Tour Diary : Brighton Centre : with The Libertines
It must be roughly 6am when the first rays of the sun hit my tired eyes , I'm on a motorway driving back to London from Margate with Mr Andy Clark at the wheel. I've just spent several hours in the company of Peter and his new friend Storm at the Hotel that The Libertines have recently purchased. Although it is in its early stages It has already got that classic Albion vibe to it, Flags, Paintings, a coin collection and the Players Please sign that has travelled from his various abodes.
I feel like Nosferatu on his mission from the Carpathian Mountains as Wagner's "Ring Cycle" blairs from the radio and as I drift in and out of sleep in the passenger seat .. I ponder back on some of the things Peter and I discussed..How beautiful the sun looks setting on the Sea, How Much we miss Alan Wass (R.I.P) , Terry Hall's (The Specials/Fun boy three) gift to English Songwriting and the upcoming Brighton Libertines gig :The final of their "Tiddly on Pom Pom " tour which Deadcuts have been invited to play. If you reading this your probably a Libertines or Deadcuts aficionado and will know the Deadcuts connection with Peter ( if not go onto upthealbion.com majority of the info is there) I'm way too lazy to write it all up again.Time has a habit of accelerating once you hit your thirties - and before I know it a month and a half have passed and it's the night before the gig.
Nerves hit me hard as they always do - and despite rehearsing regularly and feeling confident about the gig Im plagued by the usual suspected fears ..what if my pedals give out? What if my amp dies? What if everyone turns up after we've played? These are just some of the other paranoid Ideas that dominate your humble narrators mind. Of course I leave everything till the last minute -stuffing my stage clothes into a bag which consists of a toothbrush, hairspray, make up, my Green Goodfellas style blazer, Blackshirt and Jeans and my goofy pink "Cool Cat" t-shirt which is a nice thing to wear after coming off stage.
I pack my guitars, pedals, and My hernia producing Fender Twin reverb Amp which seems to get heavier every time I lift it to the point where it's taken up residence in my front room giving me the evil eye on occasion , terrible memories of hauling that thing up three flights of stairs at The Chameleon in Nottingham.My back has not been the same since...
Aaron our bassist arrives at my house for midday -Fun Fact: Aaron was in a band called Olympus Mons who toured with Babyshambles back in 2005 and was also in Roses, Kings Castles) , he is also one of the finest bass players to walk this sphere, we go and purchase some snacks from the local patisserie - and our splitter bus arrives just in time. Our Tour Manager Nick Gough has a way of making me feel very safe, he is the paragon of health and I know I can rely on him all the way - he is Deadcuts "rock" literally. He helps me get our stuff in and jumps behind the wheel, joining us in the back are Ronan and Dylan ( who have come to do some filming of the gig ) Mark and Natanya and our buddy Nick Sayers ( Ho9909's tour photographer who's come to take some snaps). Nick Sayers helps us pack DIY style over a hundred promos into cd packages for our press guy, it's tedious and fiddly but one has to keep the end result in mind when doing these things.
The drive from South London to Brighton is super quick - we're on schedule ! And as we pull into the back of Brighton Centre I spot our Friends Malina Molgan and Anna May smoking cigarettes outside on the steps, Malina is also here to document the night with her camera as is Anna.
Malina has been photographing Peter for some time now, we initially met when Deadcuts went to play in Paris with Peter and she managed to document the Eudiamonia tour in her book "Elements of Eudiamonia" which features a degree of access bands don't usually give within its pages that makes it all the more special.
As we enter through the doors one is immediately struck by how vast the building actually is, complete with four floors situated at the back which contain a dining area , backstage rooms, Production office, V.i.p bar etc, This venue seems a lot bigger than your average 02 academy and it's got the perfect vibe for tonight's proceedings. We manage to get our equipment loaded to the stage where we're greeted by Peter's legend of a guitar tech Mr Andrew Newlove - Andrew is one of those guys who is the most sincere and loveliest blokes around, every show we've done with Peter or Libertines in the last couple of years Andrews been there and has always given us support which he really doesn't have to do but because of his generous nature is always there if you need him, .He shows me a guitar he made for Peter a beautiful Black Telecaster, for those guitar nerds out there I think you'll agree a telecaster is what every Guitarist who has ever spent a decade or more playing Gibson's ends up playing, Mick Jones, ,Robert Smith, Johnny Marr, Lynval Golding John Mcgeogh etc all ended up with telecasters in the end and I bet you every guitarist feels no matter how big their collection is incomplete without one. I show him my new-ish Gibson Goldtop left to me by my dear friend Mick Lynes who departed earlier this year ( R.I.P Mick) and we enter guitar geek land for a brief moment ,
During soundcheck as predicted my pedals are misbehaving and Andrew helps me to get em working, gives us our times to be at the side of the stage and we go up in a lift to our dressing room. We file past the production office, through the dining hall where I bump into Carl, Lucie and her manager Tyler we have a quick chat and head into our dressing room. Im overwhelmed by hunger particularly because I've not eaten a thing and can smell the chicken dinner coming from the catering area - The chef is kind enough to keep me a dinner for after our set ain't no way I can eat before playing - too many nerves...
