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!)
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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…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
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,
One of my very first memories is being in the belly of a ship with my Dad. He’d been in the Merchant Navy and on a trip to Belfast docks he’d taken me into a boat while he caught up with some of his old pals.The awe inspiring size of the machinery, the womb like throbbing, the clanging and creaking all caused sensory overload on a pre-school boy.
More, later, memories are attached to the City of Bristol. Infernal Love, Semi Detached, High Anxiety and Disquiet, all T? albums with a connection to a part of the west. Recording or rehearsing in Bristol, Bath or Box and having many nights out inbetween.
Stepping into a boat in Bristol for our first gig on the UK leg of the Infernal Love tour brings both sets of memories back. The Thekla, a boat/gig that we first played in in 1992 and have returned to many times since. This time we’re performing an album that for many years I personally hated because of the negative momentum it generated around the band at the time of its release in 1995. The press hated it but even worse a lot of our fan base (built up over six years hard work) walked after it was put out to the world. The backlash from fans was horrendous and the band as we knew it changed and never really recovered until the arrival of Neil Cooper in 2002.It knocked all confidence out of me and it would be three years until we released another record, 1998’s tentative Semi Detached.
Arriving into Bristol, not far from Real World studios in nearby Box where we recorded Infernal Love, I’m in a mixed mood. The location reminds me of the stress the band was under in ’95, and the gruelling grind of having to quickly whip up a follow up to our previous successful album to appease the record company. Back then I was an exhausted man whose love of music was beginning to fade under the reality of the business that surrounded it.Arriving at the Thekla my spirits lift. The last shows we’ve played here have been amazing and the womb-like atmosphere adds to the vibrating intimacy.To add more optimism The Membranes are on the bill. A huge fave of T? for many years we know their rumbling rock in opposition with entertain our fans and get us worked up and ready to impress.
The band catch up with Russell, who engineered Infernal Love at Real World Studios waaay back in 1995
Well Bristol, what more can I say? You turned out in numbers and sang every word back. Epilepsy was epic, Stories anthemic, Moment of Clarity momentous and even Bowels of Love ( the cause of much outrage among T? fans when the album was released) went ahead miles better than we ever thought. By the end of Thirty Seconds I think I began to believe that maybe there was something in this awkward old bugger of an album that got through to some people and perhaps some hope had one out of it after all. The kindness of the Bristol crowd had opened a door for the rest of the tour. Having a start like that helped the band to really look forward to the next eleven gigs.
Thank you so very much to the people of Bristol ( and Bath, Box and surrounding areas) for all you help and belief. Looking forward to seeing you all again soon.
Spend the morning listening to Breadfan by Budgie to get me in the mood for travelling the short trip from Bristol to Cardiff. We’ve always had a good time in Cardiff and look forward to going there. The Globe is one of our favourite venues, the stage is right up close to the audience and the small balcony at the back adds to the atmosphere.
During soundcheck a hero of mine turns up to rehearse a song with The Membranes. It’s Keith Levine of Public Image and original guitarist in the Clash. John Robb of the Membranes introduces me but I’m nervous, this guy played on the Metal Box album! He wants to borrow my amp which is an honour for me so I’m not going to say no. I watch the soundcheck and after finding the time and feel he wants starts to play these mysterious inverted chords and harmonics that are so instantly recognisable as his style ( listen to Poptones off Metal Box to get an idea of what I’m taking about). An unexpected treat to begin the rest of the day.The Membranes have a triumphant set later and get the crowd suitably in the mood with their twisted and quaking sound scrapes.
Keith Levine soundchecking with The Membranes
From the moment we take the stage the Cardiff crowd makes it know that they are up for it. Yelling, ranting, stamping and singing it’s a joy to be part of.Even during the Infernal Love set its a wave of energy that is totally infectious and makes the band play louder and harder. The second set sees them up their game so we have to do the same. By half way through the evening I’m so drenched in sweat that my shoes are squelching and my guitar strings are beginning to deaden ( and later rust!). After we leave the stage the noise of the crowd still goes on and we’re in the little room at the side of the stage talking about how lucky we are to have fans like this.
Afterwards we meet up with some friends and head to Womanby Street where we sample some local beer and a Welsh Whiskey or two.Thank you Cardiff, what a gig and what a City.Your hospitality is incredible, thank you for all your support over the years.
Over the years we’ve had some stunning gigs in Southampton. The Joiners Arms on the Babyteeth tour, The Guild Hall on the Troublegum and original Infernal Love tour and the University on the Suicide Pact….You First tour.In 2014 we played the Engine Rooms on the Troublegum 20th anniversary tour and it was good fun so we were expecting another good night.
