2000-03-15, Adelaide - Flinders Uni - Lunchtime Gig
Well, after a brilliant time in Melbourne watching the Aussie Rules Footie and and The Grand Prix, I flew to Adelaide to meet up with the Australian band members. Jason and Richard played last year but this year we have a new face in Pange.
Pange has a practice room at his house so we spent a couple of days going through the songs in tropical temperatures. The songs and sound came together really well and after the second day we were fairly confident that we could hang together for a whole gig. So this leads me to a new concept for me - The Lunchtime Uni Gig,
We turned up at the Uni at about 12:45 a little late, but not too late. Before long we had humped the gear onto the stage and after plugging in various bits of wire and shouting into a few microphones we were ready to rock.
We started the set with Nobody Less Rock n Roll Than Me and for once i got all of the words right. Maybe it was because I was sober (another new experience for me :-))
We hammered through the rest of the set and played some blinders, especially Loser's Walk and Nazi Girl (one of Richard's songs, sung by the man himself). A few of the songs sounded a bit ropey, but that's only to be expected for a first gig together and 5 hours rehearsal. The smallish crowd showed their appreciation by clapping politely and staying at their tables. A few people left but I guess that they had lectures to go to.
It was a good gig in that it blew out a few cobwebs and any remaining jet-lag. We also didn't get bottled off stage, which is a bonus. We have another practice before the next gig on Friday, so we're hoping to iron out the few little wrinkles and put together an awesome rockin' sexy set.
Well, tonight Jason is DJ'ing at a dub reggae club so I'm going along to help with the surplus beer problem. I wonder if there'll be Red Stripe? Mind you, I'm allergic to that stuff, so let's hope not ;-)
Hangover tomorrow then, luckily I have a 48 pack of Ibuprofen
2000-03-17, Adelaide -Seven Stars (with Liquid Blue and Dial)
We arrived at the venue just as Liquid Blue took to the stage. It was a good set with some great catchy songs. A very young band but the songwriting would suggest older heads on those young shoulders. My one criticism would be that some of the songs seemed longer than they should have been making them drag a little. Only my opinion though.
Next on were Dial fronted by a lanky and energetic frontman, who bounded around the stage like a demented puppy. There were some very cool songs in the Beasties / American Skatepunk type thing. They even did a cover of Tone Loc's cover of Wild Thing ( I think that's what it was anyway). Enthusiasm aplenty, youthful exuberance, highly entertaining.
After the boys had played their last song and had come of stage, it was time for me to panic and try to get the guitars n tune. Eve with the aid f a tuner, I still find tuning up guitars a stressful experience, especially when it is against the clock. I have been spoilt by years of efficient roadying. When eventually were ready and clambered unsteadily on-stage.
The first half of the set was shambolic and difficult due to a poor mix on-stage (not the engineer's fault, I haste to add). I had Richard's acoustic guitar to play on Rose and Birthday, but unfortunately didn't have a strap for it so it had to be playing in sitting down stylee, I think the first time that I had sat down on-stage to play since my bad back days back in '95.
After those songs, we did Queen Bitch and suddenly it all hung together, in fact the version off Shut Up was pretty impressive, in my opinion. I began to relax and finally I felt at home and begun to really enjoy myself. It all bodes very well for the rest of the tour.
After the gig we did some serious drinking and ended up at a party somewhere in the suburbs. The host was Paul, but he was asleep already. We had a lovely time scavenging the last of the beers and having deep and meaningful discussion on just about every subject imaginable. I expect that it was 99% drunken bullshit, mind;-)
We got back to Jason's place about 4am and slept the sleep of the drunk.
2000-03-18, Adelaide - Austral (with King Krill)
After last night's success we were all looking forward to playing the Austral, I have heard great things about the venue and I wasn't to be disappointed..
We turned up at the venue at about 10ish unloaded the Tarago and stacked the gear up at the side of the stage.
We watched King Krill do a quick soundcheck and then launch into 40 mins of great punk rock. They were excellent, such great songs played with a ferocity that haven't heard for while. They were also very loud and had my ears singing in sympathy. I kind of wish that I had my Grand Prix earplugs with me. So there you are King Krill louder than a formula one car and almost as fast! Nice one.
