The road can be a very hectic place at times.
However, without a doubt the craziest day for my of 2011 was 27th July 2011, a day in which I played 12 shows in 12 different venues. And to top it all off I had set myself the challenge of not repeating any songs. Except for a couple of alternative versions.
This crazy day came about as a result of a guy called Peter Heath who (for charity) organised it so 12 bands would rotate around the island of Jersey playing 12 different venues in 12 hours. A mental concept and one I loved the thought of.
But of course I couldn’t do it alone. And fortunately a good friend and fantastic singer/songwriter/rapper/all round nice guy Marcus Harley AKA Harlequin Knights stepped up and offered to do the driving for me.
Show 1: 11am – The Star, St Peter.
And We’re off! After a morning munch and fuel up we arrive at the first pub to perform to the hardcore drinkers and music fans who are waiting outside prior to opening time. I generally keep it mellow busting out the odd cover.
Set List: Holding Back / We’re On Fire (Crashland Cover) / Dare We Claim Victory / Resonate / …And That Doesn’t Happen
Show 2: 12am – The Moulon De Lec, St Ouens.
A couple of days prior to this Marcus and myself met up and cobbled together a song we titled ‘Advice’. This second show of the day remains the only performance of that song. There was also a little room for some spoken word.
Set List: Advice (with Marcus Harley on vocals) / Nothing Left To Prove / Revisited (Spoken Word) / A Common Destination
Show 3: 1pm – The Country Inn, St Mary.
A very weird show as I caught the lunch time crowd in a very sit down kinda vibe. So the set remained either folk guitar led or ambient and mellow.
Set List: Breathing Without Living – Ambient Version (My Pet Junkie Song) /Compromise / City at Night / Stalemate Circumstance
Show 4: 2pm – The Farmhouse, St John.
Playing the opening and closing songs from my debut and an as yet unreleased 15 min epic. The show was outside and so with the sun shining it was a great vibe to play to.
Set List: Wake Up Call / Because / Note That Says (with Marcus Harley on vocals)
Show 5: 3pm – Trinity Arms, Trinity.
This was one of those shows that never really sat right. The audience were loud and at times offensive. I felt distracted and after the first tune decided to disappear into the world of Smashing Pumpkins songs for a couple of tunes in order to distance myself from the heart on sleeve nature of original material. I finished with a self penned song that I felt at least personally was directed at the audience.
Set List: Cage Is Ratteling / Cherub Rock (Smashing Pumpkins Cover) / Stumbliene (Smashing Pumpkins Cover) / You Know What You Are
Show 6: 4pm – The Rozell Inn, St Martin.
A real lovely pure acoustic show. It was nice not to have to worry about the pedals for a while. It was also great to see a few friendly faces were following us from pub to pub.
Set List: Cotton Mill Greys / When You Go Home / This Time Tomorrow (My Pet Junkie Song) /Time & Places /Headlights /Peace Comes Easily (My Pet Junkie Song)
Show 7: 5pm – The Pembroke, Grouville.
The audience were crazy, And so was I. A great energy show to play.
Set List: Varit / Map of Shibuya / Pish
Show 8: 6pm – The Tivoli Tavern, St Clement.
The audience were even more crazy. Some folks really have peaked by 6pm. Marcus rapped at break neck speed during this time.
Set List: Breathing Without Living – Rock version (My Pet Junkie Song) / As Stubborn as a Sandfly / Blind Faith (with Marcus Harley on vocals)
Show 9: 7pm – The White Horse, St Saviour.
Chaos!!! as we discover the pub has no PA to use. The audience seem disinterested in music and more interested in the football playing on the big screens that circle the pub and the games of pool that dominate the floor. One guy expresses his lack of expectation from looking at me. At this point I’m ready to leave thinking a break wouldn’t be a bad thing. However before I get the chance to slink away Marcus has accepted the challenge with the words. “Oh yeah you think we aint all that, then check this out!” At this point he looks to me. So without hesitation I break into the funkiest strumming pattern I can think of. Suddenly Marcus is in full flow free-styling away to the groove. His words humorously pick apart members of the audience, ourselves and the whole fucked up situation we’ve found ourselves in. As we are not confined to a stage or restricted with leads we are dancing around the pool tables whilst the players have to wait for us to finish. I separate segments of Marcus’s rapping with a vocal break that is the chorus to ‘Sleep Tight’. It was like being in a musical and we were the music. Honestly one of the more surreal moments of my life. We finished on an epic note and before the ovation had finished we were out of the pub and chilling on the beach for a 10 min rest. I was so happy that Marcus hadn’t allowed me to bottle it.
Set List: Sleep Tight – Extended hip hop version (with Marcus Harley on vocals)
Show 10: 8pm – The Original Wine Bar, St Hellier.
The next place was in the heart of town and it was really was a messy environment. At this point I would confess I was starting to wain and it was only Marcus’s enthusiasm that kept me going.
Set List: A Watchful Eye / You Know The Score – Dub Version (with Marcus Harley on vocals) / You’re Schizophrenic That Makes 3 of us (My Pet Junkie Song) / Paragraph 3 Subsection B
Show 11: 9pm – The British Union, St Lawrence.
My penultimate show of the day and the one where I really lost my rag. The place was really mellow and 90% of the audience were polite and listening. Unfortunately the 10% who were not were shouting at me in a drunken slur. What’s even worse still is one of them was the land lady of the pub. Who was stumbling around and hurling abuse whilst interrupting the songs.
Set List: Designed To Stop / Make A Little Silence / Been Smoking Too Long (Robin Frederick Cover) / Initiate
Show 12: 10pm – The Tree House, St Brelade.
The best till last I do belive. Many friends showed up to see the day end and the atmosphere was electric. I had been holding back on playing any of the real big rockers till the end of the day and so it was the perfect time to bring them out. Marcus Harley once again took the show to places I never could and we also were joined by good friend and long time touring buddy Jersey Bob. It was only thanks to Bob that I was able to be in Jersey in the first place. The place and the people rocked and in a weird way it felt like I had one some kind of award and people were celebrating with us. A great way to end one hell of a crazy busy day.
Set List: Sleep Tight / The Distance From Ear To Ear / You Know The Score (with Marcus Harley on vocals) / Watching Paint (with Marcus Harley on vocals and Jersey Bob on Harmonica) / Misfit Theatre (with Marcus Harley on vocals)