…with it’s crazy £800,000 Function One PA. A fat system you might think and you’d be right…So bassy in fact that the vibration from every kick drum sent my laptop and audio interface inching towards the edge of my flight-case. We ended up having to gaffa down the interface and construct a foam cushion with extra bluetac grip for the laptop.

The sound was  large, the same cannot be said for the crowd, but it was good fun and everyone was really nice. I can’t really remember much though as all I could think of was getting home and into my own bed!

Thanks for reading!

NB: Part Two of the video diary (Octourber) shall be uploaded shortly.


My First Tour – Part Two

October 20, 2008

My First Tour
Part Two

Hello…and welcome to part two of my first tour.
The shows so far

Part One
1st – Start The Bus in Bristol
2nd – The Grapes in Sheffield
3rd – Old Blue Last in London
4th – The Assembly in Leamington Spa
5th – The Playhouse in Cheltenham
6th – Resident Instore (afternoon) and (evening) Digital in Brighton

Part Two
9th – Cockpit 3 in Leeds
10th – The Duchess in York
11th – The Welly Club In Hull
12th – Xscape in Castleford
13th – Photoshoot in Leeds
14th – Pure Groove Instore in London
16th – BBC 6 Music – George Lamb Session (morning); New Slang @ McClusky’s in Kingston
17th – The Regal in Oxford
18th – Moshi’s Tenth Birthday Party @ Matter in London

So the first gig. Cockpit 3. A massive club with 3 live rooms. I was obviously playing the smaller of the three, but that was by no means the quietest. I had a great soundcheck after bonding with the sound guy Dale over the new Presets album Apocalypso, which he played at all free opportunities over the modest PA.
Christiaan and I were shown such great hospitality as we had our own dressing room complete with fridge, kettle, milk and a pile of tea bags. Anything a struggling artist on the road needs. Plus…and this is the piece de resistance…wifi. It’s great to be able to check your emails on the road…did i say emails…i meant myspace/facebook. However, it’s all very good if you have something to check…once you’re up to date you feel like you’re wasting the opportunity to use the internet so you start looking up random things…for example 90s band Sleeper’s lead singer’s name, second hand shops in the leeds area and the nationality of M.I.A. All important things I think you’d agree. Answers were Louise Wenner, Trash and Treasure, no.3 stonegate road and Sri Lanken.

The gig was good fun, sold all but one of the cds we had taken up for our northern leg. You see. We only had about 10 to last us the four gigs. A bit short sighted on my part. I should have got some more from Moshi when I was back in London. So for the rest of the gigs I kept referring fans to HMV. (take note HMV…I was pointing people your way…stock the album!!!)

The next night was a short drive to York. A wonderfully old and historic town. Not what I expected at all. I was prepared to see a vast industrial estate with smoke billowing out of roadside factories. It was the complete opposite. More like a local southern town called Battle with old castle walls surrounding the city centre. The Duchess is a relatively new venue. The managers Tim and Michelle told me that they had once owned a pub called the Duchess, which was renowned for it’s fantastic nights and high profile artists. After a lengthy period of time (which i forget how much) the brewery decided to claim back the pub and sold it off to make way for a hugo boss shop. The couple then bought the current site and kept tradition alive by naming the place after their once famous venue.

I was playing the club night and was due to go on stage at 11.30pm. Playing earlier on that night was Lykki Li supported by Yoav. It was a pleasure to see both perform and I was overjoyed to see the vast crowd that had amassed for them. I was less than happy to see the vast crowd dissipate faster than a line of coke from an ad executive’s pocket mirror.

I needn’t worry mind you. As a different younger crowd soon started pouring through the door. When, eventually, i did get on stage and asked if anyone had ever heard of me. One person put their hand up. I had a feeling I was playing to people who just wanted to dance. An ironic juxtaposition to my nights in sheffield and cheltenham. I guess I need an audience on the brink of dancing. An attentive head bob, me thinks. Or to paraphrase the NME a little “crancing”. (crying / dancing).

The Welly Club was a great night. Met a wonderful band by the name of Ambassadors of Morocco. Really nice guys. I’d be lying if I said the gig went without a hitch though. They cranked the sound so loud that my guitar was feeding back and I basically couldn’t hear my vocals. However despite my feelings of angst, the crowd (in the smallest sense of the word) seemed to like it. I did however get one guy repeatedly asking me for tracks by other bands. Obviously thinking I was some glorified DJ who sang and played along to other peoples stuff.

