“Traditionally late? I have no word count on my computer… my spell-check is fucked too. Nice. Well, sorry! Will get Word or something for next time… Anyway…”
Next time: more touring, and stuff. Don’t forget, JoFo fans: the trio, fleshed by drummer-cum-key wiz Junior and bassist Kelly, are on our DiS tour with The Mae Shi and The Lionheart Brothers in May, dates as follows:
6 Cambridge Graduate
7 York Fibbers
8 Aberdeen Snafu
9 Glasgow Barfly
10 Liverpool Barfly
12 Birmingham the Place
13 London King’s College
Oh yeah, and their stonking-good debut album proper, Waited Up ‘Til It Was Light, is out soon on Best Before. Our favourite tracks so far: ‘Henning’s Favourite’ and ‘Salt, Pepper and Spindarella’.
Video: forthcoming single 'Eyes Wide Terrified'
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Classic Grand in Glasgow. Supposed to be an NME show but there’s little NME love in the room. Venue is on the seventh floor or something, and there’s no lifts, so we borrow the house bass amp. A man I’m convinced is Paul from AC Acoustics stands next to the merch desk all night. I manage to kick his girlfriend in the ass and knock over her friend’s drink mid apology. Stay at Duncan’s (Dananananaykroyd) top-floor flat and fall asleep next to an arcade machine.
A theatre in Bradford. As we load in the stage manager tells us we don’t get to soundcheck, and the local support needs to use all our backline. Appeased by the promise of food waiting for us in the canteen, we wander off, grumbling, to find that not only is there no food, but there is no canteen. I bought a DS in the morning tho, so all this passes me by somewhat. Advance Wars! Fun, if shit sounding, show tho.
Leicester, Summer Sundae warm up. Not so much a gig as a meet and greet schmooze-up, the promoter assures us. Kyte (DiScover Club, July) play before us, and they sound amazing. My stupid fucking amp blows up again and I borrow Mr Kyte’s. Fun, if Marshall-sounding show tho. Envy & Other Sins in actually nice people shocker.
Wake up, frantic calls to Phil at Pacific Sound (jag jag jag), he promises to fix my amp, I go back to sleep.
Bath, arrive with two working amps ahahaha. Awesome small packed venue, tho the stage layout means I can only see Junior if I stand on my tiptoes and look behind me. Disheartening incident = we get blown out for places to stay twice by disappearing couples. End up in a Travel Tavern we can ill afford. Brain Training says were all stupid like old people.
Truro on Young Knives tour (who finally introduce themselves, blaming the worst illness in the world for their previous reticence). Mr of Lords mixes me a nice G&T. Good humans, they are. The promoters are awesome, Truro is the last place we expect to find an actual music scene but there’s a proper atmosphere. Stay in a massive mansion lived in Monkees-style by a great band called The Sycamores. At about 3am, I get the worst illness in the world.
Plymouth Uni. Arrive at venue, rest of band load in while I sleep. Throw up in about six different popular student meeting areas and get ushered back to van whilst everyone loads stuff back. It’s the first time we’ve ever pulled a gig thru illness, not a fun milestone. When I wake up again we’re outside Junior and Kel’s house and I’m feeling well enough to smoke other people’s weed and pass out.
Gloucester, Young Knives tour. I feel like a shell, the gig is the hardest gig to play ever. We get gin on the rider which is pretty swell tho I barely touch it. Some girl asks me to sign her boobs. "They're nice boobs," she says, oblivious to the fact that they're not at all. I do, but only because I can’t think of anything to say to get out of it without seeming insulting. Henry YK gives us advice about South By Southwest but it still hasn’t sunk in that were going yet.
Leeds, back to headlining shows and worrying that no-one outside of DiS and our MySpace actually knows who we are. Is good tho, the gig gets well rammed, play ‘Suicide Pact’ for the first time in ages and get an actual stage invasion. One of the kidzzzz grabs my mic but tries to sing Kelly’s part, and another one steals all the tour passes I’ve stuck on my guitar case. If I see him again I am actually going to break him somehow. Still, our first stage invasion and nothing vital got trod on, so not all bad.
