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, February 28, 2010
CLVI - Leeds Royal Park Cellars - 27/02/10
Saturday 27th February 2010
Leeds Royal Park Cellars
The Dawn Chorus
Tag Team Preacher
Jeez, I've left it too long to write this one. Furthest trip for a gig yet. Very long drive. Got to venue in good time to have a pint and meet alex the promoter, who was a top, top man. In fact, all of his mates who helped promote the night were great too. Pauly B was a little behind the rest of us after he went to see Pompey play in Burnley first.
Soundcheck took til right up to doors, so we quickly nipped out for some cheesy chips and dodgy pizza in one of the numerous dodgy local kebbaberies. It was during this trip that we were tempted to ditch the gig and go to see a double bill of The Wicker Man and Don't Look Now at the local arthouse cinema. Unfortunately it was the original Wicker Man though, not the far superior Nick Cage remake.
All the supports were cool, including our old chums Ivan Campo, who I hadn't seen for a while. They have actually now replaced the footballer Ivan Campo in my brain now - I no longer think of the afro'd old Spanish duffer when I heart the words 'Ivan Campo'.
We played pretty well, there was a nice little crowd, although they did start singing 'There's only one Frank Turner' after we played Carnivalesque. Luckily the potential for awkwardness was diffused when Matt misheard them and thought they were singing for Ghanain ex-Leeds legend Tony Yeboah.
We drifted off home - agreeing to split the drive into two hour spurts between myself and Matt. Matt did his 2 hours and then promptly fell asleep, leaving me to keep myself awake by listening to deafeningly loud Derek and Clive cds, followed by hollering every word to 'Pinkerton' and 'Funeral' at the top of my out-of-tune lungs to keep myself awake.
This is what I live for. Amongst other things.
CLV - Brighton Komedia Studio Bar - 25/02/10
Thursday 25th February 2010
Brighton Komedia Studio Bar
The Dawn Chorus
The Hornblower Brothers
The B of the Bang
No van. Horrendous weather (car-deep puddles). Very late for soundcheck. Subway dinner, as always. Comedy club, candle light. Jack BOTB turned up 2 minutes before set time. And spent less than an hour in Brighton. Soundman problems for BOTB. Good set though. Ben Glen Belt put us on, along with Steve Bland (again). Steve drove down from Oldham to see the show. Legend. Glen Belt were great. Stream of consciousness poetry from Gary G. Hornblower Bros were great. Brighton's most northern band. We played well. Had a heckler but I think he left. Very tired drive home. Onwards to Leeds.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
CLIV - London Wilmington Arms - 21/02/10
Sunday 21st February 2010
London Wilmington Arms
The Dawn Chorus
The day after the huge wedge show we went to London and did probably our best ever London show. Pauly B was feeling the effect of not going to sleep the night before, but still ripped out some awesome trumpet work as always. I think he had a good sleep afterwards. We also had a good discussion about the percentage of tomatoes in tomato ketchup. I think we settled on 124% More tomatoes than actual tomatoes. This show was put on by Mr Steve Bland, who has outdone himself in terms of good deeds towards the DC. A truly awesome guy.
CLIII - Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms - 20/02/10
Saturday 20th February 2010
Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
The Dawn Chorus
The B of the Bang
All the Shapes
Our first proper
wedge headliner, and things went off pretty damn well. In fact things went bloody spiffingly. It was All the Shapes' first ever gig, though 3/5 of them used to play in Seven Days at Knifepoint and Solrun with our guitarist and organisational generalissimo Nelly. They were great.
We'd just done a couple of dates with Revere, and it was good to see them on a proper stage. Though, perversely, a part of me preferred them in the bowling alley in Bristol. Perhaps it's the part of me that always backs the underdog.
The B of the Bang started their set with 'Last Night on Earth' in the middle of the crowd, which they often do, and it was amazing - a proper 'moment'. The crowd gradually got on board and were in raptures by the end. TBOTB had a few technical issues and I know Wit wasn't feeling great about things afterwards, but everyone I spoke to loved them.
