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Posts Tagged ‘travelling’

So I have spent the past two weeks following one of my favourite bands We Are Scientists. Some people tell me they’re just another generic Indie band but honestly, there’s something more to them than meets the eye. They seem to have something that hooks you and I can’t explain it. I guess part of it is their infectious guitar riffs and the other part is their delightful charm.

I started the tour off in Paris, France in a tiny little venue called Fleshe d’or. We took about an hour to find it and actually realised that we walked past it twice and even stopped outside to look at the map. Danny informed us later that he did exactly the same thing when he was looking for the venue.

The gig was good and involved many things a european gig without a barrier does. Keith’s leap into the crowd for Textbook, stage invasions and the usual almost hitting my head with the guitar. The band left quickly but we managed to talk to Danny after who was lovely as always.

Next up it was Birmingham Academy which was a good show. The guys were really into it and there was more textbook action which saw Keith being pulled into the crowd, him sitting on my shoulders and him hitting my mum in the head with his brand new pointy shoes.

They played a DJ set after the show which I have to admit wasn’t looking forward to or expecting anything as I imagined them to be behind a glass case. At half midnight, they step onstage and oh my, it was incredible. I have never heard a band play so much crap ( apart from Editors Papillion!). Chris came over and said hello and I got the biggest hug – I had to let go because he wouldn’t! Then Keith came over, got mobbed, I got fed up and went and danced with him to What is Love. And yes that is the youtube video. Apparently they’ve seen it. Danny thinks it’s hillarious and Keith only watched half, probably because he was so wasted that he doesn’t want to see the rest of the damage he caused. We then danced to I’m Too Sexy which was incredibly hilarious. We decided to leave them to it as one crazy girl was still trying to mob him and she was making me angry! Apparently after we left, Keith fell on his ass at Danny’s feet and had to be picked up which would have been so funny to watch!

Wednesday was Bristol which was a home gig for me. It took a while for the venue to fill up but when it did, the crowd was rough and there were loads of crowd surfers. Just as Keith and Chris like it apparently. They had pretty much the same setlist apart from Central AC which was good to hear but I was holding out for You Should Learn! Still waiting! Apparently now I find out that they played it in Portsmouth! What a joke! We went and spoke to the band afterwards for a little while before they rushed off to do a DJ set at Propaganda. Keith and Chris left in a hurry and with Danny so we ended up walking him to the club in which we were dancing in the middle of the road pretending to be Cockney geezers. Danny does a mean cockney accent i’ll have you know!

We had a day off before joining the tour again in Norwich at the UEA which was one of the most difficult places to find. Insane. After about half an hour searching through the middle of nowhere, we find it and see that there’s a big queue. No worries. I think it was time for a day off from barrier duties especially as our partners in crime Jo and Tracey weren’t there either. We had a good view on the side which meant we got to see how rough a WAS crowd usually is. There were shoes going around the audience, one of which Keith chucked back and continued to play Nobody Move. It was pretty funny. There wasn’t as much banter as usual but Keith was sick with a bit of a cold and sore throat so that was probably why.

They rushed off after the show to do a DJ set in the centre of town which turned out to be in the tiniest bar I have ever seen. The guys were at a tiny table with people crowding around. They were lovely as always with Keith and Chris giving me the biggest grin as he saw me walk up to them. That’s the thing with these guys, they are so nice, you want to see them every day! I have no idea what it’s going to be like after the tour is over! I’m going to miss them so much!

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Ok so this is a little contraversial but i’m going to say it. I prefer European gigs to UK gigs. There we go. Done it.

Everyone gives me a weird look when I say i’m off here or there to see this band. They usually reply “why don’t you just see them in the UK?” Or if you’re Keith Murray: “Is Wolverhampton not random enough for you?” Well no Keith it isn’t actually. You know why? Well here’s why actually:

European gigs are smaller than UK ones which means a lot more of the serious fans go. The past three times i’ve seen We Are Scientists in other countries i’ve been resting my drinks on the stage and been hit on the head by Keith’s guitar – ok well that’s not a benefit, actually it’s a little painful. There’s a sense that the band are playing to you and sometimes only to you. There’s better interaction between the band and the audience. Once WAS actually invited a crowd member onstage – you don’t get that at Brixton Academy do you?!

