Category: Music

No prayer for the dying.

Neighbourhood kids: “My brother’s only got 10 days to live and he DOESN’T want to listen to you singing!”

Me: “Well he’s shit out of luck then, isn’t he?”

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Welcome to Blocksville – Population: YOU

The song of the day today goes out to all those people who don’t know when to back the hell off and leave people alone. They have their reasons, I’m sure, but often they’re just insane. So if that’s you, then I’d appreciate it very much if you’d just drop dead.

 

NB. This is not aimed at anyone specific. Well, maybe one or two people. OK, it’s aimed at Emily. But it applies to many people.

 

Well that certainly raised the bar…

Yesterday I attended Swingamajig, an all day electroswing festival held in Digbeth, Birmingham. The festival ran for 15 hours, from 2pm through to 5am and featured a plethora of superb acts. I can say without a doubt that this is the best music festival I have ever been to, and I have been to many.

The entertainment was superb, the environment was atmospheric (the main stage was hosted under one of the arches of the old railway bridge), and the sound was spectacular. However, the thing that left the biggest impression on me was the people.

I have never before met such a friendly group of people at a music event. There were no pretensions, no judgement, no cliques. Everyone was friendly and approachable, and smiles were in abundance. These people were united by a solitary purpose – to have as much fun as possible.

I got numerous comments on my dancing, and a few people asked me to teach them. I did what I could of course. However, as good a dancer as I may be, I’ve always been a lone-wolf. Watching accomplished swing dancing partners tear up the floor was a sight to behold, and it filled me with joy.

So it’s the morning (or afternoon) after, and I am aching. My legs ache from dancing around on concrete for 15 hours. My face aches from the virtually non stop grinning. My throat aches from the scintillating conversations I had. So all I can do is say thank you – to the organisers, to the performers, to the coffee vendor, and to the people I met: Kathy; Simon; Jess; Lee; Liam; Ed; Kelly; everyone else who came and said hi (if I missed you out, it’s because I’m terrible with names unless I have a register!). All of you conspired to make yesterday a superb one.

Maybe I’ll see you at Shambala!

The girl in the window

I discovered this superb piece today in the soundtrack of a mediocre horror movie. The film (Banshee Chapter) was a wasted opportunity, but this choice of music was sublime. So it’s my song of the day.

He writes as he tilts his head
To catch the whispering, up with
The hiss of tape recorders,
But there ain’t nobody there.
Oh no, there ain’t nobody there.
Then he goes out to the shops
That line up outside his house
He’ll always pause at his reflection,
But there ain’t nobody there.
Oh no, there ain’t nobody there.
But he’s got friends behind the glass;
“How much you want for the girl in the window?
I’ll give you twice whatever you think she’s worth.
I’ll give you all that and more to see her cured”

He has an argument with his lover,
She’d slipped poisonous snakes into his supper
Every night since they’d first met
(Though she pretends that she forgets).
Now he puts his collar up,
And goes back out to the shops
To settle a bet with his supplier
As his lover wakes up wet,
Well secured and coloured in.
Now she’s safely pressed underneath the glass.
Oh yeah, she’s safely pressed underneath the glass;
“How much you want for the girl in the window?
I’ll give you twice whatever you think she’s worth.
I’ll give you all that and more to see her cured.”

First Stafford, next…. the world!

Well last night’s show was better than I could have possibly anticipated. When I first set off, however, I wasn’t sure I’d make it at all.

There had been an accedent on the M6 (which is one of the UK’s most notorious roads), which had traffic bcked up between Rugby and Coventry. I didn’t want to be stuck on the M6 for hours, so I decided to take a detour around Coventry and then rejoin the motorway out past Birmingham… I hadn’t counted on the rush hour. Two damn hours it took me to get to Stafford.

Still, make it I did and we managed to get a rudimentary sound check in before the doors opened. At the start of the night the place was pretty dead, and I was concerned that I’d got pumped only to play to a handful of people. But just before 9, a whole raft of people poured in. This was more promising

The bar we were playing in was pretty small, and people were pretty well packed in. this was good. I donned my war-paint and we hit the stage.

Everything went pretty much perfectly. Even when Alex, my drummer, dropped his stick, he managed to keep going one-handed until he grabbed a spare… and the speed that this guy plays, that’s no mean feat.

Crowd response was overwhelmingly positive. No polite ripples of applause, we’re talking full on cheering here. There was a small contingent of enthusiasts at the front beginning a moshpit, but considering the size of the place we were in, it’s probably fortuitous that it stayed small.

At the end of our set, the crowd were chanting for one more song. Unfortunately, our time was up and we had to make room for the headliners, UKID.

Feedback from crowd members was positive, many could not believe it was our first show, many others were deliberating on which bands we sounded like – Comback Kid? Dillinger Escape Plan? Converge? all of them and none of them. To me that’s a good sign. It tells me that our sound is reasonably unique, but that were have an appeal to fans of established hardcore acts.

We made £30 or so selling demo CDs on a “pay what you like” basis, with no minimum spend (we gave many away for free). The plan is that all proceeds will go towards recording an album. We’re not trying to make money from this, we just want to make people move. The guy that owns the studio where we practise has offered us a decent deal on recording time, so we have a target now

Our next show is at a Zombie Paintball event in May. The new material we’re working on will add momentum.

Thanks to everyone who made this happen: all my band members, their partners, The Grapes music bar in Stafford, Midlands Metalheads Radio for playing our stuff and promoting the gig, UKID for letting us borrow some of their kit to save time, and everyone who came out for a good time, especially those three lads who were into RnB but still got up to dance.

We’re set to smash the world to pieces.

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