UK 2004

2004-03-26, Mexborough - Civic

Ah...back in Blighty, the rolling green fields, the Spring flowers, the broody sky...and the bloody seven and a half hour journey from Brixton to Mexborough!

To be very fair, that was the only down side to what was a fantastic gig. A great shame that we missed all but one of the other bands on the bill due to this stupid country's inability to run a decent transport network. We were met outside by Kev, who was the man responsible not only for tonight but a monthly club which has brought together the young rockin Mexborough and supplied a great place to get to see great new live bands. Well done Kev, what we need now is a Kev in every town in the UK.

The band that we did get to see were called Disarm and I thought they were great. Modern young, noisy, loud and fun, in a kind of metal goth kind of way. The had the sizeable crowd moshing, jumping and generally falling over too.

I was still on my first beer when we got on the stage. The crowd had thinned out a little as some of the younger kids had bedtimes to get too and also there was a small fight outside that drew a good crowd. There were plenty left in the hall for us though and we played a good little set. Tonight was Danny Le P's debut gig with Abdou and he was brilliant. Richie was back on bass for this one too and really locked in with Ben on drums. I had a great time.

After the gig we all went back to Kev's house for a party which went on into the wee small hours.

Thanks to Kev for putting us up for the night, thanks for all of you that traveled to Mexborough.

Night Night xx

2004-03-28, Penge - Goldsmiths Arms

When told about this gig, most people said "where the hell is penge???' Well, you kinda head towards Crystal Palace, over the top of the hill and down a bit.

Ian, a mate of my bruv Bam Bam asked us to play this gig. As it was in aid of a kids charity organised by Crystal Palace football fans, how could we refuse. The Goldsmiths Arms, is a nice little pub in what can only be described as a very dodgy bit of Sarf London. The only time I had every really been there before was on my bike, on the way to somewhere nicer.

The event actually started in the afternoon and featured star Palace players playing footy with kids, signing autographs and generally having fun. Then there was an auction of footy memorabilia, which was one of the funniest things I have every seen. Ian as an auctioneer was brilliant. I bid on and won a lovely bottle of champagne.

As the evening approached we bolted together Richie's PA system and tuned up guitars. First on was a band that had only formed the night before in the pub. The Crissi Cromer Experience (featuring Garcon Singe) were brilliant and played a bunch of crowd pleasing covers and had the dance-floor rocking to AC/DC, the Stones and various other faves. Considering they only formed the night before, they were almost tight. Jim, Arran and Danny were great. Crissi Cromer on backing vocals and shakers added the glamour and a touch of professionalism.

Next on was Abdou, that's us! We were great, climaxing with the Palace anthem, Glad All Over, which we had learnt especially for the occasion. I haven't heard so many football songs/chants at a gig since the heyday of Carter. Something about a red and blue army, then lots of wooh rahs.

The crowd were dancing and falling over, it was a bit drunken, but everyone enjoyed themselves.

Roll on the next bunch of gigs! Oh...and yet another change of line-up.

2004-04-01, Reading - Bar Oz

As I was saying before, another line-up change. This gig sees Richie absent as he is playing with his other band Flak in Harlow. Danny Le P who was on keys for the last gig has done an amazing job of learning all of the bass lines and tonight he is the four stringed monster. We also have Narco back on drum today, recovered from his trip to Oz and ready to rock again.

We had a short rehearsal in a nice little place in Reading called Impact, very friendly and with excellent equipment, highly recommended. After running through the songs we met up with Dan Hazard from Look Mum No Hands at the Upin Arms for a few drinks (I was only drinking coffee though, too early for me to get started).

We arrived for the soundcheck in good time, it was a very effortless check. Tonight's venue is an Oz theme pub, I was hoping for some decent Oz beers, but the only one on display was VB, which is ok, but not Coopers. WE watchedLook Mum No Hands do their check and then went off to Burger King for a spicy BumBurner.

