Thursday, 8 May 2008

Long Weekend, Check-In

One week of non-blogging has passed. So put the kettle on, I have lots of words to type.

Last Thursday we had our ONLY Bumblebees practice in preparement for three gigs in three days. We had three new songs to practice, and happily we pretty much made them sound good. We stuck to the same setlist for all the gigs, mainly because it meant we didn't have to swap the drum tracks around.

This was the setlist:

Perfect Holiday
My Kaleidoscope
The Internal World
Fluffy Clouds Of Joy
Mysterious Guitar
Cool Science

The next morning Roz and I went outfit shopping, whilst Bert was at work doing whatever he does at work. We got some yellow t-shirts, some black ribbon, and some artificial flowers. We stuck the ribbon on the shirts. The idea was to be bee-like, but I'm not sure how well it worked. We only wore it on the Friday in the end, just cos it got really sweaty and the ribbon started falling off. I like the idea of outfits though - it's like being in the army, only fun.

Friday night we played at The Cooler. It's quite a big venue, but is never really that full, and is generally considered to be the loudest place in the world. So the sound is never that good, and it was not that good on this night. Some of our friends came and watched, but not as many as I thought might. I don't think they missed much though. We were a bit under-rehearsed, and it made us a bit lacking in confidence. Near the end I broke my D string. I didn't really recover. Arctic Circle were on after us and great as always. The main difference was the sharp upturn in danciness from their previous sets - I would say they are verging towards twee-funk. Or, twunk.

On Saturday we played our first London gig, supporting Zipper at Monkey Chews in Camden. (Venue fact: we saw an Amy Winhouse documentary the other night and someone was interviewed in the very place that we played! I'm pretty sure that means we've made it...) It was probably our most exciting gig so far. I broke my D string again, this time on literally the first note I played. I asked if I could borrow someone else's, and the guitarist from Zipper (whose name sadly I don't know and haven't looked up) said I could use his. Not only that but whilst we were playing he changed my string for me! The rest of the gig went really well I think. Despite no monitors or owt, the sound seemed really good from where we were standing, and we hardly mucked up at all. Zipper Man's guitar was really nice - apparently it is an old Spanish one that you can't get anymore.

All the other bands were really good (fuzzpop monsters Horowitz, indiepop troubadour MJ Hibbett, and especially Zipper, who literally made me dance). The gig finished with a disco - they played "Canada" by the Field Mice which was nice, cos I requested it.We stayed at Ian's house - he is one of the promoters, and probably is a frontrunner for the World's Nicest Person award. The four of us (three Bees and a Byrion, our friend turned keyboard-stand-carrier) stayed in his front room, which had a double bed in. Bert saw fit to share that with me and Roz. He snored loads.

Sunday morning we said our goodbyes to Ian and went to Camden Market (with directions from Ian's impeccable map). I think if there is a good way to visit Camden Market on a Sunday, it probably doesn't involve carrying guitars, rucksacks, a synth and a keyboard stand. And it probably involves knowing that Camden Town tube station is closed before lugging all the aforementioned equipment there. Still we got some food that was nice. We said goodbye to Byrion at Victoria cos he was going off to see a friend. The rest of us hopped on the Megabus and headed home, and more specifically to the Louisiana, where were the city of Bristol was gathering to welcome their heroes home.

When I say 'the city of Bristol', what I actually mean is Duncan, the sound guy. We were supporting Land Of Talk, an band from Montreal. This time I broke my A string in soundcheck. The other band playing were Meet Me Today, a POWER TRIO of 16-yr-olds playing their first ever gig. This meant that for the first time in Bumblebees history, we weren't the opening band. Hopefully this will happen more and more. They were what MJ Hibbett would call "professional, competent, rocking and tight". We were all that and more. I am really getting into Mysterious Guitar, I think it's great. Sadly not many people were there to witness it (only one member of Land Of Talk watched, I guess the other two couldn't find their way out of the dressing room). Land Of Talk were pretty boring, like a bland Rilo Kiley, if you can imagine such a thing.

We have now played six gigs in total, in about eight months of formal band existence. I think that is pretty good, but I would love to have more. Luckily, we do - one on Sunday in Bristol, and one on Tuesday in Bath! YES!

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