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Thursday, November 20, 2003

Last night I was full of flu, cold, aching and not feeling too good at all but then I got a whisper of a rock and roll happening in Islington and I was local... well, it would have been just plain rude not to go along...
the last time I had responded to one of Pete Libertine's announcements, I had duly coughed up my tenner and the little bugger walked out...babyshambles indeed! Mr. Pete Libertine.. that is what U R and always will B.
Times are hard and I almost had a good mind to go and say "Oi! you owe this dissatisfied a tenner" but fighting my ailments was using up enough concentration. Arrived at the Duke Of Clarence and already people couldn't get in and thought this is no place for a fluey Justine, nose pressed to a steamy window.. it must be said .. I don't do 'outside' and god must have listened because at that point drummer Gary, rescued me with a "she's with me" , he's a star and we were in.
I think me being ill took the top off it a bit and the sound wasn't that good through my stuffy ears but as usual it is the excitement at Libs gigs that counts.. I think I heard a bit of Pete Babyshambling and not running away this time .. then The Libertines in all their glory, playing some old songs I didn't know and then 'Don't Look Back Into The Sun' .. at least I think it was and 'What A Waster'..
rock and roll me was having a real tustle with sick me... Let's face it, The Libs is all about the loyal fans and they certainly have them.. and good on em their cute and talented guys who even if i'm on my death bed will drag myself to their gig now thats loyality for ya in all it's martyrish glory.. it was a shame not being able to see their faces and I wanted to see that Carl was alright.. so I was glad I was there but if I hadn't retired when I did I feared that I might not be able to create my own mayhem at my gig tomorrow...so it's home for sick Justine.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Out on Wednesday night at the Astoria again... is it going to be my home this week?
First went out East and caught a few songs of my guitarist Jonny doing his solo songs at The Spitz with Satellite, fantastic as usual but then he is part of the family. The night / venue was completely different vibe to the rock and roll mayhem we have been used to recently.. you could hear a pin drop.. or should have been able to, there were quite a few people trying to talk over the music.. I nearly got up on stage and told them to shutup until I remembered it wasn't my gig and it was Jonny's job to get his audience paying attention ... I also got there early and heard the girl who was supporting and have to admit she had a gorgeous voice.
Then onto see Electric Soft Parade, where my manager is sitting on the drum stool these days.. They get better every time I see them and the Astoria was packed.. spent hours after the show in the upstairs bar.. my manager pleased to point out that the bar is named after the drummer in The Who, Keith Moon... Do you think they might change the name in a few years time to the Mathew Priest bar? By the sounds of it he has spent enough time there.. I found myself talking to agents tonight, because we need one badly for next year, it galls me a bit that being a fantastic live band apparently isn't enough these days.

Last night [Thursday] I went out to..surprise surprise... The Astoria.. hurrah.. This was to see The Distillers though and why I haven't succumbed to the hype, I promise.. I felt I just had to see what this Brody girl was all about. My management team had built it up and said "look Just, you've got to go and check out the competition".. as is their habit, they get it just slightly wrong again. Got to give a big thanks to Emma for getting me and my friend on the [impossible to get on.. :-)] guest list.. my drinking partner tonight is as bad as me, so was always going to be a good night. They hit the stage dead on 9 and I have never seen so many mohican hair styles in one room ( perhaps I've been going to the wrong gigs?). They take the stage to massive applause and massed shouts of 'Brodeeee'. Very exciting; now a bit of me is jealous of where she is and the build up they've been given but once they hit the stage just got into the band and can't help getting stuck in, head banging away to their awesome guitar thrash. I really don't see Brody as any competition.. unless I get to meet Josh (Homme) in the flesh.. then she can start worrying :-) but music wise I don't know what the problem is, we are very different performers and we play completely different music... I don't think M.A.S.S. are that thrash metal - I just loved the gig and the excitement of the crowd helped, I was touched by your prescence, dear.. as the song goes. Couldn't get any information about an aftershow so we hit soho and had our own... and somehow I was fit and flying for rehearsals today, where I have been all day.
We worked on a new song which is always good, I just hope we can get it ready for Thursday [Nov 20th] when we play a gig at Goldsmith's Colleger to coincide with Mr. Bush's visit, for the Campaign Against Arms Trade .. I am not totally into causes just for the sake of it but this seems like a good one.. see you there?

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Last night I had a gig with M.A.S.S. opening for RAZORLIGHT at the 100 Club on Oxford Street in London. It was a good feeling because we need to get the slots supporting and opening up for other bands and it seems our jaunt up to Birmingham the other week, got them enough into us and the band to ask us to do this one. It also helps that we love Razorlight and can only be a bonus when the shaved headed sound guy turns out to be an old mate and I can relax a bit knowing we are in safe hands.
Watched the middle band DOGS soundcheck and they turn out to be a really good band with stomping punk rock choruses and lots of attitude.. Razorlight have got them a good night and though I'm not that happy and never am, about being on at 8pm we hit the stage flying and have a good one.. it seems to win us lots of new friends anyway.

