All posts in June 2016

When Wrong goes Right (Wrong Festival, Bulgaria)

Another early start but thankfully all goes smooth and soon am pottering about Gatwick waiting for the rest of the chaps to hook up and head out to Bulgaria for another rock and roll adventure. Having had a brilliant show the previous Saturday at the Stone Free Festival, I was enthused and invigorated to heading back to Sofia for the first time since 2011.

Today is a travel day so we relax, catch up, fly and eventually get into the hotel. Stefan our local driver/helper/guru recommends somewhere to go get food and a drink so some of the lads head off with him whilst I and a few other opt for an early night.

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The next morning we have a sound check scheduled so it’s up for breakfast and then a short 30 minute drive out to the festival. This has got to be one of our earliest sound checks ever…we’re done by 11am so by UK time that would be 9am! Weird. Already its crazy hot so in the absence of any shelter we hang about for a bit then Stefan drives us down into a nearby village for an excellent traditional Bulgarian lunch.

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The food is superb and enlivened by a couple of thunderous showers resulting in us moving table not once but twice as we slowly work our way through the delicious fare. Good call as we won’t be eating until after the show and Richard our tour manager has a sneaking suspicion our stagetime will be put back due to the gig running late.

After a coffee or two to waken us up we do a load of interviews, couple for some music programs, couple for national TV, all of which are good fun and they have some good questions. I think some of the questions stumped us, which is something considering the number of interviews we’ve done over the years. Rich even gets asked to get involved!

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Back up to the festival and we hang out until our show. Sadly there’s only one small communal dressing room which in itself isn’t a problem, but there is now one of the other bands all fast asleep on the couches in there. As a result we just sit on a bench outside, in the blazing sun, waiting for our show…old school!

Andy has had an invite to go play with a fine Bulgarian band called BROND so a few songs into their set we walk over to the 2nd stage to watch them rip it up. They do a very cool version of “Living In the Shadow Of The Terrible Thing” and despite the best efforts of a dodgy mic lead, all goes well.

Pottering about the crowd already I can feel it’s a very nice atmosphere at the festival…people are dead friendly and having a good time, getting into the spirit of things and it’s getting me very excited for the show.

We signed this for Stefan when he met us on our first visit back in 1998!

We signed this for Stefan when he met us on our first visit back in 1998!

As Rich predicted we go on about an hour late but no bother to us, a show is a show regardless of stagetime and there are people here to be entertained! We’ve added “Stop It You’re Killing Me” into the set in light of the bad political mess we left in the UK and popped Unbeliever and Misery back in.

From the off the crowd are into it…punks, metallers, hippies, kids and older folk are all rocking out and going for it. Quite a sight to behold. Thankfully the onstage sound is perfect like sound check so it’s very easy for us to dig in and enjoy the playing. Bar a moment when I bang my bass headstock off another bands keyboard stand which was leaning a bit too close to me, technically its ace. Vibe-wise it’s a perfect crowd and the sun begins to set as we play through the tunes resulting in us playing the final few songs in darkness lit only by strobes and red light.

There’s time for one more song when we finish so we quickly tune up and get into “Trigger Inside” before exiting to ANOTHER camera interview, a meet and greet and then we grab a quick bit of dinner. All a bit hyper we watch Vintage Caravan’s set which is killer; check them out if you get a chance, lots of energy and lots of riffs! As midnight draws near the early starts and the hot & humid weather begins to kick in and we all wisely head back to the hotel to get rested up.

Sooooooo, thanks to all you folk who came out to the show, everyone who looked after us (esp. our man on the ground Stefan!), everyone who chatted with us in the interviews or came up to chat at the festival. It’s a cracking setting with a cracking line-up and we were honoured to be invited. Cheers Wrong Festival.Hopefully get back sooner rather than later guys,

Thank you all again!

Michael

Stone Free Festival

We all had a bleary eyed start to the day.Mine began with a bright and early 6am pick up aiming to get down to the O2, London for a sound check at 11am. Being my first visit to the O2 I was excited about playing there and was impressed by the place. I’m sure Stone Free will go from strength to strength.

We decided to tweak the set a little since our last show at Sweden Rocks and added ‘Lonely Cryin’ Only’. Everything went to plan in sound check – onstage sounds were sorted and equipment checked. We were very happy and really looking forward to the gig. Following sound check we had a little time to relax and grab some food before interviews began and the early show time of 4.30pm.

