The cottage is empty and quiet. It’s about 1pm and it’s a saturday. There are dying embers of last night’s fire faintly glowing in the burner and offering no real heat. Two hours ago this place was full of giddy boys, males of varying degrees of hairiness and comparable tiers of geekery / musical talent, newly awoken after the last night of the Too Late For Logic mini-tour (you can get the new album here: iTunes)
Two Adams – Kent (keys) and Cooper (viola/vocals/guitar), a Matt (Vocals), a Ged (drums), and a Dodge (bass). A.K.A. K-Pop, Coop De Gras, Two Park, The G-Unit and…well…Dodge (I’m not sure I have acquired a nickname. At least not one I know about. I’m choosing to take this as a mark of their absolute respect and an understanding of my untouchable eminence).
Two hours ago I was making a brew whilst Coop and G-Unit were wrestling each other in the living room, a pair of gangling lads knotting over each other’s giddy, hungover limbs. As they grappled on the carpet ,Two Park was in the shower and K-pop was filming this inaugural Rug Wars on his phone whilst whistling the Brokeback Mountain theme tune.
Suddenly, Coop, known hereafter as ‘Dimple’ (on account of his Travolta-chin) pulled a surprise body slam, pinning down The Mumble Poet (Ged’s newest A.K.A./Wrester Name), much to the delighted ‘whoops’ of the filmmaker. This climactic finishing move was accompanied by the pot of tea reaching it’s brewing apogee. In that same moment, Two Park entered the room, post-ablutions and sporting fresh knitwear, just as Dodge rose up from ground via a hydraulic hatch, surrounded by dry ice, poised and wearing an embossed dressing gown (initials: STTR) whilst brandishing a solid silver pipe that blew milk bubbles into the air for all the children of West Yorkshire to burst and enjoy.
I’m not even sure any of this really happened, and I may have made that last bit up. Who cares? I was fairly hungover at the time and the details are now foggy and evading me. However, whether true or apocryphal, this anecdote does represent the general vibe of our sporadic tour: spirited and knackering, loads of banter peppered with a soupçon of homoerotic tension (don’t deny it, lads). Aah, so many larks, japes and the kind of zeal for the music we’re making together that makes my heart glad and the band feel like a newly cast ingot.
“Great gig last night lads and lasses.” (crumby mumbles of agreement).
“Yep, great tour, been loving it.” (Slurp)
“Total pleasure” (nom, nom, nom)
“Has this marmite got GOLD FLECKS in it??”
“Nom, nom, nom….yep.”
So now here we are, post-tour and thirsty for more.
Four shows. No more, no less. A curious amount really, given that it takes one or two to get your shoulders to relax. Still, this was a taster, and more than anything an opportunity to play the album in it’s entirety so we could learn what that feels like and how to get tighter at it, and also to celebrate it’s sparkly new release as a prelude to more live shows later in the year. It’s been a great chance to air new material as well.
Every gig has been entirely different and memorable for wildly contrasting reasons. This means that each of the four dates are now embossed upon our collective memories. Like the initials on Dodge’s fictitious dressing gown. The common denominators have been how lovely the people we’ve played for have been.
The night before Dimple and The Mumble Poet’s man-love-on-a-rug, we were all freezing our nipples off in the amazing old church venue called ‘Leftbank’ in Leeds. This final date was supported by the epic, sublime, gorgeous Dancing Years (check them out at https://soundcloud.com/dancingyears, and see the next blog, which is exclusively about our amazing support artists) and met by a shivering-but-enthusiastic, heavily-layered throng of West Yorkshire folk, who braved the unspeakable cold to hear us. No doubt the mulled cider helped, along with the waltzing (those of you who have heard Eiderdown will be able to imagine this). Oh, how we love a huddle.
Having grown up in the area, I was thrilled that so many people could make it. I was also able to dedicate one of the new songs, Tight Lines, to some of the people that it was written for/about. The chorus is ‘tell me how you’d like to mend, I will be your one true friend’, and it was moving and important to be able to sing it out into this immense, ancient space, directly into the ears of the people who helped me to mend during a bit of a wonky time last year.
‘The end’ has come too soon. Like a lucid dream.
Four weeks ago in our hometown of Newcastle the first show had been at The Cumberland Arms, and had proved to be the perfect spring-loaded launcher for the intermittent musical pinball that was to follow. Rammed (sold out in fact! whoop!) with the good folk of Tyneside, singer/songwriter Rington (check him out at https://soundcloud.com/rington) opened proceedings with a quietly magestic piano-based set. Whilst the crowd settled in, for us this waiting time pushed the butterflies hiccuping out of our bellies and fluttering into the room. Maybe sometimes doing less can mean you work even harder and try to make it ‘count’ even more. Or maybe we’re all equally OCD! After weeks of rehearsing, the some of our new lineup learning over ten new songs and everyone pouring over the setlist, I think we all felt a sense of ‘right, this is it, I wonder how it’ll turn out’?
Well, it turned out great, thanks to our lovely audience, although the nerves meant it went by in a total blur. The live versions of the songs from the album sounded big and bold in the room, many people bought the CD and there was some ace feedback about some of the new songs too, which was very cool.
