The Dawn Chorus / The Retrospective Soundtrack Players - Blogging all over the World

My name is Kyle. I am a happily failing indie/punk/folk/country/rock musician from Hampshire, UK. I have been singing and songwriting in The Dawn Chorus since 2005, and The Retrospective Soundtrack Players since 2010. I love these two bands like my brother/wife rolled into one. This blog details the shows I have played with both bands, in chronological order.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


CXXXI - Portsmouth Eastney Cellars - 17/04/09

Friday 17th April 2009
Eastney Cellars, Portsmouth

The Dawn Chorus
The B of the Bang
Hold Fast
C.M Arnold & the Delta Breaks

Awesome, awesome fun. We had a bit of a love-in with B of the Bang, lending a hand on Last Day on Earth and New Road, whilst they helped out at the end of 'Blast'; Wit taking over from Keef on bass so Keef could play trumpet, Jack doing some impressive work on the tambourine and Elliott getting in on the tom action. Tom didn't seem to mind.

Before this Hold Fast and Clym & co put on an excellent show, I reckon this was probably the best bill in Portsmouth for a while and certainly the best bill we've played on for some time. A contender for my favourite gig ever. Possibly even better than Ringwood.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


CXXX - London George Tavern - 12/04/09


Sunday 12th April 2009
The George Tavern, London

The Dawn Chorus
The B of the Bang

The last show of the proper tour. Woke up in Elliott Gregg's house and after watching a bit of Junior with Arnold Schwarzenegger ("I'm gonna be a Mummy too!") Elliott's folks treated all nine of us to a cooked breakfast which is just outstanding. We then walked to a pub to watch the footy - it was a bit of a 1 pub 1 shop town, and apparently Elliott had worked in both.

We were only just outside London, so it was easy enough to get to the George Tavern, which was an extremely cool venue, if a little run down. Though apparently it's older than Canada, so you can't really complain. Both bands were a little tired and emotional but played well, in my humble opinion. It was cool to see some of our London chums and 'Happiest Home' is turning into a bit of a show-stealer for us, we will certainly be rolling that out a lot more in the future. The megabunny even avioded a police raid outside Neil's house at 2am in the morning when we were stopped by a van containing about 8 rozzers. They were nice enough though and didn't find the huge bag of skag in Pauly B's bag. Folk n roll.

Finally, in the words of Wit:

Jack didn't stop talking til the end of the tour,
Elliott was date-raped so his arse is sore,
Wit was mistaken for a lady a lot,
Matt saved his love so his voice was shot,
Neil cossacked in Bumper without a care,
Kyle maintained his luxurious hair,
Keith had a trip to A+E,
Ben went four minutes without losing a key,
A worrying smell of Piri-Piri,
Who's that in the toilet? It's Pauly B!
Julian and Fred were simply sublime,
Here's to the next Megabunny Funtime!

Amen x


CXXIX - Northampton Victoria Inn - 11/04/09


Saturday 11th April 2009
Northampton Victoria Inn

The B of the Bang
The Dawn Chorus

We thought this show wasn't going to happen when we realised the venue doesn't have a PA, but we eventually managed to wangle one and headed to Northampton. I had to help do the Big Shop in the morning but I was rewarded with a massive breakfast which went down a treat.

Arriving in Northampton was a litattle dpressing, as it always is when you realise you're doing a pub gig. We were even accosted shortly after arriving for not buying enough drinks! Though this was a false alarm and the place actually turned out to be very friendly. Points of note today:


CXXVIII - Southampton Talking Heads - 10/04/09


Friday 10th April 2009
Southampton Talking Heads

Tim and Sam's Tim and the Sam band with Tim and Sam
Little Things
The Dawn Chorus
The B of the Bang

Had a lovely sleep in my own bed though I made the mistake of getting up at ten; usually a lie-in but in this case actually only 5 hours sleep which was a killer later on in the day. We had good fun tonight and saw some old familiar faces. We also had an onstage lunge-off against the bang which kept things jovial. Tim and Sam were awesome tonight but the ordering of the bill was quite bizarre. I'm not going to bitch, but in terms of style Yellowgroove were completely inappropriate as support, just a totally different type of music. And the 5 band bill meant that Tim and Sam went on at about half 11 which was just ridiculous.


