Ok so this is part 2 of my mini UK WAStravaganza. Same warning as before – see previous post.
So the morning after the night before I once again tried to have a long lie, god knows I needed it this time but once again my body assumed there would be a toddler somewhere nearby wanting attention at 7am so I was denied any extra sleep. However happily there were no toddlers in the vicinity needing attention so I was able to take it easy, have breakfast and lots of cups of tea and relax for a while.
I ventured out at lunchtime to have lunch with Kavita, who was quickly kicking herself for having left immediately after the gig and missing out on all the adventures with the gang. But we had a lovely lunch at Pizza Express (WAS fans laugh at in-joke here) and managed to do some actual catching up. Kavita had to scoot on to some high powered meeting somewhere in Victoria, so I wandered around St James’ Park then Covent Garden on my own for a while before meeting up with Adrian, Polly and Eddie from the WAS posse.
We tried to interest Adrian in some of London’s most famous sites – Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace etc etc but between the tiredness, hangover and post-gig / post-most-awesome-night-of-her-life feeling she wasn’t much in the mood. I had to leave to meet up with my host No.2 but we made plans to meet again the next day for our Brighton trip.
I spent a very pleasant and relaxing evening with my good friend down Crystal Palace way before trying to get myself some much-needed sleep.
The next day it was a mere hop and a skip on 2 trains to get to one of the Croydon stations (East? West? I’ve forgotten) to meet up with Adrian and Polly to get the train to Brighton.
I had a mild heart attack on the train when I realised that I had left my gig ticket back at Rebecca’s house. I swore profusely for a while, and was dreading the throught of having to go all the way back to get it, when Polly said she had a spare ticket because she had managed to get a photo pass to shoot the show. I was extremely relieved and grateful to Polly for being fab.
One of the reasons I had wanted to go to Brighton was because I thought going to Brighton in June would be like a mini summer holiday. Brighton in June, I imagined, would be almost Mediterranean. It was not. It was more like Scotland in November. It was freezing cold, pouring with rain and what felt like gale-force winds. Lovely.
We arrived and wandered round the Lanes for a while, but soon had to head indoors because we were slowly drowning. Polly took us to a milkshake bar and consumed the most sugar ever to be put into one cup, while I had to have a hot chocolate to warm up. However eventually we had to venture out again so we wandered down to the seafront, then went to meet up with one of Adrian’s friends.
We had a quick stroll on the Pier (mainly to find some toilets) then headed off in search of the venue. I can not stress how miseable the conditions were. We were soaked to the skin, frozen and most of us were tired from the previos few days / week. But we soldiered on, the anticipation of the evening’s entertainment lifting our spirits.
We walked along the beach towards the venue, which seemed to be miles away, but I’m sure on a sunny day would have been but a pleasant stroll. When we arrived Adrian called the band’s tour manager because she was due to interview them. I did get rather excited that she might be calling Chris himself, so very enthusiastically leant her my phone, but she gently let me down and explained that wasn’t how it worked. The tour manager told her to come back after the band had finished their soundcheck so we had a few more hours to kill.
Polly lead us on towards the marina where we found somewhere to get food and shelter from the elements.
(Sorry time for another WAS in-joke. Look – Adrian IS “nachos” cos of the interview, but she’s also EATING nachos. Geddit?)
Our quest to get warm and dry was somewhat hampered by our decision to sit at a table right near the door people went out to have a smoke. Every so often we’d get an icy-cold wet blast and shriek like schoolgirls, much to the amusement of the bar’s patrons.
So finally we had to head off, back to the venue (via Asda to buy some cheap sweaters). Adrian phoned the tour manager again but we could hear the guys were still on soundcheck. I heard a blast of Foreign Kicks (which I have grown to know and love, but knew that meant we were unlikely to get Textbook) and I heard Chris playing some funky bass. I didn’t recognise it, so either he was working on some new stuff or just playing around. It sounded so good, I wish there were more prominent basslines for him to get his teeth in to.
So after a little while Chris himself came out to get Adrian, which was brave of him given that there were already fans waiting in line. I had been begging Adrian to let me come and do the interview with her, initially because I just wanted to, on the day it was because I was desperate to get out of the rain. There was no persuading her, but really I knew this was an extremely big deal for her so didn’t want to muscle in. She and Polly (official photographer) went inside and suddenly I got very nervous for Adrian. I really wanted the interview to go well and for WAS to be on form. She was gone for ages, we continued to take shelter underneath the entrance, meanwhile the official queue formed a bit behind us. Eventually security guards arrived and after some initial confusion we were allowed in.
On entering the place we saw Adrian and Polly sitting at a table in the bar having a cosy drink with Chris and Andy. I assumed the interview was over and went over to Adrian, saying hello and telling her we’d save a spot on the barrier for her. We ran to the barrier, got a prime “Keith” spot as requested. Then Han and I both realised we needed to go to the bathroom, but we were too scared to leave in case people poached our spot. There followed a very uncomfortable period while we waited for Adrian to arrive, but finally she did. By that time Ben Burrows had started his set so I couldn’t ask Adrian how it went, but she looked chuffed so all seemed to be well.