We played most of the new album with a few slight oldies thrown in for good measure. Everything seemed to hold together pretty damn well. I had to really make myself look out and enjoy the moment - we nearly filled the wedge. I had wanted to headline the wedge since I saw JJ72 there at 16, and now we've done it. So thanks to everyone who came, I hope we were nearly as good as JJ72 x
Friday, February 19, 2010
The Carnival Leaves Town - Track by Track
1) Enter: The Carnival
- This was written quite late in the day once I knew there was a theme to the album. It was originally written to lead into 'Carnivalesque' but we changed the key so that it ran into 'The Guilt' instead. I wrote the vocal part but I wanted it to be shouted by a proper circus announcer. My effort and our label boss Rich's effort didn't quite sound right, but eventually Matt the drummer did a great take. It didn't sound right high in the mix, but when we added ambient noises and lowered the vocal in the mix it sounded great. I can play exactly one song on the melodica, and this is it. The idea here is quite similar to the opening track from Tom Waits' 'The Black Rider', though I hadn't heard that when I wrote this.2) The Guilt!
- One of the oldest songs on the record. I think this song encapsulates the essence of what we're about. This, along with 'Carnivalesque', is meant to cover the theme of staying faithful despite temptation - In the context of the album it's about a guy staying faithful while his girl is on the road with the Carnival. It's probably the most fun to play live out of all the new songs.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOW2hzfK2fA3) Pacifists
- This began life much further back in the running order, but it was succesfully bumped forward after an intense Concordes-esque band meeting. The story doesn't really have anything to do with the Carnival theme, it just comes from something I overheard people on a train talking about. I suppose it sounds a bit like 'Neon Bible' by Arcade Fire. This was an example of a song that sounded very average at demo stage, but came on leaps and bounds when the band got their teeth into it.4) Heartbeat in 5/4
- I knew this would be great from when Neil first played me the riff. I nicked the title idea from a Gaslight Anthem song but didn't realise until it was too late. This could be my favourite track from the album.5) Relatively Young and Quite in Love
- I'm proud of this because it pulls together so many instruments but without sounding like a mess. It's the only time on the album that I bitch about small town music scenes, which I used to do a lot more. The title comes from when I was a legendary local band called The Marvellous Mechanical Band play a track called 'When You're Young and in Love', or something along those lines. And I thought; these guys are older than me but they're young an in love. So perhaps that could apply to anyone. It's really me trying to say that despite all the crap that comes with it, there's nothing I'd rather do than spend time with my 6 best friends, playing silly country-folk music to 10 people in Sheffield.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkDVxf4A4-U6) Carnivalesque
- This was/is the lead-off single and features the charming Mr Frank Turner on vocals. We first met him when we supported him for a dodgy gig in Portsmouth, and he seemed to really like our stuff, so we kept in contact and supported him a few more times, then managed to rope him into singing on a few album tracks. He did a great job and had it finished in time for us to eat Humous and listen to his album. The three-trumpet part of this song is possibly the best thing we've ever done - it could have come out sounding a bit ska but actually ended up with more of an Eastern European feel.