Tonight I have another one of those rock and roll dilemmas.. I've been given passes to see The Darkness again just down the road at The Astoria, it's their 'homecoming' gig and given that we are not going to see them play in Yarmouth, their and my home town, it's at least right that I should be there to witness the event. Catch two songs of DOGS set and will really make an effort to see them again.. my plan is to go and see a bit of The Darkness then come back and catch some of Razorlight and then go to The Darkness aftershow if I can find myself a ticket. As always The Darkness are all glitz and pyros.. helped along by a pissed crowd curtousy of a free bar provided by Carling. It's even more over the top than ever with blinding white lights and Justin carried around the audience by the bouncers as he played his guitar solo like the lord of the dance. The encore with a school choir coming on in Christmas clothes and do their upcoming Christmas single, the first time most people have heard it. Sounds good but not number one material if you know what I mean.
Perhaps it was just the mood I was in. When I go to the Astoria these days..(and I'm due to be here at least THREE! times this week) I just visualise M.A.S.S. up onstage strutting our stuff, having one big knees up and get impatient because I can't wait. Last year was when I saw The Libertines at the NME Brats shows here in January and I make a mental note to email the editor of the NME and see if we can be considered for the ones coming up... you don't get if you don't ask.
By now you know what I'm like, I meet a guy who promoted us in Tooting, he's really kind and apparently at the gig with Al Murray the pub landlord.. they give me a wristband for the aftershow party.. and we're off. I wished the rest of the band could be with me tonight but can only get one pass and I know that they will probably be enjoying Razorlight better... sometimes I can feel a bit like Billy Nomates.. but bump into Jody editor of XRAY magazine who is nice and spoke to Darkness drummer Ed.. who was a little stressed but a lovely guy.. then started to miss the guys and went back in search of The Razorlight aftershow party but no one had given me an address.. still another brilliant night... and there will be more

Monday, November 10, 2003

Finally getting to write about our European jaunt pt.2 with M.A.S.S.
Couldn't wait and was very excited to be starting off with two nights in Amsterdam.. how good is that? And I was up for a good time, big time.
The M.A.S.S. gig in Amsterdam was always going to be at something called London Calling on the Friday.. the only gutting thing about this was that we were originally approached to play the same thing but with The Darkness on the Saturday but we had already been confirmed with a good slot at the big les Inrocks festival in Paris and as France is kind of our spiritual home at the moment, we couldn't let them down.
We also ended up playing in Amsterdam at The Paradiso on Thursday though, because first of all we were asked to SUPPORT BLONDIE. :-) but then we were told they didn't like bands with girl singers going on before them :-( but then they came back and said, would we like to play the aftershow for Blondie - so we did and got to see Blondie playing live :-) I've got to admit, Debbie looked great, I mean if I look as sexy as her at her age, I'll be a happy chick. All the classics were played, 'Atomic' 'Hanging On The Telephone'.. I mean one after the other.. I would have liked to hear them play 'Rip Her To Shreds' but that's just nit picking.. basically you realised how fantastic their songs are and why they are as big as Christmas. We had to follow that.. kept M.A.S.S. on our toes and got a really warm reaction.. I was asked if we could play 'Denis,Denis' as Blondie never did but I told them in my most lady like and un punk rock way, that we were not a juke box. I thought that even if we had been able to do an impromptu version it wouldn't have been a good idea, I'll leave the Queen of rock to do her own songs.. I'm only princess material at the moment and don't want to dis the queen. We spend the rest of the night with a bottle of JD and just enjoying Amsterdam at night.

In case you were wondering, I do get hangovers but want to make the most of Amsterdam, so make a big effort to get my arse in gear and have a look round some of the more cultural aspects of Amsterdam. Going round art gallerys might not exactly be rock and roll but Van Gogh and Gaugin weren't scared of a good night out and some of the paintings are awsome, polishing up my art history on the way. I'm just loving this place, you can feel the excitement. So a fruitful day and then onstage with M.A.S.S. to do our London Calling show proper...
I've got a love hate relationship with London and the whole scene at the moment; I always feel good when I'm out of town,just the whole vibe and when we go onstage with M.A.S.S. the audiences seem to have a completely open mind and we always get such a strong reaction, which means a lot to the band. Sometimes after gigs in England we get a bit deflated [notice I'm not including Scotland in that], you give everything but sometimes get the feeling that until some people read that it is ok to like us that we won't take the leap ... we know we're not crap but sometimes think we need to sweat blood to get people on our side... After we come off stage on Friday we get a call from the promoter in Paris... our show there is postponed a day.. this is absolutely gutting as it means we could have played with The Darkness in Amsterdam on Saturday after all.. ALSO.. if we had known 10 minutes earlier ANOTHER slot had come up on Saturday but we missed that as well... I'm told that the M.A.S.S. van will be leaving at midday next day for Paris... that's what they think... there's no way that this rock and roll chick is getting in the van...I have other plans.. I really want M.A.S.S. to play with The Darkness at some point and if I stay in Amsterdam get to see the band and who knows, might be able to convince Justin or manager Sue, to let a Gorleston Girl and her band share a stage with them at some point.. especially if they get to do a homecoming show on Lowestoft beach... I managed to get one other member of the band to stay and join my rebellion and waved the van off into the sunset as we prepared to spend another 24 hours in this fantastic city...
The Darkness show was amazing, right place, right time.. whether you love em or hate em in Amsterdam they just rocked .. a lot of English people over for the occassion and dressed up to the nines... this should have been our night as well but I console myself with a few drinks and getting down to the front of the stage with my friend Jo.. as we're shouting our heads off. Also saw a fantasic band before the Darkness.. might have been The Barbs or The Hells, I'm not sure..

