2002-03-01, Melbourne - 9th Ward
Wow, what a busy couple of days. It was a very long flight from the UK, made longer by a faulty undercarriage discovered when attempting to take off from Dubai. The plane fish-tailed on the runway and the pilot had to pull an emergency stop! He taxied the 747 back to the bay and they fixed it by disabling a safety device! "Don't worry, it won't affect us in the air" said the captain.
We were met by Nikki at Melbourne airport at around 2:30 in the morning, we were exhausted but very excited to be in Oz, especially Rich as it's his first time over here.
We met up with Danny (Bass player) and Iain (Drummer) the next day to form yet another version of the Abdou line up. We practiced over the next couple of days, intertwined with visiting the Grand Prix circuit and watching a few races (another first for Rich).
We arrived at the 9th Ward whilst a band was still playing from the early evening session. They were a kind of live dancy type band who were pretty interesting but got on my nerves after a while as I'm not a big fan of long synth solos.
True to usual Aussie form, there was no sound check and we sat down, started drinking and watching the excellent Bidston Moss (we played with them before in sydney, it was good to see them again).
It was soon our turn to strut our jet-lagged stuff. We cobbled together a set list of old and new which sounded pretty good, we debutted You Turned Me Over which comes out very well as a live track.
I must say, it wasn't the best gig ever, but there was a good crowd and they seemed to enjoy it. Must make mental note to have a week in Oz before playing to make sure that I'm not jet-lagged, I was in a kind of haze for the whole gig.
After a 45 min set we got off-stage to allow P76 on, and they entertained with a Teenage Fanclub influenced set of very fine songs.
After the gig we all headed off to a pub near Danny's place. Rich had to be taken home in a taxi though as he was feeling a little queezy through lack of sleep and a wobbly tummy.
I can't remember the rest of the night as per usual, apart from chatting to some very lovely people in the pub.
2002-03-02, Melbourne - Espy
We're back at the Espy and back in the front bar to play another chaotic gig. for those of you not initiated there are two parts of the Esplanade Hotel, the Gershwin Rooms and the Front Bar. The front bar is a free gig and can be most chaotic. Tonight is no exception! From the minute we arrive it is an organisational nightmare. Getting things into the venue and on the stage involves having a dodge and dance with several burly pool players. Setting up for the gig was made very difficult by the fact that it's a tiny stage and i couldn't see what I was doing ;-)
But hey, I'm definitely not complaining the Espy is such a great gig, steeped in rock n' roll and you are always guaranteed a good crowd. This weekend being Grand Prix weekend made it fuller than I have ever seen it before.
I deceded on a different tack for the setlist tonight, tightening the whole thing up. It was going very smoothly and rockin hard when i broke a string D'oh! Not having a spare guitar, had to put on another string whilst mega salesman Danny entertained the crowd with his patter.
Can't remember the setlist at the moment but I have it written down somewhere and I'll include it later on. The best songs tonight were Loser's Walk and You Turned Me Over (that song just get's better and better, I love to play it). Iain, rich and danny all played their hearts out and the crowd really seemed to love it. I'm still a little jet lagged but I'm leaving the land hazy sleepiness and will be fully ship-shape before long.
After the show there was a big queue for t-shirts and CDs, which was nice. We got very very drunk and watched the headline band Warped, they were very rockin' I must say, enjoyed them a lot! Hung around with Marius, Rosie and family, got more drunk, fell over ;-)
The next day was the Grand Prix which was totally acetastic. I managed to lose my bag over the next few days, left it at a tram stop after another drinking seesion in Fitzroy. The next day I had to visit the local cop shop to retrieve it, some knd soul had handed it in, lucky really as it contained my passport!
We have had other adventures including witnessing our tram crashing into a car, which was almost as spectacular as the big crash at the GP. Luckily no one was hurt, but the girl (funny enough, a nurse) was pretty shaken up so we stayed with her until a friend turned up and took her off.
Had a good practice session on Wednesday, worked out a great version of Air Odeon Disco Pub. Saturday's gig is looking to be a good one.
2002-03-09, Melbourne - Tote
Since my first time in Melbourne back in '93 I have had an ambition to play The Tote. I have seen a few gigs there and have always thought it was a great rock n roll gig.
Tonight I get the chance to realise that ambition.
