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Wednesday, 26 November 2008

baxter park fireworks: november 5th 2008

I took my camera along to this years firework display at Baxter Park in Dundee, first time I'd been to that one in a few years. Managed to get an okay spot and the photos turned out better than expected, but I think that was more luck than skill.

past & pending #1: mikee & the lambos

Mikee & the Lambos
Active: 1998
Gigs: 1
Recordings: 0

As promised some time ago, the first in a very occasional series chronicling the glorious failures and mundane successes of my ten years playing in bands. The original idea was prompted by a similar move by my friend Alex Botten, eventually resulting in his recent book "Hanging Around".

We begin at the beginning, at age 15, with the first real band I was in, one that actually had instruments, and practised, and even played a show. Mikee & the Lambos, as we were christened before stepping onstage at that solitary show, were my friends Euan and Andrew on drums and bass respectively, myself on guitar, and on vocals (and six years our senior...) Paul. Paul was one of two respondents to our "singer wanted" advert in a local guitar shop, the other a girl in the year below us at school. After months of regular (but hardly committed) practice, we had been offered a gig by some school friends in that well known rock and roll Mecca that was Burrelton Village Hall. Still, it was a gig, and we were confident. We agreed, a set was worked out and new Ellesse trainers purchased.

Not for the last time in my life, questions of general musical competency were ignored with naive over-enthusiasm. When I mentioned that I could play most of "I Wanna Be Adored" by the Stone Roses, this was good enough for Paul to insist that we play the whole thing, my faltering approximation of the actual guitar solo and all. We generally tended not to play anything too complex, for good reason, so this was always going to be disastrous. The rest of our set, as I recall, consisted of "Teenage Kicks" by the Undertones, "Creep" by Radiohead, "Kung Fu" by Ash and one original: "Funky Riff". A title that the word misleading will never, ever be enough for. "Funky Riff", as far as memory serves, consisted of little more than me playing a single, unfunky, riff and working through my effects pedals over a straight 4/4-plod and inaudible bass. The lyrics, in full, were "Funky riff/funky riff/funkiy, funky riff". It was more than likely worse than you could ever imagine.

I don't think our one show was quite what anyone involved may have imagined. There was no heaving crowd down the front - everyone was sat on plastic chairs against the walls of the hall (amazingly, the chair-to-punter ratio was about 1:1) - and our friends never suddenly saw us as messianic figures. Largely because we were terrible. Still, it wasn't all bad - we did get to play an encore of "Creep". Just as well really, as the first time we played it I managed to pull my guitar lead out with my foot as I went for my distortion pedal. I think the most important thing I learnt that day was to always loop the lead round the strap...

Mikee & the Lambos never survived in that form, unsurprisingly. Paul (or possibly his fiance) realised that this was clearly a waste of time, and we never really saw him again. After a short break, Andy, Euan and I did continue. That is where we will pick up next time.

kaput - captain capo... (again, live at drouthies)

Another video of "Captain Capo...", this time taken on a camera phone by Maxi at our Drouthies gig on August 16th, with Esperi and White Heath. There's photos that I took of those bands here, and more video to come once it's been uploaded, courtesy of Cat.

I have clearly failed miserably in my attempts to write regularly in this blog (last post in July!), but I guess I've just been pretty busy (and very lazy). Still, I think it would be good to force myself to write regularly, even if just to keep my brain ticking over, so will persevere with it.