CXXVII - Preston Mad Ferret - 09/04/09


Thursday 9th February 2009
Preston Mad Ferret

The Dawn Chorus
Mr & Mrs
The B of the Bang

Woke up completely knackered and set off to Preston. Let it be said that the folks from the Corner House are 100% bona fide legends - they put us up, gave us a lock in and then gave us tea and hot cross buns in the morning. The drive to Preston was the first trafficy journey which was mildly annoying since it led to us missing the football museum in Preston. That made it 3 museums I'd missed on the tour. The Mad Ferret was a really cool venue and it was probably the best we played on the whole tour. At the start we were only getting a ripple of polite applause, by the end we seemed to have won loads of people round. Thats probably the best feeling there is as a band.

After the show we loaded out to head home and sleep in our own beds, though not until after an insanely long drive - 5 hours! The wind didn't help. Nelly was a legend and drove the whole way - I needed partially stolen coffee to keep me up. I'm going to hell kids. That's folk n roll.


CXXVI - Cambridge Corner House - 08/04/09


Wednesday 8th April 2009
The Corner House, Cambridge

The Incredible Flight of Birdman
The Dawn Chorus
The B of the Bang
Cocos Lovers

Woke in Norwich with slightly heavy heads and wounded pride after a calamitous non-gig. We needed a good'un in Cambridge to make up for it and by gosh we had one. We drove there early and half the gang, not including me, went for coffee at the workplace of our old mate Cambridge Steve. My half of the group went to play frisbee and football on a big green which was most fun. We then took a stroll into town, had a bite to eat and eventually met the other group whi informed us that we had another patking ticket. More football followed, which got a bit over-competitive between Matt and Keef and resulted in Keef being rock bottomed. They quickly kissed and made up. We then decided to leave the contact sports for the day and head into town for a look round the awesome buildings, though we spent more time in Fopp, where Wit spent about £70, though I only spent £4 on three Byrds albums that I will probably never listen to. We also attempted to go to the Folk museum, though it was shut. Also worth mentioning that despite the beauty of this city, two complete strangers were incredibly rude to me whilst we were plodding the streets, one even doing so whilst walking a pram.

We had dinner at Nanna Mexico which is amazing - see previous Cambridge blog - though it did open up sinuses I never knew I had. The venue was a cool little place and Cocos Lovers were AMAZING - kind of like a more traditional Johnny Flynn with superb Fleet Foxes-esque harmonies. Or, whisper it, maybe better harmonies than FF. I'd love to play with thme again, they are also smashing people to boot. The B of the Bang weren't too happy with their set, though I thought it was lush as always. After our set Keef said his ribs still hurt so myself and Wit took hime to A+E, where after about 3 hours he was told that he had fractured ribs and given some drugs. Meanwhile, myself and Wit discovered the joys of Khat. To top it all off the other bastards had a lock in at the corner house. And to top that off we couldn't find our sleeping bags when we got back (we were sleeping at the venue), so we had to attempt to sleep without them. Still, somehow this was a most enjoyable day.


Norwich - EPIC FAIL - 07/04/09


Norwich - no gig

Oh dear. Here's the long and short of it, I can only arsed to speak in short facts. Woke in Sheffield and went back to the Harley for Breakfast. Drove to Norwich which took quite a long time on the A roads. Spoke to promoter who told us to arrive at six. Got thowere a bit earlier so checked into T-lodge. Went to venue at six, greeted by barman who assured us that it would be dead since we were the only bands and weren't local. We then loaded our gear in. The barman then told us that we were promoting our own show, no local acts were even on the bill (we were assured that they would be), and that basically he didn't want to stay open. In his words; 'if you have to play, can we get it over and done with as quickly as possible'. The hostile atmosphere wasn't all that enticing and this guy seemed to be a complete nob, and the venue was miles out of town, so we grudgingly decided to fuck it off. I felt awful for being responsible for us going to Norwich, and we all had a little bit of a strop for half an hour.

Despite some calls to play Quasar (not mine), we decided to go to a pub, play darts and watch the footy. Other than Jack who asked me to give him some simultaneous equations to solve. That's folk n roll. Then we went back to the travelodge and sunk a bottle of Tequila and 60 bottles of Bier de Flandres which we'd bought earlier. This led to Pauly B sicking up Piri Piri chicken and Jack and Elliott running naked down the corridor. Good times.


