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Blog: The German Tour: part two - The Bang Bang Club

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We were a bit worried about how these gigs were going to go - I'd never met Martin, who'd booked it all for us and had no idea if he'd be Actually All Right, what sort of places we'd be playing in (well, a little bit, but we weren't personally familiar with the venues) or whether it really WOULD be OK to turn up with no instruments at all.

Our fears were put to one side tho for some more ON TOUR HILARITY: once we'd bought our tickets on the u-bahn (the three of us gathered round the ticket machine shouting our advice to each other, like it was a QUIZZER) we had to validate them. YES WE TOOK PHOTOGRAPHS!

We got a bit lost when we emerged at the other end, but we had the first of MANY examples of why travelling with The Validators is so ACE. In other groups of people I might expect piss-taking or recriminations or arguments, but with The Validators we just got on with working out where we were and GOT THERE. It might sound a bit daft to some, but I do find that in many Activity Based Social Groupings (ESPECIALLY all-male versions) there's often LOTS of competition/low level aggression, as if you've never left SCHOOL. Not with The Validators - there is obviously a SOUPCON of inter-group MICKEY TAKING, but never anything unpleasant and you always feel you can TRUST each other. It's brilliant!

ANYWAY we got to the venue and found our way in... to discover NO GEAR AT ALL and no Martin. I spoke to the soundlady who after a couple of minutes said "Don't I know you from somewhere?" I NEARLY said "Why, perhaps my YouTube appearances" but instead, only SLIGHTLY less dickheadedly, said "There's a big poster of me on the door, maybe from that?" "No", she said, "Didn't you play at The Bowling Alley the other week?"

For LO! It was Jasmina Machina, who also did the SOUND at the John Peel all-dayer. AHA! Everywhere you go there is someone who knows George (who'd booked her and got her to do the sound too), and i'd foolishly not realised this.

After a few minutes there was a knock on the door and there was MARTIN! With a car FULL of musical equipment! HOORAH! I was EXTREMELY relieved, and between us we LUGGED the whole lot onto the stage. Martin is a drummer so he and Tim got it set up together, tho not before he brought us over the first of MANY MANY MANY free beers. My favourite kind of beer!

We finished, drank some beer, soundchecked, and then FREAKED OUT because people were smoking. INSIDE! We heard many versions of the rules in Germany, but basically it appears you're not meant to smoke, but if you want to you can. It wasn't like being in a pub in OLDEN TYMES when half the clientele were at it, but there was still quite a bit going on, and it never ceased to seem WEIRD.

We had a beer to calm down.

Then we popped out for tea, decided to have SAN PELLEGRINO with our meal as it seemed foolish to PAY for beer. Back at the venue we had MORE beer, occasionally glancing at out watches. We'd been due on at 10.30pm but by that time the first band, Michael Knight had only just gone on. I was a bit worried but was assured everything would be FINE, and I relaxed enough to rather enjoy their big, a bit early Divine Comedy, sound. There were a LOT of people playing a LOT of different instruments on stage!

And then, just after eleven o'clock, it was time for US to go on, and we did THIS:
  • Things'll Be Different (when I'm in charge)
  • The Gay Train
  • Never Going Back To Aldi's
  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • Fucking Hippy
  • We Are The Giant Robots
  • Clubbing In The Week
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • If You're Too Turned On
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • Do The Indie Kid
  • Easily Impressed
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths

  • Hey Hey 16K
  • I broke a string in the FIRST SONG! Luckily Martin's pal Christopher was on hand to go and borrow another guitar on my behalf and mend the broken one - thanks chap! I always have trouble with telecasters... anyway, we took a little while to get ourselves going but once we'd WOKEN UP a bit we had a GRATE time. The sound with just the three of us sounded TAUT and in my mind we had become a MOD band of some sort. I am sad to report I did quite a lot of DANCING.

    I wasn't the only one doing so tho - there were others jiggling daintily and also SINGING ALONG! Yes, SINGING ALONG! Years ago a chap called Matti (who came to the gig too) had put out a cassette called, i think, "Recoute Mark Hibbett" - it's not included on the Discography (this will change!!) because, to be honest, it seemed so unlikely that I'd assumed he'd just done three copies and sent two to me, but NO! I met SEVERAL people over the course of the weekend who'd had a copy, and TWO of them said "Are you going to play 'Post-Jazz Prog-Rock Virgin' tonight?" Nobody has EVER asked that before!!

    There was going to be an "electro-pop" party afterwards so we packed up our gear and... er... lurked around for a bit drinking our favourite kind of beer. Eventually we set off, with Martin taking the gear home and the rest of us following Christopher on a slightly tiddly Guided Tour of East Berlin on the way to Kim's Bar, where we'd be playing on Saturday.

    It was Matti's bar and, lovely chap that he is, he gave us MORE free beer. Martin arrived and we settled down for the CHAT and the BEER and the general good times - it turned out we needn't have worried at all, he was the magical combination of LOVELY and also ORGANISED!

    We left the bar shortly after 2am, with Tim VERY excited about getting the Kebab he'd been waiting for all night. We'd earmarked a place on the way into town, Maximillian's, and so popped in to find the food was served NOT in pitta but in TIM'S BREAD! Other people may know it as Turkish Pid (sp.) but in our house it's known as TIM'S BREAD because he introduced it to us when The Validators stayed out our house on tour. I can't vouch for its suitability for Kebab Meat, but for Felafel it is DELICIOUS!

    Being a ROCK MONSTER Tim got all excited about the fact that they sold BEER in the shop, but Frankie and I managed to RESTRAIN him, pointing out we had LOADS of beer back in the flat, which we could have when we got back.

    When we got back it was 2.45am. We went straight to bed! It had been a BRILLIANT evening, but we were KNACKERED!

    posted 16/11/2009 by MJ Hibbett

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