After eating a delicious Vietnamese meal on Victoria St we went over to Brunswick St a quick coffee before heading over to the venue. At the venue we met up with my old mate Lauren and several other Abdoujaparoz regulars.
We missed the first band The Resheads which is a shame as everyone was saying that they were really good.
The second band on had us all in stiches appearing from behind curtains in the most ridiculous get-up to be seen onstage since Mott The Hoople trod the boards in '73. The Accidents are a rock covers band with tongues firmly in cheeks, bums and every other available orifice. They playeed Quo, Lizzy, Motorhead, Kiss and all of the greats, they rocked and were as funny as hell. If you get the chance, go and see 'em.
How the hell could we follow that you may ask?
To be honest, I don't know how, but we did follow it very well indeed. I guess that Abdou could rate as a comedy band sometimes too, but tonight, all of the ingredients were there, we rocked and went down a storm with both the Abdou faithfull and the local Tote crowd. Our soundman Mark did a brilliant job, it was the best sound we have had for ages.
We gave Air Odeon Disco Pub it's debut and it sounded great I reckon. No favourite song for tonight they were all great, including a hastily coobeled together encore of Queen Bitch.
Danny broke a string at the end of the set which is always a good sign, it was one of those big fat bass strings too.
After the gig we formed a mutual appreciation society with the guys from the Accidents. We were going to go on to a club, but the Tote juke box was rocking out some killer tunes so we decided to stay until closing.
We eventually rolled home at 4am happy with a job well done.
Air Odeon Disco Pub
Murder On Dalberg Rd
Monster In My Garden
You Turned Me Over
Emergency Medical Hologram
Innocent Like Vincent
2002-03-14, Sydney - The Annandale Hotel
After a reasonably pleasant drive to Sydney, only stopping for a huge Marino, strong coffees and sarnies. After dropping off Danny and Iain in Surrey Hills, Rich and I headed to Randwick where my friends Sarah and Arun live. They are kindly putting up the Pom part of Abdou for the duration of our stay in Sydney. We arrived in time to catch a few Schooners (like pints but smaller) and to get ourselves settled for the night in preparation for a big day of sightseeing planned for the next day.The next day we visited just about every touristic sight in Sydney, it's Richard's first time and as we don't have much time here, we had to pack it in.
So it was Bondi Beach, Watson's Bay, Circular Quay and the Opera House, followed by the Botanical Gardens, a feww pubs in Kings Coss and then more in Glebe. We also had time to have luch with Rich's Dad (Richard) and his mate Richard who were over on holiday and see us play. We also hooked up with fellow Pom Emma Ruby who joined us in our explorations.
The next day is the gig day so there were a few things to sort out, including getting hold of a couple of guitar amps for the show. Rich went off to Bondi Beach for a spot of body boarding with his Dad. He came back with a healthy radiation glow due to only using factor 4 suncream, silly boy, I told him it's not like Sarfend!
We managed to hire a couple of amps for the night and turned up nice and early at The Annandale Hotel, tonight's venue. Grabbed some Fish n' Chips from the Nosh Pit restaurant next door before settling down to watch Pants who were the first band on. I also had to sort out t-shirts and stuff with my mate Chris, who has offered to do the merch for this gig.
Pants were pretty good, very harmonic in a US college band type way, I didn't really watch them properly though as I was rushing around sorting out setlists and stuff.
Before we knew it, it was time for us to get our shit on the stage. There we had a small problem as we were expecting to be able to borrow a speaker box from the guitar player from Pants. For his own reasons, he wouldn't have it and refused to let us use his box. so we had a bit of a panic and eventually the nice guys from the headline band, Wizard lent us a nice peavey quadbox which did the trick perfectly.
It took a while to get ourselves in order and went on a bit late, once gain starting with my new fave Air Odeon Disco . Danny changed his strings during the day and for the first few songs he suffered from nasty tuning problems. Eventually though the Abdou machine was running likie clockwork and we played a great gig. The only complaint we got tonight was that we played far to short a set, so sorry about that it was out of our control I'm afraid.
After the most sweaty of gigs we dripped off stage and watched Wizard set up. Chris, our merch man, did a fab job and we did more than $300 worth of shirts and CDs, so well done my son.
Wizard were great, i can imagine them on a huge stage at a festival driving the crowd wild. If I have any complaints i'd say that they were a bit loud for the Annandale. they put on a grand show mind and are a lovely bunch of blokes.