It recently struck me that I got the titles of 'The Guilt' and 'Carnivalesque' round the wrong way, since this mentions the word 'guilt' twice and both songs are equally 'carnival-esque'. But it's a bit late once the album has been out for 3 weeks.7) Schumann
- Last year I had a book which had 365 pages so that you could learn about something new every day of the year. Fridays were music but it was always boring classical music, though some of the composers had interesting lives, such as Schumann. He was a child prodigy, as was his future wife Clara, whom he met when he was about 16 and she was nine or something. I'm working from memory. He was a bit of a genius but drove himself mad and completely lost the plot later in his life. I can't really remember the details any more...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Schumann
...but I was inspired at the time and wrote this.8) Green, Unpleasant Land
- This is also one of the oldest tracks, though it's been changed so many times that we don't play it live any more. I quite like it, listening back. It's probably the most 'Big Adventure' track on the album. Maybe we'll play it again one day.9) Carnival Sound
- This was a very, very late entry to the album but I'm chuffed that it made it. It's one of my favourite lyrics; I think it captures a few of the recurring themes on the album. Me, Neil and Wit are the only players on this track - the falsetto 'oohs' are myself and Neil, despite Neil's best efforts to replace them with Simps. It was probably the least produced track, and in a way it makes me want to make a more spontaneous album sometime, either within or without the DC.10) The Happiest Home in These Hills
- yes, I stole that title and melody from.... Pete's Dragon:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yxYpEbqd6U
If Disney ever sue us then I guess at least it means someone's listening. This is very old, possibly the actual oldest track of the bunch. I'm not mad on the lyric, but I guess it gets the contrast of people's perception vs reality across, or at least it's meant to. Great fun to play live with the massive drums, I'm not quite sure if it's possible to do all the extra drums justice on record. Lots of people seem to like this though.11) Raised on High Wires
- This was originally called 'Carnival no.2', though that got veto'd due to the ridiculous amount of Carnival titles already involved. Lots of people mention Weezer, I think it's the bridge that's Weezeresque. For some reason we've stopped playing this live but I'm very keen for it to return asap. It's a hell of a tune. The original structure was very different and the old chorus was completely balls, but Neil and I (mostly Neil) spent about six months re-moulding it to make it work.12) The Carnival Leaves Town
- We had gotten into a habit recently of closing every EP and album with a huge crescendo of a track - Little Pinpricks, Last Day of April, A Blast from the Present - and we didn't want to fall into the trap of doing the same again. Not that there's anything wrong with any of those tracks, it's just that we aimed for a different kind of album closer. It still has a big ending, but in a more controlled way. Yes, it sounds 100% Saddle Creek but I really don't care.
That's it, hope you like it.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
CLII - Bristol The Lanes - 16/02/10
Tuesday 16th February 2010
Bristol The Lanes
The Dawn Chorus
Woke in Sheffield early to put more time on the car and van and then went for a stroll to get a paper. Read that and some Betjeman and the lazy bastards still weren't up, so I woke up Ben to have a fry up with me, on the house because The Harley are awesome.
We were all rather worse for wear after Corporation so we made slow progress towards Bristol. We eventually got there too late to visit Fopp, which was slightly heartbreaking for me, though probably for the best since I'm skint. The Lanes was exactly that, a bowling alley:
We were playing right next to that, so it wasn't really a gig to play the quiet songs at. I had a really nice burger at the venue with my sister, her husband and friends, but by this point I was getting rather worried that I had a bad sore throat that really wasn't getting any better. It may have been due to not taking a coat on tour during near sub-zero temperatures at times.
Today's soundman was called James and he was a legend.
Mercy Alexander were great and Revere were absolutely incredible, as they always are. I can't wait til they support us at the Wedge later this week. My voice was completely dead, as was Ben's mandolin, but I think we played well, and it was a free show after all. I think singing was actually good for my knackered voice, since it pushed through a lot of the grizzly phlegmy bits.
All in all a good tour so far
CLI - Sheffield The Harley - 15/02/10
Monday 15th February 2010
Sheffield The Harley
The Dawn Chorus
Cats: For Peru
We like the Harley. We left Addis' house early after Neil and Wit had played a truly special rendition of 'Sweet Child o' Mine' on an acoustic bass and guitar, and we had watched the Sam Neill video a few hundred more times.
When we arrived in Sheffield Matt crushed Neil's leg while parking the van. But Neil is a tough man and it didn't faze (sp?) him. We went for a walk in Sheffield and looked at the big wheel...
but we didn't go on it as it was £6.50. Instead we went into another HMV and didn't buy anything, as we generally tend to do.
Today's soundman was called Gibbs. He did a great job.
The Harley is a great venue run by cool people. They gave us two rooms in the hotel, free beers and breakfast in the morning, though Pauly B wasn't up to it. Whay wasn't he up to it? Because we went to Corporation after our show, quite possibly the worst club in the whole world. The only drinks were Vodka and Alcopop or Jagermeister. And the alcopop was on tap. You should not be able to order a drink by its colour ("Blue.") It was 5op for vodka and alcopop before midnight. The upstairs bar was hotter than the sun and made my glasses instantly steam up. They played 'She fucking hates me' by Puddle of Mudd. The toilets were pitch black and covered in piss. The whole place was painted black. Wow.
