We bring the noise and the rain to the Summertyne Festival!
July 27, 2104
We are fresh off the heels of three great gigs!
1. Universal Hall – Findhorn: This is a really cool space, almost like a giant wooden yurt with a big opening in the ceiling to allow for maximum airflow. Findhorn itself is two parts – the town, and the spiritual community that has been existence there since the 1960’s. It is reminiscent of Twin Oaks in Virginia, the home of our longtime pals The Vulgar Bulgars and also the makers of the firmest tofu you’ll ever have. Anyway, it was a great show – we were fueled by a very healthy vegetarian meal, and were all aglow with the stamina and vigor that comes from food that isn’t fried (imagine that!) and vegetables besides potatoes.
2. Glenbuchat Hall – Strathdon: We had heard great things about this venue, and were not disappointed. Strathdon and the surrounding areas are, first of all, stunningly beautiful and also quite remote, or seemingly so. The hall is like many we have played, in terms of layout, and there was a fiesty crowd who hooted and hollered and got us up for double encores!
As if the show wasn’t sufficient, our hosts for the night, Kym and Jonny Hardie, live waaaaaaaaaay out in a house that was built in 1604 by Jonny’s ancestors. It’s called the House of Newe (no, the castle is gone, we stayed in the awesome smaller house), which is, somehow, pronounced, House of “Nee-ow,” like a cat with a speech impediment. Oh Scotland, you love to keep us guessing! Turns out that Jonny (of the great band Old Blind Dogs) comes from a landed family and that house was originally just an outbuilding for the larger CASTLE that the family used to live in until the 1920’s (something happened to global economies then, can’t remember what). The house itself is clearly full of all kinds of stories, and has old pictures, shields and swords, and other interesting miscellany strewn throughout (anaconda lamp!). It’s definitely the kind of house in which you just KNOW that people have died. I found myself blindly walking down a dark corridor at one point, just certain that it was only a matter of time before some kind of apparition manifested, demanding that I right some ancient wrong.
After the show we, along with about 20 folks from the show, headed back to the digs for some more festivities. We ended up jamming with Jonny late into the night/early into the morning, depending on how you look at it. We played some old timey and bluegrass tunes, some scottish/irish tunes, and sang some silly and sweet songs. Jonny treated us (he has a great voice) to a song called Terror Time, I believe, that is bout the most bleak thing we’ve ever heard, all about Scottish winter: Heather will fade and bracken will die, the small birds will be going, for it’s then you will be knowing, that the Terror Time is here. Or something similarly cheery.
We had a nice leisurely morning with them, bacon and sausages and egg and all (helpful grease sponges for the alcohol from the night before), more tunes in the sunlight in the front garden, and lots of mutual host/band love.
3. The Salmon Bothy – Portsoy: Portsoy is a sweet little town on the Northeast Coast. We played the Salmon Bothy last year and had a great, if sparsely attended show, and were expecting much the same. Instead, the small venue was so packed that it turned into a bit of a sauna by the end of the night. The crowd was enthusiastic and even had some requests, which is always a nice treat for us. A highlight moment was that Big Jim Paterson, of Dexy’s Midnight Runners, was in the crowd, and was highly complimentary of the show. We retired to the local pub after the show, apparently not learning any lessons from the previous night, and hung out with many of the show attendees and also Portsoy locals.
Allow me to say a few words on the English language. I realize that, as an American – home to such terrible and obnoxious expressions as the use of “summer” as a verb, “frenemy”, or “croissandwich” – I may not be in the best position to make light of certain words or usages that exist here in the origin of the language. Yet here we are.
There are some linguistic habits over here that I/we find to be notable. First on this list is “wee” for “small” or “little.” Now, the middle schoolers that reside in each of us find it funny on the most visceral and toilet level, but there’s more. It seems like a word that would be used by a pan-flute playing half-goat as he describes the king of the fairies to a bemused traveler. It’s a dainty word. It is, to us, disconcerting to hear grown men, sometimes quite large and imposing men, use “wee” to describe just about anything.
Then there’s seemingly made up words. I took a trip to ASDA the other day with Gerald so we could get cheap gas, beers, and other necessities (hey USA big boxes, you really need to step your games up. ASDAs and Sainsburies make the average Walmart or Target seem like a corner bodega. They are, at their best, like crazy commerce amusement parks.). Anyway, there in the store was a big old display, advertising a brand of “Jubbly Ice Lollies.” Now, “jubbly” isn’t a brand name, it’s a descriptor, same as “lollie”. Jubbly. Lollie. Say them to yourself. They flow off the tongue well, indeed, but at what cost? How much personal dignity does one sacrifice when he/she says “I’d very much like an jubbly ice lollie right now.” A lot.
