The calm before the storm
So we’re all home safe and sound after our brief jaunt down south.
So we’re all home safe and sound after our brief jaunt down south.
It all started Thursday.
The band were hosting the BBC Radio1 Session in Scotland, live on air, whilst the shows regular host Vic was away on holiday.
I arrived back from holiday myself that day, and turned up jetlagged and zen-like, after a 16 hour commute from San Francisco, to meet an upbeat band at the BBC in the west-end… They were all on incredibly good form, and did, what I though, was a pretty damn good job standing in for Vic. The show’s producer, Muslim, seemed to think so as well, despite a few sneaky swear words slipping out, plus a fairly un-sneaky dissing of grime music in general, Pete Tong, and The Shamen.
After this, we were met by the rest of our fine team, Adam and Churd, who had arrived at the BBC in the van & trailer, with all the equipment, as we were to travel down late that night to Bristol, so the band could perform a show the following evening for MTV2.
This being Biffy though, the van obviously broke down, with both a wheel on the trailer, and the battery of the van being that evening’s casualties… an hour or so later though, and we were finally departing Glasgow in a sleeper bus, as we weren’t going to get anywhere near to our hotel room beds that evening… so try and sleep on the bus it was.
Bristol was good fun…
These TV/gig things have the potential to be clusterfucks of global proportions. Whilst they’re basically regular gigs with slightly brighter lighting, you’ve got maybe 10 extra people fitted up with cameras, and cables, and a few sitting in trucks outside, dealing with the audio and video feeds that are sent our from the venue… In principle, it should all be relatively simple, and they should fit happily into the way the show is run… But, as is almost always the case, it becomes a verbal battle, a political nightmare, and an unneccessary headache, as you’ve got the bands, the promoters, the record labels, and the TV networks, all fighting their own corner, with people rarely willing to back down…
We, as team biffy, are fairly self-sufficient, having seen enough of these clusterfucks, to know how to get around things… I think we’re all fairly nice people as well, and god knows we all care about the band enough to do whatever it takes to get the best for them… But when we’ve gone into a venue almost 3 hours earlier than everyone else, to prep and make sure everything will run smoothly, even we can get frustrated when certain parties try to flex their verbal muscles, which led to quarter of an hour of, shall we say, heated debate (them), and cold hard logic (us).
After everything was smoothed, I went to wake up the band, who were still asleep on the bus. After wandering into the venue, saying hello to The Twang, who had just arrived, on the way in, the boys went down to soundcheck… At this point, the dynamic of the event raised it’s ugly head again… As almost all of you will know, a soundcheck is part of the day, where everyone involved in the show is in place, and essentiall has an informal ‘rehearsal’ (for want of a better word… which I guess would be ‘soundcheck’) so that everyone is happy with the sound mix and level out front, and for the band, in their monitors and from their amps… For TV things, they’ll inevitably want the band to dress like they would for the show, so they can film a few close-ups, that they otherwise wouldn’t get (as we generally don’t let camera-people on the side or front of the stage during a show).
For obvious reasons, its preferable for us to nail the sound out front and onstage first, and then move on to the cosmetic bits…
Unfortunately, certain televisual-based-parties neglected to take this into account, and decided to delve straight into attempting to coerce the band into playing through the parts of the set that they were going to broadcast (i.e. Saturday Superhouse, Semi-Mental, Justboy etc… new tracks and singles, as opposed to older album tracks etc) so they could try some camera angles etc.
So as the guys rattled into The Kids from Kibble, I couldn’t help but smile, as I had to explain to aforementioned televisual-based-party, that they’d happily play some of the requested tracks, but that, as we’d explained to them 2 hours previously, it’d be fairly useless to do so, without the guys being able to hear anything onstage….
From that point on, everything was wonderful.
It was lovely to see some friends, old and new, including David and Zane from MTV on the former, and Stacy from Warner on the latter (who I believe may read these diaries, so hello)
The show went well, after The Wombats (not really our cup of tea, but if you like that sort of thing..), Hadouken (not really our cup of tea again) and The Twang (not quite our cup of tea musically, but they had a great vibe during their show, and they seem to be a genuinely nice bunch of guys)
Afterwards, James and Si disappeared to our hotel room (for showering purposes, we had a room in a nearby hotel, as the venue didn’t have any showers) for a post-show shower, leaving Ben to front up and be social and entertain the ever increasing mass of record label and industry types that gravitated to the dressing room after the show.
