Forest Live – Thetford Forest
13th June 2013 | Larry
26th April 2013 | Larry
There is an added unspoken charge to the day…this is our cup final
26th April 2013 | Jim
Friday 26th April, Manchester. The day starts normal enough, with a civilised three hour bus journey from Birmingham. Everyone doing what they always do, cups of tea, sorting out guest lists etc. But there is an added unspoken charge to the day. The unwritten rule is to stick to routine and try to contain the emotion by avoiding the elephant in the room. The whole tour has been building to this, this is our cup final and try as we might to suppress that fact, inside we are all very, very aware of it.
The soundcheck is shambolic which probably helps. We have a choir for tonight which means a little extra work and focusing on the songs they need to do, plus we have decided to film the gig. That sounds simple enough but it actually means we have a ton more stuff to do. Matt our tour manager has handed out very detailed schedules of what exactly everybody is supposed to be doing and when, but already we are behind and our 5.30pm cut off is rapidly approaching. We do what we can and kind of know things will be okay.
I get well fed in catering and head off to the bus to lie down for a while. I don’t sleep but close my eyes and try not to think. I get up in time to catch the second half of The Bunnymen’s set. I like coming out into the gig before the show, it takes some of the nerves away.
Back to the dressing room to get changed and do last minute preparations.
The first song is Lose Control and I don’t play on this, so I watch from side of stage. Next is Waltzing Along started by me and Dave, so off we go. A few biggies then my amp blows up. It’s not the first time it has happened and I usually deal with it with true Jim Glennie stoic calm, but tonight it really throws me and I make small mistakes as a consequence. Not that they feel small at the time, they feel huge. Each one a bear trap I keep falling into. It’s a bit like taking bad acid, where suddenly your whole world turns from sunshine and lollipops to darkness and fear. I don’t play on Why So Close and the four minute ‘time out’ gives me a chance to re-group and stop ruining the gig for myself.
It works, and from there on in I can do no wrong. I’m relaxed and having fun. Probably more so because of where my head was at less than ten minutes ago.
We have a typical ‘James’ moment at the start of new song Moving On when we can’t work out how to get the song started. We eventually get it going with the help of a bloke from the AA and a set of jump leads. The song doesn’t seem to mind though.
The set ends with several big singalongs and an unrehearsed flamboyant guitar solo from rock legend Peter Kay.
After the gig I drink too much champagne and go and hug everyone in the aftershow.
I felt like Ginger Rogers…
26th April 2013 | Juliet
It had been a busy day. The breakfast club met in Birmingham, joined this time by Mia and her highly energetic entourage. The quiet businessmen pretended everything was normal, as they nibbled their croissants and tweaked their phones in this fine French brasserie breakfast hotel scene in uptown Birmingham.
Soon we were all aboard the big bus heading north to Manchester. There was a lot of traffic and we got a bit delayed, meaning that a tight schedule was to become even tighter.
The Manchester Evening News Arena is a big one. The finale. The hometown. There was a lot of excitement in the air and lots of double checking of everything.
Mr Hat had called by, offering Tim an extra pack for his belt, just in case. Tim refused. One will be enough. I attached Tim’s in-ears and applied the stretches. Then ran the Chinese nut drink on stage. In the corridor the film crew were capturing Jim and Larry approaching. Oh blimey I don’t want to mess up their shot. Too bad – it was inevitable.
I didn’t see much of the gig as I was doing a shift at the Rock crèche. But when I went up side stage near the end I noticed a familiar face, Mr Kay – no one knew he was gonna be there – and said “hello.”
The band had started a slowed down version of Laid. “Aw nor, it’s too slaw….” (sic) said Peter, and together we waltzed a wedding dance on the dark side of the stage. Then he started to dance forward, and I backwards. I felt like Ginger Rogers… Then as the tempo flew up to an upbeat Laid, Mr Kay saw a spare guitar and made a plunge for it, heading centre stage with one of Larry’s finest.. I made myself thoroughly invisible fast.
What followed was a stage explosion………captured on a thousand iPhones.
25th April 2013 | Larry
Vinny’s Eaton Mess
25th April 2013 | Juliet
Brummie Thursday by guest blogger Vinny Davies.
Dad (that’s Saul to you) had a day off and came home to London after Leeds.
We came up to Birmingham from London on the train, with Mark, on a family saver ticket which cost £18 for the four of us. Then we got to the venue, which smelt of sick in the corridor and there were too many doors, so many doors.
I helped Kerry to do the meet and greet for the VIPs. I handed out the leaflets.
Then we made a few smoothies and I made one for Saskia as well. And then, well this is a bit later on, but Mel and me went outside and had some rosé. Then Mel went back in to get her things. Dad was doing the soundcheck.
I had some really salty codfish while I was watching the soundcheck. My lips were stinging all night long.
Then after that we broke the juicer but it wasn’t actually us, the juicer couldn’t take the carrots and stuff. It made a horrible noise and smelt of burnt toast.
I helped Alex make the Eton Mess for everybody… I made the double cream and put the meringue and the berries in, and he put them in the cups, and he put the forest fruits sauce on it.
Saskia was trying to take care of my sister Mia, but Mia was slapping people and being really annoying.
