2001-03-16, Brisbane - The Healer
After having a glorious couple of weeks holidaying in Melbourne - including the annual pilgrimage to the Grand Prix (of course), shopping and movie going with Nicolette, a few days in the countryside visiting my friends Lauren and Nick (fantastic hosts)and almost getting myself washed out to sea at the beach - it was time to get down to work and practice the set with this year's Oz Abdous.
We had two practices with, Ian on drums, Danny on bass and myself doing guitars and shouting. It went remarkably well, even though the fourth memeber Richard wasn't to join us until we arrived in Brisbane. This story is further complicated by the fact the in Brisbane we have Mirko on drums.
The day before the show at the Healer, Mirko, Richard, Danny and myself had a good six hour practice at a studio in Brisbane. This also went brilliantly, the guys have really learnt the songs and I know now that both the melbourne and bribane line-ups are going to seriously rock!
As usual when Abdou are in Brisbane, we are staying with Jo and Mark, who as always, have made us feel at home and have been ridiculously helpful lending us equipment, feeding us, chaufeuring us around and even lending us their car. Top sausage geezers.
We arrived at The Healer in good spirits and were met by Simon from Sekiden and Andrew from The Laughing World Fanzine. I did a short and enjoyable interview with andrew whilst the others started to set up the gear. Tonight we are borrowing amps from every band playing and for that we are eternally grateful. without them the gig would have been a little quiet.
As Mirko had only played the songs for the first time the day before we decided to run through the entire set in the sound check. This helped iron out the wobbly bits and by the last three songs it was sounding very sweet indeed.
First on tonight are Lancaster who play an energetic and melodic set of post britpop excellence. The guys looked like they were having fun and the steadily growing crowd responded with big cheers of appreciation. After the show Rupert, Mark and the boys were unanimous in saying that it was their best gig ever.
Next on were Nice Wig Ted, an Abdou favourite, whose punk pop anthems rocked the Healer and brought smiles to faces as always. The Teds looked slightly uneasy onstage, I'm not sure why, I think it may have been that they were sober or maybe their onstage sound was a bit wobbly. Anyway, that doesn't matter, I loved 'em and so did the boys and girls in the audience.
Sekiden were on next and in my opinion, go from strength to strength. They played with us on the first Abdou Brisbane gig 3 years ago and I fell in love right there. The unusual line up of Simon on Guitar, Seja on keyboards and Mirko on drums gives the band a unique sound. They have so much energy onstage, I was exhausted just watching them. They also have some fine tunes and play them with a passion and verve that just gets your dancing bones jumping in your tennis shoes.
Then it was Abdou turn to take to the stage and rattle out some tunes. I reckon that we did really well, we played a blinder of a set and despite of first night nerves Danny, Richard and Mirko played like the true pros that they are.
The crowd were fantastic, there was a lot of strange dancing and the smiles on people's faces reflected the fact that they enjoyed the abdou experience. I had a wonderful time, it's great to be back in Oz and it's great to be singing and playing again.
I give huge thanks to everyone at The Healer, it is a great venue and peopled by helpful, friendly and profesional folk.
To the bands, the venue and the audience. I salute you all! We'll do it again soon huh?
2001-03-23, Melbourne - Espy
Spent most of the afternoon with Richard (and the four girls he is staying with) sipping Australian Champagne on the balcony and discussing life, love and the English attitude toward sex and fidelity.
Thus powered with a little too much alcohol Richard and I caught a Taxi to St Kilda and the Esplanade Hotel, where we met up with Ian and Danny.
I was really looking forward to our two night residency at the Espy as Last year's gig there was one of the best of the tour. This year we have come up in the world and have moved to the Gershwin Room, the larger of the two live spaces which has the reputation of being the best gig in Melbourne.
We had a quick sound check and settled down with a small beer to wait for the doors to open. We were the first band on and that really suited us as Richard was playing in another band at a different venue later on.
We came on to a nice crowd made up of friends, family and the vaguely curious folk who wandered into the room on finding themselves lost on their way to the toilets. We played a really good short sharp sexy set, in my bias opinion. The longer we played the more people came into the room and the bigger the crowd appreciation. I had a great time up on that stage and caused a few chuckles with my sheer ineptitude as a front-man.
As soon as we came off stage Richard bundled himself and his amp into a taxi and headed off for his gig with King Daddy at The Tote. I had a few more beers and then along with a few friends, followed Richard and got to catch most of King Daddy's set and very good they were too. Rich must've been exhausted after two gigs.
Last year's Oz Abou drummer Pange is also in King Daddy, it was great to see him again too.
I got very drunk and did one of my famous disappearing tricks and went for a long walk with my mate Sarah before realising we were walking in completely the wrong direction. We hailed a cab.
2001-03-24, Melbourne - Espy
Woke up with a mother of a hangover, ouch, ouch and triple ouch. Also realised that I had managed to lose my backpack with my address book and glasses. And that's not all, I also managed to lose all of the Abdou shirts that I was supposed to be selling at the gigs. What a silly boy!
Spent most of the day feeling sorry for myself, but eventually I found the strength to meet my mate Sarah for a few strong coffees and then to go on to meet Danny and his girlfriend Jen for a lovely middle eastern meal in St Kilda. We also went and did an interview with Beth on PBS radio. That went very well despite my lack of brain cells.Danny did most of the talking and that helped a lot.
We didn't bother doing a soundcheck today. Instead, we decided to watch the first bands check. The Dead Goons were quite a surprise as they are a 9 piece swing band. For such a young band they are immensely impressive musicians and put on an great show. And that was just the soundcheck!
When it came to the gig, the Dead Goons got a great response from the busy Espy. It was great to see a band so obviously excited about playing a gig.
It was quite an act to follow, but I think that we pulled it off. I didn't feel quite as comfortable as the day before, but we played a good set of old and new. My favourite songs from this tour have been "Innocent Like Vinocent" and the brand new "Emergency Medical Hologram".
So that's it really, not the longest or most gruelling of tours this year. But there have been more people at the gigs and I think this year's Oz Abdou's have been the best so far. As always I have had a brilliant time and have met many wonderful and kind people.
I'll be back next year.I might as well book my Grand Prix tickets right now!
Love fruity xxx