Soundcheck is upon us and luckily Robert ( Drummer of Yonaka) is kind enough to lend Lee (who is filling In on drums for Cass tonight ) some cymbal stands - we literally run through a song and a half - that's all that we need because the sound is so good in here- one gets proper spoiled in a venue like this - everything is crystal clear.
Tonight we're on early 6.45pm to be precise and it's almost time .Theres a lovely old fella who has probably worked here for fifty plus years who demands that he calls the lift for us and we descend down to the stage..will anyone be there? I wonder ...the lights go down and luckily people have got here early.
Each split second of playing is fun , Mark clad in black snakes around the stage reciting a vision of hell in " Dope Girls" , "I feel hunted" he sings in "Single" , Aaron pounds the bass in Summon The Witches" and Lee is on top form.We slide into tracks like "Dereliction" which I'm told by one punter sounds like Queens of the Stone Age and early Killing Joke having a fight and it's just such a joy to play on a great stage with great sound. We end with "Kill Desire" and leave my guitar feedbacking for a minute or two against the amp.
I chat to a few nice punters and it strikes me how much of an event tonight really is, theres people from Spain, Paris, Italy ,Sweden etc and they're all here to witness the grand finale of the tour.
I head upstairs and run into Tony Linkin. Tony and Mark go a long way back when Tony was doing PR for Marks former group Senseless Things -back in the day Tony suggested that Mark meet Peter and write together which led to Mark, Peter and Carl to conjure a song called " Can't Stand Me Now" .Tony is part of Cloud Pr and takes care of all the Libertines press , manages Trampolene and is doing a press campaign for Deadcuts album "Hit on all sixes" - he is one of the few guys left in this industry who actually give a damn about great music.
Next I head down to watch Lucie's performance, her new band are incredibly good - and I would go so far as to say this is the best I've seen Lucie live, there's a poppy sensibility to these tunes and a purity to them opening tracks " Brothers in Arms " and "Take me away " are perfect indications of Lucie's gift as a songwriter and "Be Uprising " is a venture into Lucie's discontent of the world and its nightmares I feel that this group have the goods to be able to project and execute her ideas well, she reminds at times of a younger Patti Smith and She'll always have my vote.
Yonaka are on Next and I can hear Theresa ( Yonaka's Singer) warming her vocals up next door to our dressing room - This band have a incredible mix of styles, it's impossible to catergorise or pigeon hole their sound and that alone is a rare thing these days. Each member of that group is seriously talented, and when they hit the stage it's a triumph that does them proud, Gary ,Carl and John come to watch too , I recognise the opening tracks "Run" ,Gods and Lovers" ,"Wouldn't Wanna be ya" and as Theresa struts in her red and black suit across the stage I realise that this band have it all.Ignore them at your peril.
Its back upstairs again and The Libertines are about to go on or so I think - Everyone is sat chatting in the dining hall Jai ( Peters Manager and long time friend ), David Bianchi ( Various Management) and his missus Claire, Iain Slater and The Brucie, and Jack Jones. Jack comes over and we have a hug and chat whilst Nick and Malina and Anna snap some pics, We discuss the plight of the music industry (can we call it an industry anymore ?) and I play Jack some Flatbush Zombies from my phone and try to turn him onto the "Beast Coast" Hip Hop scene,
Later that evening We share the lift with Yonaka and my phone starts playing the track entitled "New Phone Who Dis?" And Theresa starts dancing -ain't nobody that can't feel that Flatbush Zombies groove.
Next up onstage is The fantastic Magic Mod aka Ben Taylor -it takes some guts to get onstage in front of four thousand people on your own /However this man literally has the audience in the palm of his hand and is such a character that it's impossible not to instantly like him. One of his magic tricks includes asking a girl in the audience to pick a card ,as soon as she picks the card the Magic Mod kicks the remaining cards into the crowd - after asking the girl which card she has picked Ben retrieves this very card from his shoe,another sees him put two hankys together and put it down a girls top - when pulling the hankys out the girls bra comes out attached to them , Whoever decided to add the magic mod to the tour it was a very smart move as it adds something wondrous and innocent which reflects the traditional spirit of Albion and it's true nature, Also it's something other than music that the audience can connect to .If The Magic mod comes to your town make sure you don't miss him this guy is a legend.