Things didn’t start off to well. We had agreed to do the Infernal Love show in the Engine Rooms in their modified capacity venue. We knew we wouldn’t get as big a crowd for IL as for the TG show so we arranged with the venue that they would move bits and pieces so that the hall would be set up for a 400 capacity show and provide an intimate atmosphere for band and audience to enjoy the show in.On arriving at the venue we were told that they wouldn’t be facilitating the change as there was a club night on afterwards and they would have to change it all back. Even though it was in the contract…
To make things worse the venue was constantly reminding our crew all day that there was a club night on afterwards and they had to be out of the building as quickly as possible so they could get ready for their Soul and Funk night. As you can imagine the whole atmosphere backstage was somewhat strained, not the ideal vibes we wanted before a show.Show time came and we had to play the Infernal Love album in a hall too large for the event. It crushed the atmosphere and although we feel the audience there was amazing and we certainly put our all into it the gig would have been so much better in a closer, smaller more ambient space. No sooner had we come off stage than we had people in our dressing room asking us when we were getting out.
Believe me, we couldn’t get out of there quickly enough. I’m sorry for the promoters who had also been let down by the venue and the security who were helpful. We’ll not be back in the Engine Rooms. We don’t like its attitude. Don’t book bands if you’ll spend the whole gig reminding them and their crew that they’re only playing second fiddle to the disco later. More importantly, shame on you for letting down fans of the bands who deserve to see their band in the best possible surroundings.Thankfully the good people of Southampton were on great form during the gig even though you didn’t get the special show we intended. See you again, but not in that venue.
I love Sheffield but have had trouble in recent years as my favourite gigs were always in the Leadmill and we don’t seem to play there anymore. The last gig downstairs in the O2 I didn’t enjoy at all.
Ah…The Plug. What a venue, where have you been the past few tours! Lovely compact stage, vibey atmosphere and very helpful staff to start with and then a bunch of very loud Yorkshire folk who have come along on a cold night and made steam come off the walls. From the people baying and yelling down the front to the grinning collective at the sides and back of the room it was a gig to fill my heart with gladness. What an event, thank you Sheffield. The Membranes went down a storm too and were chuffed that you bought so much of their merch.
When I was sixteen I went to see The Human League at the Ulster Hall in Belfast on the very Sunday that their single, Don’t You Want Me, went to number in the UK charts. I remember the singer, Phil Oakey, overcome with emotion on stage and bursting into tears of joy. On nights like this the feeling is reciprocated. Sheffield you have been fantastic over the years and at the plug that joy was in the house.Thanks also to the lovely people at the radio station who brought the Norwegian Toffee cheese to the gig afterwards. Very much appreciated.
Sheffield, thank you, hope to see you all again very soon.
Arriving in a Glasgow bathed in sunshine is a glorious omen. We’ve a big love for the city and having played the beautiful Oran Mor venue before we’re all very excited. A gorgeous church with a fantastic basement venue and wonderful bar upstairs. This is the same bar where Alisdair Gray, author of Lanark can be seen drinking from the well stocked whisky collection. Last time we played here it was one of the gigs of the tour and tonight, unbelievably, it’s even better.
Unholy merch man
Infernal Love gets such a heartfelt reception and as far as I can see from the stage so many of you are singing all the words back at us which only makes us so glad we endeavoured to take this album on the road after all the dark baggage its collected over the years. Bowels of Love goes down like an old friend and 30 Seconds is a distorted blur of singing and noise. For the second half of the show the crowd shift up a gear and that inspires us too. We throw in an old Vaselines song ( Son of a Gun) famously covered by Nirvana and it further stokes the mayhem.
After the show we mingle in the cosy bar and a big thanks must go to the well wishers who came over to talk to us, thank you for all your support. It was lovely to see that as well as the fantastic Scots support there were also people from overseas at the gig too and an English and Irish contingent.
On a sour note, my long time school friend, Chris, left the venue with his 17 year old son for a break and couldn’t get back in. It’s a pity we didn’t get a chance to hang out but your fellow countrymen and women did Glasgow proud.
Another uplifting gig in one of the most unique cities in the world. Glasgow we salute you!
We wake up in Glasgow, grab some breakfast, and begin the scenic trek down to Newcastle.
It’s a nice journey and I manage to watch the Derby v Wolves football match on my phone. Technology… amazing! (We bloody lost 2-1 but let’s not dwell on that)
We arrive in Newcastle at the Northumbria University with plenty of time to head into town for a wander. I really enjoy this place. Not only is our record label based here but we’ve spent so much time in Newcastle over the last few years – recording Crooked Timber, A Brief Crack of Light and Disquiet.
The venue is great. We’ve not played here before and everyone is really cool and we’re treated extremely well. Sound check goes without a hitch and we have time to run through our cover for the evening. The gig is a screamer (Sat night in Newcastle would it be anything else?) we all have great fun and, as our nod to the north east, we drop in The Police’s ‘Message in a Bottle’.
We finish off the night with the lovely people from our label Amazing Records taking us to Trillions bar for post show beers. Perfect.
McKeegan,Magee & McCormack-bassists united!
