Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A moment of Skin

Yesterday was a slightly surreal moment. A while ago Myke Gray talked about me joining Skin for the encore at the London show on their UK tour. I thought great, however if I’m totally honest here, I’m so used to musicians saying one thing then conveniently forgetting than I kind of put it out my mind.

Anyway the day of the gig, well I did have a little strum before I left only because sometimes things amazing happen, and I have had some rather amazing moments since I get involved with the whole Skin thing.

The band sound checked, I decided to film the band as there was 2 new songs in the set and the odd number that wasn’t in the tour last time, and Skin are the most fun band I have ever filmed and its never a chore, Doug who is doing the sound is also Iron Maidens sound engineer and he’s right on the button, so much so that if I’m brutally frank I was shit scared of him, even though I had met him before. After a few little chats I found him much easier to talk to I guess I’m not really used to talking to people that are at the top in the industry.

Anyhow I went back stage and helped then to unwrap DVDs ready for signing as ALL the DVDs sold are fully autographed as are the new CD too. While down there Myke mentioned about the encore again, and I was quite knocked out, there was one stumble I was worried Nev might not be happy about it as I would be playing one of his gorgeous Strat’s, he did go a little quiet.

Just before the show I checked with Myke and he said that everything was cool, and I spoke to Nev’s brother Iain who was across it all and I tried on one of Nevs guitars just to make sure the strap wasn’t to long, It was a little but I could cope.

Anyhow the gig started and the band played a blinder it was as good as Wolverhampton earlier in the year if not more so, though Wolverhampton will always be a special moment.

I managed to do a swift camera tape change before the encore then I walked back and Iain handed me the guitar, I was slightly shitting myself, remember it was a full house and I has never strummed a note with the band before. Nev then introduces me and then also brings on Toby Jepson (form Little Angles / Gun who was also supporting).

Then its 1,2,3,4 Boff a very fast 4 minutes take place. Now the first thing that ran through my mind was not am I playing the right notes, because I knew I was, but it was bloody hell this is a REALLY nice guitar. And I almost forgot I was on stage! Then the second half I was more into it. I could hear every note I was playing unlike the vast majority of All Living Fear gigs. Then in a flash it was all over and I was back in the pit with my TV camera.

Afterwards when I said tad a to the guys Nev said something really nice to me about my playing, that really just rounded the night off perfectly for me.

What a night.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Sunderland 1st Dec 2009

So after a good night in Glasgow it was off to the final show of the tour, Sunderland.

It was a relatively quick drive down the 175 miles to the hotel, It was nice to stay in an old fashioned Travelodge, the Glasgow one the night before was rubbish, though they did do an all you can eat breakfast for something like 7.50 and Tony made the most of it.

Once we got to the hotel I made my last blog then headed off to the venue, The Cruxshadows were still sound checking, they have a very slick slow, but they want to get things Just right, not that we were worried as time wasn’t pressing. We had a good sound check, I could hear everything clearly on stage, and I was still a bit put off after the monitors disappeared last night during one of the songs.

In the back stage area there was a mobile radio station set up, DJ Ghost presents a program on Local Radio up there every week and they did it live from the gig, which was rather cool.

Anyhow, we went to the local weatherspoons for dinner, they do a deluxe posh Veggie burger there now, I had that without Chips, which would have just been way too much.

When we got back we saw Aria had hit the stage, this was a singer, and keyboard player affaire, she was going down pretty well with the audience.

Then it was our turn, we rushed to get on as if we went on before time we could have a longer set, that being said, our set was 33 minutes, and we had a 30 minutes set, and by going on earlier we actually came off before time so that all worked out well.

Now the set list as promised.
the Full tour set was

Each and Every Way
Home Too Soon
Wait for Yesterday (This had the working title of Power of Drums or Pod)
The Living
Wait Here (For You)
The Widow’s Blame
Stranger To None

For Sunderland we dropped Each and Home, as well as the intro tape

The set went down well enough, and we then did an interview on Ghosts radio show. Got to see a little of the Cruxshadows set which ended up in chaos, basically they always drag people from the audience onto the stage, and they all have a jog around, except the security didn’t quite see it this way, and stormed boots in on stage and basically tried to stop it, this ended up in the set stopping, and really put a bit of a damper on what was a rather good gig. Still the people there enjoyed the show, just a shame it has to be ruined in this way.

