ON PLAYING MIF… Yeah it’s been great, really fun! We don’t know a massive amount about MIF but we’re getting a feel for it from people. It seems like a pretty cool thing since it’s all about one off events. We want to see that Punch Drunk thing ‘It Felt like a Kiss’… It starts at 5 so we might be able to sneak and see it. We should definitely go to that! Daman Alban did the music. ON THE NEXT ALBUM… It’s going well so far. We’ve recorded 1 song properly with a guy called Chris Thomas and we’ve written about eighteen songs so we’re finding out way- but profess has been made. I think it helps to find a new wealth of inspiration but you can’t really find it – it just comes. I think with ‘21’ it was really good timing for us because out first album was very much influenced by psychedelic prog-rock and Henry was really involved with the lyrics and song writing, but with the second album was much more a ‘coming-of-age’, very much doing it for ourselves. We were writing from our own prospective. I think with this album none of us know what we’re writing yet, I don’t think there’s and umbrella which all the songs go under. We can’t categorise anything. There are a lot of good songs but they’re all kind of sporadic, I think we want to feel cohesion. ON DJING… There’s a different processs when djing. We put on what ever will make the crowd move or what we like to listen to ourselves. It’s not like making music which can be frustrating at times. Remixing is something we want to explore; because it’s not your own music and that’s another interesting aspect. The best song to get people on the dancefloor would probably be by this New York band called The Glamour ‘Respect the Party’.
ON BEYONCE… Single Ladies is a great song! Halo’s a bit too much in the “passion”. But she’s Sasha Fierce! She’s a bit Ziggy Stardust with her alter-ego. And David Bowie is hot too! ON APPLES AND ALCOHOL… This is my 3rd apple today! But that’s a good day for me, a good apple day. There’s no alcohol here so apples are a good substitute. Normally I’d be munching on something different. An alcohol bar or something, call it what you will. It’s been nice to do a gig and not be drunk! ON WEIRD GIGS… The weirdest gig we’ve done was on a boat on Loch Ness! We got eaten by the monster like in Pinocchio! He took one bite and was like ‘ergh’. He heard the music and swam away as fast as he could! ON ESSER… We’re big fans of Esser. We’ve known him since he was a drummer in Ladyfuzz so that’s years and years. He played Glastonbury and the show was fantastic, so brilliant! They’ve come on so far, much more confident with some really big tunes. Can’t wait to see him tomorrow! On Europe… There’s definitely a different feeling for music abroad. Every country has it’s own appreciation. Germany’s got all that amazing 80s techno thing going on, France’s disco is much slower and sexier whereas the English still love their guitar-Libertines music! There are bands who don’t do as well in England but put them in Europe and they do really well. Like Art Brut. Although that isn’t strictly fair as they’re a really interesting band… Maybe like a not-so-good Bloc Party could be huge in France?
2 BEST, 1 WORST 1. Best CountryNew Zealand! It’s like the Australian Scotland. It’s so beautiful and you can really relax there. It’s such a strange place, almost unworldly. We did a wine-tasting day there and everyone was so, so friendly. We stayed in this house on a beach and it was like being on the edge of the Earth and it really hits you when you’re there that you’re the first people to see the sun rising! Amazing! 2. Best Band Played withFutureheads on their first album. We toured with them in 2004. And Bloc Party on their first album. Those bands are like pillars of our generation’s music. Futureheads are just amazing, so tight. What they did with 2 guitars, a bass, a drummer and voices was so interesting, much more than other bands are at the moment. That sort of choral sound was the best bit. Such sweet guys as well. 3. Worst Band Played withThere must be some absolute joke of a band? We played with a band of rude bois in Manchester and they were like “skin up all your acid” or something.Young Offenders Institute I think they were called. But they weren’t the worst, they were just so funny! I think Dustin’s Bar Mitzvah have to be the worst. They’re probably in a Young Offenders Institute now! I don’t mean to sound harsh but they played one of our parties and trashed all our gear and punched this poor girl in the face with a mic and she was bleeding so they’d have to be our worst band! PHOTO GAVIN WATSON
intended) resort than it’s sunny counterpart and disappointed I was not! Whatever the weather it wasn’t in the slightest bit important, we had arrived, in one piece, un-crushed, in very short shorts and ready to play a Popp! concert.