And So the moment everyone's been waiting for ...and typically I'm busy pouring myself a drink when I hear "Did you see the see the stylish kids in the riot". I race downstairs and onto the side of the stage which is chockablock with support bands, photographers, managers , friends etc so I so I decide to get in the thick of it with the crowd where the real fun is ! And I can sense a massive adrenaline rush coming off the fans tonight ,Ive had the luxury of seeing the Libertines countless times, but there's a sense of urgency to their playing tonight that's different from other gigs-they sound solid tonight - and for any bitter Journalist who'd remark that the band are loose and unprofessional then tonight is certainly proof that's rubbish-they are one of the last great rock n roll bands .I know that the Libertines are often pushed under the "Indie" bracket but in truth they are closer to the spirit of "77 " tonight than "1994 " Delaney" is delivered like a swift uppercut the audience are loving it -it's always reminded me of what The Smiths would sound like if they broke into a pharmacy and gobbled up a ton of pharmaceutical Amphetamine. "Tomblands" has the same degree of vital primal energy -there is electricity in the air tonight and the band turn their backs to start the intro to "The Saga" -Peter clad in a suit races over to the mic hammering on his telecaster and Carl is giving his melody maker a good beating -Tight , Sweaty ,Fast this is my ultimate Libertines gig I'm sure of it .They end with "Don't look back into the Sun" which takes me back to the days long before Facebook or other distractions - the day when I turned on Xfm in 2003 and heard em blasting through my radio and it sounds just as anthemic as it did then .Gary is smiling and looks so happy -Gary's one of the good guys and what a phenomenal drummer ..The Boys clamber together and take a bow -peter plucks a tune out of the piano and voila ...They played a blinder.
Back in the dressing rooms we pack up and start to make our way to say Goodbye led by Jai. I thank Carl and Gary and slide into a side room and say my goodbyes to Peter and Katia, Peter asks me if I enjoyed it -I tell him there's no where else I'd rather have been that night , He looks genuinely happy with tonight's proceedings - we hug and I exit. Theres a few people outside, we give a French girl named Priscilla a t-shirt as she'd ordered it a week back, and sign a few albums and have a few pics with some fans, No matter how many genuine fans their are there are also always bound to be some nutters and tonight there's no exception ...a lad named Sean who is decked out in a camel coat and a beard you could lose a badger in complete with 70's disco shades and a sort of del boy flatcap comes over, The first thought that rushes into my head is did James Mullord have a son? The second is (why me? Why do I attract all the fucking nutters?) He asks me for a cigarette and tells me he really enjoyed the show - that he has been to every single Libertines gig since their inception - something tells me this is a fib as he can only be 24 years years old ..later on he asks for my pass and when I decline he then asks me if he can " Purchase " the pass, I turn to him and tell him no amount of money he offers is going to convince me to change my mind - he eventually crosses the street and now shows he's real character by giving me evils. Usually this would result in a crack upside the head but I'm way too happy and exhausted to give a fuck - I give Jai and Andrew Newlove a hug in the parking lot -we all say our goodbyes and jump into our splitter bus and head to the motorway home.Its been a long day and one by one we all drift off into sleep.
Update: Lucie Barat is preparing for a gig for the "Musicians against Homelessness "charity and will also be performing at the Trew era cafe next February.
Trampolene have released their debut album "From Swansea to Hornsea" and will be joining Liam Gallagher from December 7th on his arena tour.
Yonaka are doing a tour across the Uk , they recently shot a video for the track "Bubblegum" which is their new single .They are going from strength to strength and I predict nothing but good things for them.
The Magic mod was recently snapped with Liam Gallagher and Carl and is being booked across the country .
Deadcuts are about to release our second album "Hit on all Sixess" in January 2018.The " Boutique" edition sold out within a week if its release and Deadcuts played their final show of the year opening for Pop will eat itself and are about to shoot a video for their track "Opium Styles" .
The Libertines already have some new material for a new record, The Hotel is being decorated and they're also enjoying some well earned time off.The Libertines are so much bigger now - I remember when only a certain amount of indie kids knew who they were -now everyone knows who they are young or old.No doubt their in the Pantheon league of great British rock n roll and rightfully so.
Photos/Video : Molina Molgan (Thank you!)
Sent from my iPad