So the day after, I overslept and it was time to go home, we spent in total about 13 hours traveling, as we had to comer to Devon via Huntingdon to drop Nev off, there was a nice garden center that we had as a drop off point, point of interest was they had some lovely parrots in there.

So we got home unloaded.

This tour has been a great deal of fun, performance started off a bit ropy got better, there is still a lot of work to be done before we really nail it to the table, but we made solid progress. It looks like everyone concerned wants to do it again, I think the next tour will be when the weather is a bit more warmer.

The gang consisted of

Matthew North – Guitar and Vocals
Nevla – Guitar
Niall Parker – Bass
Steve Williams – Guitar

Tony Twinpeeks – Merch and Crew
Lee-Anne Burgess – Filming

The Possy
Suzanne, Natalie and Ian

Cruxshadows on Stage

Oops look what I nabbed

Niall saying ta da to Aria at the Travelodge

At the Drop off point in Huntingdon

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Arrived in Sunderland

Hi all

We arrived in the North East in good time, Just at the hotel, I nabbed Suzanne's mobile and have uploaded a few live shots for you.

Glasgow Rockers – 30th Nov 2009

Well last night was a great gig. Rockers is a proper live club venue, has loads of memorabilia all over the place, had a massive PA, and they even provide Marshall stacks as back line. That being said I still brought mine is, as we have ‘One guitarist too many’ !

Anyhow we were able to park directly outside the venue, and there was plenty of people to help. After a good sound check, the guy doing the PA happened to be Gun’s tour manager too boot, we went to the local weatherspoons for dinner and Iron Brew.

There were 2 support bands, I didn’t see much of the first band, as I was late back from food, the second band Cister Scalpal were good fun, they also dedicated a song to us, that’s always nice.

We went on stage and did our set, we went down VERY well with the audience, who were very much and younger audience, they really got into out stuff, I was actually feeling rather gob smacked by the reaction especially after talking to people afterwards.

On the way back from the gig Tony kept us all laughing our heads off with Jokes!

Well we will be shortly be leaving for Sunderland to support the Cruxshadows, Glasgow get 10/10 and we will be back sometime.

In the Travelodge

Cister Scaple

ALF in Weatherspoons

Steve Chilling

Drum skin signed by Jet Black and Rat Scabies


Monday, November 30, 2009

Stockport Clubhouse at the Bulls Head 29th Nov 2009

Now that’s more like it!

We had a leisurely drive to Stockport, as we were already on the M6 It didn’t take long at all. We stopped off on the way, and dug out the trusty camping stove, and in the rain I was determined to make coffee and not pay rip off Costa prices, I succeeded at that!

We eventually found the travelodge we were staying in it was behind a massive complex but didn’t have a specific address, so sat nav got a bit lost!.

Anyhow, we were all knackered after the previous night, so we had a few hours rest and recuperation, once done we were all ready for the challenge ahead.

Got to the venue in good time, It was a really nice place, they had converted the upstairs of the very nice bulls head pub into a venue, had decent enough PA and monitors, and lights. Special mention goes to Danny who runs it, he books the bands, and even does the PA as well. We did manage to use up Every single input to his desk nothing was too much trouble, I wish all sound engineers were like him.

Now this was a metal night, and we were on in the middle, I think the logic behind this was we were the unknown quantity. It was a good social occasion with a few various mates turning up. The set was 10,000 times better than last night, both in terms of our performance, which in my case last night was a but ropy, and audience appreciation, far higher than before too. There was an incident of a few drunken locals arseing around, but they soon calmed down. But all in all a good solid gig.

The main band I will make special mention, Incidium do the metal thing, but they do it VERY well really tight and solid, and excellent musicianship, even Lee-Anne who doesn’t do metal at all enjoyed them. I apologize for not watching the first band Apollyon but I was saving my ears for our set, I did see a couple of numbers and they were solid too.

After we loaded up we were about to go, when we saw that the pub was still open, and Niall had the brain wave of why don’t we go back in the pub, so we had a nice long social with lots of coffee back in there, proper chill out aftershow, was all very nice.

On the way back we were entertained with Jokes courtesy of mr Twinpeeks and Mr Williams.

Its now 9.43 am and soon we have to think about going to Glasgow.