The lasting memory I shall have of Hull is when we pulled up to unload the equipment into the venue (NB: the afternoon!). We were accosted by three drunks (one lady, who did the talking and two men).

Drunken Lady: “scuse me…wah time duz the musik stard?”
Christiaan: “um…about quarter to ten i think”
[Meanwhile one drunken man slowly falls to the ground and is dragged along by his pal. Whilst inside my head one thought repeats “keep and eye on my stuff, keep and eye on my stuff”]

And so to follow the joy of Hull was the giant man made mole hill of the north. Xscape. A building that takes up one third of Castleford, the town in which it resides. I can’t describe how massive this place was. We found the Loft, which was the bar i was playing in and was then led through a maze of unfurnished corridors within the underbelly of beast. Eventually reaching daylight after a good five minutes of walking. This was our load in point of access…Awesome! So not far to walk with all the stuff then…

The gig itself was fun. Good sound, which made up for the lack of sober listeners. I was particularly chuffed to learn that a man called Neil had seen me at the cockpit in leeds and had brought his girlfriend along to catch me a second time in Castleford. Thanks Neil. That’s very nice of you.

With the end of this night , comes the end of our yorkshire experience (for this week). All that was left was a photoshoot in leeds the following day and a long trip home to bed.

ahh bed!

So back down in London and after a good nights sleep. The Pure Groove Instore was upon me. A lunchtime show, which I was a bit apprehensive about, but I needn’t be. The staff were really nice and it was good fun to play in their shop. A healthy crowd grew and then wilted as my set drew to it’s climactic finale. It was nice to be done by the afternoon for once. And I got to enjoy the evening and the next day before the second batch of gigs commenced.

First installment was McClusky’s in Kingston. A lovely night put on by the fellows at banquet records. I was supporting Esser whose set was absolutely fantastic. His drummer is one of the best I’ve seen. I guess as Ben (Esser) is a drummer himself you know he’s gonna choose a pretty tight drummer to play for him!

The next gig was The Regal in Oxford. One of the largest venues I’ve ever played. It was just me and some djs. A bit nerve racking but I was committed to having a good one. Something that was tested as a few songs in I was aware of an unhappy presence in the crowd. Some people shouting ‘You’re shit!’ and one guy asking me to put on an oasis cd. Well to those of you that didn’t enjoy my show at The Regal I have a few words for you….Go fuck yourself!

Load out was fun. There were about 1200 students between the stage and the exit. Luckily, We managed to persuade the security crew to sneak us out the back door as it would have been an absolute nightmare battling our way through the crowd…especially as there may have been some bad feelings towards me. The escape procedure was very exciting and I felt like an SAS dude. We worked in perfect synchronicity. As my entourage loaded up with equipment we were briefed on what to do. The closest exit was the fire escape through the back of the dressing room. It was alarmed and in order to de-set this the power had to be cut. This would almost certainly interfere with the DJ who was by this time in full swing. A vast crowd of 1200 dancing drunk ‘angry’ students…nice.

After checking everyone was ready. They cut the alarm and we (with ninja like precision) left the building in a veil of silence. A final insult to the people who slagged me off. (NB: not everyone I met hated me that night. the promoter was very nice and all the staff including the sound man Mark were absolute legends. And a big thanks to the lovely people I did meet in Oxford. It re-affirmed my confidence for the next gig…Matter…London)

This was pretty much the climax for the first two parts of the tour. I was to play alongside the other Moshi Moshi acts at Matter. Fabric’s new venue in the O2 arena. We arrived at 5 for soundcheck, with a provisional stage time of 1.30am. I was playing the smaller of the two rooms along with, Slow Club, The Wave Pictures, and Kate Nash. Whilst room one was home to Hot Chip, Tilly And The Wall, Florence and the Machine and The Mai Shi.

The night was a fantastic success. Everyone I saw was playing well. Wave Pictures and Hot Chip gave a particularly good performance that evening. It was an absolute pleasure to play and to finally meet some of the other acts on Moshi. Also a good opportunity to take in Fabric’s new venue.

So ends the second part. At this moment, Christiaan is furiously editing the next video installment. Did I say editing…I meant playing Need For Speed on the Xbox next door!