Oxford. We get encore shouts where we usually get like, six people. Awesomes. The first band on are called The Youngs Plan and were easily thee best support we’ve had so far this year... Rather rubbishly, they say they’re splitting up at the end of summer, but we’re totally on a mission to play with them again.
Pack for Texas and South By Southwest. Toothbrush, week of pants, socks and t-shirts, video camera, DS, guitar, passport, go. Sleeeeeeep.
Cardiff. Mad soundwoman declares half of our four-ways illegal and delays gig for an hour while electrical safety measures are purchased from nearby Tesco Express. We find out a guy from our label has left half an hour before we go on, which slightly poleaxes us. We play loud and angry, and Gareth Los Campesinos! keeps putting fresh gin on the monitor so I’m pretty smashed when we finish. Hilarious name spoofs based on attendant celebrities - Get cock, Suck cock, Gay. And, um, neverminddddd ‘cause we’re clever and responsible humans, we elect not to go drinking and stay with LC! but to drive nearer to Heathrow and find a Travel Tavern so we’re refreshed for eight-hour plane trip. Epic fail. No rooms anywhere, we park up in a service station and pretend to sleep for four hours.
Live in Sheffield (The Harley)
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South By Southwest
Arrive at airport, tour manager Lea hands us over to label boss Anthony, choke final cigarette, strip for customs, eat breakfast, nearly fall asleep in about three different lounges before being told that our plane was broken and couldn’t fly. Then spend about 36 hours in various coaches and aeroplanes slowly turning into a zombie whilst taking the scenic route to Austin. Arrive two hours late (instead of planned day early) soundcheck with broken and borrowed equipment to a barely human soundman. Fall out of venue and Austin has transformed into festival mode, 6th Street is pedestrianised and everywhere you look there’s minor indie bands lugging amps thru crowds of other minor indie bands. Back to rental monster truck, check Anthony into luxury hotel (not too jealous), drive to music store and proceed to blow third album profits on cheap pedals and things to make us sound a bit like we do back home. Drive to hotel and walk to venue.
For those who haven’t been, imagine yr local town centre only every building is a venue and every room/roof/patio space has a band all day and the weather is perfect and everything’s half price. We're onstage at midnight and we haven’t slept for three days so obviously the best thing to do is margaritas. Junior starts talking to some amiable Welsh guy who produces a Radio 1 microphone, introduces himself as Huw Stephens and takes us onto the street to do an interview. How rockstar do we feel! We badmouth British Airways and try and persuade him he should watch Meneguar instead of interviewing us.
We get introduced to about 700 different important industry people whose names we instantly forget (thank you, organisers, for nametags) and the gig is filmed and broadcast on a giant screen right next to the stage. Which meant I could look myself in the eyes whilst singing, which weirded me out somewhat. Being zombie tired, we play everything way at 10,000 mph. Anthony, having seen us before, is unimpressed but everyone else is fooled. We walk out of the venue having made more new friends and been invited to more parties, and walk two blocks down listening to R.E.M. do ‘Man on the Moon’ forgetting everything. We don’t get a hotel tho: South By has a system where Austin residents can get free passes if they house bands. Our house belongs to semi-retired ex-hippy and chronic stoner Lyle. Yay!
