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Archive for May, 2011

So everyone else is at Primavera this weekend, yeah? Well not me. I got to go all the way to the grey and cloudy seaside town of Brighton. YA! It was rad though. My band (The Racket) played a Vice party gig on Friday night with fellow Londoners Teeth!!

It was Vice’s 100th issue party at the Green Door Store. I was super excited cos they had a photobooth, turns out it’s a fake one! They built it to look real but it’s just a dude behind a wall who takes the photo on his phone and then prints it out on his computer hahaha. Total rip off. £3.

This amazing photo was taken on Brighton Pier in the arcade. Liv and I wandered around Brighton on Saturday.

Thanks to Cold Puma’s Oliver for lending us his guitar amp. We switched glasses and caps.

The gig was super busy, lots of familiar Brighton faces came out and Teeth!! were rad as usual. Simon gave me the 7-inch, now I’ve just gotta dig out my leads and plug my turntable back in.

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Sloan the only “cool” mainstream Canadian band, well the only band it seemed was OK to like if you were an indie kid like me growing up in Canada during the 90s, have finally hit 20 years old! To celebrate their 20th anniversary as a band they’ve released their album Doublecross or XX. It’s been a really big deal in Canada and CBC R3 has done quite a few features on the band. Truthfully I think it’s quite an achievement to be a band lasting 20 years in this day and age and to make your living out of it. So well done Sloan!

Here’s guitar player Jay Ferguson discussing (quite seriously) his song The Answer Was You.

Unfortunately Sloan NEVER tour to the UK 😦
But if you are Canadian (or live in a few select US cties) Sloan is touring extensively across the country til August. You know the songs, they play Sloan at every hockey game, go sing-along and keep your fingers crossed the Canucks win!

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So Friday night was party night at the Village Underground – massive line up with Fucked Up, Let’s Wrestle, Flats, No Joy and Eagulls. I was so excited to see my Canadian pals Fucked Up & No Joy who also have a family connection between them (Damien Fucked Up and Garland drummer in No Joy are cousins!).

Let’s Wrestle also have gotten a lot better. I did see them first when they were about 16 so over 4 years they’ve evolved and with all the touring they’ve been doing (just finished a uk one with Yuck) it’s pretty tight.

Fucked Up as well, so good now! When Damien gave me their first 7-inch about 10 years ago I thought it was terrible! Haha. It took me years to finally see them live, I think it was Reading 2008, I hadn’t even seen Damien in about 5 years. I saw them play to 10,000 people in the punk rock tent. Damien was crowd surfing across 14 year olds and squishing them it was amazing. They’ve got such a wall of sound with 3 guitar players and a stage show with a HUGE half (sometimes FULLY) naked front man bouncing about the crowd it’s great to watch. I think they are definitely the kind of band which I only really appreciate live. Friday night was an hour and 15 minutes of Fucked Up’s onslaught on the Village Underground crowd, Casey from No Joy got crowd surfed, the mosh pit didn’t let up at all. I felt like I was at a gig 15 years ago.

Look how cool the Village Underground’s dressing room is…

You have to exit the building and go up a spiral staircase to the roof where they have a roof top garden and some offices but they also have these old tube carriages up there which they’ve turned into the dressing room. So cool! It looks just like a tube.

SATURDAY NIGHT

Jen and I (as Waynes Girls) hosted the Wayne’s World Schwing-Along at the Prince Charles Cinema. It had been sold out 2 weeks in advance (280 people!!) I was shitting myself. I had to play Garth and we MC-ed the contests and singalongs before the movie started. I got the entire theatre to stand up and do Garth’s Foxy Lady dance with me.

I was so impressed with everyone’s fancy dress efforts. Look at the these guys from Delaware! That’s definitely one of my favourite lines in the movie (I’m in Delaware…).

It was my first experience at a participation movie event (like a singalong etc) and it was sooooo much fun, shouting “drink” during the drinking games part, quoting along, cheering. We’re doing another one July 9th. BOOK YOUR TICKETS HERE

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This was a weird one. For the last couple of years I’ve been going to Stag & Dagger in some capacity. Seen some amazing bands (Duchess Says, Slow Club, Frankie & the Heartstrings, These New Puritans), it always seemed to be getting bigger and bigger but this year, the complete opposite. I don’t know if it’s because the market in East London is so over saturated with similar mini festivals (Dazed Fest, Land of Kings) or what but this Stag and Dagger didn’t have the oomph of previous years. The last few years, the week up to the night my friends would all be talking about it and I knew quite a few people who were going – maybe my group of friends are just getting old and more boring?? Haha when I attend ATP with people 10 years younger than me I don’t think it’s that. It’s that it wasn’t the “cool” thing to go to, there was less venues/promoters involved and it just truly seemed a little un-inspiring.