Europeans are politer. Sorry Brits. It’s true. In the UK, someone always has to try and push in front of someone who’s been queueing for hours which really rattles me. It’s wrong. Why do you deserve that place more than them? Well in Europe, people stand there and have a good time – no pushing, no fights. It’s so relaxed it’s unbelievable. In fact at one gig, a girl asked if I could go in front of her in the queue to get in because she didn’t want to go in first. Don’t mind if I do actually!

Europeans love to clap and sing. They get really involved. I have never seen Editors play a show like they did in Paris. It was so incredible I actually could have cried at the end. Maybe I did. The crowd were so ready for it and so up for it that Editors responded in a way I have never seen them play before. They didn’t want to leave the stage at the end. I didn’t particularly want them to either.

You’re on holiday. Yes funnily enough, getting on that plane or getting in the car means that  you’re automatically on holiday. If you love travelling then why not combine two loves music and travelling and experience completely new things and meet new people.

And lastly. I’m not weird honest. You get recognised by bands for making the distance. They’ll come over to you and ask you how you are or they’ll do the appreciative nod when they’re on stage. Or the roadie will chuck out a setlist or a drumstick for you – although watch out for any french fans that want to fight you for it. Yeah that’s a story for another day I guess. All you need to know is that I won. NICE. Plus at European festivals, bands wander around without a care. While we were watching Louis XIV we were there stood behind Editors and half of The Killers road crew. It’s just so relaxed.

So there you go. If i’m being honest i’m looking forward to seeing We Are Scientists a lot more in Oslo and Paris than I am say London or Newcastle. As much as I love my country and our music scene, the amount of idiots occupying the standing area is beginning to get frustrating and sometimes the only way to see that magical show is to make the distance  something that seems to be easy to do now thanks to the likes of Ryanair, Easyjet and my mum’s Honda Civic.

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After waking up in our lovely hotel room we headed straight downstairs for a nice big German breakfast of bagels, salami, cheeses and muffins. We headed out and did a whistlestop tour of Berlin – the town hall, Brandenburg Gates, Checkpoint Charlie before ending up at possibly the biggest train station I have ever seen.. the Berlin Hauptbahnhof where for the first time we caught a train in Germany.

The train to Hamburg was about two and a half hours but the weirdest thing was that it was in compartments like something out of Harry Potter. It all was a bit strange, especially as we had to share it with other people, so there I was fast asleep with my mouth wide open and mumnbling basically being an embarrassment to myself. NICE.

We had a bit of a wander, got something to eat and headed to the venue which was again in a bit of a weird place. We Are Scientists like to take us to the classiest of places. There are a couple of people there already so we hang around and kind of queue. The doors open and the people in front of us in the queue asked if we could go in first – who knows why?!

We got where we wanted to be. Centre stage. No barrier. Lovely. Until a German photographer asked me if he could push in front to take photos for the first three songs. I said in my best German. “No way”. He didn’t like it very much at all. But hey the show must go on. Minus the bear entered the stage and did pretty much the same set as the night before. Again they were very good but the guitarist didn’t half get close to my head when he jumped around.

We Are Scientists enter the stage and start again with Dinosaurs, then I don’t Bite which is becoming really popular with the crowds almost as much as the older ones. We are then hit with Nobody Move which gets the whole crowd going really. There is a lot of banter again. I don’t think they even mean to be as funny as they are!

Keith keeps laughing and looking at something in the crowd until we see a guy with curly hair wearing a fake mustache. Keith says “Look! It’s another Chris Cain! Get this man up here. ” and he does. WAS and an extra Chris Cain play Great Escape and fake Chris gets given a bass to play so he can pretend to strum along with the band! How cool is that?!

The encore was Break it Up which is a personal favourite off of Barbara how ever I really wish they would play You Should Learn because it is clearly the best track off of Barabara. They end with Cash Cow. Perfection the the max. What a band.

We hang around at the end like we told them we would. There are a couple of annoying fan girls outside screaming their heads off. They break into the backstage area which I thought was a little much… we just hung around and waited for twenty minutes until Keith came out and declared he was coming back but just had to put some stuff on the bus.

Five minuted later and he came back, signed my poster, had another conversation until some more fans wanted some stuff signed. When he was finished with them and they’d gone he turned to us and said: “Right then mams! We’re heading inside the bar. Meet us around the other side!”  and so we did.