DEAREST DIARY, YOU MAY NOT BE MY CLOSEST CONFIDANT, I MAY NEGLECT YOU, I MAY NOT THUMB THROUGH YOUR LEAVES REMINISCING OVER PAST TROUBLES AND ROMANCES...AND THIS IS BECAUSE I HAVE JUST INVENTED YOU, BUT FOR GOOD PURPOSE I MAY ADD. THE 3RD JULY IS THE OCCASION AND MANCHESTER OUR DESTINATION.
The Manchester International Festival was host to the leading musical innovators, great musicians who have torn through the boundaries of 21st Century culture and emerged genius, untouchable, magnificent, pure art; People such as Lou Reed & Laurie Anderson, Kraftwerk, Rufus Wainwright and Anthony and the Johnsons. By a small clerical error we, Televised Crimewave, were also invited to play. One can only assume that a drunken intern spilled gin upon the booking form, bleeding ‘televised celebrations’ into some form of punk rock nightmare resulting in a distinct lack of broadcasting of events and a higher than expected volley of indie-Popp! We were none more shocked than you, dear diary, as we read and re-read the telegram that requested not only our presence but hit musical stage performance at this most selective of events.
Then we noticed that it was XOX Teens had booked us and we realised they’d definitely have been pissed. The police force of this great kingdom are an under rated bunch of lovely souls who saw fit to give our driver, Philip, a helping hand checking his insurance for the operation of his luxurious touring automobile whilst we were happily trundling up the M1. When our friendly law enforcers realised that Philip indeed did not possess the required documentation they were more than happy to drive his van away with us in the back and threaten to crush it (without us in the back I presume). After a few minutes of tears in our eyes and sour tastes in our mouths we were back on our way to sunny Manchester. Drizzly Manchester as far as I’m concerned is a far more arresting (pun more than
Playing music and whilst blinded by sweat is one of life’s more challenging yet rewarding events, it adds an extra dimension of danger to proceedings, like eating a kebab whilst your knackers are dangling in a bee hive. Pleasure and painful pleasure, executed with skill, the pleasure of this instance being the heat and love of everyone around us. Now I know that that sounds a very hippie sentiment, full of sugar and piss, but I’m afraid it’s true. Playing to a tent full of uncynical, clean and well nourished music lovers is like the above analogy but without the testicle bees...only there were testicle bees because I was sweating, but nevertheless, the kebab (you people) was tasty (lovely) enough to soothe any other nonsense (the sweat). What I’m trying to communicate to you, dear diary, is that we loved every second of being in Manchester, playing for XOX Teens/Same Teens and most importantly playing for everyone who came along. That last sentence makes far too much sense, but then what can I say? Yes dear reader, I married him! (Charlotte Bronte would never have eaten a kebab). Goodnight dear diary, All my love Thomas Greatorex
If you build it, they will come. This statement suggests mass migration on epic scales, the communal plight of hundreds in search of defiant grandiosity, and was also featured in some film about baseball starring Kevin Costner. What was apparent during these 2 evenings is that the delicately imposing tented venue in the heart of Albert square would bring together young miscreants from all over this fair land, and while on paper it may have been destined to recreate the set of Shameless, I gaze upon a delightful barrage of fashionistas and topman two for tens. Power to the people indeed. A less charming sight admittedly was me desperately trying to flog t shirts like some naïve fish market apprentice, but oh well, each to their own. On with the show as they say, and on Friday the stage was to be occupied by the rambunctious Televised Crimewave. Having never been acquainted with their bold guitar driven plethora of grunge fuelled indie, I quickly compromised that this was to be the aural equivalent of
a bar room brawl, which manifested itself quite literally towards the end of the set as ringleader Dan exchanged stools for members of the crowd, joyously thrashing around and signalling his peers to partake in the riotous frenzy. They hastily obliged. It was this charismatic stage performance coupled with cleverly implemented angular guitar lines (as demonstrated clinically in “the fall of 91” ) that ensured the night sprang to life with an infectious, yet humid furore. The same can be said for London troubadour Benjamin Esser. Following on from a wave of curious samples at the start of “I Love You” any inclination of this being a twee or essentially quaint affair were quickly dispelled by bludgeoning beats, exotic calypso rhythms (“satisfied”) and straight up pop punk (“Long Arms”) and this juxtaposition of the seemingly genteel with an eclectic technicolour soundtrack meant that the young audience were grasping onto Esser’s la la la’s as much as gravity was to his nostalgic quiff. No mean feat. Set closer “Headlock” surely must have FM radio dials everywhere twitching nervously.