With all that negativity aside I had a really good evening with friends and running around watching as many bands as possible in 3 hours (7 total).

Started the night out at the Village Underground for Echo Lake and Mazes. Echo Lake is a band I see playing everywhere but seem to miss every time and truthfully I kind of missed this set too. I was there BUT I ran in to Canadian friends, No Joy, who were also on the bill and spent most of their set talking and catching up so can’t really comment on whether they were good or not (sorry Echo Lake, promise to watch next time!). Next up were Dalston boys Mazes (ok not originally from Dalston but they’ve all ended up their now) I really like Mazes and their poppy indie rock I guess you’d call it, plus I love the fact they get compared to Eric’s Trip (anything referencing a Canadian indie band is a-ok).

Then it was off to XOYO for Toro Y Moi (aka Chazwick Bundick) from South Carolina who was the band (or dude?) I was most excited about seeing as they weren’t a band I could just see anytime AND I’d heard good things. They were really tight live and the second song they played which climaxes on the two vocalists yelping in succession was so so so good. Sorry I haven’t listened to any of their records so no idea what it’s called. This was the busiest gig I was at and it was a RockFeedback night – those guys seem to constantly put on some of the best gigs around.

Didn’t really know what to do with ourselves so popped into Hoxton Bar & Kitchen for a bit of Becoming Real, which I had forgotten I’ve seen before and I’m not really into him as it’s just a dude and his laptop and in such a big room as this it had no vibe and we left 2 minutes later. Popped in next door to the Underbelly for Our Mountain who are over from America/Australia (not sure where they are residing at the moment) but happen to have a local bass player – Dan of Club.The.Mammoth. I have to say this was the most showmanship I have seen in a LONG long time. They really got into it and the multi-instrumentalist woman was really fun to watch. She played a massive chain link, hitting it against a metal pan through the first song. Then some keyboards and wood blocks in the second. I do love a band that actually performs and puts some effort in so thumbs up to Our Mountain.

Went back to Hoxton Bar & Kitchen for some Gatekeeper, which my friend Jack had described as sounding like “80s horror film music”. He was pretty bang on, with smoke machines coming out of their dual keyboard/laptop work stations and some strobe lights it was pretty eerie. If this had been 2am, I was drunk and in East Germany somewhere this would have been sooooo amazing. Unfortunately I was sober and it was the Hoxton Bar & Kitchen. Still really liked it and wouldn’t mind getting some of their stuff.

Right so back to the beginning at Village Underground for headliners Wire. It was great, a completely different crowd to their normal crowd (bald middle-aged men), this was 20s-40s enjoying a band together in unison, made me really happy, a nice way to end the night and I was home in time to get 7 hours sleep before work. Party on!

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“What I can remember from the weekend May 13-16 2011”

FRIDAY

Never have I arrived so EARLY to an ATP but cheap train tickets and keen chalet mates meant we arrived on site at 1:30PM (and our train was late!!) Well apparently you can check in from noon but you can’t get into your chalet til 4PM, so for future reference there is no reason to show up before 3PM other than you’ll beat any queues – this ATP only sold half the tickets so there were no queues anyway!

During our 2 hour wait, I had a gross jacket potato at the Sun & Moon pub which I had never visited before and now I know why.

It didn’t surprise me this ATP didn’t sell out, Animal Collective weren’t the right curators. They didn’t pick very good bands and there was no real festival headliner which is why I’m guessing they didn’t have the big pavilion stage they normally do. It was a little sad as this is apparently the last May ATP and with only half the tickets sold and one stage missing, it did feel a little bit like a dying festival. Still this is my account of what I can remember from an amazingly FUN weekend.

The first night I ran around and saw a bit of Black Dice (awful, I am totally not into this band), Dent May (quite funny and charming), Big Boi (probably one of the best things ALL festival) and Terry Riley (who I later ran into and told him was the best thing I’d seen that night! Don’t know if he appreciated it cos I was super drunk at the time). Oh and I forgot to bring my camera so look how crap my phone pic is of Terry!

Bumped into Justin Spears (of 6 Music Professor fame) DJing in the Irish Bar, he had a lot of drunk people swinging to his tunes til 3am and ended the night at G3’s Chalet party and visiting Butlin’s church!!