We had a bit of a drama getting ready for the gig. Richard little handbag with all f his guitar bit had gone missing and was only found once he had legged it to the Tarago, parked a few blocks away. Also, we had organised a sound engineer for the gig and he was late turning up, though at one point that I was going to have to do the sound myself (a scary prospect).
Luckily, Will, the engineer turned up in the nick of time and all of that worrisome adrenalin helped to make a top set from Abdoujaparov. Right from the very first chord of Nobody Less Rock n Roll through to the big cod-rock ending on Baby Food, it all felt right, Ozdoujaparov Abdoujaparoz was open for business and we rocked the house.
The gig was augmented by some great dancing from the audience. Lot's of familiar faces from previous Adelaide gigs and some new smiles, at first hiding at the back of the venue but gradually edging forward and joining in the party atmosphere. I should mention that it was also the last night of Adelaide's festival. I felt as if we were unofficially performing the last night concert, accompanied by select and very important dignitaries.
Yes, a very good night was had by everyone, thanks to everyone that came to the gigs in adelaide, see you next year, credit cards allowing ;-)
2000-03-22, Ballarat Bridge Mall (with Superego)
We arrived at the gig way too early and decided to visit the local tourist attractions. An essential destination had to be the Eureka Stockade where Australia's first rebellion occured. By sheer coincidence, Her Majesty The Queen Of Blighty was due to follow in out footsteps the very next day. Kuckily there were no crowds of Union Jack wavers lining the street for the Abdou tour.
After that little excursion, we went back into town and set up for the gig.We had great luck to have the same sound engineer (Rex) as at the afternoon gig, he is a great bloke and a fine technition. He also has a great line in Reggae tapes, which made me a little homesick for Brixton.
We were to stay upstairs at the gig that night so after the soundcheck, we retired to our rooms and chilled out for a bit, trying to learn a new song called 'Let Bogans Be Bogans'.
Before long Superego were onstage and played a great set of tough and charming songs. The guitar player made some awesome noises when he hit his distortion pedal. Pretty wicked, I'd say.
We went onstage about midnight and played really well to a very small but appreciative crowd. Hightlights for me were Queen Bitch and Nazi Girl, but Shut Up was really good too, that song is really coming together now.
After the gig, a few people came over to congratulate us on a good gig and a couple of people also bought CDs too, which was very helpful as we are relying on t-shirt and CD sales to pay for petrol and food.
The landlord kept on feeding us beer, so were went to bed very late a quite tipsy!
2000-03-22, Ballarat Uni Lunchtime Gig
After great time in Adelaide we hit the road and travelled towards Ballarat, stopping overnight in Lorne via the wonderful Great Ocean Road. We stayed in a little cabin with enough bunks for the four of us and managed to see some of the local wildlife including some Kookabura's and a huge Kangaroo, who jumped in front of us as we drove into the capsite after eating in town. I have actually seen more live roos than dead ones this time, which is a big improvement on last year.
The next morning we were up bright and early and drove to Ballarat in good time to do a quick sound check and then play the gig. The stage was outside, which made this Abdou's first open air gig. It was also an incredibly windy day and cymbols and mic stands were being blown over all through the gig. There wasn't much of an audience though which was a bit disappointing. Considering the adverse conditions, we played really well and I really enjoyed it. Jason, Richard, Pange and the sound guy Rex all got sunburnt during the gig, which was rather amusing ;-)
In no time at all we packed up the stuff and headed for the Bridge Mall where we were to play that evening.
2000-03-23, Melbourne - Starshaped - Club UK
Ben and I DJ'd at Starshaped last year and had a great time. I was very pleased to be invited to try my hand at the mixer again. Starshaped is run by Paul, Stephanie and friends and is a UK-centric club. Paul and Stephanie are to be wed on Sunday and I appreciate the fact that they run the club today so that I could be special guest.
After the day in the studio, we were all a bit knackered, but somehow just getting behind the console gave me some strength and I managed not to make a complete fool of myself. Paul had to remind me how to work the twin decks and stood by me for a while to make sure that I didn't do anything too dangerous ;-)
I played mainly UK indie dance followed by some odd bits of indie pop and then moving into the territory of Propellorheads and Prodigy. It seemed to go down very well anyway and I managed to get away without playing any Oasis, which was a bit of a relief.