Got back to the venue as Second In Line hit the stage. They were loud and raucous modern heavy grunge punk and were rather good, they certainly started the evening by blowing the cobwebs out of my ears :) Next up were Take The Next Step who I watched from the side of the stage and was wowed by the madly fast drummer. I really enjoyed their set, they rocked. Then it was the turn of Look Mum No Hands (did you spot the CARTER reference?) Howard and the boys did us all proud, they really looked like they were having fun and the songs were catchy, fast and punky reminding me of the better Green Day moments (hope that doesn't offend boys).

Then it was our turn, introduced by Howard we strolled on stage and played a good little set. Considering that the first time we had all played together was only about 4 hours before, it hung together really well and I had enormous fun, despite the Beanburger taking it's revenge by making me burp loads. Danny and Narco did a brilliant job, it felt very comfortable and happy. Danny excelled himself by playing both keyboards and bass on Beer Scooter and Monster In My Garden , what a star he is!

There were a lot of familiar faces in the good sized crowd, thanks to Neil, Annie, Stu, Mike, Clare, Zoe, Mr & Mrs Narco, Jim, Paul and everybody else that I have missed out for coming down, I know that a few of you covered many miles to get to reading and I really appreciate that.

Thanks to the lovely promoter for putting on the gig and making feel welcome, thanks to all of the bands for lending gear and being such a lovely bunch of fellas.

Next stop Oxford St FB xxx

2004-04-09, London - Metro

It's a hard place to drive to, is the Metro.We got from Brixton to Shaftsbury Ave in record time, but then spent the next hour or so trying to get to the road that leads to the road that leads to the back of the venue.

I like the Metro, it's a cool little venue, the only downside really being the silly bar prices, there's just no justification for charging that much for a beer, just plain greedy if you ask me. Mind you it's not just the Metro more or less every club in London is a rip. I guess that it's always been that way, but these days they seem to have taken it too far.

Anyway, on the gig. First up were the ever-improving and damn fine, Rhesus. Tonight was the best I have seen them, they were a solid lump of pumping punk rock. The sizeable crowd were definitely impressed, I'm sure that the boys are gonna go on to bigger and better things.

Next up were Art Brut, who played their second ever gig with Abdou in July last year. I remember loving them then, but now they are a real force for the betterment of Rock n Roll and style. Every second of their twenty five minute set was pure class. It's a long time since I have seen a band with so many hit songs in their repertoire. I personally, can't wait to see them again.

Then it was our turn. I think it's fair to say that this was one of the more shambolic Abdou sets, we weren't bad, but not brilliant. Individual Abdous played their little hearts out, but somehow, some of the mojo was missing. Highlights of the set were Beer Scooter and Fish Face, with the very talented Mr Steve Dowling (from Bernard) on guitar. We did a dodgy version of Glad All Over too, which went down very well.

The set went by in a flash and we immediately set about dismantling the gear so that the guys from the club could set up and get people dancing indie.

Cheers to everyone that came along to the gig on a Good Friday, we all had fun. See you in ... er... Brentwood :)

2004-06-15, Leeds - Joseph's Well

And then...onto part two of this year's Abdou UK gigs. Abdou have played Leeds a few times but never Joseph's Well, in fact we are doing this gig on the recommendation of non other than Mr Jim Bob. Good call Jim, it's a really nice venue and the promoter, Dave is a lovely bloke.

Supports for this gig are .... and Bam Bam Franc. I missed a lot of ... set but what I saw I liked. I also got given a CD at the venue, so I'll be able to check them out on my iPod. Bam Bam Franc had brought a very reasonably sized bunch of supporters and when they started to play I saw why they had such a dedicated following. They are really rather good, stand out track for me was a great rendition of Joy Division's Transmission.

Not only did Bam Bam Franc have a good crowd they were all decent enough to stay and watch Abdou, so with a combined effort the venue was looking healthily full. Lot's of familiar faces from previous Abdou and WTDN? gigs.

As for the gig, i thought we played really well, we had practiced hard and it showed in a tighter more business-like Abdou sound. Narco and Danny are now working really well as a rhythm section and I managed to remember most of the words although, as usual, There's Nobody Less Rock n Roll featured some impromptu lyric changes.