It was quite funny watching Keith get mobbed by people wanting to talk to him. We spent a lot of the time with Danny who was talking to us about Cats and Australia which was hillarious and then we watched him and Keith playfight pretending to be cats. Extremely surreal. And so that was the end of the evening. We bid them farewell with a hug and told them we’d see them in Brighton. Keith wished us a safe journey home and that was that. The end of the European adventure – well for now anyway. Bring on November!

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So ok you probably know by now that i’m a big We Are Scientists fan, ever since Mr Keith Murray crowdsurfed over our heads during the Arctic Monkeys at the NME awards, i’ve had a bit of a soft spot for this band. Five years later and it’s still going strong. Recently travelling to see bands has become a bit of a habit…. you know when something starts off as a joke and then it becomes reality……

Reality hit me when we set off from home to Stansted airport at two in the morning, park the car and head for the Ryanair (yes i’m a cheap person) departure area ready to head off to Berlin. Yes Berlin. Actual Germany.

Two hours later and we touch down ready to spend 24 hours in Berlin. We do the sightseeing stuff, eating at Hard Rock Cafe where (yes random things happen to us all of the time) we were kind of serenaded by the lead singer of The Script who was practising on the balcony for a television appearance.

We head to the Berlin Lido with a little time to spare, but it’s all good. The sun is shining and the RayBans are out. BAM. Doors open at eight and support band Minus the Bear are on at nine. They were pretty good actually. One of the best support acts WAS have ever had and believe me i’ve seen a mixture of good and bad ones.Mostly bad ones. Sorry guys.  The crowd really like Minus the Bear a lot and they thank us for being so lovely.

But now it’s time for what I got the plane for. My beloved We Are Scientists. Tonight they’re doing a small show to 400 people. I’m sat on the stage in between breaks  – the place is that small and by the time they come on the place is rammed to the max. If i’m being honest everything’s a bit of a blur. It’s so much fun watching that band that sometimes it’s hard to remember what songs were even played. I can tell you that they started with Dinosaurs which I thought was a bit of a strange one – never seen that done before! Then they went straight into I don’t Bite before doing some old stuff like Scene is Dead and then some stuff off Barbara like Jack and Ginger and Pittsburgh. Lots of banter. A hell of a lot of banter. They are so good at that kind off stuff it’s all part of the performance. They ended with After Hours and then a shocker Cash Cow which actually works really well at the end of the setlist. What a show though. Seriously. Those guys know how to create the best hour and twenty minute show that will blow your mind. Wow.

So after having our minds blown we decide to hang around and say hello. Well we didn’t need to. Keith came up to me and said “Hello! How are you?!!” something which made me laugh. The thing is with these guys is that they are so nice – pardon the pun and so easy to talk to that you could be there forever! I think we were there for like twenty minutes to half an hour. We told him that we’d been to Hard Rock Cafe and he gave us the BIGGEST lecture on eating from a chain. Apparently when you’re in Berlin you don’t eat from a chain. Well that’s the words of Keith Murray obviously. He told us that he expected better from us. Sorry Keith! After several more random conversations and a big hug we bid them farewell and tell them that we’ll see them tomorrow. In which they replied “safe trip to Hamburg! See you tomorrow!”

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Ok so this was a random decision which started out as a joke. “Oh let’s go to Paris to see Editors – that would be a right laugh”. So there we are, eight in the morning at Victoria Coach Station boarding a Eurolines coach from London to Paris.

The next day we arrive at the Olympia for one in the afternoon with only two people in front of us. They were Belgians and couldn’t speak a word of English and believe me my Flemisch or French is not that great. More and more people start to join the queue before the doors open at half past six. I just remember running for it, not even sure where I was going but we managed to get the spot we wanted, right in front of Russell. Perfect.

Airship come on at quater to eight and play for only twenty minutes. Airship have supported Editors before on last year’s UK leg and they’ve got even better since. The parisians really liked them, being extremely polite and clapping after every song. I found out that night that the French really do love to clap, seriously it’s insane. Second support act I Like Trains come on straight after and play twenty minutes as well, they were pretty good and were all dressed in blazers.