After a couple of days at home we all reconvene in Wolverhampton.The venue’s great with the dressing room being dominated by many pictures of Slade from back in the day. Some more flattering than others! During sound check we have time to have a quick run through Joy Division’s ‘Transmission’ which we plan on playing in Manchester. It’s a great tune to play and feels good immediately.
Before show time we have time for a quick wander using Stevie’s ‘real ale guide’ app to lead the way! It guides us to a nice friendly boozer – yet again, technology… amazing ha ha ha. I suppose we could’ve just asked someone!
The show was great fun. A wet Wednesday evening in Wolverhampton did not disappoint.Following the show, I realise the venue is surrounded by kebab houses. It would’ve been rude not to…
Newcastle and Wolverhampton – two great nights. Thank you.
Good to be back in Leeds, we’ve had a lot of killer shows here over the years and a load of good friends live here. As its National Book day I’m off into town to track down a copy of “LAST DAYS OF JACK SPARKS” which is the debut fiction of our friend Jason Arnopp. Sadly they don’t have it in stock so it’s going to have to be an Amazon purchase when I get home (apologies booksellers of the UK).
McKeegan making friends again
Back at the gig (which also boasts a nice restaurant) the gear is all set-up and sound check is looming. Diamond Dave pops in to say hello, he won’t be able to make the show due to a prior engagement but it’s always ace to see him and get a quick catch-up. Sound check goes great and we have a quick look at “Temple Of Love” which we’re hoping to throw into Potato Junkie should the mood be right come showtime.
Dinner upstairs is spectacular (gumbo!) and after a quick walk to get some fresh air we’re back at the show and getting ready to rock. A ‘care pack’ courtesy the good folks at Yorkshire Tea ensure we’re well catered for backstage btw! Many thanks!
The first half of the set is pretty much written in stone and the crowd reaction during this bit is normally a good way to gauge the madness of the second half. From the off the crowd are going mad, there’s no barrier and it’s a low stage so I’m amazed that no-one ends up with a broken leg. Lovely to see so many familiar faces down the front singing and rocking along
As the show draws to a close I stand upfront and lean into the crowd, people are grabbing my guitar and good-naturedly trying to pull me in. It’s a good feeling, thanks for all the love Leeds, you’re always ace.
Afterwards get packed up and have a quick chat with Paul HawkEyes who was down for the show, good to see him looking happy and well. After we drive hotel bound through a snow blizzard and get tucked up ready for some Manchester action tomorrow.
Once we negotiate the snow laden roads en route to Manchester and get checked into the hotel it’s down to the gig and start getting the gear loaded in. It’s another freezing cold day but as we can’t make any noise until 5pm, most of us brave the elements and head into town for hot food and some shopping. We’d floated the idea of The Membranes joining us onstage for a cover version and tonight it looks like it’s come to fruition. It’s a nice big roomy stage, good sound system and it seems rude not to pay tribute to one of the City and our fave bands. After we do our ‘regular’ sound check the lads join us for a couple of run throughs of Transmission by Joy Division. It’s sounding really good so we slot it into the set list and get together a quick plot of how to best present it live.
View from the drum riser Manchester soundcheck
As it’s another early-ish show there’s no time to fit in hot food so we hang about in the (freezing) dressing room trying to keep warm and listening to a few tunes on the boom box. The Membranes are sounding particularly feisty tonight and it’s a great way to get us in the mood and focus on the gig. Soon enough its show time and from the off its excellent…mad crowd, well up for it and there’s a definite feeling of celebration in the air. Top work Manchester!
The cover of Transmission goes off great and the audience responds in kind. Phew! Afterwards a few drinks with friends in Big Hands before we slope off into the night ready to regroup and get back amongst it come next weekend.
Plane and a train over to Stoke on a beautiful sunny day, complete contrast to the past few shows. We’ve played the Sugarmill a couple of times before…last time was in 1999/2000 and before that way back in 1992! Always had a great reaction and a lot of very friendly, helpful people around so we’re all excited to be back. Once we’re sound checked it’s another quick walk around town to see if there’s anything exciting going on…not a lot by the looks of it but thankfully come the time The Membranes start the gig is packed.
It’s a great sounding and looking room so I get a nice spot up on the balcony to watch their set. Its ace sounding again and they are all really going for it, definitely gets me well psyched up for our own show. Start warming up for the gig (literally, its fucking freezing in the dressing room, one of the Membranes guests remarked that it was warmer outside than in our dressing room). My fingers are stiff as boards but a good 25 minutes of stretches and scales soon gets the blood flowing to my nether regions.
No fear of the show being cold though, it’s a hot, sweaty banger! Excellent, vibed up and into it crowd. There are weird ‘boxes’ onstage at the front which are built over the PA subs so it seems rude not to use them as ‘ego ramps’. Good fun and the set flies by…by this stage of the tour everything is dialled in sound wise and playing wise so we can just concentrate on putting across the most energetic and entertaining show we can.