Hung around with me mates after the gig, bought the whole pub a beer and eventually we all got thrown out and had to go home.
I had a good night, so I give big thanks to Sydney, you are really growing on me.
2002-03-15, Gold Coast - Trocadero
Got up dead early, which was a bit of a struggle, but we have a big drive today, we have to be in Surfer's Paradise by 6pm and it bloody miles away.
It took us a round 12 hours to get to the Trocadero, which is a glitzy nightclub in the centre of the most tacky town I have ever seen. I reckon Vegas might be tackier but I have never been there so I can't tell. Imagine Ibiza and benidorm rolled into one and you'll get a rough idea. we went out for a coffee and it was very scary.
The best thing about tonight is that we saw Abdoujaparov up in lights in true Broadway style (there are pics which I'll put up later)
First up was Lancaster, our mates from Brisbane, who played a great set with big faves from the past and some raunchy new numbers that made me want to hear their new album (unfortunately it's not finished yet, so we're gonna have to wait)
Next up were Arbuckle who were cutely shambolic and very good I thought. There were some great songs in there,great stuff!
Daisycutter were up next and promiseed much with their radio friendly power pop. I don't know whether it was because I was exhausted but after a while they began to grate. Sorry fellas it all sounded a little samey to me.
Eventually it was our turn to take the stage once more.
I reckon it was our second best set so far, although we were a bit frayed at the edges. The rider was very crappy too, i ended up buying my own beer all night which was a bummer and cost me a small fortune. Come on, fellas! We need a rider! It is a fundamental component of a gig. Not impressed.
After the gig, we got in the Tarago and set off for Brisbane where Mark and Jo are putting us up yet again. They are definitely gluttons for punishment ;-)
2002-03-16, Brisbane - The Healer
We got back to the Healer just after Parkertron had finished, which was a bit of a bummer as i was really looking forward to seeing them. It sounds like we missed a corker of a set, Parkertron are being hailed as the saviours of rock n roll, as yet not fully realised but with the potential for big things.
Resheads took to the stage next and were great. This is Chris and Patrick's second gig of the day too as they are also in Dollar Bar one of the bands at the Gabba earlier today. They both used to be in Abdou favourites Nice Wig Ted too, they are obviously very prolific song writers as both sets featured loads of catchy short pop tunes.
Next on were Lancaster, who just get better and better. the new songs are really coming together, the sound was perfect, the new rockier Lancaster er...rocked.
What followed next was Abdou's best gig of the tour accompanied by the best crowd too. What can I say? We were fab, we played all of the songs that we had practised, the sound was great and everyone played like a demon. I'm going to putting up some video and sound clips of this gig so you non Aussies can see for yourselves. The funniest bit for me was when i lost my voice and had to stop Air Odeon Disco Pub so that I could clear my throat, it was very un professional of me but was a great comedy moment.
After the gig we had a good ol' booze up with the friendly owner and bar staff of the Healer, it is definitely one of the best venues in Australia and I really hope that we can play there again next year.
We were supposed to go to a party at Petria's place but it had finished by the time we got our act together to leave, so instead we went back to Mark and jo's for a glass of wine.
The rest was a bit of a blur, I woke up 8am still fully dressed, so i got up had a wee, brushed my teeth, cracked open my sleeping bag and went back to snoozyland.
2002-03-16, Brisbane - Wooloongabba Hotel
Situated directly oposite the Gabba stadium, home of the Brisbane Lions, the Gabba, is the perfect setting for this afternoon's all ages show. It's a swelteringly hot day in Brisbane town and the sweat made pools of Les as we loaded in the gear.
The line up for this afternoon is pretty impressive Roshambo, Giants O' Science, Dick Nasty,Dollar Bar and Abdou. Completely missed Roshambo, but heard they were great. Giants O Science were pure stoner rock riffarama and very cool, guitarist looked a little like Popeye with his fag hanging out of the side of his gob. Dick Nasty were great as were Dollar Bar. Top tunes played with love and vitality.
Abdou played a rockin set I reckon, the crowd seemed to love it anyway. It was rather odd to play so early also knowing that we'd be doing another later on.
