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Blog: Indietracks Saturday
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It was odd being back in Leicester town centre on a Saturday - not only did we go into the Car Park near where The Phoenix used to be, which I'd never been into before, but I also got very very low level Proustian Rushes from knowing where to go in Boots. It's like nostalgia for something I did loads of times during my 14 years living there but which never really had any emotional resonance, a sort of strangely flavoured very gentle emotion that you only get from old places like that.
Anyway, with that done we headed back to Tiger Towers, filled a HUGE BOX with literally HUNDREDS of CDs (also badges, posters and vinyl) then put it, along with various amps, instruments, drums and US into the Tigermobile and ZOOMED to the festival site. This time we went to the Swanwick Junction entrance, so got to wave at people walking up from the Campsite, leaning out of the window to say hello as we swept past at over ten miles an hour. ROCK STARS! When we got to the car park we met The Pattisons, fresh from a wedding the previous night, and then LUGGED gear into the site itself. Me and Tom went to the Gear Store from three years ago, which isn't there any more, so had to turn round and lug it all the way back to the new one. We had a lot of heavy stuff!
The next hour featured some light beer intake, watching some of Skeletal Shakes (who were ace) saying hello to more pals, and general lurking around. I said hello to lots of small children, many of whom were wearing Dinosaur Planet t-shirts, and got the distinct impression that, though it may not have gone down totally brilliantly with The Indie Community, the Dinosaur Planet album DOES have fans among the under-10s. In ten years time we'll be playing it in stadiums, you mark my words!
After being told by various concerned people that it was nearly show-time (or "Hibbett o'clock" as some people hem hem were calling it, i wish they wouldn't but wot can one do eh?) we gathered at the stage and got ourselves set up. The sound crew were REALLY nice and took their time with us as we MARVELLED at the fact that we were each getting our OWN mix in our OWN monitor! We also got bottles of WATER, it was well swanky.
With soundcheck done me and Frankie went to get a beer. There was a big queue so I went for a WEE, during which I passed several people heading to see us and looking CONFUSED that I was going in the opposite direction. When I got back to the bar there was PANIC as we were due on NOW but Frankie hadn't got served. Luckily Mr A Hale offered to get them in and save the day. PHEW!
We gathered nervously backstage, ready for our Walk-On music. I'd spent weeks (honesty time: actually YEARS) thinking about what we could go on stage to for this, our GRAND RETURN, and had settled on "The Boys Are Back In Town". The other day I mentioned this to The Hits On My Compilation who said "Naaah", thought about it for a minute, and came up with a MUCH better idea. As the song played Frankie got a bit over-excited and had to be RESTRAINED from running on-stage too soon, so that we could all go on stage together to the chorus of "Back For Good".
Here is the short summary of what happened next: basically, it could not have gone any better, not even in the many many many times I have daydreamed about it for the past three years. How could we fail with an audience that looked like THIS?
If you click on that image you'll see a REALLY BIG version full of lots and lots of familiar faces (almost) all of whom are smiling (the exception being our two biggest fans to the right!), it's lovely. Is it any wonder that I forgot the words once or twice? I kept being distracted by spotting PALS!
In technical news, it turns out that practicing your entire set, in order, is a REALLY good idea, as it means you all know what's coming next AND know you have time to make some REMARKS and also get to do actual SEGUES. Here is what we did:
Theme From Dinosaur Planet
Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
20 Things To Do Before You're 30
I Want To Find Out How It Ends
The Gay Train
(You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock
It Only Works Because You're here
Do The Indie Kid
The Lesson Of The Smiths
And do you know what? It seemed to WORK. I'd been imagining myself saying "65 million years ago the Dinosaurs disappeared, and now... WE'RE back" for THREE YEARS and it was just as satisfying as I'd hoped it would be. The new songs went down well, much to my relief, and 20 Things To Do Before You're 30 was the song people asked about later more than ANYTHING (Emma's PROPS in this worked dead well too - cardboard signs which will be RE-USED!). Perhaps the only mis-step was going STRAIGHT from The Lesson Of The Smiths into Easily Impressed - as Tim said afterwards, we don't get the chance to be applauded by hundreds of people THAT often, it felt a shame to do ourselves out of a song's worth by doing a segue!
My biggest memory of the whole thing was standing and saluting the audience, walking off stage to the sound of Shania Twain singing "Still The One" (also as suggested by The Verse In My Song), looking back and seeing Frankie at the top of the gang plank, PUNCHING THE AIR! "That was the best gig ever", said Emma, and after a VERY VERY VERY SWEATY group hug (it was HOT!) the following selfie was taken:
Very happy Validators! With that done we packed up, lugged our gear round to the equipment store (stopping to say "Thank you - we enjoyed it too!" to several people) and then headed for the Merchandising Tent for our alloted hour of selling CDs. We'd announced a Special Deal - any item for a fiver or FOUR for a tenner - because we are dead generous and certainly not because Tom and I have TONNES of boxes of unsold CDs cluttering up our houses. We'd worked out a system - Tom in charge, Tim and Frankie on sales, me and Emma front of house, looking delightful - and it seemed to work as we spent most of the hour DOING SALES. It was VERY exciting, we shifted BLOODY LOADS, although to be honest quite a lot of things (especially vinyl) went by us chucking more and more stuff at people, saying "No! come back! let me give you more things!" I'd stamped lots of paper bags with the "VALID" stamp which was a dead good idea, as you could fit loads of stuff into them to force people to take away. We also ended up SIGNING lots of stuff, which we all enjoyed VERY MUCH INDEED.
After a joyous stock-take, during which Tom and I saw huge bright vistas of CLEARED SHELF SPACE back home, we all went and put stuff back in cars, then returned to enjoy an afternoon of SMILES and SUNSHINE and BEERS and PALS and the general loveliness that is Indietracks. My main memory of this section involve me, Frankie and Tom sitting in the train carriage bar UTTERLY DAZED by it all, unable to do anything but stare into space. We'd end up there again several times over the course of the day, but not before wandering over to the Indiepop Singalong to a) SINGALONG b) do a quite "refreshed" version of "Boom Shake The Room" in a sandpit.
By about 11pm I was feeling like I'd been stood in the sunshine all day drinking beer and sweating and, after checking, discovered a similar feeling amongst my colleagues. After hugging as many people as we could on the way out we hopped back into the Tigermobile, dropping Mr & Mrs Machine off in Derby and before too long Tom and I were back at Tiger Towers, drinking whisky and thinking "Cor! That was GRATE!"
Next day the reality of post-Indietracks comedown hit me. How long is it until next year?
posted 29/7/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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I clicked on the photo to make it larger (yes: I could see me, good) and noticed that there is some kind of warping of all human life around your head, Mark. Care to explain?
posted 29/7/2014 by Daniel
It is my MIGHTY BRANE warping reality - it's the only explanation for us getting a crowd that big!
posted 29/7/2014 by MJ Hibbett
Great gig, Mark. I first heard about Indietracks from your ramblings long ago... Took me a few years to make it along.
posted 31/7/2014 by Ben
I can see me - yeah! Great gig! This time I got it right with Take That and The Smiths :-)
posted 4/8/2014 by Marcel
An Artists Against Success Presentation