Only three hours sleep and we hit the train to gay Pareee.... suprisingly feel knackered.... not sleeping's becoming a habit.. perhaps London does have it's good points.. In Paris there are just two bands on in our venue, us and Jarvis Cocker. I loved Pulp and love him.. no, not in that way Mrs. Cocker.. I saw the way you looked at me.. anyway, we learn that the venue is twice as busy tonight as it was the night before.. you see, god works in mysterious ways. Obviously though, Jarvis is quite trendy and the audience is Parisien 'cool' tonight which means we have to work especially hard.. sometimes, I understand you can try too hard on stage.. perhaps I was expecting the raucous excitement we got when we last played in Paris with The
Libertines.. My first and formost reason to do what I do and be in a band is to get a connection, it's important to me and I want the band as a unit to enjoy the night and not be separated in any way. At several points in the gig this French guy felt like it was his duty to get up onstage and harange the audience in French to try and gear them up. I felt that we failed to night but then you come off stage and people say it's great and I realise that I will never GET this business. I just think we have to find more ways to improve as a band. Relaxed Muscle, Jarvis's band seem to get a similar reaction though, and his voice is put through disguising effects which makes it easier for him to be rude to them I guess.
Perhaps for us, me learning more French is the answer, like I said before, communicating with audiences is the biggest hurdle and though I'm not the best at picking up languages, I'll have a bloody good try if it means getting more people on our side.. viva la France...

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

By rights I should be in France now.. but we're not.. we came back. Had a frustrating day.. I wanted to go and see Razorlight again with The Raveonettes.. but it's sold out and I can't get through to the band and the promoters are saying that there are over 180 people on the guest list... there are other things happening though.. people are talking about the 20-20s.. I saw them at The Dublin Castle but they are playing at ULU and I like it there.. and then Special Needs are playing again.... so much choice.. Last night I went to The Barfly to check out a band called The Belles who are on Eat Sleep Records.. a label that are supposed to be interested in us.. . they were followed by a bunch of young and pretty Swedish boys called the Sugar Plum Fairys... the singer looked disturbingly like a young (and cute) Mick Jagger.. they lost it a bit in the middle.. but I liked them and also got to meet REMs booking agent, who will definitely be getting a package from us...

Monday, November 03, 2003

We had an absolutely storming weekend, the only pity is that the original plan to be away for two weeks in Europe has been scuppered by the inconsiderate and sometimes incompetent UK agents. We had been trying for weeks, that's us and the management, to speak to The Bellrays agent to let us play two gigs in France with them, thereby making sense of us staying in Europe. This is also the time when we could have been playing with Muse in France.. :-(
Anyway.. on Friday we did a warm up gig @ a new venue called The Eye in Stoke Newington.. I loved it because we got to play the new songs and they went down really well.. we are the guests. tonight really belongs to a band called XR5 and Tom and Paul from Artrocker's band.. The Mighty Fraff.. they are really nice to us and even name check us in a song that goes something like "six times better" with the idea that we were good and they had to be six..or was it seven . ..times better than us.. anyway.. they were really nice to us after the gig..so perhaps I might be able to fulfull one of my ambitions and actually PLAY @ Artrocker... We stay around the venue until the bands have finished and then hit the road to France, vodka on board... it feels like another M.A.S.S. adventure... Don't remember mutch about the ferry but wake up in France and at the festival in Nevers... it's near Sancerre where the wine comes from... As ever in France, the response for M.A.S.S. is amazing we get really looked after and it is one of our best gigs in ages...

jonny, lisa and me.. x xI must admit I had seen The Bellrays at Death Disco a few weeks ago and loved them but even I wasn't prepared for this and all of our gang were completely blown away.. The Bellrays rock big time.. they said they would like to play with us again and all I could think of was the people back home who hadn't returned our calls and enabled this to happen.. I was even ready to jump on the bus with them and catch up with the lads in Amsterdam... the Bellrays are that good and have a true rock and roll spirit that makes us want to raise our game.. we'll be meeting up with them again in Paris next week. I can't believe that we had to come back to England before setting off again for Amsterdam on Thursday.... someone will pay!!

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