The boys from the band had a very good boogie too, especially Jason who was strutting his stuff with fine aplomb.
After and hour and a half, I felt myself flagging and started to miss the end of the tracks, so I handed the decks back to the pros and went to talk to some friends. Eventually I was hauled out of the club and sent on my very merry way home.
I had a great time, thanks to everybody that came, we'll do it again next year!
2000-03-23, Melbourne - Birdland Recording Studios
After a good night's rest, we left Ballarat and headed for Melbourne. We were supposed to arrive at the recording studios at noon but didn't arrive until 2pm due to us leaving late and the terrible traffic in Melbourne.
After last night's drinking, we all felt a little sick as we humped the gig up the stairs to the studio. Whilst Michael, the engineer set up the drum kit and got the sound sorted out, we went off. to a noodle bar on Chapel St for some much needed sustenance. After feeding our faces, we felt much better and returned to Birdland with a spring in our steps and a new sense of purpose.
The recording went remarkably well and we managed to lay down The Abou Theme (Aussie Style), Shut Up, Queen Bitch and Nazi Girl and all of them are sounding great so far. We will be mixing the songs down next Thursday and I'm confident that they will be released on Spinach in the very near future. The only disappointment of the day was that we couldn't get the new song Let Bogans Be Bogans together.
Highlights of the days recording for me were watching and listening to Richard, Jason and Pange singing backing vocals in a true Aussie bloke stylee.
We finished recording around 10:30 and just about had time to grab some food before heading off to....
2000-03-25, Melbourne - Esplanade
This is one of the venues in Melbourne that I have wanted to play at for ages, it is steeped in Melbourne Rock n Roll history and is an institution around here.
We were to be first band on as we only just managed to insert ourselves on the bill. We arrived at the venue to here a local band playing Hendrix covers, which they did to a fair amount of accuracy. Apparently the band has been doing the Saturday afternoon spot for years and as such has built up a bit of a following. After they had finished, we found the sound guy and began to haul the gear on-stage. We did a quick little soundcheck of Maria's Umbrella and got applause, which is always nice.
Then at 9:15 we got on-stage and played our little hearts out. The sound on-stage was great and we were very together and tight. I felt very relaxed and happy with the whole scene and comment were made afterwards about me grinning like a Cheshire Cat the whole way through the gig. We played more or less the standard set for this tour so far and it went down very well.
After our set I had a bit of a t-shirt and CD selling session which is really going to help with the petrol fund, thanks to everyone that bought stuff.
We watched Orange County, who were the next band on. They had a fine line in sharp suits and rock n roll. I didn't actually get to watch Blow Hard as by then I was pretty wazarked and deep in a conversation about the price of fish and its effect on Tony Blair (or some such nonsense).
Eventually the alcohol got the better of us all and we had to get out before we embarrassed ourselves (even more).
2000-03-27, Melbourne - Fun City Nazkarts - Western Suburbs
As a part of my mate Nikki's birthday celebrations she had booked a session at an indoor Go-Kart track, so we could all strut our stuff burning some serious rubber. Six of us made the trip: Nikki, Lauren, Richard, Jason, Pange and Myself.
The session was set up really well. First of all we had 20 qualifying laps which decided our starting position for the actual race. Jason came in with the fastest time and took Poll position. I came in second and Rich in third.
The race was great fun, there was an excellent pile up between Jason and Richard which led to me smashing into the both of them and allowing Nikki to take the lead followed by Lauren. After our Karts were separated, Richard managed to catch and overhaul Nikki. In the meantime I was being harassed by Jason and attempting to overtake Lauren who was expertly closing the door every time I made an attempt to pass her. Jason took me on a bend with a gentle shove, I retaliated with a slightly less gentle nudge and retook my fourth position. After about 9 laps behind Lauren I finally passed her on the inside on the fast straight.
Nikki maintained her second position and was still a way in front of me when the chequered flag came down. Richard got to do a lap of honour waving the flag. He also got the trophy, which is now the van mascot.
I haven't has such fun in a long time and got to speed at 50kph, which is pretty fast for someone that hasn't got a driving license and is very likely never to allowed on the public highway.
