Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Revival Road: part 2

So Dave Hause has put me and a plus one on the guest list for the Nottingham show, four days after the Manchester show. In between the tour has been to Dublin, Glasgow and Newcastle so this is the 6th night of the tour. By now the guys would be really in the swing of things, used to each others songs, some good covers worked out, should make for an even better show than Manchester in theory. The only problem was, was Dave Hause going to remember and keep his promise? Tweeting him during the day to ask for confirmation was useless because which musicians reply to or even read the tweets of their fan followers?

The show wasn't sold out so we (me and my sister) set out anyway, thinking worst case scenario is we have to buy a ticket at the box office if we aren't on the list. Two and a half hours later we are parked directly next to the venue and hanging around out back trying to catch the band to get our albums and photos signed. We could hear Dave sound checking but other than that not much was going on. The box office was closed so we had no choice but to queue outside Rock City and hope for the best. The show was approaching and still no idea but we were a little alarmed at the group building a separate queue on the box office side. Prior knowledge maybe??? Anyway, 10 minutes before doors a personal message drops into my twitter inbox, its usually phishing scam so Im expecting this but NO, Dave Hause messages "Just putting you on the list now man, enjoy the show" Awesome, Dave Hause personal messaging me. We got in, we got on the barrier at the front standing right in front of Brian Fallon's mic stand and next to a fellow Dimestore Saint - Alexander.

I liked the venue. If you've never been this is what its like. A wide stage in the middle facing the entrance doors. The venue is much wider than it is deep with a bar at each end and a balcony at the back over the entrance doors directly facing the stage.

The guys started the gig promptly and went about the show with similar songs to the Manchester show just varying their sets by a couple of songs each. Not to say that it was repetitive though. They were clearly all having a great time up there. Half the enjoyment for me was seeing these guys that i look up to a lot just hanging out with their friends on stage and playing their songs in such great spirit and passion. The highlights this time for me were Long Ride home by Brian and Dave (Patti Griffin cover), Old White Lincoln by Brian, Crush by The Horrible Crowes and the finale 'Revival Road' by the whole band, a song that I had now become familiar with. An awesome song; more on that later in the song of the blog;)

The official setlist was supposed to contain a fourth Horrible Crowes song ' I Believe Jesus brought us Together' but was cut out because during 'Cherry Blossom' (The quietest most emotional song on the whole show) some ignorant people about 7 rows back were chatting and laughing loudly amongst themselves. Brian finished the song and then started discussing the next Gaslight Anthem album and had to stop saying something like (and Im paraphrasing) "You must be having a real fucking interesting conversation over there" he was quite angry and when the houselights were cast over them they high fived and  Brian said (again im paraphrasing(you get the idea))"Oh yeah high five thats really cool" "You know I'm not sure if all of these people here came here to see me but they sure as fuck didn't come to hear you" At this point the whole room cheered and clapped for what must have been a whole minute.  That seemed to shut them up anyway. By this time Brian was a bit annoyed so after carrying on with his story somebody shouted for him to play and he responded "Yeah, Im getting to that but heres what you need to do; find a few friends, write some songs, try and get somebody to listen and then maybe you can get up here and play what you want, Keep em coming I got a load more of these I could do this all day" or something to that effect. He'd called one fan earlier an idiot not one but three times for cheering BRUUUUUUUCCE! Long story short Brian didn't seem as happy during the show but once he'd finished dealing with the troublesome crowd he seemed to perk up for his Gaslight Anthem songs. Theres no way they could have performed 'I believe Jesus brought us together' over the voices so unfortunately it was dropped. A shame that a few had to ruin it for the rest.

It didn't totally ruin the show it just tainted it a little. A plus for my sister was that Dave kept commenting on her being the pretty girl in the front row distracting him which she loved when she realised he was talking about her. Similar to last time we went to meet the band after the show and they were much quicker at coming out to speak to the fans. Unfortunately the fans couldn't get close to Brian for 15 minutes because his hecklers had come out to either apologise or argue their point which seemed to aggravate Brian at first. His explanation for his outburst was that he misses his friends and family when he tours and its all going on in his mind all the time and these people pushed him over the edge. I felt sorry for him because they still continued arguing and I was this close to wringing some girls neck for shouting insults. He said his concern was that these people were spoiling the show for others who had paid and had right to enjoy the show without hinderance.

More people were after his attention so we didn't get to chat as the hecklers were hanging around annoyingly still trying to talk their way back into his good books or put their point across for the millionth time. I did get 2 of my photos with him signed and had a new one done too which was better. Got 2 more albums signed by Chuck Ragan and went over to say thanks to Dave for the guest list spots. We got photos taken more autographs and he held off other fans until he'd finished talking to us and making sure we got what we wanted from him. Real nice guy and next time he's over either solo or with The Loved Ones I'll definitely go watching. Maybe he'll even remember me and my sister?