For the band and audience, indoor festival shows in the middle of the afternoon, can sometimes be a little unpredictable but this one felt great. We really enjoyed ourselves. The sound was spot on and the crowd were brilliant (as always!)

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After the show we had time to meet up with friends, have a few beers and watch The Darkness who played a blinder and were great fun. Michael had an early flight leaving myself and Andy to finish off the rider whilst sporting someone’s wig we found (I’m still a little unsure about that!. A great end to a great gig.

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Instead of staying in a hotel this was a rare occasion, we all went home after the show meaning I would wake up at home on Father’s Day. Now, after dropping many, many hints, my plan was to allow my children (the little cherubs who make this bizarre life worth living) bring me breakfast in bed followed by some peace and quiet whilst putting my feet up and being served a nice cuppa periodically throughout the rest of the day…yeah, right!!

Until the next time my friends.

Neil

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“Wood & Wire” acoustic tour announced!

The “Wood & Wire” tour is go!Very pleased to confirm the band will be doing a short run of acoustic shows this Nov/Dec, full details HERE. The set will consist of ‘acoustic/unplugged’ reworkings of songs from our extensive back catalogue and there are more dates to be added.

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Hey Sweden, You Rock!

To get our very early flight to Copenhagen we have to set our alarms at 4am. So after very little sleep we trek to Gatwick airport in a daze and fly to Denmark.We cross the bridge and post TV Detective drama ‘The Bridge’ it all seems very familiar except on the box the journey from Copenhagen to Malmo only seems to take a couple of minutes and doesn’t involve any other roads.

We arrive at the hotel in Sweden three hours later, check into our hotel rooms and drive a further forty five minutes to the Sweden Rocks festival site.On the way up to the gates the queues of fans are smiling, friendly and merry with no one flipping the finger at bands entering ( this happens quite often at festivals strangely enough and not just to us either) and a few well wishers screaming their regards at us in English.

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The backstage area is very chilled and all the staff are really helpful and accommodating. We do an interview and then go out for a look at the festival itself in all its glory.The sun is shining and everybody is happy it seems.Lots of stages and really good bands all crammed onto the bill.In no time at all we’re onstage and it’s fantastic to see the crowd stretch back the whole way to the mixing tower, we certainly weren’t expecting as large a turn out but it was amazing to see. Lots of people cheering, singing words and looking cheerful.

The set starts great but four songs in the middle I’m distracted with sound problems which thankfully get sorted out in time for the finale. New songs ‘Still Hurts’, ‘Deathstimate’ and ‘Tides’ go down really well and the looks on people’s faces when we start the riff of ‘Nowhere’ was priceless. A bit of a triumph of a gig which I wasn’t expecting but very, very grateful for. Thank you to each and every one of you who made the effort to come over to our stage and check us out, it made us really appreciate your support and hopefully we’ll get to see you again in Swedish club shows in the not too distant future.By the time we come off stage, shower and change Slayer have finished, which is a bummer but at least we can have some food before we head out to party.

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Can I just say for the record that the food at Sweden Rocks is the nicest I’ve ever had at any festival in all the twenty six years the band has been going. The staff in the catering tent were so helpful and sweet and the whole meal was had in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.Afterwards we get a chance to hangout and watch some bands, Mayhem and Queen being the two highlights (I bet you never thought you’d hear those two bands mentioned in the same sentence).

Evil Priest & Necrobutcher...basses of evil!

Evil Priest & Necrobutcher…bassists of evil!

We head back to the hotel to our rooms and have a good nights sleep as we don’t have to leave until late the next day.Well, Sweden Rocks….thank you so very much. Thanks to the fans who came out to see us, we love you, thanks to all the staff who made our festival run so smoothly, you’re an example to other festivals and a big hello again to all the friends old and new that we bumped into, Biffen, Darren Edwards, Nicke Borg and anyone that asked for autographs or photos or any of the kind people who made a point of coming up to us and saying hello or wishing us the best.

Andy, Nicke Borg & Michael

Andy, Nicke Borg & Michael

Sweden, we salute you and hope that it’s not too long until we meet again. All the very best from our dark, twisted hearts,
Andy Cairns,Therapy?