Saturday, October 31, 2009

Honour Before Glory in Germany - Day 7

A severe lack of W-LAN has thrown the blog out of kilter, so this blog was written on Friday after the Vienna show. I'm posting it from Leipzig as the gig is about to start. Will probably fill in details of Dortmund & Leipzig when I'm home now...

So, as reported, after the Frankfurt gig we had to drive 9 hours to Vienna, and by the time we arrived, we were all a bit flaked out. We did manage to amuse ourselves by watching Ultravox's Vienna video - although Falco apparently has a more famous song about the City.

The main source of pre-gig entertainment came from the largest / busiest kebab shop / restaurant I have ever been to. From the street, a normal kebab shop, but stretching back and back (including a winter & summer garden) it must have seated about 200 people. And it was full!

I was expecting something amazing food-wise, and it was ok, but not amazing. The best thing, was the big screen showing Turkish soap opera. Something truly to marvel - especially the the mustaches.

The venue was quite a small one for the tour and Sometree really struggled to all fit on stage. No such problem for me of course, though I struggled with the fact that the venue was in a railway arch and the U-Bahn passed over every few minutes. In fact everything about the venue was a bit noisy

No time to party tonight, as we had to jump straight back in to the van and drive 4 hours to Regensbourg to enable us to get to Dortmund in good time today. Tired face

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Honour Before Glory in Germany - Day 5/6

This report feels pretty hard to write, as we've just driven 9 hours to Vienna, which has been pretty hardcore. We have to drive back north after the show tonight as well, so it's a long day ahead still

Frankfurt was a mixed bag for us, upon arriving on Tuesday, we didn't really do anything good with our time. We did get some good grub though (although it was probably the most garlic I've ever tasted in a meal), and then found a "traditional" Irish Pub to watch Man Utd vs Barnsley. It all could've been so much better...

Had a walk around Frankfurt on Wednesday, and got to the venue nice an early. It was in the middle of an industrial area, and part of a strange media complex, that was more than a little bit weird, so it really took us a while to get into the feel of the night

The crowd, were great though and I had my best gig - although the amount of crap I talked would have made a Forward Russia crowd cringe. Sometree again rocked hard, and demolished their way through numerous bottles of red wine in the process. I'm the only beer drinker on the tour, so it's always slightly depressing at the end of the night as I can see how much I've consumed in exacting detail. At least when there are numerous empty wine bottles around 4/5 people are responsible, but with the empty beer bottles it's all down to me

Anyway, a question came up. Why do the English call Bayern Munich so? Munich is the English word for Munchen, but Bayern is the German work for Baveria. And yes, I pretty much have talked football all time on the tour - with brief respites to mention the Yankee's reach the world series, the Celtics beat the Cavs and the Wembley NFL game (a good week for Boston-born "5th member" of Sometree, Sean). Oh yeah, and the obligatory attempt to explain cricket.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Honour Before Glory in Germany - Day 4

It was a pretty relaxed journey to Stuttgart, and everything was done with a decent amount of time, checking into our hostel and loading the venue - the veritable maze of rooms.

While Sometree soundchecked I went for a walk around the city, which is supposed to be one of the richest in Germany - so lots of boutiques, and it's always cool to see a totally pedestrianised city centre.

The funniest thing for me though, was seeing a German Christmas Market, selling the kind of Bratwurst and Gleuwien found in Leeds & Manchester city centres every year. The Sometree guys found my amusement pretty funny - it's just that it was exactly the same as we have in Leeds. Surely there's no 'novelty' in having it in Germany?

The gig was a really good one tonight, the crowd came down early and were really kind to me and seemed to listen so I felt a bit more confident. Sometree got an amazing reaction tonight, even getting two encores and vinyl and CDs were being signed for quite a while after

This morning we had a lazy morning, with breakfast and internet check-up, before the light drive to Frankfurt. The gig that was supposed to be in Frieberg has been cancelled unfortunately, so we have a day off - but it will be valuable rest as we have to traverse the long journey into Austria on Thursday!

Soundtrack to this post: Grammatics, Throwing Muses

Honour Before Glory in Germany - Day 3

These blogs are running into each other a little bit - so I hope, as well as being at least mildly interesting, they also make sense! The timings are slightly off. I originally wrote this on the drive from Munich to Stuttgart, but now write it the day after Stuttgart (does that make sense?!). I will write of last night's adventures later today!

As reported, the day in Munich was nice and relaxed. We stayed at an apartment in part of the venue (the first time I've slept on bunkbeds for a few years!). The whole venue itself was split into 3 or 4 different sections, and operated in numerous different guises, including hosting some youth / social work, and a radio station. All in all a very cool place!

The gig was a bit more comfortable for me, and I managed to play Lions acoustically for the first time which was good, though I still feel slightly uncomfortable being onstage on my own! I think it will work better when the band exists as a 'bigger' entity (personnel wise). But I think I try and make excuses for this too much anyway!