CXXV - Sheffield Harley - 06/04/09


Black Carrot
The Dawn Chorus
The B of the Bang
+1 unknown

Woke in Liverpool and realised that we had a £25 parking fine on Fred Galaxy. Simone took an age to emerge from the travelodge and we thought she was had had enough of the Megabunny, though she was fine and soldiered on. A little sleep depraved was all. I wanted to go to the museum opposite our travelodge, but we decided to power on to Sheffield. On the way me, Ben, Neil, Keef and Simone stopped in the Peak district to climb a peak and look at shout at some sheep which was amazing and probably better than the museum would have been. Once in Sheffield we atched a bit of Jackass and Borat and had a little sleep.

The Harley was a cool venue, but again, a little empty. Interestingly, the venue is sponsored by Bench, and they actually give away Bench clothes to anyone who is willing to wear them on stage. This was music to the ears of the DC and Botb, with Jack nabbing a hoodie, Matt and Elliott t-shirts and Paul a pair of jeans. Paul also picked up a spare which will hopefully be paying off our parking fines on ebay very soon.

We played really well I thought, other than slightly fucking up Schumann. My voice seemed to be on fire, which was just as well as Keef and Matt had colds and were both totally out of action.

After us Black Carrot played, and they were either the most brilliant or the most mental thing I've ever seen. Or both. They would have made 'Trout Mask Replica' sound fairly commercial. One of them was playing a homemade cross between a saxophone and a pair of bagpipes, and the singer was prone to having a complete meltdown on stage. We then headed back to the T-lodge where I think everyone went instantly to sleep after last night's bumper night in Bumper.


CXXIV - Liverpool Tabac - 05/04/09


Liverpool Tabac
Sunday 5th April 2009

The B of the Bang
The Dawn Chorus
Kyle Rage
The Good Intentions
+ at least 2 more
A bit of explanation needed in advance here, we were initially due to go to Dundee on this day, but the show got pulled at less than a week's notice. Luckily Wit managed to rustle us up this acoustic show.
Earlier in the day we woke in Bristol and me and Wit initially decided that Elbow's 'Starlings' was going to be the theme tune for Nelly's debut performance as Lonesome George in 'Lonesome George the Musical'. We eventually managed to round up all the troops, including picking up Keef from fucking frenchay AGAIN, and went to Ikea for Breakfast/Lunch which was nice, though afterwards myself and Wit got lost in the Ikea maze.
I drove Fred Galaxy for the first time, which was interesting, and we eventually made it to Liverpool after endless banter, including Matt promising to play my face like a cahont (sp?). We realised once in Liverpool that we really needed to practice an acoustic set so we bundled into one of our travelodge rooms to do just that.
Arriving at the venue was quite funny - it was essentially a small wine bar and we turned up with about 20 guitar cases and other such nonsense. We quickly returned for the van to store all ou stuff in, though I got a bit over excited and destroyed Julian's side door handle :( After dinner in the chav courtyard of hell (Yates', Wetherspoon's, Lloyds Bar, Walkabout all within literal spitting distance of eachother) we returned to the venue where we realised that there were a ridiculous amount of bands on the bill. And the promoter thought that we were one band, not two. We decided to get stuck into some cocktails; 'Tabac' was very nice, 'Sea Breeze' tasted like Beef. Lots of people played, including the promoter who had a song called '173' - in which claimed to be 173 - which has plagued me ever since. By the time we played we were on the way to being merry and only had time for 2 songs; Fractured City and Relatively Young & Quite in Love (first ever outing). The B of the Bang also played 2 songs, finishing with Last Night on Earth and a mass singalong, or as 'mass' as you can get when there are more band members in the venue than punters.
After this we went to a club called Bumper which was
a) incredibly cheap - £2 for a beer and a shot! and...
b) incredibly full for a Sunday
It was in Bumper that the greatest thing I have ever witnessed in my life happened. There was one of those twats who goes to clubs to breakdance there, and he actually challenged Neil to a dance-off. Neil, who has the rhythm of a tramp with discombobulated fingers. So the circle opened up and this guy spins on his shoulders, does a backflip, does the worm and a few other moves before returning victoriously to his mates. Neil then pulls out a full-on cossack dance, complete with raised arms, and kept it going for about half a minute. My ribs have not ached so much for a long, long time.
We eventually left Bumper and walked back to the travelodge, though not before Elliott Gregg had time to steal a wooden chair which he fell asleep clutching.