In tribute to two of Stokes finest we drop in a bit of a Discharge song and a snippet of “Ace Of Spades”…both going down great. Soon enough we’re back up into the icy dressing room and as there’s a club on later, we don’t hang about but instead opt to shower, sign a few bits and bobs as requested and zip over to the hotel which is out near the football ground.
Its match day at Stoke City so the hotel is packed and vibey but at least we get a good breakfast before we head over to Nottingham. A short drive later and we’re checked in, down at the show and then down in town doing a bit of last minute shopping. As it’s the last show for a bit we’ve opted to do a ‘Secret Easter Bunny’ today so everyone gets an Easter egg for an unknown benefactor. Good times.
Spent a lot of time in Nottingham over the years so it’s good to see a few familiar faces at sound check…our old tour manager plus family, assorted spouses & kids and even Jim from The Beyond (Neil’s old band and the 1st band ever kind/crazy enough to offer us a support slot outside of NI/Ireland). Sound check is a bit of a battle as we’re basically playing very loudly in an empty concrete box of a room so we’re struggling to hear any vocals over the backline/PA. Get it tweaked as best we can and as the old cliché goes…”it’ll sound better with a crowd in”.
It’s another very early show so we hang in the dressing room and sort out a few bits and bobs for the return trip home tomorrow.The Membranes play another ace show and I will have to say I’ll miss them now that the tour is ending, great chaps, very easy to hang out with and brilliant players.
Hanging out with 1/2 The Membranes after Nottingham show
Soon enough we’re on and from the off the crowd are well into it and enjoying the album run through….
That is until the end of Loose when Andy draws our attention to a guy on the front barrier who’s been hit on the back of the head by a crowd surfer who rolled over the top. He seems to be in some distress so we stop the gig and get security and a medic to get a good look at him before we continue.There are a few fraught moments until we get word the chap is ok, he’s lucid, his arms and legs are moving and seems comfortable waiting for the ambulance.
To get him out the barrier needs to be moved back a couple of feet so the crowd very patiently and carefully move back to let the paramedics get him stretchered out. As we are on a tight curfew we’re pleased to hear the venue is putting it back so we can play the full set as planned. Fair play to everyone involved for their professionalism and patience, as we always say the audience safety is priority at any rock show.
Back on for a version of Diane, then 30 Seconds and we go straight into the 2nd set, figuring we’d spent enough time offstage tonight If anything the momentum is increased and the crowd get wilder and wilder as we hurtle towards the set finale. Its ace, I love every minute…truly cathartic. We fire in our cover of “Ace Of Spades” again, why not? And then round everything up with Screamager, Knives and Nowhere, fucking ace Nottingham, no better show to end the tour on.
NB>We get word the next day that the chap (Martin) hurt during the set got checked out in hospital, had a whiplash and was discharged so all good there folks.
As we’ve mentioned before, it was a bit of an experiment/risk to go all out and tour this particular album but it was amazing…every show was pretty much packed, sold-out or very close to being sold-out. Its means a lot to us that you all came out in force to help us celebrate and revisit the album and rest assured, there were a few demons washed away every night I can tell you! Next up the Tides ep, April 15th, Whitby Goth Weekend April 22nd and then the start of the summer festivals.
Woke up feeling invigorated by the great gig in Vienna last night and began the three hour journey across to Budapest.
We stop off at a motorway service station for coffees and some amazing pastries which were supplied on our rider last night by our great friend Christian. You beauty! What a treat! It was just what we all needed (although we decided against sitting at the picnic table)
We arrive at ‘The A38’ after hearing great things about the place. The A38 is an old Ukrainian stone-carrier ship converted into a venue on the Danube with its organisers having an admirable ethos aimed at putting on diverse cultural events. We were very excited to be invited to play.
Backstage was interesting…
Flesh Roxon, who are doing all these shows in January with us, go down really well and it was nice to catch some of their gig.We play the same set as last night in Vienna. This allows us to relax, enjoy the show and soak up the atmosphere – rather than worrying about what song/sample/guitar tuning is next etc and what a brilliant night it was!!
The show was fantastic. The three of us had such a great time.
Thank you so much, Budapest. You did not disappoint.
Still buzzing after last nights show in Paris when we get up and hop into the cold early morning air. It’s a long old drive today so we are well stocked up with drinks, food and entertainment….first up we get our space rock on and give “Space Ritual” a listen which I hadn’t heard in years. It’s the new remaster and it’s a great listen, good driving music. Ian (ex-36 Strategies) has kindly gifted us some dvds so after the obligatory trying to work out how the van entertainment system works we sit down to watch The Green Man then Wer both of which go down good.
Through France, into Germany and then we finally hit Salzburg around 10pm getting checked in and a nice early night.
Drive onto Vienna next morning goes nice and smooth, quick load in, get set-up and then run through some of the stuff that needs tweaking for tonight’s show. Been coming to Wien since 1991 (I think the Wuk club was our first show here?) and it’s always great fun and nice to see tonight has sold-out….nice one Vienna! Our friend Christian turns up with a bag of very decadent Austrian pastries which is a nice touch for those of us with a sweet tooth.