Sometree rocked it again, while I descended into Augustiner Hell. Watching Sometree you again feel it's odd they never reached a bigger audience in the UK. Is a large part of it because they're German? Or does that geographical problem mean an inherit problem in terms of touring and being 'out' of England

In the course of the day, while talking about pubs, football and lyric writing in English, I introduced the guys to cockney rhyming slang - a whole new world for non-English speakers. The well oiled end to the evening, culminated in loading Danny Dyer clips on to You Tube...

Today I've been reading about Kristin Hersh's Strange Angel project - find out more here. I always enjoy her music and the recent 50 Foot Wave stuff was great, so it's interesting to read about another approach to making music (and seemingly unheralded)

And to Stuttgart... (except in real life I'm about to leave Stuttgart, but will write of last night later...)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Honour Before Glory in Germany - Day 1/2

After my nice holiday, I only had a few days to get ready for the Honour Before Glory tour supporting Sometree in Germany. The joke was I had to burn CDs to sell, do my washing and even finish a couple of new songs. This was a bit of exaggeration, but I was hoping to play Lions and a cover that I hadn't played previously.

The first gig was Friday night in Berlin, and to make things easier I flew in the night before - as with everything on this tour flying over on my own with just a guitar was a strange and new experience! Everything went fine though, even though I was especially worried about the safety of my guitar!

In Berlin, I stayed with Sebastian, the guitarist of Sometree, and we spent more of Thursday night and Friday catching up on all the goings on since they came over to support Forward Russia in early 2007.

While Sometree went off to do a radio session in the afternoon, I wandered to some familiar parts of Berlin, in search of Wurst & Kraut, before catching up with them at Lido later on.

There was the usual big city anticipation for the gig, with Sometree playing their home town, the capital city, at the big club with an early start for the early finish.

In true whiskas fashion, I felt suitably awkward onstage - I'm especially paranoid about my lack of German - I just feel rude. Still the gig went well, though it was probably the hardest for me to start with as it was so early and to such a big city crowd. I didn't brave Lions, but Mazzy Star's Fade Into You slipped in just perfectly

Sometree were awesome, playing the perfect Berlin set - so so good to hear the new songs, and worked extra well with help from old friend Sean on extra keys and guitar. No crazyness after the gig, as we had an 8am start the next day, with Munich our goal (a looooong drive), after Sometree stopped to at Restgeräusch studio to record an internet session.

During the session, I was total spare part and gourged myself entirely on chocolate and crisps while trying to keep up with the UK football scores. Like most Saturday in England really!

There is vague hope of using he time on this tour to write some more songs and work on how I'm going to record others. Maybe this will prove easier when there aren't football matches to get distracted by!!

It's been a beautiful day in Munich today, and we've mosty just chilled out in the sun while waiting to soundcheck. I did manage to watch Man Utd v Liverpool, so all is not lost. The gig tonight should be good, and then a short-ish drive to Stuttgart tomorrow, and hopefully the tour really gets going

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Holiday (Celebrate)

I got back from holiday last Friday before heading straight out to see I Like Trains at The Cockpit. I'm keeping busy preparing for the upcoming Honour Before Glory tour of Germany with Sometree - I leave Tuesday morning, and ridiculously have songs to finish writing, lyrics to learn and EP's to burn / package.

The holiday was great, taking in Venice, Nice & Tuscany (dicacted by cheap flights) for one of the best & longest breaks I've ever had. Think it'll be a while before the next one.

I've had a fun few days since I've been back though, entailing the aforementioned I Like Trains gig, catching up with old friends Editors and a brief sojourn to In The City.

I'll try and add more bits and pieces once I'm on the road - as well as keeping the blog upto date with what's going on on the tour. But for now, I've got a plane to catch, and once I'm there, I've lots of travelling, so writing can wait for then!

Soundtrack to this post: Mazzy Star, Biffy Clyro, The Big Pink

Monday, October 5, 2009

Looking To The Future

It's always that irony when writing something like this blog, when you've lots of time to write, then there's nothing to write about, when there's no time for anything, there's lots to write about. And so here we are - I've finished my Masters degree (results end of the month), which also coincides with finishing the first Honour Before Glory recordings

But it's a brief respite - in a good way, as I'm dissapearing for a lot of October, but will be back with a vengeance afterwards.


I have now finished the first Honour Before Glory recordings, and launched the compulsary Myspace page. You can listen below via the power of Soundcloud.

All the tracks were recorded by me at House Of Mook, and feature help from the talents of Simon Fogal, Jon Foulger, Francis McCrossan, Fran Rodgers and Dave Martin

After Germany, I'll be playing with Damien Jurado at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds - and then will be trying to do some more recording.


After returning from Germany with Sometree in November, I'll be bedding myself down in House Of Mook and recording lots of bands. As ever, get in touch if you're interested here

The first fruits of Mook are being unveiled though - Just Handshakes (We're British) are releasing a split 7" single with my other faves Yonderboy. Listen and order the track through their respective Myspaces.


Other than that? Business as usual

Soundtrack to this post: Yonderboy, Papercuts