The Biffy dressing room is becoming a bit of a touring MetBar for music industry it would seem… wherever it appears, whichever city we’re in, whatever the venue is, as soon as Churd powers down those amps, the birds start circling high above the 3 cases of Corona sitting nestled in iceboxes…
We had Gordon back onboard for this show, who avid diary readers, or indeed anyone who came to a January show and went to the merch stand, may remember… He’s getting better at his game, bless him, and is making it his mission to shift as many tshirts as his wee hands can manage…
Of course, he can be slowed down somewhat, as he’s fallen into the classic trap of ‘celebrity-by-proxy’ that anyone who works with a band is victim to at some point…
The difference is though, that whilst most find the ideas of autographs and photos ridiculous, embarassing and unwarranted, Gord has taken to it like a duck to an incredibly deep lake, and will pretty much sign anything put in front of him at this point.
I’ll need to have a word at some point, as the poor lamb has got confused a few times, so in the Biffy merch float, there exists 5 or 6 £20 pound notes with the words "Gordon.x" or "Gordon, keep it real, much love, holla" scrawled across them in sharpie, before he realised that they just wanted a tshirt… the wee scamp.
We’ll probably have to cut his hands off at the wrist, and make him wear a horse mask or something similar next time around.
Or at least make him wear the horse mask all day, and not just on the bus.
Dark enough for you…?
Speaking of dark, one of the band’s collective favourite directors, David Fincher, his new movie ‘Zodiac’ is amazing… really amazing. Not what you’d expect, but brilliant regardless.
It’s probably time for a wind-up of what the band are digging in the various forms of media just now…
Jeremy Enigk – World Waits
The Cooper Temple Clause – Make This Your Own
Aereogramme – My Heart Has A Wish
the Band of Horses album…
Malcolm Middleton’s new album
The Tuxedo (seriously.. we all watched it on the bus, and it’s worth watching if only for sampled noise that James Brown makes when Jackie Chan flips him over and knocks him out)
Kiss of The Dragon (recommended by our resident martial arts guru, Ben Johnston, despite the fact that only Si and I stayed up to watch it til the end. Odd. Fucking full-on at the end as well. You really don’t want to be kissed by the proverbial)
The Office series 2…
we watched it in its entirety, and there were a few really full-on hysterical bits we didn’t remember… amazing.
We spent a lot of yesterday going over the calendar for the next few months…
From now (Today – Sunday 25th March), by my count, we have approximately 11 days off between now and June 12th, only 6 of which are actually at home…
And June 12th will very likely and very quickly become August, I think.
More European festivals are being added by the day, which is great… Not to mention the UK festivals… we’re now confirmed for quite a few of them… The only one we’re going to publicly announce and confirm at this point is Reading and Leeds… the rest you’ll hear about soon…
Hope you’ve all got your tickets for the shows in May, or are planning to get them in the near future… I believe all the scottish shows are very close to selling out (Glasgow may be already?)
We’ve started talking support bands now as well, for that tour… Pretty much every single band that have been discussed on the messageboard arent in the frame though, which should spark some new incorrect speculation…
There’s some exciting names being thrown into the pot though.
From reading the message forum as well, we’ve noticed the concern regarding age restrictions at some of the shows (Edinburgh being the main offender) as well as the high booking fees some have had to pay on ordering tickets… We might have some news on age restrictions soon, and remember it’s always better to get your tickets from the venue itself… that’s really all the sage advice we have just now, but the band have decided they will play one extra song just for those who paid a higher booking fee… so during the show, whatever the 5th song is, that’s there for you guys. Really though, we sympathise completely on this, but it’s difficult for a band to really fight the machine on this one, unless we have the clout to do so, and an alternative angle on how to reservice the tickets, that won’t fuck us in the long run, on some unforseen point that I don’t and wouldn’t expect you guys to be aware of. but indeed… Only One Word Comes to Mind. Capitalism.
Anyway… I’m going to go and unpack my suitcase, so I can repack it in a few days time…
more soon. watch this space. fight the machine.