After a quick veggie tortellini and salad for dinner hang out at the gig and start getting ready for the show. The original Dr Rock, Hannes is playing tonight with his band Rokkitahti so its good to see him and they sound nice and chunky rocking hard during their show (bonus points for the Mission Of Burma cover).
Flesh Roxon play a blinder tonight, sounding really good in the room and the crowd seem well up for it. Our set goes pretty fantastic, the sound onstage is killer and from the start the crowd are going mental. There’s quite a few Disquiet song in the set tonight and it’s great to see them go down so well, people are singing along and really reacting well to them alongside the older ‘classics’. We play “Helpless Still Lost” tonight as well and it’s really beginning to sit well, the big riff and epic chorus seem to strike a chord with people. Great singalong during “Insecurity” and the couple of little Bowie musical tributes/nods seem to go down great as well.
After show we chill for a bit and catch up with Christian etc. and then we have a quick drive through the snow flurries to the hotel. Another early start tomorrow so to bed in anticipation of the trip down to Budapest.
Big thanks to the crew at the Szene for making it such an easy straighforward day and, as always, much love to the fanfuckingtastic crowd at the show. It was a brilliant night,
Well, Paris that was quite a night. Thank you for turning up on a freezing Monday night in January to check us out.We had a difficult start to the tour, due to roadworks we missed our Eurostar train on Sunday evening so had to drive straight to Paris on the Monday after about five hours sleep.Hectic day with loading in and interviews so no time to catch the city life and meet up with friends.
The gig at The Backstage was such a welcome event though. It was great to see so many different faces and a mix of hardcore fans and first timers. You made us feel very welcome and your singing voices got us through the part of the set when the lack of sleep was catching up on us. It was lovely to chat to those of you who hung around afterwards, sorry it took so long to pack away the gear, and thank you for your patience, kind words and support.
A big thanks to Coline for her help and wonderful organisational skills, cheers for making the day go smoothly.It’s been difficult for us at times in France but with friends like you all who turned up at the gig hopefully we’ll always be able to return.
Much love and respect to you all for your warm welcome, we look forward to seeing you again soon,
It’s an early start (5am) to get over to London and the flight is a bit bumpy but nowhere near the worst I’ve experienced this year (I’m looking at you flight home from Temples 2015!). As I get older, am getting more and more neverous on these short flights.
Safely on solid ground I head up into Camden and as I have quite a few hours to kill (soundcheck is at 3pm) I manage to get into the Odeon to watch the new Star Wars movie. I’m not a diehard fan but I do like the series and glad to say the new one is ace, definitely works as a stand alone as well. Highly enjoyable and nice to see it after all the recent hype.
Down to the gig, say hello to everyone and just chill out until soundcheck. There’s a bit of messing about with the PA that slows the day up but once its sorted the soundcheck flys through. We’ve already done the “Infernal Love+More!” show a couple of times by now so we carefully check all the samples, keyboards, backing vocals and tambourine(!) are present and correct and sitting nicely in the mix onstage and out front.
We also have the legendary Diamond Dave back in the saddle doing merch so he comes and joins us for soundcheck to run through a cover version we’re planning to play as a bit of Xmas fun. That sounds good and its always ace to hear the Diamond in fine vocal fettle. He’s been a friend of the band since 1990 so it’s a lovely bit of serendipidous ‘full circle’ type stuff.
The crew are in good form as usual so we just hang at the gig until showtime. Nice to have the Black Spiders along with us tonight, in fact the first time we played the Electric Ballroom (1998, Semi-Detached tour)we had Groop Dogdrill open up so it seems apt to have Pete Spiby in the house tonight. Again full circle and all that!
Due to an aftershow club we have to be done and dusted by 10pm so with our set being 90+ mins doors are at the very ungodly hour of 6pm. Thankfully the Infernal masses have assembled in Camden so when the Spiders hit the stage the place is packed and ready to rock. As usual they kick out the jams, looking and sounding great. Top band and a bunch of very cool guys, look forward to hearing some new stuff from them soon.
A quick last minute look at the set, tweak a few bits and then we’re waiting in the wings ready to rock. One last huggle and Neils on there triggering the “Epilipsey” intro, the strobes being to flicker and the infernal party kicks off. Anyway, I could bang on about the gig all night so here’s a short video edited on the fly with tinny squeezed camera audio, but I think you’ll get a hint of the killer vibe in the room that night
Hang out afterwards with Alan Day (aka ‘crowdsurfing Santa’) , Gerry our manager and Paul our agent as well as Tom Dalgety and a load of other friends and family. As the downstairs of the venue empties we get our gear packed up for the last time in 2015 and head over to the Underworld where Chris McCormack is hosting his legendary “Camden Rocks” Xmas party club night.