As a band we celebrated in domestic style back at Dimple and The Mumble poet’s with gin* and dancing (*If there’s one valuable thing I’ve learned throughout the last four weeks it’s that gin isn’t quite as odious as it used to be. Tastes and times, they are a-changin’!)
The Cumby was also the first gig with the new Sharks Took The Rest new lineup. You may be pleased to know that a ‘core unit’ remain. Adam Kent is still here and we’re in the middle of writing album number two at the moment. Our usual drummer, Adam Sinclair is still here, but he’s been on Paternity Leave for this tour (although he ended up being in the audience for the Cumberland gig, which was bizarre but also turned out to be really edifying for him and us as we’d never had such a unique ‘outside eye’ in the room before.) The mighty Dodge is also still here. They all say hello.
As you’ve already heard, three astonishing musicians – a Matt Stalker, an Adam Cooper and a Ged Robinson – joined our touring ranks as guest Sharks. You must also check out Matt’s songs and their music, as they’re in a fucking great band together called Matt Stalker and Fables. There’s a brand new Fables album coming out later this year too, so check out their music and news and blog here: http://mattstalkerandfables.bandcamp.com/ AND https://www.facebook.com/mattstalkerandfables AND http://wealltieourselvesinknots.tumblr.com/
Our second gig was in London and was by far the wildest set of the tour, with happy heckling, squally dancing and sticky floors. Thanks to Glasswerks for putting us on. We had a wicked time, saw loads of mates we’ve not seen for ages, and it was great to play such a raucous version of the songs. At the bar I discovered that a lot of the people who came down to hear us had been at our previous London gig at The Bedlam and had brought mates along. Nice one! We were also berated for having left it so long. A nice telling off! We promise to come back sooner next time and thanks for your continuing support!
That night was only tainted by the ‘disappearance’ of Adam’s phone.
Dear Whoever Nicked It,
May karma visit you tenfold by stealing something that makes you feel a bit
shit, inconveniences you quite a bit and costs you unnecessary expense. Such as your sphincter.
We know times are hard, but don’t be a twat.
Sharks Took The Rest (But Certainly Not From The Dressing Room Without Permission).
Adam had to go out and get a ‘burner’ the next day, so his new A.K.A. is now Stringer Bell.
After London it was on to The Milton Rooms in Malton. This was a lovely studio space with a capacity of 30 and a tuck-shop style bar serviced by volunteers. Support came from the truly inimitable Mark Wynn from York (http://markwynn.bandcamp.com/), who bashed out his whirlwind set on an acoustic guitar via a legion of rambling story-songs and some equally bonkers banter. The small capacity meant that we were able to have impromptu, off-mic exchanges with our small-but-perfectly-formed audience throughout the gig. Great craic and we felt very happy to play and super-cosy.
That brings us just about up-to-date and back into the fumigated, mulled-cider, hangover of my living room.
It feels amazing that the record is finally out and we hope loads of people hear it and love it.
We’ve had a brilliant mini-tour with snow, illness, gin, waltzing, squeaky bums, friends, old and new, last minute ‘no driver/soundman’ panics and lashings of good-craic (not crack).
Thanks to Dan, Isabella and Mark who took on Sound duties for respective gigs. Thanks to all the promoters and venues and the staff who kept things smooth and the crowds lubricated. Thanks to all of you fellow-artists who supported us on the nights (I’m off to start a separate blog about each of you now).
AND THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHO TURNED UP/GOT THE ALBUM
If you haven’t got it yet – we’d love you for it! It’s a guaranteed joy-spout!
Whilst we’re happy to report we now have a management deal with the awesomely brilliant The Shipping Forecast, we are currently still very much a self-releasing, independent band. So in very real terms WE STILL LARGELY RELY ON YOU BUYING OUR RECORDS AND YOUR WORD-OF-MOUTH TO SPREAD THE NEWS ABOUT OUR MUSIC.
To self-reference our lyrics ‘we’re swimming hard in a sea of mediocrity, against a ruling fatcat majority’.
A small but significant request: PLEASE SHARE OUR MUSIC WITH THE PEOPLE YOU KNOW AND LOVE AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO DO THE SAME. Thanks.
And finally…SPECIAL GARGANTUAN THANKS to our amazing guest-sharks: you know this, we do hereby declare it in the land of blog: Matt, Ged and Adam, you are our brothers, whose names are forever sewn into the elasticated fabric of our favourite undercracks. You really know how to titivate the buttery pedestrian whilst plundering the ham badger’s slippery sweet potatoes (not a euphemism). Thank you for being amazing musicians and beautiful people all rolled into one. MORE CRAIC/MUSIC/GIN SOON, NO DOUBT!
And Adam S – put those nappies down and hop to it lad! We miss you!
Thanks for reading. Keep checking back for news of our forthcoming single release and more live dates, we’ll post them up as soon as they’re confirmed.
Lots of love,
GET OUR ALBUM!
(For those of you who are thinking ‘this is probably going to be my new favourite record, I shall NOT wait sir/madam!?’ Feel free to share the link and also review it!)
(For those of you who like cardboard and shiny stuff, what go ‘la la’, ‘twang’, and ‘plonk’ have released their album on amazon. Please also share and feel free to write a review, too.)