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Blog: Indietracks Tour: DAY FOUR

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If I'd felt a bit nervous on Saturday morning it was as NOTHING to the WOBBLES I had on Sunday, for LO! It was GIG DAY!

Things started a bit daftly by me arriving for BREAKFAST with 60% of Legendary Sheffield Rockers Velodrome 2000 an hour EARLY. I THOUGHT it was a bit early, but dared not to disobey what I thought had been stated, so was surprised/relieved to get a text just as i got back to my room to find I'd been WRONG, not STOOD UP. Phew!

I was soon in a taxi to Butterly, where we arrived just in time to hop on the train. Stood in the buffet carriage I saw an example of what's so BRILLIANT about Indietracks. The chap behind the counter noticed that some people chatting were from America, and asked them whereabouts - "San Francisco" they said. "Aah, I used to fly into San Francisco all the time" he said, going on to tell various tales of INTERNATIONAL JET SETTING through the ages. Like so many of the GRATE Midland Railway Volunteers he was someone who'd live an EXCITING life of ADVENTURE and was now enjoying himself helping on the train, selling beers and cheese cobs, and chatting to all the different people who came along. At how many festivals does that happen, especially when members of BANDS are the ones being chatted with?

We disembarked and I wondered over to the MAIN STAGE. I'd half thought they'd be back to the Back Of A Lorry stage they'd had in 2008 but no, it was a MASSIVE PROPER FESTIVAL STAGE. The Tiger was already setting up so I thought I'd go backstage and have a LOOK at the stage, hoping it would become less TERRIFYING. It did NOT. It was HUGE! How we WERE ever going to fill it?

The stage was SO BIG it had TWO people whose job was JUST to manage the monitors! When we soundchecked we had to persuade Emma that she really DID have her own monitor mix and just had to ask to have it made PERFECT for her. It was STRANGE - wonderful, but STRANGE!

I'd already got myself TWO beers (i was PANICKING) and Frankie was the only one who also fancied a beer, so wandered off to get one. People started arriving to see us. Lots of people. Lots and LOTS of people - FEAR! Mr S Mackay arrived backstage to say hello and ask if we were ready to start... but hang on, where was Frankie? As is his WONT he had DISAPPEARED. Imagine our RELIEF when he was spotted strolling back 2 minutes before stage time. "We're ready, he's coming!" I said and our introduction began... but Frankie appeared NOT. Where WAS he? I had to run round the front, and spotted him sat relaxing, having a chat, seemingly unaware that he was meant to be going on stage. "Please do come on the stage old chap, if you have time", i shouted. More or less.

And then we were ON! PANIC, FEAR, and DREAD disappeared almost immediately. "Who's still pissed?" I asked and, though I was INCREDIBLY SOBER I felt oddly relaxed and at home as we launched into THIS:

  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • Hey Hey 16K
  • Please Don't Eat Us
  • We Are The Giant Robots
  • Leave My Brother Alone
  • The Merchant Ivory Punks
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • Do The Indie Kid
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed

  • It was THE BEST GIG EVER! Man alive but we had fun - the crowd was our largest EVER and ready to ROCK, the sound sounded FANTASTIC and we played pretty much as well as we ever possibly could. Tom had some issues with his amp for some of it and SOMEONE (hem hem) apparently missed a bit of a song, but otherwise: AMAZING! My highlights included:

  • Looking out into the audience and seeing SO MANY faces of lovely people I know. AND some i didn't!
  • Saying "take it down, Validators" in Please Don't Eat Us. Hey, it's MY highlights!
  • Spotting someone with a red mohican down the front during The Merchant Ivory Punks and being RELIEVED that he was smiling!
  • Getting The Vlads to NOT play The Music Of The Future and standing in AWE of the audience doing it VERY ENTHUSIASTICALLY during Do The Indie Kid.
  • Remembering to do "All the people at The Premier Inn! Now everyone at The Travelodge! And now everyone at the campsite!" during that bit, something which I've been WANTING to do at Indietracks ever since it started.
  • The singalong for "Hey there Emo Boy" during Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • NOT having to explain the shouty bit in Easily Impressed and it working INCREDIBLY well.
  • Best of ALL though was suggesting that everyone TWEET the word "happiness" during Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid and, a few hours later, discovering that SO MANY people had done so that LOADS of those who hadn't been there were desperately trying to work out what on EARTH had happened. BRILLIANT!

    As I say, it was THE BEST GIG EVER and I just hope that my constant HARPING ON about how we were the only band to play all four times (and, somewhat cheekily, bellowing "SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!" at the end!) doesn't damage our hopes of making it to an unprecedented FIFTH gear because, GOODNESS ME, we fcuking love playing Indietracks. I don't think I've ever SEEN happier Validators than those I saw for the rest of the day, it was BRILLIANT!

    Afterwards we strode over to the merchandising tent and had an AMAZING hour or so meeting tons of people who wanted to buy CDs. It was all a bit overwhelming to be honest, but VERY exciting to finally be getting copies of Forest Moon Of Enderby to people, as well as to be handing out a METRIC TONNE of leftover badges. I left that tent light of heart and MUCH lighter of luggage to take home!

    There then followed a lot of wandering around GRINNING like LOONIES before it was time for my FAVOURITE band of the weekend, STANDARD FARE, who were BRILLIANT on the main stage. There was huge dancing, there was mass singing along, and there was general DELIGHT to be watching a band who are so SO clearly going to be HUGE any time now. The best thing about it was how HAPPY they seemed - they've played LOTS of proper festivals and big gigs, and yet they seemed AGHAST at how much people liked them. I thought the Young Guitarist Lad was going to BURST, he looked so happy!

    After they'd finished myself, Mr T Pattison and Miss E Pattison went to get PAID. We took Edie with us so she could start to CRY if they didn't have any money for us, but they DID. It was a bit odd as we had to queue up behind other bands to go in for an INTERVIEW in THE OFFICE, where two BURLY CHAPS stood on either side of the desk while a lady gave us our CA$H and reciept. It was like going in to see The Head in a particularly rough inner city school!

    I also did a quick BIT for a PODCAST, playing The Gay Train (as it seemed wrong NOT to play it at some point in the weekend) and doing a quick interview round the side of the tram shed. Apparently it'll be online just before NEXT year's festival - which reminds me, I was also one of the people doing WINKBALL interviews. These people wandered the site all weekend asking how it was going - here's a Lightly Refreshed ME looking very happy to be there:



    And then the day FLEW by - I was upset to miss out on Sarandon, due to QUEUE, but DID get in to see The Pooh Sticks, who were BLOODY GRATE. Somehow I'd got it into my head that they'd be a bit mimsy, but no - they ROCKED!

    Soon it was the end of the bands and I realised I was MASSIVELY EXHAUSTED. Tom offered me a lift home so, rather than DISCO DANCE, we headed over to see Penny, Steph, Jo and co at CAR BAR for a FAREWELL DRINK/HUG and then hopped into The Tiger Mobile to a) listen to the Standard Fare album VERY LOUD b) discuss what a GRATE few days it had been and, as is traditional c) get slightly lost on the way back the Travelodge.

    Next morning it was a TIRED but very very happy Hibbett who found himself on Alfreton station platform, boarding the train home. A very nice chap came over and said "Well done - that was one of the highlights of the weekend for us". PLEASED, I said "It was for me too!" but i FIBBED: it was more than that, it was a highlight of our entire career in ROCK!

    Thanks Indietracks and, as I said, one way or the other, see you next year!

    posted 28/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett

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