Then to the main event, and if the hundreds of sprinting legs provoked by the blitzish sirens triggering “Hideaway” were anything to go by, then it was going to be one of those nights. Or was it? Any indication of pantomime theatrics were hampered by Williams declaration of “this isn’t a strip show, it’s a gig”. However everyone’s obvious disappointment was quelled by the sheer intensity of the set, compromising of a hearty mix of new and old, many delights were on show to be lapped up, from the charmingly infectious “You Can’t Fool Me Dennis” to the 80’s pop grandeur of “Two Doors Down”, and if that wasn’t enough then a couple of new’uns were graciously thrown into the mix, “Lady Grey” and “The Girl has Gone”. Both gave a inconspicuous hint that the third record will see the band retain the heart wrenching lyricism and romantic ditty’s that typified “21”, yet when tales of love won and lost are delivered as beautifully and carefree as this, you’d have to have a soul of ice to actually care, and its clear that the crowd clutched them dearly with arms wide open. Unfortunately, that was that, and while 99% of the audience rustled around frantically for fake ID in hope after party attendance, I had a gigantic struggle wading through about 500 empty water bottles, yet when the Same Teens call to arms comprised of cheap as chips tickets, deafening DJ sets, and some of the darn right finest musical talent put together this side of the Thames, judging by the monumental atmosphere gallivanting around the venue and strutting across Manchester, job done. WORDS RICCARDO PICTURES HOLLY READ
Arriving late to things is neither fashionable nor intelligent; especially if the thing is Manchester International Festival. I could have very easily locked myself away to inflict self harm after missing the venerated Kraftwerk play the Velodrome. This thought was further considered after it was learnt Televised Crimewave had played a thumping set at the Pavillion Theatre presented Same Teens the night before. To miss the beginning of electronic music and the fresh remnant of indie garage group Black Wire (R.I.P) could have seriously knocked my expectations of the day ahead. Arriving backstage at the Pavillion on Saturday I immediately bumped into Gavin Watson, a [genius] photographer who has perhaps documented all that was important in youth culture in the last thirty years. He had just come back from a photo shoot with Same Teens in the House Fraser window. I am a big fan of Gavin’s work. I start ranting about how much I love ‘Skins’ and how jealous every one of my camera fiddling friends will be. Surprisingly he is incredibly welcoming, despite probably meeting intense ranters like me all the time. What I love about Gavin’s work is how his images become like a markers in history illustrating the turning points in social and also personal change. If you turn to the last page of ‘Skins and Punks’ there is the image of Gavin and his friends returning from an all night rave. The caption below reads [aprox] ‘This is when we stopped being Skinheads due to a little thing
called ecstasy’. I think images like these a fascinating; they define the end of an era in someone’s life but also the beginning of another social and cultural movement (e.g the rave scene of the early 90’s). I barely talk to Gavin about his photos despite working my way through the pile of books he has back stage. He mentions upcoming exhibitions in Milan and New York, however due to his modesty he doesn’t elaborate. Instead we chat about politics and things that make Gavin mad. Like ignorant people. He details how he heard about an arson attack by a group of drunks from a Bristol estate; apparently it had ‘one of the highest levels of incest in the country’. Gavin explains how the arsonists had torched the house of a paediatrician believing the plaque outside the doctor’s house had said ‘paedo’. He tells this story about four times to different people while we are back stage using this moronic voice pretending to be the arsonist. The ridiculousness of the story is very almost funny, but clearly this sort of ignorance is what makes Gavin very angry. When Mystery Jets arrive later that day, Gavin disappears off with them and to take pictures on his little digital camera. Nick (Same Teens organiser) comes back later ecstatic and says they are the best set of band photos he’s seen.