CXXIII - Bristol Mothers Ruin - 04/04/09


Saturday April 4th 2009
Mothers Ruin, Bristol

The Dawn Chorus
The B of the Bang

Onwards to Bristol. We left our good friend Ben's house and went for a wander into town, stopping off at a music shop with an incredible selection of string instruments including an applatian dulcimer. We also stopped at a Fopp, which was very exciting for me since I used to spend about 90% of my income on Fopp back in my Uni days. I got 'Elliott Smith', 'The Host' double DVD and Greil Marcus' 'Invisible Republic' all for £8. Amazing. We then went to a Boulangerie (sp?) for some very tasty baguettes and cake served by some sensationally friendly ladies.
We then wandered to the downs for a game of frisbee, stopping off to bet on the Grand National on the way. At the downs we met the rest of the gang, played a bit of barefoot football and had a little rest, before stopping at a pub for a few ales and to watch the National. My horse was lengths ahead up to half way but then fell, the loser. Jack and Elliott Gregg were the only people to win any money.
Then we split again and half of us tried to go to the Corrie Tap for half an Exhibition Cider (12%!), but it was unfortunately closed so by some bizarre logic we had to go somewhere else for a half. By the time we'd found the venue I think I'd walked about 10 miles since the morning.
Mothers Ruin was a very strange venue, basically the upstairs in a bar, no particular stage or standing area. It wasn't too bad a show, a little quiet but worth doing.
After the show the gang went to Thekla, which is a club on a boat, but me, Neil, Wit and Simone first had to take the Van back to Neil's mate Joe's before getting a Taxi back to Thekla. However, when we got there we stood in the queue for ages before being told that we wouldn't get in. So we got another taxi home with a racist twat who didn't have a clue where he was going. In fact, the only achievement in going to Thekla was to give some money to a tramp whose fingers were - by his own admission - 'discombobulated'. So instead of going out we watched The Wicker Man and went to bed. We later found out that Elliott Gregg may or may not have been date-raped in Thekla - a man gave him a drink of water may or may not have rohypnoled him, then Elliott went missing for half an hour. Only Elliott will ever know, and since he was given a forget-me-do perhaps no-one will ever know.


CXXII - Swindon Vic - 03/04/09


Friday 3rd April 2009
Swindon Vic
The Dawn Chorus
The B of the Bang
Before I go on and on and on about the tour, here is a list of the players involved:

Kyle - your humble narrator and rhythm/shit guitar & vocals in the DC
Keef - theme-from-Postman-Pat-esque Bass demon in the DC
Nelly - lead guitar and organisational Hitler in the DC
Matt - drums & helium vox in the DC
Pauly B - keys/trumpet/lager demolition in the DC
Ben - mandolin/additional percussion & trumpet in the DC
Wit - vox/guitar/bass/keys/everything/lady clothes in BotB - aka Daddy Bang
Jack - guitar/bass/keys/banjo/b.vox/general dogsbody in Botb
Elliott Gregg - drums/lager in BotB

also starring
Simone - Nelly's wife
Fred Galaxy - a left-hand drive Ford Galaxy with a sticky third gear
Julian - Attack Vipers' superb Fiat Ducato splitter
Lonesome George - a turtle in the Galapagos isles who hasn't had a mate for 100 years but has been whcked off a few times
The pirate dog-book - a small book, perfect for setlists and inter-band characatures (sp?)

Exciting times. I waited in great anticipation for Ben to pick me up in the Ford Galaxy and loaded in the copious amounts of bottled water and Space Raiders. We then met Neil and the B of the Bang in Whiteley to drive down. We've played the Vic quite a few times now so we knew pretty much what to expect. What I didn't expect was to have to stand in the chippie for about 45 minutes while food was being constantly made but not given to us. They seemed to be in the middle of cooking an order for about 300 people so we seemingly had to wait while they flashed food that we weren't allowed to eat in front of our eyes. Though we were eventually given free sausage as an apology.

The B of the Bang were great (that sentence will crop up a lot) and Wit also had to play bass with us since Keef was at a wedding. Wit was kind enough to learn five of our songs, which we bolstered with our half-cover of Kurt Cooder's 'The Cello Player' and 'Heart of Hearts', which we hardly ever play. The soundman was a bit of a legend and we started a new game of 'leaning'. Which basically involves leaning. After the show we drove to Bristol and half of us stayed with Ben's mate Ben (Bill) and Neil's mate Joe.


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