We are playing U Turned Me Over for the first time in a while and it sounds rather nice. Another addition to the set was supplied by Danny's Punk Song, a 59 second burst of Pistols-like. There are other new Abdou songs in the pipeline, but they weren't quite ready for prime time on this tour.

A great time was had by all, we managed to shoe-horn ourselves into a Travelodge and had a very good night's kip too.

2004-06-16, Leicester - Charlotte

Had an easy drive down to Leicester, where we all went our separate ways to do some shopping n stuff. I settled down in the Grand Hotel, where they have wireless internet access. I felt slightly under-dressed as it's quite a posh hotel, but the staff were really friendly and helpful and let me surf away the afternoon, drinking copious cups of tea.

Soundcheck was pain-free as usual and we settled up in the dressing room before heading down to watch the supports who sounded very good. I must admit though I didn't give them the attention they deserved as i was busy talking to my many Leicester buddies, some of whom I hadn't seen for ages.

Once again despite having to compete with Euro 2004, we had a great crowd who were very appreciative of the latest Abdou line-up. For some reason Danny had gone into a wig shop and bought everyone in the band Jim Bob fringes (I'll put the pics up later) so the band looked like a 80's cover bands as we stepped onstage. I stepped back in time too and for the first time in ages wore my traditional cycling cap and I must say, it felt very good and boy, do those things soak up the sweat!

A very fun gig was had by all, I can't actually remember what songs we played, but they went down pretty well. After the gig we were kindly put up by Chuck who opened up his home to us for the night and made us very welcome. We are on a very tight budget on this tour and can't afford the £100 or so for hotels every night. Besides, I really like staying with friends, especially when we are made so welcome. Cheers Chuck.

2004-06-17, Reading - Rising Sun

Back to Reading so soon! A different venue this time, one that could be described as 'intimate'. The Rising Sun is a little pub right near the main station and is run by a very nice fella called John and promoted by Dee.

Of course, before anything happened at the venue, there was a football match to watch and Abdou went to watch England v the Swiss. You must know that I'm not a big football fan, but I do like to dip my feet in the water of international games from time to time. I don't know how you lot can watch it all the time though, it's too nerve-wracking. Luckily the England team somehow managed to kick some goals and won the match, phew! So we went over to the venue feeling pretty good.

First on tonight were the very talented Look Mum No Hands who played a fine set of post Green Day / Blink 182 punk (which is not a criticism by the way, boys). They made full use of the tiny stage and rocked.

We had a great little set too. Comedy value was added by a VERY 'out of it' England fan who was dancing like a mad thing and gave us some mightily surreal heckling. I doubt very much that he remembers anything about that night :)

We had a decent crowd too I thought, even though some went to the wrong Rising Sun (there's two in Reading, surely that shouldn't be allowed!).

After the gig we had a few more drinks and then headed to Narco's house, where we continued to drink and stayed the night, making a mess of Narco's Mum's living room. Sorry Mrs!

2004-06-18, Worcester - Marrs Bar

In the morning Narco's mum made us a lovely breakfast and we all got a good shower before heading to Worcester, via Whitney in Oxon, where we popped in to see Danny's good friend (and band-mate) Jef, who is the manger of a fab ASK italian restaurant and gave a great deal on a slap up lunch. Thanks jef, you are a star!

I've said this before, but we LOVE the Marrs Bar, it's almost like our home gig. No other gig do we know the bar staff and most of the crowd personally.

Support tonight was supplied by And What Will Be Left Of Them, who we all thought were great, bits of B52's in there and loads of great pop references mixed in with an infectious enthusiasm. I hope we can play with them again, great stuff.

Abdou played a great little set, my fave on this short tour. It's looking good for a bigger better Abdou this year. Again comedy was supplied by the drunks, this time a coupla girls, who gave me some great stand-up feeds.

As usual the post gig drinks flowed, we all got fairly smashed and had a great time.

After the gig we were put up by Clive in Droitwich and the party continued along with a great curry, which was most appreciated by the Abdou lads. So thanks to Clive and friends for hosting out little post tour party. Thanks also for the beds and floor-space .

We al had a lovely time on this tour, shame it was so short. Look out for a bigger one in November.