Around three o’clock a man supporting a huge quiff and colourful doc martins skips into the backstage area. Despite just returning from a tour of the States, Esser looks thoroughly jovial. He mentions a hectic touring regime he and the band have endured and their exasperated North American manager who had a hard job getting the whole band on flights. That night I watch Esser’s set which happens to be thoroughly entertaining and accessible to new listeners. The playful use of sampling such as the beginning of the song ‘I Love You’ and the funky beats are reminiscent of Southern Hip Hop. In comparison the song writing is often much like 90s Britpop and delivered in a disgusted London drawl. ‘Work It Out’ steps out from the set with this prominent trickling synth line and vocoders. ‘Satisfied’ begins with this grand classical piano part before morphing into a Greek jig; the list of music reference points from the thirty minutes Esser is on stage is refreshingly original and exciting. Between bands Same Teens produce a truly filthy DJ set, busting out everything from a booty house remix of Daft Punk which sounds like 2 Live Crew to classic Smiths tracks. The audience as expected seem to be around fourteen/fifteen years old. I was however glad to see other people just about making the age franchise to be part the Same Teens gig. Mystery Jets are opened with the wail of sirens, reminding me of
a Public Enemy film I had seen on Youtube. Instead of ruthless political hip hop though, Mystery Jets began a beautiful set of marvellous vocal harmonies and fidgety rhythms. (That opening siren song by the way was from ‘Hideaway’, the opening piece of the new-ish album ‘Twenty One’.) Tonight thankfully, they also played some songs from their debut LP ‘Making Dens’ including ‘The Boy Who Ran Away’, my personal favourite. I love the ‘oddness’ of that song- a drum role that punctuates the angular rhythm and the almost operatic singing from [lead singer] Blaine Harrison. The teenage angst filled ‘Two Doors Down’ and ‘Young Love’ get the perfect reception from the young audience. I definitely think the sparkling 80s keyboard licks has helped make the tunes a step up from the debut. Every one of the songs tonight seem like a little nugget of pop gold, it’s any wonder the Pavilion security guard I was talking to earlier had not heard of MJ before. Mystery Jets finish in glorious style as the kids in the crowd scramble to get anything from the stage. Later behind the Pavillion I see some of the younger audience stuffing any item through the fence to be signed by the band, it was like Beatle mania! Sometimes people forget this kind of excitement from seeing a band you really like; thankfully Same Teens have restored this excitement into the audience -a real treat.
It’s easy to consider the Mystery Jets indie cult royalty somewhat. Wherever they go there’s a legion excitable fans ready to sway to ‘Flakes’ and teeny-bop their hips to ‘Two Doors Down’. The audible experiences of ‘The Boy Who Ran Away’ and ‘Diamonds in the Dark’ still pack a punch and leave a twee twinkle in your eye. Watch out for new one ‘Lady Grey’ as well (previewed at the shows), a comeback single ready to re-establish MJ as pop perfectionists. This is what front man Blaine was thinking on the run up to their first headline slot.