Again, the Underworld is another place of great historical Therapy? interest, we played there back in the very early 90’s with The God Machine (amazing band, check them out) and then in 2000 we did a ‘3 night stand’ there to celebrate our 10th anniversary. Good fun and nice to be able to hang out with Tom, Mr. McCormack, Amazing Record folk, assorted Black Spiders and many of the WOMble diehards.
What a brilliant end to a brilliant year. Amazing to see people from all over London, the UK, Europe, Scandanavia and North America there…an awesome, awesome bunch. Thanks to everyone for an amazing, heartwarming night & to paraphrase Andy Cairns “Thank you from the very bottom of our black hearts”.
G.L.O.S.S.- Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit
Downtown Boys-Full Communism
Skepta-It Ain’t Safe
Blazing Eye-Blazing Eye ep
Commodores, Gantz & Kahn-Vol. 1 ep
Protomartyr-The Agent Intellect
The Membranes-Dark Matter/Dark Energy
Corrections House-Know Hoe To Carry A Whip
Marta, Boothroyd, Maniac-100 Problems
Sophie-Just Like We Never Said Goodbye (Favourite pop song of the Year)
Knausgaard-Dancing in the Dark
Chuck Palahniuk-Make Something Up
Samuel Beckett-Echo’s Bones
Ian Bostridge-Schubert’s Winter Journey:Anatomy of an Obsession.
The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson
Toast of London
Chelsea lift the Premiership title and League Cup
“Waiting for Godot” at Regency Theatre Bury St Edmunds.
Northern Ireland qualifying for Euros next year.
Napalm Death-Apex Predator-Easy Meat
Beach Slang-The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us
Iron Maiden-Book Of Souls
John Carpenter-Lost Themes
Art Of Burning Water-Living Is For Giving, Dying Is For Getting
Black Star Riders-The Killer Instinct
Faith No More-Sol Invictus
With The Dead-With The Dead
High On Fire-Luminiferous
Paradise Lost-The Plague Within
Triggerfinger-By Absence Of The Sun
The Membranes-Dark Matter/Dark Energy
Tribulation-Children Of The Night
Tempel-The Moon Lit Our Path
Joel McIver/Glenn Hughes:The Autobiography
Sarah Lotz-The Three
Mick Wall-When Giants Walked The Earth
Billy Idol-Dancing With Myself
John Tucker-Neat & Tidy:The Story Of Neat Records
Lauren Beukes-Broken Monsters
House Of Cards
What We Do In The Shadows
The Secret In Their Eyes
Game Of Thrones-Series 5
Orange Is The New Black
Toast Of London
The Prodigy-Odyssey, Belfast Dec 2015
Temples Festival 2015
Faith No More -Sol Invictus
Killing Joke -Pylon
The Peter Edwards Trio-Safe and Sound
Jon Ronson -So you’ve been publicly shamed
Terry Hayes-I Am Pilgrim
Toast of London
Bitter Lake documentary
Salad days: A decade of punk in Washington DC
Ghost – Rock City, Notts
Faith No More – Download Festival
Triggerfinger – Brussels Summer Festival
Screamager (tribute band) – after show party, Kortrijk, Belgium
After a bumpy flight to Dublin we had a little time to take in the sites (well, Temple Bar anyway!) and grab a bite of Sushi before sound check. Tonight being the first of the Infernal Love shows, we decide to spend our time looking over the songs from the album and double checking the ‘intro/outro’ samples.
The gig was a great start to this trio of dates with the set consisting of Infernal Love in entirety with a second set of tunes from Disquiet back to Babyteeth (the ‘party set’ as we like to call it!)
With the equipment staying set up in the venue overnight, we had a relaxed day, meeting for lunch (I have to say… good burgers, Dublin) and a trip down to Tower records.
The show format (two sets) remained the same with the addition tonight of Knives and the swapping of Trigger Inside for Die Laughing.
From my end, the show felt brilliant. It was a different beast to last night. With any first night nerves ironed out we could relax and focus on having fun a little more.
I had family and friends over from England for the gig so a Guinness or two to end the night was always going to happen wasn’t it??!
After the Guinness last night, the train journey up to Belfast was blurry but relaxed.We arrived with time to sound check and give everything the once over.We felt last night’s set really hit the spot so we left the set list untouched and it worked a treat.
Belfast really pulled out all the stops for the second half ‘party’ set. What a way to finish a brilliant trip?!!
Ireland, both north and south, thank you!!!
(ALL PHOTOS KIND COURTESY AND COPYRIGHT LIAM KIELT 2015)
Richard Baker-Tour manager, driver, sound engineer, peacekeeper
Andy Cairns-Vocals, Guitar, occasional driver, back seat ranting.
Michael McKeegan-Bass, vocals, zen-like deal broker
Neil Cooper-Drums, Life coach (catchphrase, ‘Team!!’)