I’ll just quickly say that we are, as usual, having a great time playing tunes with one another. We are working up some new material that we hope to work out over the next few days. As you know, we don’t play with the frequency with which we used to, so these times are even more important to us, artistically, and to strengthen the bonds of smells and sounds that bind us together, like so many natto soybeans or coital slugs.
I will now pass the blog baton to Jake Sellers, who has been keeping his own daily journal. Please appreciate the raw efficiency that Jake uses with the English language. It should provide a great contrast to my own keyboard wordiness (note: some of the content has been redacted for the sake of mothers and other sensitive parties):
7/15, 16 up around 9:30, laid in bed for fifteen some minutes, did dishes, final preps, Sean green showed up at 10:38, got to josh’s at 11:15, stopped by Carytown for rollies, I grabbed the last Live! sleeves, drank a beer, on the road to Dulles, made it to gate with five minutes till door closed, Ed and graham made it at final minute, flight overbooked, josh and I got on Ed graham did not (rerouted to Frankfurt), had to retrieve stow away bag to get graham Ed their work visas, talked to 53 yr old linea Grey teacher at duke Ellington school of performing arts (Dc) from take off to landing in Toronto, facebook messaged girls for fifteen minutes before boarding (mom was one), fairly empty flight adds to comfort, slept little, 500 mile club, got to Edinburgh around 6am, customs, realized they lost our bags, dealt w that, took new tram to bill & sues, caught up, tea, took a long nap, walked w josh to return his t-mart “lost bag need underwears” purchase (he realized that Ed had his bag), in came the rain, walked to Douglas’, not home, walked for about forty in rain seeking coffee, internetted in cafe, met up w Ben Graham Ed, fake hugged force kissed Ben on the mouth, we all had dinner at Mother India Cafe, mutton curry & ginger spinach chicken& butter chicken & rice & poppadom w chutneys, walked to Leonie’s, recalled last year’s ed sleeping in bushes coke can for a pillow, met bfriend keekay, yurt set up, cold & wet so I stood in doorway till all came inside, chatting, radio 6, met new roommate Rosella, kicking the ball around out back w Graham Ben Josh before g&j left, had a beer, flirted w Rosella, charmed, left, b&e&me st Royal Oak pub, 3 quid Bowmore Islay single, fella playing guitar, left just as cajon player arrived, stopped by The Newsroom pub, briefly chatted to hot pants Scottish lass, b&e&me all had one small and one big Three Hoppeds (Edinburgh ale), challenged ed’s “restaurant food should cost what the food costs” view, had a good time.
7/17 up at 8, hi gerald!, in van around 8:45, got out of Edinburgh headed toward borders (about hour and half), listened to Jane Doe & dipaolo, nooner BBC radio spot, host Gordon very good, played jawbone and darlin, drove about hour to Brampton, walked about for two hours, got two postcards from antique shop, £1.10 for a carrot and a lb of strawbs, short drive to castle carrack, Worked on drum set up, soundcheck at 5, short rehearsal, worked up Hammer (debuted that night), dinner at 6 (chicken korma), went for solo hour walk, back music on the marr festival, hit stage near 9:30, had one beer before playing and one while playing, flub city never felt so good, more beer, Ben and I went to our accommodations, rest to theirs, hosts tommy and Tricia hung for about twenty before retiring were very nice, Ben and I stayed up a couple of hours drinking and talking, was great, slept around four or so
7/18 up at 10:30, quick cereal and toast w marmalade bfast, 90 some minute walk w Ben, missed intended path but was good, met boys by the van, listened to Nilsson and Slayer en route to Hawick, walked around with graham after popping in Morrison’s, stopped by middle eastern ish coffee shop, I had a slice of cherry plum cake and a hot chocolate, realized coffee date hot chocolate potential, met up at Border Club, saw loudon and davie briefly quick soundcheck, walked, josh and I walked up The Mote talked band business, back to club, 8:15 45 set killed, aggressive merch push, second set killed, great crowd, loudon happy, hurried to break down, fun band photo chick ankle bite, asked the club president for beers, he gave us ten, great time drinking & talking on the ride back to Edinburgh, funny times, all back at bill & Sue’s, graham Ben and I hung and drank on front steps (tB Eb to bed) for hour plus, mostly discussed hipster ramifications, bed around 4