I was a little disappointed I had'nt had chance to speak to Ian, he'd disappeared when we came to leave and his was the only photo that I hadn't had signed so we walked back into the quiet multistorey and over to the car and who should be paying at the meter. Ian and a friend of his from Johnny Cupcakes. He remembered me from the Manchester show and wrote me a message on the photo that he signed which was cool. They both invited me to a Johnny Cupcakes event but unfortunately I can't make it.

That drew a close to another great night. As we pulled out of the car park Brian looked up from the people he was talking to and gave us a quick wave and a nod. In the distraction I forgot to put my headlights on and turned the wrong way up a one way street. Luckily it was quiet...

Song of the blog this time is Revival Road as mentioned earlier. I just think this song sums up The Revival Tour. Its used as the last song to say goodbye to the fans before the Tour hits the road again. Its got all the makings of a great folk song and I think this song should close every Revival Tour show there is. Maybe it will go down in history and become one of the legendary folk songs that people still sing in 100 years time like the traditional folk songs. Its a nice idea. Heres the link. Enjoy the camaraderie

Fare thee well for now...

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Revival Road part 1:

After an awesome night at The Revival Tour in Manchester I thought I'd blog about it. Not just for others to read about but partly so that I have written down what i remember so that I don't forget bits.

For those that don't know what the Revival Tour is heres a summary. Its four lead singers from four different bands routed in punk rock singing their songs and collaborating acoustically in a folk setting as a revival of traditional folk sessions where people used to just bring along their instruments and sing and play together. This tour involves Brian Fallon (The Gaslight Anthem/ The Horrible Crowes), Dave Hause (The Loved Ones), Chuck Ragan (Hot Water Music) and Dan Andriano (Alkaline Trio) plus Joe Ginsberg on upright bass and Jon Gaunt on the fiddle.

I think what I loved most about this show was the amount of fun the guys were having up on the stage and the respect that they showed for each other, always hugging, shaking hads between songs and requesting applause for other band members. It was like a group of best friends playing together and loving it, where choosing to walk on stage and sing or play along with one of the others at any given moment, was expected. Thats the way folk music should be. This word has already become cliche when talking of the Revival tour but camaraderie is the only way to describe the relationship that these guys have together. I've never watched a tour like this and maybe I never will again. 3 hours and about 47 songs! My only regret is that I won't be going to any shows at the end of the tour. By that time the band will be more familiar with each others songs and more collaboration can probably be expected.

Already being familiar with the work of Brian, Chuck and Dave; Dan Andriano was the only person who I didn't know what to expect from, but I was impressed by his voice and his musicianship if his songs did seem a bit samey on occasion. There were a few highlights of the show in my opinion. First of all Dave and Dan covering Joe strummers 'Coma Girl' a song that I love and totally unexpected, second was Meet You In the Middle by Chuck Ragan with Brian Fallon on backing vocals, third was Brian and Ian Perkins playing 'Ladykiller' by The Horrible Crowes. The audience just went quiet for this one, in silent awe, most people chose not to clap and sing along and just listen as he poured it all out in a real atmospheric performance. My fourth highlight was Brian playing Senor and The Queen acoustically, I love that song , especially in this format.

After the show my aim was to meet the band having been unsuccessful in the two hours before the show. Dan Andriano came out first and he was such a nice guy, grateful for the praise we (the approx 20 people who were waiting around with me) showered him with and thanking us deeply for supporting the tour and buying the tour compilation. I got his autograph on the Revival Tour CD.

Next I got Dave Hause to sign my copies of his own album 'Resolutions' and My tour CD. I briefly discussed what a fun tour it looks to play on and he agreed. I got a picture with him and said that I was hoping he would play his song 'Meet Me At The Lanes' as it was my favourite so he asked if I was going to any more shows. I wasn't so instead he offered to put me on the guest list to the closest show to me which was Nottingham. I was kind of shocked that he offered me this and of course agreed, getting myself a plus one in the process. What a nice guy though!

Chuck came out next but I only saw him for a second as his hands were full. I got my tour CD and his new 'Covering Ground' CD signed and told him it was my favourite of his yet.

It turned out that Brian Fallon was already on the bus so we asked Chuck to get him to come out and he eventually did, and was surrounded by the group. It was clear that most fans in the audience were Brian or Gaslight Anthem fans throughout the show and this made it clearer as the other guys got no where near the same attention.