Pre Gig Stage

Look we are on tour :)

Lee-Anne and Helen

Andi and Niall

Tony and Steve


Outside the Bulls Head.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wolverhampton Giffard 28th Nov 2009

Lee-Anne and Nev Having a Strum

Tony the Merch

Matthew with Des from Balaam who helped out loading out (thanks mate)

Hi all

This is being written at the Travelodge in Stafford, the reason we are in Stafford is that the Travelodge we booked into was over sold, and they had to send us off to another one! Still its actually an advantage as it’s a lot quieter than if we had stayed in the city center

Anyhow I guess you want to know how last night went? Well as I said earlier, the sound check went very well and we popped to a pub up the road for some food.

The support band was Ted the promoters daughters band, and they were rather good, doing the modern indie pop things, they were very tight and for their first gig pretty amazing.

We went on stage at around 11.30 was a late show, we played out set, I’m not going to post the set list until after the tour.

There was in essence one major problem, the sound engineer had simply disappeared nowhere to be seen, so we did have a problem of constant feedback for most of the gig. This unfortunately put a bit of a damper on yours truly. Still were off to stockpot now for more rock and roll.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Voice Tour - Arrive in Wolverhampton

So hear I am in the Giffard Arms in Wolverhampton. The Drive up was good, we made a detour as part of the M5 was closed, however, this also saved is 10 miles in travel too.

Sound check was good, we did a little bit of tweaking to the overall sound just to get it right. They have great monitors here as good on stage sound is always good to have.

Funny thing in the room where the gig takes place we just did a really good rendition of Jessica acoustically with Nev on Guitar, Lee-Anne on Bass and me and Niall singing. Maybe ill post a video of it he he.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pre Tour Thoughts

This is a very nervous time for me, I haven’t done a tour for 11 years, and it didn’t help that my main music PC’s had drive decided to die today, fortunately most of my documents are on other drives, but still a pain in the arse!

Today was spent packing kit, double checking that I had everything, and doing more vocal practice, I feel I might be annoying people in the van singing Gug, Me, and La all the way up to Wolverhampton!!!

As the other half pointed out today, this is also a tour where I’m with a completely new team, unfortunately, Martin who is normally with me whatever band I’m in is unable to do the merchandise as he’s ill and the doctor has signed him off, fortunately our good friend Tony is doing his shift.

I am though very excited about the tour, and I hope to see a few old friends on the way and make many new ones too.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

All Living Fear - Tour Video

Here is a short video to promote our tour.

Monday, November 23, 2009

All Living Fear - Terminal Studios London 22nd Nov 2009

So yesterday the 22nd November we ventured to London for the final All Living Fear rehearsal before the band goes on tour. Steve and Nev have known each other a little while but Niall had yet to meet either, though the night before it was a evening in Camden to celebrate Steve’s birthday and Niall came out as well, fortunately they hit it off well , and by Sunday a jolly time was had.

We got to terminal and had a fine drop of soup for the organic café round the corner, well recommend it if you are ever in the London bridge area.

So we set up and practiced in earnest, I got to say the first run through was a bit shabby none of us were getting it together, this was part not being able to suss the layout of the mixing desk, about half way through I had a fiddle and got thing s working better then we had a break for coffee, they have a reasonable cappuccino machine there. The last run through was great, could hear the drums properly and everything was much tighter. So all being well we are now finally all set to tour.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Whitby Interview

Recently I did an interview for a semi official brochure for the Whitby Gothic Weekend festival that I have performed at many times over the years as well as being the festivals Videographer. Anyhow here is a scan of the interview click on the image to see it full Size.

All Living Fear - Exeter Picturehouse 5th November 2009

Well it only seams like 5 minutes ago that I played at the picturehouse, this though was an All Living Fear show rather than just me.

There were some great acts on tonight, they do get some fabulous players, so I was a bit worried that what we were going to do might not be up to the mark.

When set time came I did 2 numbers on my own, then Niall joined me for the rest of the set. He has a great bass sound tonight, and I was feeling more confident, The Microphone stand kept falling down this was not ideal, after the first song it was sorted though.

The set Ran

Fortunes Light (That I have done a new arrangement of)
New Song Untitled

Then with Niall
Home Too Soon
Each And Every Way
The Widow’s Blame
Stranger To None

I did feel we played Home too Soon WAY too fast, but other than that I felt that the set went ok.

Again monitoring wasn’t really there I think next time I will take my own wedge.

Oxjam Exeter 25th October 2009

So I was asked to perform at the Oxjam Oxfam benefit gig in Exeter, this is where 6 venues are open for live music with a roving ticket for just a fiver with all monies going to Oxfam. I was playing at Cooling’s wine bar on the same bill as the legendary Frank Turner.

