I’m shagged out after loads of traveling, and about to take some time off before I actually die of overwork. I’m in a bit of a daze as have seen Holland, South of France, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Syndey Nova Scotia, New York City and Austin Texas in the last three months. Fucking Carbon Footprint.
I made some comments about Groningen already but saw a couple of great bands, and caught up with some important folks (that’s what these things are about right?). Monolithic and Beth Jeans Houghton hit the right notes for me in Holland. I’m wondering whether Eurosonic is better for UK folks to hit than SXSW. WONDERING!
Exactly one week later and I was in Cannes in the South of France for Midem. I’m privileged to have got the gig to MC the British Music stage here (did it last year too) and it’s a lot of fun. This year I got to introduce some fine folks in the shapes of Chipmunk, Newton Faulkner, and Davey Knowles and Back Door Slam. They were sound people all, and it was a pleasure to meet them. I then spent a few days just being in Cannes. Which was of course very nice. And snobby. And expensive. And isn’t it funny how the high end fashion world makes as many ugly folks as beauties. Fuck. There are some ugly people in Cannes.
A trip to Berlin and Munich next, for She Keeps Bees, David Thomas Broughton and Shearwater. We managed to hook up SKB and DTB on a bill on a day off from the Shearwater tour on which David was support. The Berlin Shearwater show was amazing, with both DTB and SW on great form. Here’s a clip someone made of SW singing on DTB’s you’re a joke. Then SKB and DTB played a cracker at the venue called West Germany (In BERLIN – GEDDIT!?) and went ahead in spite of Andy from SKB having an ACTUAL HOLE in his back. Hospital trips and all that… if SKB ever did a blog, it’d be a good place for them to tell all THAT story.
An attempt to hang out a bit in Munich after SW/DTB was banjaxed by my need to head off to Canada for the ECMA‘s. I did at least get to see my old friends Ivy and Tobias of Club 2 fame, who put on a couple of excellent Billy Mahonie shows at Club 2, back in the day. Glad to see their still putting on great shows in Munich, and hope to see them again soon!
So the next day, and a MARATHON journey to Sydney Nova Scotia. A whole 36 hours. Munich>Gatwick>Heathow>Toronto>Halifax>Sydney… Man o Man.
The ECMA‘s were worth the trip though. A real pleasure to be in that part of the world and what a lucky bastard I get to be to be brought there to watch and listen to some great music. All of it really high quality but to my taste the best stuff was The Tom Fun Orchestra, Carmen Townsend, Joel Plaskett, Ruth Minnikin, Mercy the Sexton (?). All the folks there were superb, and in spite of the weather on the first day the trip was an absolute blast. Again, I met a whole bunch of really smart folks who I hope to see again, and perhaps work with. This is the reason we do this right? Right.
I flew back to London for a week for a couple of cracking gigs – Looking for a New England (launch of the event you can read about in the next paragraph), and She Keeps Bees, Oh Ruin, Musee Mechanique. Both sold Out, and both excellent.
Then flying out to NYC and SXSW for the Local’s event at SXSW and also working on the splendid event put together by The British Underground – Looking For a New England. Featuring The Unthanks, Trembling Bells, Jim Moray, Olivia Chaney, Jackie Oates and Gadarene. Hosted by Will Hodgkinson (a man sharing my mum’s maiden name) and Sam Lee of the Magpie’s Nest. In between these we still had time to put on the Bootleg BBQ for Mojo, and that was again a blast. This featured The Unthanks, She Keeps Bees, Olof Arnalds, Caitlin Rose, Dengue Fever, Villagers, Gemma Ray, and Zun Zun Egui. It was at The Mean Eyed Cat which is THE BEST BAR ON EARTH. (that I’ve been to).
The Local‘s event that same evening at The Driskill saw Miss Li, Wave Machines, Electric Electric, She Keeps Bees, Zun Zun. A fracas between Zun Zun and a photographer almost saw us shut down and I remember being super excited that they might, and thus end up with The Local on the front of the Austin Chronicle. But alas it wasn’t to be. The night was memorable however more for the high quality of the acts that played, and I salute them! It was fucking expensive tho. Not a single band travelling with backline. What’s that all about?
Doing this kind of stuff can be pretty tiring (and lonely too weirdly) – we went straight from the gig to the airport for our 6.15 flight home. Also, meeting people (isn’t that what these things are about?) and going to see bands didn’t really happen as I did too many events. No time. So this week, with jet lag and a huge backlog of work, and weirdly skint, it’s all a bit deflating. I feel like I’ve been fucked and not kissed. Someone once said.
Still, managed to get home to Rochdale yesterday and see mother for a short time, and to pop in and watch Oh Ruin‘s BBC 6 Music sesh, which was ace. (you’ll need to be sharp to listen to this as it runs out in a week). But again, travelling around, knackered. Some time off next week. At last. It was good to see Scanny tho, who kindly donated his Oh Ruin CD to the cause as we’d run out and wanted to give Radcliffe and Maconie a copy.
Despite this rather miserable ending to the post, and in no particular order, the following artists soundtracked the first three months to my year. I’m tired, and a bit overwhelmed but the music made by the below is of SUCH a high quality that I would URGE you to go and check them out if you haven’t already.
Zun Zun Egui (I have been crazy about this band since Green Man last year), Olof Arnalds, Oh Ruin, The Very Best, The Jim Jones Review, Dengue Fever, David Thomas Broughton, Shearwater, She Keeps Bees, Caitlin Rose, Olivia Chaney, Justin Rutledge (my god he’s made my favourite record!), Tom Fun, Villagers, Monolithic, and Trembling Bells.
I’ve probably missed some. But then hey I don’t exactly do this for a LIVING do I?
Also a really lovely backdrop to these last 3 months has been the fact that Rochdale remain at the top of League Two. (that’s the fourth division). You might think whatever. You probably do you prick. But this has NEVER happened. This guy, who gets paid to write about this kind of thing, puts it FAR BETTER THAN ME!!! (he also shares my mums maiden name (almost)).
Till soon. I hope.