7/19 up at 9:30, hour run to back of crags, listened to seasons of the abyss, in the van shortly after noon, two and a half hour ride to Gatehead (Newcastle), got there at ish two forty, listened to wolf, 3pm set time, very rushed, started close to three, fun set, outdoor stage, rain hit right before we started, lots of umbrellas, good set, back line kit had floor tom peaches big hits, broke down, short merch push, met new rope string daughter, split a hog roast w graham (no oink), hurried off to coldingham (about an hour and forty away), soundcheck, take away fish & chips, hurried to eat before we played, fun set not big crowd, chris (Glasgow big nice guy chickpeas) and fam came out, gave Dave (venue host) the flask i was to throw away (he wanted), 2nd set good and crowd liked it but ya know, played encore (dim lights, Roanoke) on theater steps, gushing with happiness, pushed merch, Gerry broke down my shit while I merch pushed, woman said I was a bridge and I made people want to be a part of us and I create landscapes but we had to go, I asked if she had a card, she didn’t so I was like “well (shoulder shrug)”, back in the van to Edinburgh, we all listened to queen (most of sheer heart attack) some e Costello and harry Nilsson’s vine st. in van, hung for five at bill & Sue’s, all went to pub, had two lager IPA fusion beers, hit up chip shop, I got mixed pakora, we all sat on church steps and ate our foods, back to b&S’s, little facebook and sleep
7/20 up at noon, out of bed at 1:30, ran to Portebellas seaside boardwalk (hadn’t been), walked boardwalk a little, ran back, looked into amazon flask purchase, got take away kabab curry from previous night place, hour some ride to Biggar, had Guinness w Ben, alright set, small crowd, rode back to Edinburgh, fun time scatting popular riffs, went out w Ben Ed, political military whistle blower sex change guy debate, good time, back at chippy I got nothing, Ed said he was in bad mood as he got large Donner but didn’t remember saying it caused slight weirdness when addressed, crisis avoided, back at b&S’s, sleep
7/21 up around noon, we all lugged our gear to go busking on the royal mile, ed having ed moments while waiting for coffee, busking went well till asked to stop, walked to oink for grunters, ate at grass market, popped by Armstrong’s, nothing there for me, got flask at antique shop down the way, continued busking on mile, bill came ’round, got shirts from shirt dude, Rva shirt photo op w Ben, dropped off gear and slammed some Stella at b&S’s, caught up w Ed and bill at theatre royal for a pint, walked to mother India, lamb dish saag paneer garlic naan poppadom, , Graham Ben I off to yurt, we chatted w Rosella for about thirty, went out for pints (early morning for R so she stayed), Blind Poet acoustic night, whiski there for fifteen min), the royal mile pub (rockaoke band Mintz chat), fairly sauced, graham cheese chipped, walk back to yurt, sleep around three(?)
7/22 up around eleven, busked on mile from 12 till 2, walked back for 3pm pick up, slept, stopped by paisly to kill time, got candy (toffee crisps/crunchies, drifter bar, something else) from Morrison’s, josh and Gerry off asda, Ben graham Ed kicked ball w Adam, I went to Alamo bar, chatted with chaddy (good man), had a Budweiser and a lone star, had a nice twenty some min conversation with elderly woman, “enough with the Beatles,” she used to be an opera singer, paisly born and bred, nice lady, headed to kilbarchan for gig, set up, Indian take away, short nap on grass, hot room, hot set, back to Edinburgh, we all harry nilssoned in van, went to newsroom pub TB g & b, fun convo, b&g off to yurt, TB&me back to bill Sue’s, little snack and bed around 2:30(?), first night of solid sleep in a while
7/24 alarm woke me around 6am, couldn’t get back to sleep, snooze alarm every ten minutes or so, bought four pears, back at b&S’s, ran five or so miles by swan lake and around Arthur’s seat, listened to slayer, showered, picked up at 11:30, about a four hour drive to portsoy, rode through Cairngorm’s park, aberdeenshire, fochabers, beautiful ride, lots of harsh fast turns and mountains, stopped by portsoy accommodations, headed to Findhorn, commune type village reminded me of The Beach, vegetarian dinner after soundcheck, post dinner solo walk through dunes to seaside, got back later than intended, I did not have a good first set, merch push mostly chatting but sold to all I chatted with, second set redemption set, really tired, rode back to portsoy, stayed w Gerry Ed, watched TV briefly, traded songs, drank four or five stellas, fishbone stories, adolescent Gerry discovers punk music stories, Gerry first concert (alex Harvey 1975ish) story, Ed to bed, I hung w Gerry for another beer, bed around 3:30
7/25 out of bed around eleven, walked w Ed to coast, took a dip, cold water didn’t take long to acclimate to, Ed walked back, i got postcards at marble shop, watched young cliff divers, walked back, Stella in the shower, picked up bearman, got a flat tire, put on spare, mint magnum bar while waiting for tyre repair, walked w Ben josh to get coffee, ice cream round two (toffee swirl), was asked to not take picture of ice cream, talked dead sister cassidy cat w josh on walk back to van
Being between great Benjo Gerry court and Ed land, Gerry talking about his passion of work, whether its 30 or 3000 people leaving happy makes work worthwhile, rare vulnerability, nature of the gig, go for money, be happy you get gas station sandwiches, all the miles hardships gas station sandwiches
Well now, how about THAT action, right there? It’s like we got to live in Jake’s brain for a while. Hope you enjoyed that. Upcoming blog topics: New songs, gardens, the Gerry Exposé!
Until we meet again!
PF, Jake, Et. Al.