I forgot to mention that Cats: For Peru were great and the Djs basically played my record collection to a T, though they didn't have Nate Dogg & Warren G's 'Regulate'. After the club this happened:
CL - Birmingham Sunflower Lounge - 14/02/10
Sunday 14th February 2010
Birmingham Sunflower Lounge
The Dawn Chorus
Carlos & The Jackal
We woke in Bath to the sound of Klaire's landlady banging on the door relentlessly to avenge the noisy van from the night before. We had tea, toast and Hob Nobs and watched the Match of the Day repeat :( The hot water tank ran out so there were at least two unhappy bunnies in the DC.
We went into Bath and had an awesome pasty. It was at this point that Wit introduced us to the greatest piece of acting in cinema history; Sam Neill's scream in Event Horizon:
We wandered round Bath, which was a lovely city, and probably still is. The drive to Birmingham was easy enough, though we played in the centre of town so it took forever to park. We met Mr Addis who put on the show and also put us up for the night. He was a bit of a legend, though the show was a bit quiet, possibly due to it being the first time he'd put on a show there. Still, it was for charity and we played pretty well. The soundman was called James and he did a decent job in a sub-standard venue (the sound booth was behind the stage.)
We then retired to Addis' house where we ate endless Doritos and looked at his collection of Futurama figures:
He loved the Beatles too. Addis had a few too many cheap Aldi's ciders and fell down the stairs, burning a hole in the airbed he was carrying at the time. He and his partner Leslie were great hosts though, and we were very grateful. Apropos of nothing, here is a picture of Matt's Potato head:
CXLIX - Bath Moles - 13/02/10
Saturday 13th February 2010
The Dawn Chorus
Out Like A Lion
The tour continues properly. We started the day by going to the Southampton vs Portsmouth FA Cup match. Let's just say that Pauly B came out the happier man. Actually, with Wit and BenO on tour we actually had more Pompey than Saints fans in the band.
Bath Moles was a cool little venue, and although we only played to probably 20 people, they seemed to get it and we got an encore call. The support band Out Like A Lion were great and lovely chaps, and we got free food in a vegetarian restaurant and a rider. We are simple men, these things keep us happy.
Today's soundman was called Ed, he was a legend.
After the show we huddled into a tiny room and Wit told us about some of his techniques... sideways.
We stayed at my Sister's lovely house but unfortunately we woke up her landlady with our noisy van and she - possibly without realising it - quoted from The Inbetweeners: 'What on Earth is going on here?' I think that's what she said anyway, I was hiding behind a hedge at the time. Wit and BenC wanted to watch the whole of 'Yes Minister' on DVD but we eventually turned in.
CXLVIII - Winchester Railway Inn - 12/02/10
Winchester Railway Inn
Friday 12th February 2010
The Dawn Chorus
START OF THE VALENTINE GAY TIME TOUR!
So we started touring our new album 'The Carnival Leaves Town' and it was somewhere between moderately and fairly good. We realised that we now have an insane amount of gear, especially when we play with Revere, who have 8 members. Between us we can bury a venue in amps and guitar cases.
Today's soundman was called Kieran and he was a legend.
Neil, myself, Simone and Jess had a quite nice Chinese meal in a restaurant with shocking service. A fairly drunk crowd, but then it was a Friday night. Basically, an OK start to the tour. Neil and BenO arrived in the same clothes. Behold, Neil increased by scale factor 1.5:
..or is that Wallace and Carl Froch?
CXLVII - Southampton Hampton's - 29/01/10
Friday 29th January 2010
The Dawn Chorus
This was our COMEBACK gig and our first as a proper 7-piece rather than a 6-piece with regular contributions for sir Wit. In other words, Wit is a proper full-time member now, and it sounds awesome. For this gig we also had Ben O (The Ox) on bass in place of Keef, who was taking a few gigs off to concentrate on Uni. We had a few slight wobbles but it went off pretty much without a hitch. We were on a fairly ridiculous Oasis-lite bill - the band after us opened by shouting: 'Let's have some proper fucking rock'n'roll!' or something along those lines.
Also, if you are ever accosted by a large and fairly aggressive Polish tramp in Southampton city centre it helps to have a bag of Doritos handy.