IN MANCHESTER FOR THE FIRST TIME, THE NORTHERN QUARTER IS A BRILLIANT MIX OF CAFES AND VINTAGE STORES FOR A RELATIVE YOKEL LIKE MYSELF TO INDULGE IN. PLUS, HATTERS HOSTEL HAS TO BE THE MOST BIZARRE PLACE I’VE EVER SLEPT IN, BUT BIZARRE IN A GOOD ‘URBAN ROBINSON CRUSOE ADVENTURE’ WAY. I WAS TAKING A GANDER AT THE LARGE AMOUNT OF FOOD ON THE RIDER FOR THE BANDS PLAYING THE MIF SAME TEENS SHOWS WHEN I NOTICED I SHOULD PROBABLY GET AN INTERVIEW. SO, DODGY MOBILE DICTAPHONE IN HAND I WENT INDIE-TRAINSPOTTING… Televised Crimewave were preparing for their support slot. Ready to unleash post-punk DIY indie furry on the young crowd, lead singer Daniel ended up entering the crowd for the finale to join in with the mini-mosh pit. They’re one of the best new live bands I’ve seen in ages, energy and passion sweating from all glands possible. Here’s what Rob (guitar) and Tom (bass – both backing vocalists) from the band had to say pre-show. Are you excited about being in Manchester at the moment? Tom:Yeah, it’s fantastic. Even though it’s raining, it’s better than being in London . Anything’s better than being in London ! What are you thinking about the gig tonight? Rob: I’m excited, I reckon it’ll be amazing. Underage shows are always the best for us because everyone’s just so much more into it. Like, kids are more fun than adults. Tom: When I was younger I never got to go to all ages shows because where I lived they didn’t have any. So it’s great to be able to go to some now even though I’d be too old to go in as a punter. Being an event in Manchester International Festival, how do you think these gigs will compare to the usual Underage shows?
Tom:Yeah, there seems to be more of an event about it, I don’t know… Manchester ’s always been one of those cities which always celebrates itself but always with good reason, whereas London always celebrates itself because it deems itself worthy. Rob: It’s got more of a community feel round here. People will come together to make it that bit better… people come together to raise the bar. Tom: There’s less rock more roll in Manchester . What do you think about the scene Same Teens have made in Manchester ? Rob: I think passion and enthusiasm shines through in everything they do, and I think that’s what more people should be doing I think. Not to do it for money or recognition… Tom: Just for the fact they love doing it. That’s the reason you should do anything really, unless you’re a bank manager. That kind of thing, y’know? Rob: Bank managers don’t have love.
How is Manchester treating you? Blaine : It’s been really nice, it’s been a really fun day. We haven’t actually dropped into any of the exhibitions because we got here pretty late and today we’ve been sound checking all day. But tomorrow we’re going to an exhibition. Is it different playing a gig which is part of a larger festival, in between all these art projects? Blaine : I think it does because it set you up on a bit of a pedestal, which is a good and a bad thing. It’s a good thing because it encourages young people to put themselves into an environment they’re perhaps not that familiar with. Being round loads of older art people.You’ll have to ask me that again in an hour [after their gig] . What do you think of Same Teens scene? Blaine : It’s a shame that in London , all the magazines are based there, you never get to hear about different scenes, they’re all too busy talking about their own shit. It’s nice to be up here. Have you started writing new material yet? Baline:Yeah, we’ve written about sixteen new songs, and we recorded the first one two weeks ago. We’re playing it tonight as a ballad, I think we’ve written a song that, if there’s a track to split our fan base in half, we’ve written it. The second album was a bit pop-ier than the first, is the new material leaning more towards that or more like the first album? Blaine : Well we’re not doing the same thing we were doing when we were kids, I think it’s a continuation of the second record, but I think we’ve gone into completely new ground, you know? I mean, I’d hate for it to be a repeat of the second one. Not that I don’t like it, I just want to make some progression I guess. WORDS NIK BURMAN PHOTOS EOIN LOVELESS