After the gig we loaded up the van and went straight to the Healer to unload our gearand do a quick sound check.Then we rumbled back to Mark and Jo's to freshen up, got something to eat in town.
2002-03-22, Adelaide - Crown And Sceptre
It was supposed to be an early start the next morning but Richard and Iain tied one on and looked very worse for wear the next morning. We bade our farewells to our awesome hosts Mark & Jo and climbed back into the van.
After an epic journey across country from Brisbane to Adelaide which took around 20 hours of driving we arrived slightly tattered around the edges but ready to rock.
I'd been to the Crown & Sceptre before but this was the first time that Abdou had played there. The band room is a good size with a reasonable P.A. system. On tonight's bill along with us is The Bleeding Hearts and American Public. The Bleeding Hearts were great, they had a kind of joyful stoner rock thing going Sandy's vocals were very Robert Plant and the band were just rockin'.
To my great shame I missed most of the American Public's set as I got caught up in a deep political conversation with a very nice young lady. I heard that they were pretty good though.
Once again, before long it was time for Abdou to grab guitars and stick and wander onstage. It was a great crowd of friends and family who really were up for a good time. We were pretty good. I must say we rocked Adeliade tonight.
The two majr highlights of the set were not on my setlist though as there was a young lady in the audience repeatedly asked for "the scarf in the barf song". We eventually capitulated by played a slightly dodgy rnedering of Aren't We All , made entirely unique by said girl coming up onstage and contributing her vocal charms at the appropriate moment. If that wasn't wonderful enough at the end of the set a man with a trombone came up and said "I'm a punk trombonist, please let me play" How could I refuse? He joined us onstage for a great rendering of Air Odeon Disco Pub and Queen Bitch.
That rounded off a very amusing gig, can't wait for tomorrow's!
2002-03-23, Adelaide - The Austral
It's a busy night in Adelaide which the biggest event of the evening being the 'o' Ball which I believe stands for orientation. I think it's the Aussie version of ????? Anyway, to be honest that's where the bulk of Adelaide's trendy kids will be tonight and also apparently where all Adelaide's sound engineers will be too. Pange made calls to 13 engineers non of whom could do the gig. That meant that we had to work it all out ourselves this time, not too hard but a little bit of a pain.
Only two bands on tonight and we are on first.
I took one look at the crowd and predicted that half of them would leave before the end of our set. unfortunately, I was right about 20 people slunk off en bloc during Loser's Walk..
It wasn't the best of gigs I'm afraid,we were playing pretty well but not getting across somehow.
I can't say the same for King Daddy though. They were fabulous. We stopped charging at the door, which encouraged more folk to come in and watch the band. A very drunken Naz lead the band in a frenzy of juicy swamp rock.
Thanks to King Daddy I had a really good time and got fairly drunken which can't be at all bad eh?
Big thanks go out to Richard for the loan of the amps and to Pange and Marie for being the prefect hosts?
2002-03-31, Melbourne - Flipside @ A Bar Called Barry
Feeling the need for some exercise (I reckon that I've put on half a stone on this trip) I decided to walk to the venue, it was about a 30 min walk and through some nice bits of Melbourne. I met the guys at the venue and we set up our stuff in readiness for tonights show.
We tried to do a sound check, but I couldn't get the hang of the PA system and the mixer guy wasn't to turn up until a bit later. We went off to get some chips and coffee at a local café.
When we got back to the venue people were already arriving, it was already beginning to fill up. This was pretty encouraging, this could be the best night ever.
By the time we hit the stage for a short sharp set, the place was fairly rammed. We played really well I thought, Iain was really going for it on the drums despite the fact that hadn't got any sleep the previous night as it was a mate's birthday.
We rocked the joint for 30 mins fun-packed minutes.
That wasn't the end of things for that evening though. Next I was to take up my place at the DJ decks and play some classic indie for a dancefloor packed with smiling sweaty faces. I only made one major boo boo with got the biggest chear of the evening. I pushed the wrong button and everythinmg went SILENT. Well, I never said I was a pro DJ huh?
After I finished my set, the proper DJs Dave and Adrian took over and we all danced the night away.
I had a brilliant night and it was good to see such a big bunch of happy faces. I think we should deffo do this gig next year!
2002-04-05, Ballarat - Bridge mall Hotel (Cancelled)
Not quite sure why it got cancelled, someone was being crap and it wasn't us.