Mind you, the bruises on my back and arms tell me that it is something that I shouldn't do on a regular basis and as I type this I ache all over ;-)
2000-03-30, Melbourne - The Punters (with Muzzy Pep)
Before today's gig we were to spend day at Birdland studios, mixing down the songs that we recorded last week. After watching and listening to engineer Lyndsay working away at that desk for eight hours along with some helpful pointers on the sound from yours truly, we ended up with a very fine little set of songs that will probably form the first part of what will eventually be the Abdou LP. We left Birdland very happy and headed straight for Punters to make sure that we didn't miss Muzzy Pep. As we arrived, the first band, Framing Watson had just finished their set, which was a bit of a shame as I would have liked to see them.
We carried in our equipment from the van and settled down with a few friends and beers to watch Muzzy Pep, who played a great set including my fave, For Every Girl, which is one of the tracks on the Spinach Compo LP (buy it now!). Finn (the engineer that did our sound at the Espy) was doing their sound and he did a great job.
Muzzy Pep's set went far too quickly for my liking and before very long it was tie for us to get up there and make some noises. We tuned up guitars, plugged in our amps and went straight into the Abdou Theme. None of us had remembered our setlists so we just made it up as we went along.
It was a good set, we played Aren't We All for the first time on this tour and it worked pretty well. We went down very well with the healthy Punters crowd, it was good to see some familiar faces amongst the crowd. Half way through the gig I saw a very familiar face, but, what with my terrible memory nowadays, I just couldn't place him. After the gig, we chatted for a good 10 minutes and then discovered that it was none other than the great Attilla The Stockbroker, legendary punk poet (boy did I feel dumb for not clicking). It turns out that he is in Melbourne for the upcoming comedy festival and came to Punters by sheer chance.
We stayed at the venue drinking and chatting until we were kicked out. Nikki and I went back 'home' to Kensington and the boys went of in search of more alcohol (the fools!).
I went straight to sleep that night, I was pretty drunk and slept very well.
2000-04-03, Sydney - Hopetoun
It's was good to arrive in Sydney after a reasonable drive through beautiful countryside.
I spent Sunday sightseeing with Sarah, an old friend from the UK who is living over here now. We took the ferry to Manly, had a walk along the seafront and dined at a great Thai restaurant. A very pleasurable day it was too.
Monday, we had booked ourselves another little rehearsal, so that we could learn a couple of Ramones songs for the convention in Brisbane. We managed to learn Beat On The Brat and KKK Took My Baby Away. We also did some more work on the new song. Hopefully we will be debuting it before the end of the tour, it's nearly there now.
We arrived at the Hopetoun in good time to load in our gear and settle down to listen to the first and second bands on. First on were Twelve24. They played gentle and rather whimsical songs, kind of in the style of Belle and Sebastian. I really liked a couple of the songs and it was quite obvious that they really enjoyed themselves on-stage despite having a little difficulty with the sound. I found it quite hard to hear the lyrics, which was a bit of a shame.
Next on were Bidston Moss. They came onstage brimming with confidence and proceeded to jump and skip through a set of pleasingly poppy songs. I'm afraid I didn't watch all of their set as a bunch of friends arrived and I had a lot of catching up to do. I returned to watch the end of their set and they were sounding very hot and the crowd was very appreciative. Big cheers for them!
Next on was us ;-) We played a very chaotic but energetic gig. The crowd seemed to really enjoy it and we had the best reception of the tour so far, I'd say. It was very good to see some familiar smiling faces too. We even managed to rattle of the two Ramones songs, just to practice for the Brisbane show and they went down incredibly well.
After the gig, we carried on getting drunker and drunker. I ended up in a pokies bar, which seemed to be the only place open which didn't involve entering a sleazy strip joint. I had a great night catching up with friends old and new. Once again, Sydney did us proud!
2000-04-05, Newcastle - SJs
We found tonight's venue with consummate ease, loaded in the gear for the second time today and went off to get something to eat in the Restaurant attached to the venue. The food was excellent and we got it cheap as we were playing there tonight.
It all looked quite hopeful as the support band Supaslide went on-stage, the smallish crowd seemed to be there for fun. To be honest, the band weren't really my cup of tea, they specialised in retreading the same territory of bands like Led Zeppelin, Cream etc, bands that had split up long before these guys were born. Being an old git, I can remember the originals and prefer to keep it that way. Sorry fellas, no offence meant.