…and in the white van (named The Sugar Shack because of the candy wrappers and pop bottles on the dashboard):
Mark McDonagh-driver, backline tech, collector of rare guitars
Steve Firth-backline tech, live guitar f/x and vocals, driver, specialist in world ciders
Herb Magee-merch seller, bassist of the great La Faro and wonderful Goons, purveyor of Star Wars posters for tour managers.
Nov 12th Alkmaar, Victorie, Netherlands.
Nothing like starting a set of gigs in a venue we’ve never played before and knowing it’s sold out.
On arrival local photographer Patrick takes our photographs outside in the street.
We leave blue ‘earprints’ for the Victorie to use in a competition to help raise money for a new Victoire in the future. If you can, support this venue, it’s great and the staff are lovely.
Super gig, we’re not too rusty and the crowd are very noisy and vocal. A wonderful evening in a town that we like very much. Forgive me for the wrong notes on some of the guitar parts and the forgetting of some lyrics.
Afterwards we hook up with our friend from Amsterdam, DJ Sick boy aka Pitch Phase. We have a good catch up, he brings us lovely t-shirts from his club, Pop Trash and a 50th birthday present for me, a vinyl copy of NIN-Downward Spiral, a record ive been listening to a lot this year.
Special mention to Sparrow Falls who are along for the Dutch dates. Great band, remind me of Hot Water Music, Gaslight Anthem.
Nov 13th Breda, Mezz, Netherlands.
Starting the day with a stop for pastries at a motorway service station. This is to become a regular thing.
Another amazing gig in a wonderful town. A rammed venue and everybody singing and getting on together. We’ve been in this venue before to attend string rehearsals for a live version of Diane at the Breda Barst festival. We’re beginning to click better now and find what songs are working best. I try out the Gibson SG Deluxe that the company have lent me for the tour. I like this venue a lot, it’s got a great vibe. The buzz is incredible and I get goosebumps. Coming off stage I soon get brought down to earth as Stevie tells me to check my phone, something is happening in Paris. Within minutes the dressing room is silent.
November 14th Venlo, Grenswerk, Netherlands.
I spent all last night watching the news in my hotel room in disbelief. I couldn’t sleep and went for a run in the morning to try and wake myself up, getting lost in the process. The car journey is quiet. We’ve never been to Venlo before and on arrival are greeted by the friendly staff who bring us food and coffee and all the talk turns, again, to Paris. Bands are cancelling gigs. Loved ones are phoning asking if we’re ok.
As if to prove everybody that there is nothing to be scared of, the Venlo crowd goes nuts. Lots of very happy, noisy, drunk, smiling people screaming at us. Someone even brought beers to the stage. Afterwards everybody stays and has drinks with the local crew and the guys in Sparrow Falls.It’s been a fantastic time in Holland. Thank you for attending in huge numbers making the gigs sell out and thank you for your support of Therapy?
On a personal level, thanks to Robert for the tunes and NIN vinyl and to Ronald for the Feyernoord black strip. You’ve made a half-centurion very happy.
November 15th Bremen, Tivoli, Germany
When we get to Germany it’s grey and pissing with rain. The venue looks familiar and myself and Michael think (but aren’t sure) that it may be the venue where we did our very first German show in early ’92 opening for King Kong (featuring Farin Urlaub of Die Arzte).
It’s bizarre old set up. There is a gym cycle class taking place at the venue and the place is full of spandex and leotards. I do an interview with a lovely gentleman from Brazil and we play a great show in a room with a very nice atmosphere. We’re surprised at the reaction as it’s a rainy Sunday night so hats off to Bremen for giving us a lovely evening.
November 17th, Aachen, Musikbunker, Germany
We’ve been here many times but thats because we love the place. Intimate atmosphere and a very unique, cave-like venue. The staff are fantastic, the food good and the local crowd are always very vocal indeed. Tonight is no different and we play a little bit longer and re-jig the set. My clothes are completely soaked through with sweat after the show and i’m exhausted, always a good sign.
Some nice dancing in the audience too!
November 18th, Kiel, Die Pumpe, Germany
Only our second time in Kiel and what a lovely club. This one has a great attendance and although quiet at the start soon begins to warm up as the show gets going. A nice big stage and great sound. Afterwards we meet people from our German booking agency, Seaside, and then we head off.
November 19th, Bielefeld, Forum.
Ah..Bielefeld! Last time we were here I went to the Swimming pool across the road from the venue. This time we’ve discovered and amazing Christmas Treat..The Scneeball. We all have one from the market in town, all very excited as we’ve discovered our new snack. Sadly, this is to be the last Scneeball we see.
Gig starts slowly but builds and builds. My sound is funny and it takes me a while to settle into the gig. By the end it’s great and another soaking wet shirt. Great club, great staff.
November 20th, Dusseldorf, Haus der Jugend.