It would be wrong and hard to try and lay the rest of the week out chronologically. We did the following stuff and it was all pretty amazing:
Watched Yo La Tengo do a greatest hits set in a big theatre; helped The Most Serene Republic break into their hotel sauna and smoked their jazz fags on the balcony; ate so much amazing food that it’s all merged into one medieval feast in my head; used our cute lil English accents to (occasionally on purpose) convince people we were in Los Campesinos!; spent whole days on a mostly deserted pier drinking from a free bar watching North America’s largest bat colony and generally thinking about how Lucky We Are; slightly agreed to spend a year touring America; made up some Casio countrified versions of songs and recorded them in John Kennedy’s hotel room for Xfm (I should point out John Kennedy is my absolute indie radio hero - Lyle gave us some weed before we left for the session, we were well early and sat on the grass outside the hotel like hippies and he came over and said we could come hang out with him for a bit before and in my star-struck and over-stoned state all I could say was, “Yr my favourite DJ, you look just like yr voice!”); watched The Weakerthans in a little courtyard with a hot girl (emo highlight of life); drunk soo much free drink that by the end we were starting to have moral problems with accepting it; nearly got busted by a security man for recreating Kevin Smith scenes (cf, smoking a joint outside the mall); got introduced to and completely fell for Fight Like Apes and Anathallo; and generally cried like spoilt kids all the way to the airport.
Long flight back made up for by tiny little chucks of seat that fold out around yr head and give you something to lean on. Now traditional £160 taxi back home. Spend rest of the day convinced it’s yesterday, buy some shitty English weed and spend the next 36 hours of jetlag wishing it was. In short, the best holiday of lives so far by miles. If we go next year then we'll probably have to work it a bit more but we totally can not wait. Public thanks to our label boss Anthony, too, who got saddled with chauffeuring us round and put up with our moaning and complaining and demands for different types of batteries and using his hotel room as a storage locker and being drunk and debauched in front of him; he responded in turn with offers of dinner and rounds of drinks. Cheers-o!
Camden, cruel reality - no more piers for us for a while. Do a photshoot for Kerrang! in a stairwell. Kerrang! office = exactly what one would expect. Iron Maiden compilation. First on at the Barfly for Xfm, John Kennedy reads our minds for background music. Have no interest in other bands whatsoever (Cage The Elephant and Ida Maria – in attendance Ed), sit downstairs being cold and sober.
Milton Keynes, a strange town that’s made entirely of right angles. Our stage is half the dancefloor, it’s nice to play at the same eye level as the audience again. Local yoofs love us up and try and entice us back for cocaine party. Um, byeeee!
Flapper in Birmingham, homecoming show. The flapper is blatantly thee best venue in Birmingham, has a new stage and a new PA and everything. Rammed venue, Tubelord and Blakfish = amaze. Go home happy.
Sheffield, the Harley (DiScover show – Ed). The promoters invite us up a tower for free clothes and food. Every fairytale instinct says we’re about to be killed for our greed. But instead we get pizza and an NME interview. Ahaaaaaaaaaaa. I wish all promoters were this sociable - we sit round a big table and get relaxed (stoned) together. Gig is fun, and after Mike plays an awesome DJ set of George Pringle songs (not true, tho the ‘awesome’ part is – Ed).
Stoke Sugarmill. Supporting Blood Red Shoes. We always play with them in Birmingham so it’s nice to catch up again. Their fans are lovely and well devoted. Peggy Sue and the Pirates > Pete and the Pirates. Running out of original ways to sign CDs.
B’ham. Typical shit incompetent Birmingham Barfly, I can't say it enough: sack the staff and replace them with cardboard cut outs, it would cost less and they'd always be where you left them and they’d be just as effective. Show is OK but everyone gets pneumonia. It’s exactly like last time we played here with BRS, feels like a task not a gig for everyone. Meh.
Nottingham Rescue Rooms. We’re not exactly on form but everyone seems to like us, I keep losing bits of clothing everywhere. We pitch in with BRS’s crew for loading out as it’s an absolute mission. We’re starting to think that for a three-piece we have too much gear. But they have even more, which soothes our consciences whilst breaking our arms.
Leeds Cockpit. Junior catches the worst illness in the world and we sit around his room making apologetic phone calls and smoking his weed for him and, I should point out, he was not as ill as I was.
So that’s a pretty lame end of the month. For balance, next month starts with lasers and disco ball fitted in our van and awesomeness on tour with The Subways. We, too, were surprised.
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