The set I performed was similar to what I have been doing acoustically recently however I was asked to do an encore and I just repeated Fortunes Light again.

The set

Fortunes Light
Each And Every Way
New song untitled
The Widow’s Blame
Friends Forever
Stranger To None
Home Too Soon
Fortunes Light

The Venue was nice and the PA good, though not having any form of monitor made it very hard.

Thanks to Sue for taking the photo.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Exeter Picturehouse Show 8th Oct 2009

Last night I performed a full length solo show at the Picturehouse in Exeter, I ended up being the headline act, for a long while now I’ve felt uncomfortable being the headliner, possible a lack of confidence thing harking back to the bands wilderness years of the late 90s, when things were not as good as they are now.

Anyhow, Niall was unable to perform at this show as it was his wedding anniversary so I did it on my own. I wasn’t sure what songs to pick, but as the Picturehouse is a chilled out venue so really I can get away with playing anything, and I thought id pop in a couple of my new songs that I did at the Watermans a couple moths ago.

So the set was

Fortunes Light
Each And Every Way
New Song without a title
The Widow’s Blame
Friends Forever (Another new one working title)
Stranger To None
Encore: Home Too Soon

Was a great night, and made me very happy.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pedal Power to London

Well at the weekend I decided to get a couple new pedals, I’m finding that a compressor is more and more a vital part of my rig, for years Ive had an Arion pedal which is OK but nothing special, its also a bit on the noisy side. So I decided to upgrade my right with a couple pedals made by Electro Harmonix. Niall has a ‘Soul Preacher’ compressor that sounds amazing, so I thought about getting one, but then I saw the ‘White Finger’ and though yes! In the spirit of the thing I also purchased a ‘Poly Chorus’ these are 2 of the best pedals that I have ever owned and my board looks like this.

I got them both from my local guitar shop ‘Hartnolls Guitars’ they have excellent stock and good service and have just opened a shop in Torquay where Sound Pad was.

On Sunday we had a rehearsal in London at Terminal Studios, Niall was unable to attend so was just Nev, Steve and myself. This is the fist time the other guys have played together since Gotham, we did each song in the November / December set 2-3 times, then went through the whole set once. It really came together well, I have changed the key of Each And Every Way from B to D makes it a lot easier to sing, and give the song more dynamics.

Here is a photo of the three stooges after the session

Sunday, August 30, 2009

VST Sounds

Last night I did a bit of recording helping out another band with an idea, one of the things they wanted was a Hammond organ sound. As it so happens I had just downloaded a free vst plug in to do such a things.

Anyhow this lot http://www.dskmusic.com/blog/?page_id=3 are brilliant the mini drums gives you all the great 80s drum machines, but the B3x is a great Hammond sound go check it out.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

So tonight, I had another first. Thursday 27th August 2009

In 17 years as a professional musician, the one thing that I have never done is walked into a venue on my own with a guitar, got up on stage performed songs then got off stage. Tonight I did it.

The Junction is a reasonable sized pub on the end of Mutely Plane in Plymouth. They have it decked out with various album covers, most of which are LPs that I own, the nerves thing is what I’m doing these sort of gigs for because I don’t want to start performing with the band and start crapping myself on stage.

Anyhow I felt reasonably confident on stage tonight, there wasn’t a soul in there who knew me or knew who All Living Fear were, in a way that was a good thing. I did Each and Every Way, The Widow’s Blame and Jessica, I didn’t have my loop pedal so there was no looping to do solos, to be honest I was glad. I also did the gig standing up and to be honest I prefer that and it was good to have a mic rather than totally acoustic though a monitor would have been nice.
Waterman's show 24th August 2009 + Session 26th August 2009

On Monday evening I performed 2 songs at the Waterman’s Pub Folk Club in Richmond Surrey. Both were new songs that I’m still working on, the second of which is one of the ones that I have recorded with Roger doing a Moog solo, stripped down it sounds pretty good too, some of the other musicians in the pub were joining in giving it a different dimension and texture.

Last night band practice turned into a bit of a recording session, I dug out a drum beat and keyboard riff that I had on the machine and stretched it out to about 14 minutes, I then plugged in Niall and myself to separate channels, one of the beauties of an 8 in 8 out sound port is being able to assign things, so we weren’t hearing ourselves feeding back. Anyhow, we recorded 3 passes of us jamming, and from it I got the ideas for the whole song. Its all there needs extracting and re recording properly, but will end up a decent tune.