Wow! What a gig, what a venue. None of us were expecting this. We’d heard that the venue is legendary and has seen gigs by Die Toten Hosen and other greats but nothing prepared us for the full party atmosphere we experienced, singing and dancing, steam coming off the audience, sweat dripping off the walls and a brilliant, brilliant evening. Afterwards it was great to catch up with our agent, Jan,as well as our friend and t-shirt designer Marc Suski (alongside his new puppy, Jako). Great to see Ravel, who looks after our back catalogue for Universal going crazy in the pit too!
November 21st, Frankfurt, Das Bett.
This turned out to be a good companion to Dusseldorf. A sold out show with people from all over Germany as well as Scotland, Ireland, Belgium, Finland and Holland. This was a special night. Everyone was smiling, the band was on top of it and the atmosphere was one of celebration. I didnt want to leave the stage and if it wasn’t for the club afterwards could have happily played all night.
After the show we could hear the music from the club in the dressing room and it was lovely to hear Joy Division through a big sound rig blasting a huge volume. Thanks to all the local crew and staff of Das Bett for being such cool people and helping us make this a special night.
November 23rd, Munich, Backstage.
The night before the gig we stayed in a local hotel, went for a meal and sampled many of the local beers. To be honest, Munich can be hit-or-miss for Therapy? so we weren’t expecting a big turn out, especially on a very cold, frosty Monday evening in November. So it was super to see such a lovely audience in the end and it was a fantastic show. Lots of people singing along and a very good way to end our tour of Germany. Cheers Munich, you showed up and brought kindness and we loved playing for you all.
Big respect to all the German public who came to the shows. This year has been my favourite year touring Germany since 1994. I’ve loved all the shows and been really inspired by the warmth showed to the band. Thank you all so much.
november 24th, Rockhaus, Salzburg
I love Salzburg, absolutely love the place. I like the town, the cuisine and the fact the venue is built into the rock. Last time we were here I got wasted on Tequila after the show but tonight i’m straight and alert and determined to enjoy the evening then have an early(ish) night as we’ve got a ten hour drive tomorrow. After a little bit of local shopping I watch the first 20minutes of the mighty Chelsea FC in the Champions League, Gary Cahill scores just as it’s time to go on stage.
It’s a lovely crowd and very intimate, everyone is smiling and singing. It’s wonderful to see our friend and promoter Christian in the crowd alongside our other pal Hannes aka Dr Rock. Moment of Clarity goes down a storm tonight and i get tingles playing it. Afterwards I meet a couple who met at a T? show in Wiesen and are now married and still coming to T? shows together, How cool is that?
November 26th, Sint Niklaas, De Casino, Belgium.
First time here, very Christmassy feeling around the place. Get a lovely cup of green tea at Biochi from the friendly owner Joe and then head to the venue which is a beautiful building recently rennovated and restored into a magnificent music venue. Tonights show has been sold out for months and we’re all looking forward to it. Joining us are young Belgian band, Black Tolex.
Strangely, the gig starts out quietly and after the first five songs the audience are appreciative but not going bananas and we’re beginning to wonder if the dark shadow of recent events in Paris and Brussels are casting a shadow but by the time we get to Stories everything changes and by the end of a triumphant Nowhere the whole place is vibrating and everybody is happy. Thank you St Niklaas, you’ve been lovely, hopefully we’ll see you again soon.
November 27th, Kortrijk, De Kreun, Belgium
Never been here before but played a festival nearby so it’s lovely to bump into the promoter, Bart, who is not only looking after tonight’s gig but was looking after us at that festival a while ago and i gratefully remember him taking me to a local gym and helping me find a place to watch a Chelsea match also! The gig is sold out and it doesn’t take long at all for the crowd to really get into the gig and make a huge noise. It’s such a great shaped venue, the people on the balcony are going for it as much as the people in the mosh pit and there are some very, very drunk people too.
Afterwards the the band and crew (minus myself) all go the De Trap bar to watch Therapy? tribute act, Screamager, play a (by all accounts) magnificent set. The next morning the very hungover faces of all at the breakfast table tell me that it much has been one incredible evening. Limoncello is a word i’m hearing a lot…..
November 28th, Leuven, Het Depot, Belgium
Well, this is it, the last one. I’ve got that sad feeling as I don’t want this particular tour to end. The Het Depot is a sensational modern venue in the middle of a wonderful town. Christmas shopping that day and everyone is so friendly and helpful, same at the venue. Watching the people steadily come in i’m feeling excited at the prospect of playing and that excitement is justified when we hit the stage. This really is a proper old school rock and roll concert. It starts nicely, then builds to an intense atmosphere before ending in a frenzy of screaming, singing and applause. I don’t want to leave the stage again but I know i’ve got to go. That’s another set of gigs over until Ireland next week.
Can I say that in the light of recent events i’d like to thank every single person that came to those shows and made it happen I say it every night on stage but you, the audience, really are the most important people in rock and roll. Without you we are nothing and it’s thanks to your support and patience that we’re still around after all these years. So many of the shows were sold out and that completely blew our minds. Holland, Germany, Austria and Belgium you are the fucking best, thank you, thank you, thank you and hopefully see you all again soon,