Posts Tagged ‘robots in disguise’

October tour with James Cook (and a spooky dare-to-dream story)

A few of weeks ago I had a message from singer/songwriter James Cook asking if I could join him the following week for a tour in Germany promoting his new album ‘Arts & Sciences’. I met James last year when I was on a tour of Germany with Robots In Disguise; James was the support and we had a lot of laughs so I didn’t hesitate to chart his songs and pack my bags!

I LOVE GERMANY! The venues are always great, musicians get treated really well and the people are so welcoming (and they’re organised and have health food stores all over the place – amazing!). As soon as I arrived we did an unexpected acoustic gig together in Rees, near the border with Holland, supporting Chris Pureka (whose music is completely wonderful – check her out here) which was a great way of playing together for the first time!

The next day we rehearsed the set in a florist’s shop (as you do) where we rocked the room so hard that a heavy plaster cherub fell off a wall and hit me on the back. I don’t stop for angels! Played on through, spurred on by the disco pig on the counter next to me

After a gig in Aachen we were joined by James’ violinist, Anne-Marie Kirby, and we played in Dusseldorf, Ratingen, Offenbach (where we met another great band, Sky Architects, from Denmark) and then on to our last date of the tour at White Trash in Berlin

I had a great week with some lovely people!

And the weirdest thing…

In 2006 I went to see Imogen Heap on her ‘Speak for Yourself’ tour. Her support band was a group called Nemo and I remember seeing them and loving their set; it was a gig that made me really feel and believe that I could make a career out of playing on stage myself. I remember their stripey drum kit, their tall bass player and their singer who did a little side to side dance.

One year later I joined Robots In Disguise and became friends with their tour manager – a very tall guy called Milan. Yep… you guessed it… Nemo’s bass player.

And here I am in October 2012 playing for James Cook, watching him do his little side to side dance (he was Nemo’s lead singer) from behind a stripey drum kit (the one I saw on stage with Imogen Heap).

Full circle!

 

L-Beach in Hamburg with Robots In Disguise

I’m not sure there is a better feeling than playing a song called ‘GIRL’ to 4,000 girls who like girls, at a festival FOR GIRLS but that’s what I did with Robots In Disguise on our trip to Hamburg for the 3rd L-Beach festival. Here was the stage we played -

We met a great band there called Betty who are a bunch of ladies who have been making music together for 25 years, which I found really encouraging. They told us all about their lives of touring with their kids and asking for babysitters on their riders. Genius!

We had a great weekend at the festival and spent all our off stage time in the spa and waterslide parts of the hotel park. Dee and I had an interesting experience where a large, naked German lady told us you weren’t allowed to wear swimming costumes in the sauna. We whipped off our cossies to find that no one else ANYWHERE was naked. Tricked into nudity!

We were treated very well by the festival, who provided make up artists for us (bit different to slapping make up on in a dark pub toilet like I am used to doing)

I had to leave early to get back to the UK for other work so I didn’t see Kim Wilde’s set but I did get chauffeur driven to the airport by a badass lady who looked like a Bond Girl villain. She was so cool I didn’t think I could sneak a photo of her for my blog so instead I will leave you with a post-gig photo of me and the RiD girls doing our matching photo pose (by accident)

 

Kiev with Robots In Disguise

My latest trip was to Kiev in the Ukraine with Robots In Disguise. I’ve missed them!

After some tender moments on the plane where Dee informed me that she finds me comforting to have near her on flights, we arrived in Kiev and were whisked away in a people carrier to be taken to our apartment in the centre of the city.

Initially we were bemused by the lack of seat belts and the overwhelming amount of religious icons attached to every available space on the car’s ceiling/rear view mirror. Speeding away uphill (at a busy crossroads) a cry went up from the back seat that the car’s boot had flung itself open and our bags were falling out onto the road…

After collecting everything and putting it all on our laps inside the car we made our way to the apartments…and then had to reverse down the same street as only one car could fit and we were heading towards an oncoming car.

Once settled into Chez Robot we went for a hearty meal of borscht and dumplings and had a late night walk around the city, which was beautiful

In the morning we discovered that the apartment had no hot water…disaster! No fights over using the bathroom though, which was nice. Next we went to the Ukraine’s MTV headquarters and did the most bizarre interview of our lives, which involved one of the presenters being sellotaped up (not by us) and us being asked to walk off stage and come back on again. If you want to watch us being confused in Ukrainian then click HERE

After that we had our sound check and the gig at the Sullivan Rooms, which was a beautiful venue. Someone took this strange photo of me with 2 heads, which I quite like

We were blown away by the audience at the Kiev gig; they sang along and danced to the whole set, which was really magical as we’ve not visited there before and the girls haven’t had a release there. Big thanks to these fans who travelled all the way from Moscow to see the gig -

I could really do with some borscht and dumplings right now! Mmmmmm…borscht…

 

Summer 2011 – gigs and a lot of cake

I’ve finally got enough time to take stock of the last few months and it has been BRILLIANT!

The Robots In Disguise UK tour in July was great fun. It was fantastic to play the songs from their new album live to an audience and the new band set up with me and my trusty mac for the backing tracks gave us a lot more freedom (it also meant I got my head around Logic this year).

I’m lucky to visit so many great places with Robots; since July we’ve played at festivals in the South of France, Norway and Italy and we still have a tour of Germany ahead of us this year. Although touring is hard work it is second to none for meeting people and seeing places I might not usually get the chance to go to. There aren’t many jobs where you get given an entire platter of Italian biscuits for your dressing room…

Or where you get fed the finest salmon you will EVER TASTE before you watch The Roots play, while standing by a Norwegian river with friends in the name of work…

I crossed Reading and Leeds festival off my to do list this summer as well, after playing percussion for musical comedy starlet, Brigitte Aphrodite. Keep an eye out for her ‘cos she will be coming at you in a big way with glitter and high heels very soon! Here we are at Reading with Jay, who plays guitar

We had a lot of love for the catering at Reading and Leeds. This was the first course of desserts we had at Reading…

I’ve also played percussion for lots of festivals near my home town this summer with Matthew Kilford. His glorious voice and guitar playing can make a grown man weep and you can check him out here. I don’t have any photos with Matthew or cake at his gigs though. Sorry.

I’m now looking forward to a holiday, playing with a new band this week, auditions, gigs, autumn and woolly jumpers.

 

Wembley Stadium with Cee Lo Green

I can cross Wembley Stadium off my to do list now! I was fortunate enough to play there with Noise Ensemble in 2008 (before the FA Cup Final) but this time around was even better – on a covered stage out of the rain, behind a drum kit and a well known artist with 75,000 people enjoying his music. I saw Cee Lo very briefly before the set of 4 songs – he seemed lovely and I felt for him and his team who have been jet setting across time zones for months now.

I met some gorgeous, talented ladies on the day who were a lot of fun to be around and share the Wembley experience (and awesome catering) with. Here we are about to go on stage…

Thanks to Meldra, Vicky, Rosie, Jetta and Jeanette for a great day! Thanks also to my sweet friend Ciara who helped me out by depping for me in Paris with Robots In Disguise x