SATURDAY

Woke up fully clothed (with my shoes on even!!) in a bed with 2 friends pretty much sums up the ATP experience. Headed back to my chalet and found my chalet buddies rushing off to Splashworld so I joined them. I was a bit disappointed as we got to Splashworld just before Wet Sounds started so they had shut the slides!! “You can’t hear the music when you’re on the slides” was how the lifeguard explained it. Yes, but I want slides AND music, can’t we share the pool? They squished a couple hundred music geeks in swimsuits into the lap’s pool on the side to enjoy the Wet Sounds experience which in theory is a very neat idea – they put speakers under the water and you can hear music only when you are submerged. The thing is it’s all kind of weird ambient stuff, some spooky voices here and there. I’ve been to it before in London Fields Lido last summer and really enjoyed it. The City Shanty Band played that one which was amazingly fun. It was less special indoors and the second time.

I watched a few bands, curators Animal Collective, who were much much better than last time I saw them (Green Man 2009, when they had to ask the BBC NEVER to broadcast the recording of that concert – THAT is how bad they were). Sat in the back and relaxingly took in Beach House (who I had been lucky enough to see in London last year), stood in a crowd unable to see (pain of being short and being friends with taller people) most of the set watching Kurt Vile, I had missed him at SXSW because I had decided to eat a salad at Whole Foods across the road from where he was playing instead. Sometimes vitamins and food are more important than bands. I don’t even take drugs but somehow I managed to dance up a storm for 2 hours with Fenner and his friends to Omar-S in Reds til 3am. I was dumb enough to think Omar-S was just an abbreviated way of writing Omar Souleyman, how wrong I was. Omar-S is a house DJ!! So not a Syrian pop singer.

Went to a chalet party in E Block somewhere where I met a girl from Vancouver, Lorraine, who I’ve apparently met before and we know all the same people! Love that stuff when it happens. Random meetings in random places with people who are like-minded. Two more chalet parties later ended up back at G3 where they had 40 randoms at about 6AM. I left them to deal with it and went to bed at 7AM for the second night in a row!

SUNDAY

Splashworld again! This time with a hangover and got to go down my favourite slides! Best band I saw this day was Prince Rama – 2 sisters from Brooklyn brought up Hare Krishna in Florida. I had never heard of them but was pleasantly surprised. I felt pretty rough this day and almost spent the evening on the couch of our chalet watching crap movies on Channel 5. Making a decision to start drinking port (I know!!) I got back on it and went out and saw Micachu for the first time in YEARS and some Gang Gang Dance, Teen Girl Fantasy and got to ride the simulator, play air hockey and won about 8 tickets (you need 3000 to exchange for even the smallest prize haha!!). That’s the best thing about ATP, you get to enjoy the fun n cheesy Butlins’ activities while drinking and watching bands. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

I passed out at 4:30am mid-conversation with Liv and Merida (sorry about that guys!).

Even though it had the worst line up of any ATP I’ve been to, they only had 2 stages instead of 3 and I missed going on the funfair AGAIN, it was still one of the best weekends I’ve had all year and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Love you ATP, see you in December xo

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I went just on the Sunday afternoon this year but it was VERY enjoyable. Camden has a way about it that when it’s sunny it always seems really pleasant – there’s a canal, market, lots of food and shops and hey! some scabby street punks as well.

I spent most of the day at the Canadian Blast freebie gig at the Monarch. I was excited cos the Russian Futurists were playing and I hadn’t seen Matthew the main man behind the band for about 9 years!!! But I had a really clear memory of us having dinner together in Halifax, Nova Scotia the first time I ever went there. He remembered me too which was nice!

The Russian Futurists “Paul Simon” Official Video from Upper Class Recordings on Vimeo.

But the band I was most excited to see (and everyone else at the fest) was Odd Future. They were the hype band of SXSW and I missed them there so I wasn’t missing them at the Camden Crawl! I even queued up alone like the dork I am to watch them alone in a big crowd of people. I dunno if all the hype etc is valid but their performance was pretty entertaining and they were teasing security and riling up the crowd. I think their interview with Nardwuar still makes me laugh more…

I was mega sad to leave as there were so many good bands on the Sunday evening (saw a bit of Flats and of course poptastic Bright Light Bright Light), Housse De Racket, Graham Coxon, Slow Club, Mazes, but responisbilities in the East took me away. Sigh.

Hope next year is better and I can actually enjoy the whole fest!

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