I remember last time the Gaslight Anthem played Manchester. I got the chance to speak to Brian briefly and get an autograph on my 59' Sound cover but I thought asking for a picture would be a bit pushy so I didn't, and have regretted it ever since. This time I was hoping to get another chance and after waiting around for the band for a few hours before this show I thought I may not get the chance again. Luckily after the show I got my chance to get a picture with one of my heroes. I think what made it for me though were the conversations I had with him so I wanted to summarise here what Brian said and some things that we talked about, which may interest a few fans out there:

One girl wanted him to sign her tattoo on her leg in so that some tatto artist would be able to do it for her. Brian was hesitant to do this and tried to get her to reconsider, saying take this from me I'm covered in tattoos I don't like, this is another mans autograph on your body, it will be there on your wedding night etc. I thought this was nice of him to try and talk her out of it, but she wasn't having any of it so he signed her leg and from what I know (another Dimestore Saint) she is now tattooed.

One fan told Brian he'd recorded an EP and when asked if it was good the lad wasn't too confident. Brian  told him to be more confident, believe in his work, asking if it was true, if it was real. He told him that if he's written songs to write them to the absolute best that they can be and to just believe in yourself, making the point that this was the only few minutes he would have to inspire this kid so he wanted to make his words count. It was quite inspiring to me to hear him talk like that, being a songwriter myself.

Once I had my picture taken with him I thanked him for the Manchester show when I requested 'The Patient Ferris Wheel' for my birthday in November 2010. Brian had announced it on stage saying "This is a request, Have a great birthday tomorrow" before getting into it and I wanted to show my appreciation. I said you won't remember but I requested that song for my birthday and he said "I don't remember" but was glad he could help me out because he doesn't always take kindly to requests. Mostly its when people shout out for songs and interrupt though whereas I had a conversation with him before the show to put my request in. He told of one guy at Bristol Revival Tour the night before, who just kept shouting a song title over and over and Brian got annoyed saying Im much more less likely to play it if people shout it like that. I think thats fair enough, he said people who persist he would have thrown out because they impair the enjoyment of people around them and this is important to Brian. At this point I asked Brian if he'd seen the You Tube video of Dave Grohl kicking a fan out of the Foo Fighters show. He hadn't seen it but I recommended he did and he smiled and winked at me.

Next one guy asked if they enjoyed Glastonbury, but he was referring to when Bruce Springsteen joined them on stage. At this point I cringed, in fact I actually said people have asked you about that so many times it makes me cringe when I hear it and Brian turned to me with a smirk and said "It makes me cringe too"

He went on to stress that he does love the guy (Bruce) but he knows him on a personal level too, recalling a time when he invited his whole block round for a barbecue and Bruce asked to come. Brian told him that all these people would be there and they know who he is but Bruce still went round. Brian wants to concentrate on being Brian Fallon for now and find out who he is as opposed to all these comparisons with Bruce Springsteen and stressed that people shouldn't like him just because they like Bruce.

When discussing the new album Brian said he is writing songs on the road whilst on The Revival Tour but that they had recorded 11 songs. Brian wants 40 though which I gotta admit is Springsteen-esque but I wouldn't say it to him. I asked if Biloxi Parish would be on it and he said it probably would. When I asked him about it he said it is a place in Louisiana and when he was passing through there he hadn't been home in 6 months and missed it. The song is about those feelings and getting home from a long time on the road and is not actually about Biloxi Parish the place. This is obvious from the lyrics now but it was cool to hear it from him because he doesn't often divulge too much about his song meanings, preferring fans to make up their own minds.

Other bits of chit chat were about the tour bus. I asked if on the top floor its just a load of mattresses but he said its bunks and that he gets a surprisingly good sleep on there whereas I presumed it would be an uncomfortable kind of broken sleep. Brian mentioned his dog Frank currently staying with Alex Levine and his wife. Brian has him trained not to pee indoors but apparently he keeps doing it at Alex's. I asked him if he was worried that Frank would pee all over his house when he gets home and he did say he was worried about it. Frank is a rescued dog for those who don't know.

In the end most fans had dispersed and there was only myself and a fellow dimestore saint left  Brian signed my 'Elsie' and tour compilation and I shook his hand and told me he'd just topped off a great night for me, and a great night it was.

As I left I maged to chat to Ian who loved my Johnny Cupcakes T shirt and was wearing one himself. He actually said he had mine on the bus too. I got a picture and an autograph, he seemed like a really cool guy with a good sense of humour, Id have liked to chat with him longer but it was after 1am with this point, I had work the next day and the band needed to sleep at some point too.

I may add to this in the future when other bits and bobs come back to me, I know some bits may seem a bit pointless but they're there for you to read anyway.

Here are a few of my photos from the Manchester show.

Not forgetting my song of the blog. This time its Great Expectations (the Revival Tour version as filmed by ihearttheweakerthans on You Tube. Its in HD with decent sound too. Take a look below! Hopefully I'll get around to writing up the Nottingham leg soon!