During the gig I sat next to the – what d’you call him? – Scotland manager Gordon, and gave him my setlist and talked to him about Scotland. Then I went to get him a beer and I got Mel a black vodka and Coke.
Then after the show went outside with Mel again to get some air, the dressing room was too stuffy and full of people. I could barely breathe.
When we went back to the hotel Mia was being really annoying again. I slept on the floor on top of a mattress.
Then it was breakfast. I had a plain croissant and a yogurt, and a sausage and a boiled egg.
Now I am on the tour bus going to Manchester. Jules is typing this for me…
Postscript from chef Alex, “So Vinny didn’t mention that whilst he was whisking the cream with the electric hand mixer one of the whisks broke and covered him and the walls and floor with cream, his face was priceless… He is a good assistant…”
23rd April 2013 | Larry
It was like Stars in Their Eyes – or Platoon – depending on who emerged
23rd April 2013 | Juliet
Tuesday, 23rd April by guest blogger Dave Swallow…
You know when you wake up in the morning and everything is as it was last night. It’s a nice kind of feeling. The world is in order, the stars have aligned and you are ready to take on another day. You open your front door and head off on whatever adventures that day bring. Stepping off a tour bus in the morning is not like this. Usually in an unknown location, and depending on your luck, you’ll be presented with one of three scenarios: a car park, which is most preferable, a wall, or oncoming traffic.
If you are presented with either of the last two scenarios there will usually be other pavement users involved. Staggering off a bus all blurry eyed, with bed hair and breath, other pedestrians swiftly pass judgement as you scan up and down the street for some vague clue as to where you might have to go. To save too much embarrassment, darting into the closest open door works well. This can lead to all sorts of complications though, as walking into the office block opposite wearing your pyjamas, with a toothbrush protruding from your mouth is strictly frowned upon.
Touring is a bizarre lifestyle. Sharing what is effectively a germ-filled dorm with 10 other hairy men and women is not my idea of glamour. This kind of glamour is usually reserved for elderly, reformed-alcoholic convicts with sleep deprivation on medical trials.
We weren’t using our touring PA system today, so from a sound point of view, the day was going to be fairly easy. My bitch, who others know as Mark, set my console up as I gave commands from the safety of the catering area. Which today is located on the balcony above the main dance floor, so I can look out over my sonic domain. I don’t think they did that on purpose though. Apart from the odd rumour about some lights not working – and that’s really not my department so I really don’t have a clue – the day was smooth.
We tried out a brand new song in soundcheck, which the band seemed to be happy with. I would have liked another run through to try to work out how to mix it, but nevertheless, I got my chance in front of a packed Leeds Academy later that night. Joy!
The show was great, and I think the mix held together really well despite the different PA system. I found the house PA didn’t have the same depth and warmth as the PA we have in the back of the truck. It was a different sonic experience, but the audience loved the show. A bang tidy setlist got the boisterous Leeds crowd under control. Apart from the chatter going on at the bar behind me from time to time, which sounded like a flock of seagulls in a multi-storey car park, and made the mix quite difficult to hear during the quiet songs. I had to retreat into my headphones and mix from there for a couple of songs. Anyway, it’s all about providing the right sonic experience by any means necessary.
I popped up to the VIP bar after the show, the band were taken up talking to friends and relatives. I noticed a man who was dresses as a parody of 1987. His trousers had graffiti all over them, a white leather jacket and shoes that could kick a snake in the arse. I was a little perplexed by this vision before me, so crept back to the dressing rooms.
Behind the main dressing room is the corridor of dreams. An unventilated, sealed, smoke-filled corridor dedicated to those that smoke. Every time someone opened the door, it was like Stars in Their Eyes – or Platoon – depending on who emerged from the dense grey mist. Now that is what I call Rock ‘n’ Roll!
P.S. The mystery man is DJ Jazzy Geoff….see earlier blogs….
More people want a photo with him these days than Mr Booth…
22nd April 2013 | Larry
Mr Hat has arrived
22nd April 2013 | Juliet
Saul is on the 5-2 diet. 5 fags and 2 coffees.
Kerry ate squid. She went green and was sick. She had to stay in Bournemouth.
Steve got off his tractor and left his organic farm to come to the gig with Marion. They didn’t know James but loved it.
Tim got a tweet from a woman saying she didn’t love it and during the show was thinking about defrosting a chicken.
Everything went well on stage, gathering sound all round…
After the show Tim chatted to Neil and his mate for hours and ate fruits of the forest. Blackberries, raspberries and blue berries. I did the wardrobe packing. The iron spilled water. The shoes are in the drawer. The nuts are back. The gaffer is there in the nuts and herbs drawer (needed near nut time).
There is only one overnight journey for the band on this tour and it’s tonight. Bournemouth to Leeds.
Set off at 1.30am. Beyonce blasting something about what to do if you like it. There is staying-up till the wee hours in the lounges and upfront.
6am parked up. Driver break. Chris our driver promised not to leave me behind. Scenes of Peter Kay series “The Services” flashed in the early services.
Back on board woke at 8 in Leeds. Too early. Mega truck being unpacked, endless massive flight cases hurtling down the slope by a crew called Usual Suspects. Tyrone directing it all.
Found a Costa, got cappuccino and a tall white for Chris Lights…
Had a chat to Mr Hat.