In other news, here is a pedal board, its not very big but its my first pedal board I actually made it as part of my GCSE Craft Design and Technology course in 1989. It has a passive filter that I thought might give me a few extra points haha!.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Recording and Announcements.

Saturday was a good day, Me and Lee-Anne went to visit Roger while we were there I managed to get him to lay down a Moog solo for one of my new songs, there is something really organic and warm about the sound of a monophonic synthesizer and the Moog Voyager is probably the best in the world right now.

This is a great little film about to the Minimoog

Anyhow the band has made an official announcement about Andy leaving All Living Fear. You can read it at http://www.alllivingfear.co.uk/news.htm

I am also trying to book 2 shows for the end of November, as with all things this is rather tricky as everything seams booked up.

Friday, August 14, 2009

All Living Fear Exeter Picturehouse 13th August 2009

Ok last night, well this was a really strange chain of events. We get there nice and early, they moved the stage area around at the picturehouse and now its in a much better position. Didn’t take long to set up, there were 4 acts, and as always the line up order bare no resemblance to what was on the poster. While we were setting up my pal Roger O’Donnell turned up I played half a bar of a Cure song to see his reaction haha! The sound check was fine, I had also found out that Les Paul had passed away, so thought about playing a bit of The World is waiting for The Sunrise.

Anyhow, out of the blue my other half turned up this was the surprise of the evening as she wasn’t due to be coming down, then Simon Hinkler from the Mission rolled in if you had said to me in 1992 when I started the band that I would be having members of the Cure and The Mission turning up at a gig Id never have believed you in a million years.

So as for the gig itself well we played.

Fortunes Light
Home Too Soon
Each And Every Way
The Living (First time this has been played since April 1993)
The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise (Instrumental Les Paul Cover)

This is the first time that I have ever fronted the band as a singer proper, and after spending a lot of time working at it, I think I got away with it, it was loads better than the Richmond and Twickenham folk clubs that I played, though I had a few memory blanks on the lyrics. Niall played well and he really enjoyed it, especially the not having to lug out stacks of amplification after a gig. I think it will be a good idea for us to do a few more of these shows, probably not advertised just turn up and play. One thing that was obvious is that I’m not a great fan of singing songs that weren’t written for me to sing, that’s why I would probably never like to play covers, I do have a lot of new songs in the bag, and more on the way this will be more of my focus for live gigs in this situation though for All Living Fear electric shows at the end of the year there will be more familiar songs in the set.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tonight’s The Night

Well last night we had our final rehearsal before we play our first show tonight, for those that haven’t caught on, Andrew left All Living Fear a couple of months ago, making Gotham his final gig, which to be fair was a damn fine show to go out on. Nevla and Steve are in the band for tours and gigs, though because they are both so far away they obviously won’t be performing tonight.
I have been working with Niall for the last 2 months and been discussing thing’s through a lot longer, we decided on 6 numbers to get ready for this show tonight and stuck with them, we did work on a cover, Badge by Cream but it never really worked, though who is to say that it wont some time later on. Anyway last night went pretty well every time that we have practiced its getting tighter and tighter, since I had my last bit of tuition I can see my vocals have been getting better still a lot more work to do on that score but I’m not in any rush. My guitar sounded better last night too amazing what putting on a new set of strings will do.
Blogger is Back

Yes after 3 years I have decided to start using this Blog again mostly for my music related posts.
A sunday afternoon recording session

The weekend proved interesting, I received a new composition from my friend Roger O’Donnell to take a listen to. It was a nice piece with some of his trademark string and piano sounds, and a really nice sounding cello. After listening to the track Me and Lee-Anne thought we would ‘Cure it up’ a bit to see what it sounded like. The first thing that I did was work out the tempo and it worked out to be 80 bpm. We then added some drums for the second section to give it a beat, then Lee-Anne wrote a nice bass line in the style of Simon Gallup. I then added some acoustic guitar to give it some more flow and then added some fake Baritone guitar, this was done by re tuning the A string on my strat to a G and then adding some delay and flanger from my Lexicon wile playing the string with the plectrum as close to the bridge as possible you get that sound. To finish off Lee-Anne added a high end bass melody. There job done, I sent it back to Roger whom seamed a little less than impressed that we had filled it with guitars, think you can’t always mess with peoples art but was a fun thing to do for an afternoon.