Jason and I played a few games on a videogame thing, which involved shooting lots of ninja's. That was quite fun, but it hurt my drinking arm, so I had to give in.
We went on-stage to a luke warm resection and things kind of went down hill from there. Once again, we played OK, but no-one seemed to be that interested. I learnt from the sound engineer that most of the audience were in bands themselves, in which case, I guess they were too busy stealing our wonderful ideas to clap.
I had a pretty rotten gig to be honest and came off-stage in a terrible mood. A few people came up and said that they enjoyed the gig, I even sold a few t-shirts, which I wasn't expecting. I hope that I didn't seem rude to anyone, I was just being a little grumpy.
The people at the venue were fantastic, really friendly and helpful. I hope that we can return again and that the locals will warm to the sound of Abdou.
After the gig we said our farewells to friends and drove off in the general direction of Brisbane hoping to drive right through the night to Stradbroke Island. After three or four hours though, tiredness won through and we stopped in Kempsy and woke up a local motel owner. I must say that this was a great relief to yours truly, I was knackered and really needed some kip.
2000-04-05, Newcastle - Uni - Lunchtime Gig
Ah yes, another lunchtime gig. Not much to say about this one really. We turned up and played in front of about 30 students and the only person to even acknowledge our existence was the sound engineer. My friend Sarah had travelled with us up from Sydney and she says that we played oK, but obviously not well enough to stir the hearts of today's students.
Oh well, you can't win them all, at least we got paid for it ;-)
We spent the afternoon on the beach. The boys went for a swim whilst I sat on the beach chatting and watching the world go by. It was very pleasant indeed. To avoid a sudden deluge of rain, we slipped into a cafe and grabbed something to eat before going to the movies to watch The Buena Vista Social Club (a very good film, by the way).
2000-04-07, Brisbane - Normanby Hotel
We didn't make it to Stadbroke Island unfortunately, but instead headed for Brisbane nd stayed the night at Mark and Jo's lovely apartment (where we stayed last year too). I broke with all tradition and actually watched a soccer match on the telly between Chelsea and Barcelona.
In the evening we drove the Tarago up the road to the Normanby, met up with the guys from Sekiden and Nice Wig Ted and settled down for a lovely time.
Both Nice Wig Ted and Sekiden played great sets, it was good to see them both again, it has been a year since they last played with us.
When we went on-stage I realised that we were about to play the penultimate gig of the tour and that made me a little sad. I didn't let it spoil my gig though and soon we emmersed ourselves in the cute, ungainly thing that is an Abdoujaparov gig.
I think that we played rather well and the audience seemed to rather like the noise we were making anyway.
After the gig, I was still a little lively, so along with a few friends I hit the Brisbane night life on a Cooper's Sparkling fueled mission to find a dance floor that suited my particular brand of wobbly arsed dancing. The Drum and Bass club was a little too challenging so we finally opted for Brisbane's finest gay disco where everyone was going bananas, dancing to the cheesiest eighties tunes ever. I had a lovely time!
I just hope that no-one had a video camera ;-)
2000-04-08, Brisbane - Ramonesathon
What a great concept. Get 15 bands in a bar and ask them all to play Ramones songs in front of possibly the most inebriated audience I have ever had the pleasure to witness.
As you may know from earlier diaries on this tour, me and the boys have been practicing hard for this gig and have managed to play quite passable versions of three Ramones songs. That wasn't enough for an entire set, but we were allowed to slip in a few Abdou songs to make up the shortfall.
We were the 9th band to play Beat On The Brat and the 5th the play KKK Took My Baby Away.
All in all we couldn't have asked for a better way to end the tour, their was a real party atmosphere going on and Brisbane's Ramones fans certainly know how to drink!
Thanks to everyone who came along to the two gigs. Thanks to Mark and Jo for their wonderful hospitality and thanks to Petria and Bron for supplying a crash pad after the gay disco!
Well, that's the Oz tour for another year. Within a day I was bidding farewell to Jason, Richard and Pange as they got into the Tarago and headed back to Adelaide. I still miss them, thanks boys, you were lovely.
I caught a plane back to Melbourne and spent some time with Nikki and the girls, before leaving for home myself.
24 hours, 30 minutes sleep, 8 airplane meals, 6 films later, I arrived in Heathrow.
Fuckin Hell, it's freezing ;-))))))