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Blog: Indietracks 2017

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Saturday was that most WONDERFUL day in the Indiepop year - INDIETRACKS DAY!!

All right, for most people it was Day TWO of THREE of Indietracks, but I long ago realised that ONE day of a festival is pretty much enough for me, no matter HOW delightful it is, and for the past several years I have used this methodology to THOROUGHLY enjoy myself without fear of waking up at 6am in a soaking tent the next day and then having to POWER THROUGH a whole HUNGOVER rest of weekend!

So it was that Mr S Hewitt and I met with with Mr T "The Tiger" MacClure at Tiger Towers just after noon and drove to the site, full of EXCITEMENT for the day to come. This turned to MILD PANIC in the case of Tom when he realised he'd forgotten his Special Earplugs so, once he'd dropped us off, he went all the way back to Leicester to get them. It meant that he DIDN'T spend the rest of the day worrying about his hearing, so it was entirely worth it!

My first port of call at Indietracks is ALWAYS to visit the Merch Tent to give Mr J Jervis a hug, and this time I managed to combine this pleasure with BUSINESS, for LO! I was booked to do a READING of Storm House as part of the Merch Tent PROGRAMME. As the time for the reading grew closer I became more and more AFEARED. How was I going to do this? Would people be able to hear? Had I chosen the right bit to read?!? My NERVES continued once Jerv introduced me, as I stood in front of a group of very patient people and SHOUTED the start of the book at them for about 60 seconds. I realised that this was never going to work, as it was far too noisy in the tent and SHOUTING was not really going to work for CHARACTERISATION (i.e. funny voices), so I grabbed a chair and sat down, which seem to sort everything out a LOT - I was closer to the people sitting on the floor, and the people standing up formed a sound barrier at the back, so I was able to relax into it a bit. It seemed to go OK but it was TERRIFYING, and I think I definitely need to give a bit of thought to what section to read next time I do it (in Sheffield in October). I read the START of the book this time, and had to keep stopping to say "It's not just about filing and sneezing, honest!"

The rest of The Validators arrived just in time for the start of THE READING, and after it was done we treated ourselves to some BEER. The next couple of hours - and indeed much of the day later - featured us EITHER wandering around individually, HUGGING people and not seeing bands OR sitting EN MASSE in The Train Bar. The Train Bar is the BEST bar - comfy seats and no queues!

Soon it was time for us to go and get our gear and then get set up for our FULL BAND SHOW over in the BIG SHED. I was quite calm before it started, as we had a TYPED OUT SETLIST which was guaranteed to last exactly the right length of time. It even had notes about when I should introduce the band etc, so I wouldn't worry about it during the songs and get distracted. Unfortunately I couldn't FIND the printed setlists so ended up running to The Merch Tent to see if I'd left it there then running all the way bag to discover they were inside ANOTHER bag, with some flyers. PHEW!

Mr Matthew Schwartz came and took our picture, which looked GRATE, and then we took to the stage with Frankie's SONIC MONTAGE, which seemed to work out OK, and waved to the - CRIKEY - VAST crowd of people who'd come to see us! It was fantastic looking at out such a THRONG, with friendly faces and NEW faces too GRINNING back at us. Here's what we ended up doing:
  • Payday Is The Best Day
  • (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock
  • The 1980s How It Was
  • 20 Things To Do Before You're 30
  • Mental Judo
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • It Only Works Because You're here
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed
  • I must say, PRACTICING a setlist doesn't half make it easier to play without mistakes! The whole thing went like a DREAM, I genuinely could have stayed there playing for HOURS, the only trouble was it went WAY too fast. So fast in fact that we had to cut our last song - I couldn't understand how we could have run out of time, but eventually we realised that we'd timed and practiced a 45 minute set... and our timeslot was only 40 minutes! It was a shame, as we were going to finish with We Did It Anyway, and I had a GRATE SPEECH to deliver beforehand, but we had just done at least THREE big hits, so I think we did OK!

    It was a wonderful experience - I always enjoy it when we play to big audiences, I don't know why we don't do it more often - and the BEST thing was afterwards when, over the course of the evening, VARIOUS people, some of whom I didn't even know, came over to say they'd really enjoyed it. A surprising number of people said they'd CRIED during the set, which I THINK is a compliment, but the best bit was later when we got a round of applause from the other customers as we re-entered the Train Bar. That was flipping lovely!

    With the show complete we stood around backstage feeling VERY happy. We did some SELFIES, which involved all other Validators trying to get away from my VERY SWEATY embrace. I didn't mind - it meant I got to stand RIGHT at the front! We also signed some AUTOGRAPHS for some small girls who, I think, were trying to get them from everybody, and then we STOMPED over to the Merch Tent where I solved the Sweaty Issue by buying myself an Indietracks T-Shirt. I'd forgotten my usual clean post-gig t-shirt, I must be getting out of practice!

    Last time we were in the Merch Tent we were MOBBED by people, but this time it all went a bit more gently. Partly, I think, this was because the Hayman Kupa band were on after us, and I imagine there's some OVERLAP between our audiences, and partly it was because we had SATIATED the market. Several people came over and looked SAD because they'd already GOT everything!

    Once that was all done much of the rest of the day was spent back in the Train Bar, although we did manage to see a CAN CRUSH. This is the MOST EXCITING bit at Indietracks - all it is is a steam roller (or similar) driving over and crushing some cans, but it all get VERY VERY exciting. When we saw it one can escaped the crushing, so a CHILD was sent out to STAMP on it. The cheer he received was bigger than for any of the bands!

    We all went to see The Wedding Present, with some band members spending the whole time down the front, and others of us sheltering beneath umbrellas at a picnic table, then we started to go our seperate ways. Emma and The Pattison Girls went home, Frankie went to get his bus, and Tim, Tom and I went for some more beers. Eventually we found our way to the DISCO in the Tram Shed. Ian How Does It Feel did a GRATE job on the DECKS, culminating in "Lazy Line Painter Jane". My EXTREME PLEASURE to be out dancing to it was only compounded when I looked up to see, running through the dry ice, STEVE dashing forward. It was like that episode of SPACED!

    And so ended our day at Indietracks. It was bloody brilliant - HUGE thanks to everyone who came to see us, and especially to the organising team who did an AMAAAAAZING job yet again. See you next year!

    posted 2/8/2017 by MJ Hibbett

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    Yay! Lovely to see you, as always :)
    posted 2/8/2017 by Nick

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