Carbonel's blog

Summer Darkness Festival diary - Friday

I was going to do this in one big write-up, but since I seem to natter on a bit I've split it into two.  So, where to begin? Probably on the ferry on the way over. More specifically, on the Friday morning on the ferry.

It felt like I hardly slept at all before we got woken up for breakfast (4am GMT, FFS!) but a hearty fry-up sorta made it worth it. Then it was off to Utrecht!

We got there without drama, thankfully, and decided to drop the gear off at the Tivoli Oudegracht where we're playing, rather than having to drag it back from the hotel. It's a fair massive place - almost certainly the biggest we've been in so far - and from the look of the tech rider they sent us, with four pages just of lighting specs, it's going to be great to play. Jim managed to rob a load of Summer Darkness flyers with us on from the production office, along with some stickers to go on our flight cases - well, we gotta start the collection somewhere!

After that we headed to the hotel. The place we're staying in is fantastic - it's in a leafy green suburb a bit out of the city, our room has its own little balcony and there's even a pool here. There was a slight drawback when Jim & I opened our room door and saw they'd given us a double bed - FAIL!! But by that time we were both too knackered to go change it so we'll make do. I just hope Jim ain't prone to spooning in his sleep..

So one short sleep (no spooning) later and we got our call to the venue. The organisers are great, btw - they sent someone to collect us from the hotel and everything - and we arrived in time to catch some of Cybercide. I really like those guys - pure, unashamed bouncy futurepop, and they clearly have such fun on stage. It was cool to catch up with Eddie too - I see Rob a fair bit at Wendy House in Leeds, but Eddie's further away.

It wasn't long tho before we had to make ready to go on ourselves. Rich suggested we have some 'get in the zone' music, so Jim obligingly provided some Tinchy Strider - awesome!   Then, showtime!

The gig was a hoot. It seemed to take the audience three or four songs before they really got into it, but we found out after that the kick drum out front was really, really quiet (like, nearly missing) for the first 3 tracks, and with this style of music being so kick-centric, you can guess this was a pretty epic FAIL! Once it kicked (scuse the pun) back in tho, everyone perked up. Last Human and Under the Cross continue to pwn, and I was hugely satisfied to see the audience going totally nuts to my perennial fave I Am The Nation, heh heh. I had a slight equipment malfunction with my new earpiece that gives me a click track to keep everyone in time, when it kept getting tangled up in my hair and falling out at important moments! Next time I'm going to tape the sucker in place..
Final verdict tho: Total Win   I even got someone in the audience asking for my drumsticks as a souvenir, lol!

Sadly, between packing gear up getting it back to the hotel (big props to Matteo and Dave from the Tivoli for driving us!) we missed Tyske Ludde. They did a hugely energetic show at last year's Infest, and I wanted to catch their new song March, which is a stomping industrial cover of When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again.

I did manage to catch a good chunk of the Cruxshadows, whom I don't think I've seen since we did the show with them in York a couple of years ago. Their new setup looked fabulous on Tivoli's large stage - the guys are an amazing visual spectacle. After that I high-tailed it down to de Helling to catch the Birthday Massacre for the second time in three weeks

In case anyone has somehow missed it, this gang are currently far-and-away my favourite band. Maybe it's the flawless combination of crushing guitars and pinprick synths, with Chibi's heart-on-sleeve voice woven through; maybe it's the way the songs seem to connect with everyone on such a personal, emotional level. Whatever it is, it has me utterly captivated, and it's my hearty belief that anyone who can listen to Weekend, or Holiday, or their covers of I Think We're Alone Now or Neverending Story, and not feel an overwhelming sense of joy and rapture is, quite frankly, missing a soul
But anyway, enough from the TBM-fanboi section of the blog.. Suffice to say I enjoyed the show very much, and from the look of it so did the band. Super kudos to Chibi too for keeping going even though, in her words "all my stuff's breaking". I'm guessing her in-ear monitor had packed up, so given that something similar had just happened to me I can totally sympathise   Professional as ever though she went on, and by the end I do believe she'd forgotten all about it.

By this point Rich and Char had headed back to the hotel, Rich having made a fairly heroic effort to drink the entire festival's rider in one night.. Jim and I ambled back up toward Oudegracht, collecting a crazy assortment of folks along the way. Seem to remember discussing such random topics as plaiting bum-hair, the world's worst super-hero team, and why saying LOL gets you smacked on the ass.. LOL

Back at Oudegracht we found Geoff from Modulate, still wearing the Public Enemy T-Shirt we'd given him (we've added a cover of Fight the Power to our set, and the venue gave us a bunch of T-Shirts the band had left behind when they played there earlier this year). We also discovered a somewhat monged Rhys outside.. Apparently he'd been up since 5, and had found 'a cafe' pretty much as soon as they got here. Suffice to say, the fella was a bit the worse for wear.. Being legend, tho, he guided us to a cafe where we could find chips - really good chips too! It amuses me that the late-night takeaway is sort of a universal constant: I've been to very few cities abroad - Amsterdam, here and New York - but every one has featured that invaluable establishment from which revellers can obtain their staple late-night diet of chips, pizza and kebab meat of dubious origin..

We figured this was a fair point to end the night, so we headed back to the hotel and engaged in some much-welcome sleep. Friday = Win, let's see how Saturday goes..

10 // 08 // 2009

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