Editors come onstage to the biggest applause and cheers I have ever heard starting with…… of course, In This Light And On This Evening. We are then treated to Lights and An End Has A Start. It’s so strange to hear these people who couldn’t speak a word of English suddenly be able to sing along to every word. If you think about it, it really truly is amazing.

They also play Life As A Ghost in which Russell does his familiar nods of approval at the people who know the words and occasionally sticks his thumbs up. The best bit about Russell  though is his amazing jumps whilst he’s playing – it’s like he’s been learning from Busted or something. Hillarious! Tom is doing his usual hand grabs, reaching over his synthesiser. That’s what I love about Tom Smith as a front man, he’s extroadinarially shy and quiet in person but when he gets onto that stage it’s like he’s coming out of his cage.

They walk off after playing Smokers which is as beautiful as it usually is. Tom comes on by himself and we all know what’s going to happen now – his solo rendition of No Sound But The Wind. Personally I adore this song, when I first heard it something clicked. It’s a stunner and when it’s played live there’s something eerie and exciting about it.

The crowd are then treated to Bricks and Mortar with Chris Urbanowicz pulling the funniest of faces. It seemed like him, Ed and Russell are in on a j oke while Tom tries to keep it together. Then they hit the synths and play Papillion , the most exciting track of the night as everyone upstairs is stood up, and the barrier at the front downstairs it starting to move up and down to the beat. Possibly the best track of the night. The guys then finish with old favourite Fingers in the Factories. What a night.

There was an incident with a drumstick, an annoying French Girl and an awesome ginger roadie but i’ve ranted on long enough. That can wait for another day.

It was funny though! 🙂

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A couple of years ago I was in Australia with family, driving around and this CD was in the CD player – Eskimo Joe – Black Fingernails Red wine. I loved it, there was something that was really catchy and uplifting about it, reminding me of all those roadtrips in the gloomy Australian winter. I forgot about it for a good couple of years until someone sent it to me in the post and here I am loving it again.

Eskimo Joe is a three piece band hailing from West Australia. They’ve been going since 1997 although Black Fingernails Red Wine gave them recognition, eventually going four times platinum. I know right! Get them! This is a true fact: During 2006, the album was frequently played in the background in the surf club in famous Aussie soap Home and Away. They tour the world goigng around Oz, the US and the UK.

Highlights of Black Fingernails Red Wine are New York with the quirky piano mixed in with some nice rough vocals, This is Pressure with some nice repetative lyrics – although that isn’t a bad thing! and finally London Bombs, slightly contraversial but it’s a really sad moving songs about the attacks in London in 2007. It’s a good song because it was brave of them to make it, and they managed to make it really sensitive and spine chilling.

So when you get the chance, take a listen to this album because it is a corker and believe me you will find something on it that you like.

The band are doing a show this May at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire. If you get the chance to go, it should be a good one.

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After ignoring touring Canada for a long time due to other commitments, The White Stripes decided to tour Canada big time playing small towns and playing anywhere possible.

This film is actually amazing. Seeing the pair on stage together and the connection that they have while playing is magical. We follow them to every date, playing sideshows on buses, in a cafe to a baby and two other people, and in what looks like an old people’s home.  It’s like you’re attatched to the band, getting extra sneaky peeks of what they’re like on and off stage, after a show and whilst travelling.

The soundtrack is incredible featuring Jolene, I just don’t know what to do with myself, Black Math, Blue Orchid and the infamous Seven Nation Army. You can’t help but feel sad that we may never get to see the White Stripes play live ever again. Such a shame because every single one of those concerts looked incredible. There’s a connection that the pair share onstage that we will never understand.

Offstage Meg is the extremely quieter one, although Jack makes it extremely clear that she’s always like this and people always think that he does all of the talking for her. Throughout the whole film she talks about five times and so quietly that they have to add subtitles so we can understand what she’s saying.  Jack comes across as passionate about music, treating their live shows as a challenge – they don’t even have setlists when they play live! Jack lives music and whatever he’s doing in the film has to have something music involved. Crazy.

Under Great White Northern Lights is an example of what a musical film should be like. It focuses on their live act but also shows us life behind the stage even if it is just Meg sat on the sofa smoking a cigarette.

There’s something saddening about the end. Why is Meg crying? Does she know that this is the end of the tour for them, and maybe the end of touring forever? Or is it something deeper? The question is, is Meg still in love with Jack White? It’s a question that will never be answered.

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