September 20, 2009

Liverpool O2 Academy – Thursday 17th September

We’re filming the tour to put together a little documentary and will be also using clips that people have managed to capture. So far we have played in Liverpool and Glasgow and the footage we have is mainly from the journey and our rubbish regional accents as we approach each city.

As we’re on a tight budget we’re staying at cheap chain hotels, I must say Travel Lodge leaves a lot to be desired! There’s no point being rock’n'roll and wrecking the room, you wouldn’t be able to tell. We learnt that Kajagoogoo were also booked into Travel Lodges so that made us feel slightly better.

Arriving at the O2 Liverpool Academy Thursday evening we were greeted by eager Goo fans waiting for autographs, they got excited when we pulled up to unload as we’re in a fairly smart car but then looked completely disinterested when they realised we weren’t in-fact anything to do with Kajagoogoo. As we entered the venue Nick Beggs came straight up and said “Hello, you must be the kind northern people”, then insisted in helping us unload the rest of gear into the venue with the rest of the band. They were waiting for Limahl to arrive to finish their sound check, they couldn’t have be more apologetic about keeping us waiting, normally we just have a line check so being able to do any kind of sound check is a bonus.

Limahl soon arrived and their sound check began. I haven’t seen Limahl for about 15 years and although I knew him pretty well I wasn’t sure if he would remember me. As they were leaving the stage with us waiting to go on he said “I know you, it’s Matt isn’t it?” so then we had a recap of the last 15 years and a quick chat about NK. Originally he’s from Wigan so the Liverpool gig was local for his family, he said he was disappearing after the gig rather than traveling with the band but we’d have a proper catch-up at some point.

Brian the tour manager issued us with our back stage passes and Andy the promoter gave us a tour of the venue. From dressing room to backstage it’s about a five minute walk and what seemed like a labyrinth. We decided to open with the original On & On intro from the first album, that meant a good 60 seconds of track without requiring me to play a note, so I came up with a way of remote starting the set with a simple iPhone application called Novation AutoMap. This connects to the WiFi connection on my laptop and controls the Logic software and allows me to start out set backstage.

Just before our set I bumped into Dyl and John, John is the guy who has set-up the NK forum so we managed to have a quick chat before we had to dash back to the dressing room and find our way to the back of the stage.. Our set went OK, sound wasn’t particularly loud through the monitors on stage and Sarah felt a little disconnected from the audience. I played a few bum notes and ended ‘Into The Blue’ a little prematurely but know one seemed to notice :-)

After, we had a long chat with both John & Dyl whilst Kajagoogoo played, a few people came up to us to say they enjoyed the set and we signed & sold CD’s. After the Kaja show Nick, Stuart, Steve & Jez came out to sign autographs whilst Limahl went off to meet up with his family. Andy & Dave the promoters came over to say they enjoyed the set, they also promote for Howard Jones, their company is called Hide & Seek to an obvious reference there.

I was pretty hungry after the gig but the best we could find was a Mc Donalds, Sarah is a bit of a health food freak but made do with a Fillet of Fish.

We shared a room at the Travel Lodge, I won the toss for the big double so Sarah had to make do with the sofa bed, I’m such a gentleman! It was Sarah’s idea to toss a coin though.

Glasgow The Ferry – Friday 18th September

As compensation for the sofa bed I said Sarah could have the big bath towel, to get her own back she used my towel to stand on, nice.

Having never eaten in a Little Chef I said I would like to have a good breakfast to see me through the long drive to Glasgow. Surprisingly it was really nice and not at all greasy. The drive took about 3 1/2 hours passing by some of Great Britians most dramatic scenery, Sarah did a little video interview as I was driving. We arrived at The Ferry venue at 3pm. The Goo guys had also just arrived so I helped them unload their gear and inspected the venue. As the name would suggest it’s floating on a permanent mooring on the banks of The River Clyde in the heart of Glasgow, just down from the S.E.C.C.

We talked to the guys about the joys of Travel Lodges as they were about to leave to find their hotel, we decided to have a scout for some food and managed to see the Kaja guys at Harry Ramsdens, when it comes to food I’m a bit of a snob so we decided to skip that plaice :-)

We unloaded our fairly modest gear into the venue and I managed to drop my Ultimate Support stand and break one of it’s tiers. Fortunately I was able to sit the laptop on my rackmount case.

We watched Kajagoogoo sound check and they performed a couple of new tracks that I’m not familiar with, they sounded great out front. Time was precious tonight so I only managed to get a line check which was fine as the guys had digital desks and were able to recall the set-up from the previous night.

We were shown our dressing room / cabin below deck and I decided to get changed and head for the bar. The Ferry had sold tickets that included a meal before the show, so the tables were now occupied mostly by groups of women in their early forties who were obviously original Kajagoogoo fans. Having to wear my Kaja back stage pass meant I got stares from people as I walked through the bar / restaurant. Jer (Afront) and his mate Paul arrived just after 7pm so we had a drink before disappearing again to get ready. I’d missed the door to the stage and by that time the Kaja guys had gone off to get ready. We decided to make our approach to the stage through the crowd which turned out to be a bad mistake, remote starting the set meant I had a quick dash to make the first note of On & On fortunately I made it.

The atmosphere was great and it was good to see a few yellow NK T-shirts in the audience. After the Goo set we hung around to sign some autographs and a couple of nice lady Kaja fans asked me to go and get Limahl from the backstage area. I duly did as they asked but as a compromise he said bring them back here in twos, so for the next 30 minutes he spent signing stuff and posing for photographs. Jer made me laugh out loud when someone asked for a shot of me and Sarah with Stuart the Kaja keyboard player, Northern Goo (a new hybrid band) as he shouted out loud. We then sat back stage and met Brad Snelling the man behind Retrofest, he invited us to play in 2008 however we didn’t manage to meet him at the time.

We then said our goodbyes and began the long 5 hour journey back to Leicester, we decided to drive back rather than accepting Jer’s kind offer of a place to stay for the night. I really wanted to wake up in my own bed plus I’d promised my wife I’d spend some time with her and our daughter.

Next stop Norwich – Wednesday 23rd.