Ben Burrows was better this time around, he seemed to focus on his performance more and fiddle with his computer less. I would still have preferred him to do without the computer at all, and it must be said that the lyrics to his songs were weak at best and cringeworthy at worst, but he’s clearly a talented musician, so I’m sure once he works on his actual songwriting he’ll be really good.
Tall Ships were up next again, and once again they gave a really good performance, the songs were catchy enough that I could almost join in this time at parts and there may have been even more instrument swapping this time. As we were right up at the front I got a far better view of them, and was really impressed with their drummer. He was excellent and very interesting to watch. I’m sure this band will go far, and I’m definitely up for seeing more of them if they tour again.
Then is was WAS time. The venue had really filled up, it quite a bit smaller than anywhere I’ve seen We Are Scientists play before, but I liked that it was smaller and more “intimate”. I think WAS do better on smaller stages because there’s only 2 of them up front and so much of their performance relies on the interplay between Keith and Chris that I think the closer they are the better.
I was so glad to be at the front, with an uninterrupted view of the whole stage. the stage was quite high, which meant either neck-cramp or crotch-watching, but I was willing to put up with that.
They played pretty much the same set as London, maybe without Ambition, but I can’t remember any other changes. Dinosaurs was, if anything, even more amazing that before, or maybe it was just that I could fully appreciate it not being crushed half to death.
Another bonus of being up front is that I find it fascinating to watch Keith (in this instance) play his guitar. I love that guitar. I could watch him all day as he effortlessly moves up and down picking out those familiar melodies and straying off into improvised riffs. He is a REALLY GOOD guitar player. I can understand why he doesn’t want to put 3 minute solos into his songs, but I wish he would show off his skills a bit more often. Or maybe it’s cool that he saves it for the live shows, then we get a treat.
A couple of times Andy seemed to be out of sorts on the drums, missing entries and getting out of time a bit. I’d never seen him drum with WAS before London, where I didn’t notice any issues, and I presume he is normally on the ball so I don’t know what was happening but something wasn’t quite right.
Also Keith seemed a little off too, he appeared to be in a rush to get on to the next song every time and didn’t initiate much of the between-songs banter. I thought I heard Chris say that they were being pressured by the venue staff to finish by a certain time, so maybe it was just that.
But on the whole they gave a good performance, we certainly had fun jumping around and dancing along to all the songs. This time I didn’t care what the rest of the crowd’s reaction to the Barbara songs was, I sang my heart out to Pittsburgh (again, yay!) danced to Break It Up and Central AC regardless.
Adrian almost died when she noticed that Chris came out for the encore wearing her “lesbian orgy” t-shirt. He had asked if he could have it in London, and she had given it to him during their interview. I tried and failed to get a decent picture but this is it, believe me.
So afterwards we headed out back to the bar to look at the merch stand. By this time we had met up with Sophie again, she had also been on photo duty during the show. The guys from Tall Ships (we didn’t know their names, so christened them Tall Ships Nos 1, 2 and 3) were hanging around the merch stall signing their EPs etc. We went over and told them how much we had enjoyed their set. We had found out they were local to the area, so asked them if they could recommend a good place to hang out until the first train the next morning. (We hadn’t booked a room, wanting to save money, so were aiming for the 3.45am train). Tall Ship No.1, who we later discovered is called Ric, said they were having a party at their place which we would be welcome to join. He gave Polly his number and told us to call them later.
We went outside, and waited at the back door in the hope that WAS would come out. Unfortunately there was a whole squad of kids there too, some of whom sneaked into the back of the venue but promptly got kicked out by security. We waited round the corner, and Ben Burrows came out to say hello. I feel bad for not being entirely complimentary about his music, because he is a lovely guy, I even got a high five and a hug for being the “right” age, he was quite shocked that most of the folk waiting were about 17. He then proceeded to tell me I sounded like Edith Bowman and that I should take over her voice-over work.
Unfortunately Keith, Chris & Andy snuck away before we could speak to them, which was quite disappointing, but they had to be at a festival in Wales the next day so they must have had to get going to that.
Tall Ship No.3 and some others then decided to go on off to a late bar, so we all followed them. Thankfully it had stopped raining by this time. We got to the bar and hung out there for a while, but it was very tempting to slump into the comfy chairs and have a sleep.
Tall Ship No.3 came over and spoke to me at one point, but I suddenly realised that one of our party still hadn’t arrived so I’m afraid I gave him the brush-off to try to find out if he was ok. Tall Ship No.1 seemed to fall asleep in the corner, then got escorted away by someone else, so the chances of there being a party at his house seemed slim.
At chucking out time everyone seemed to disperse, and not wanting to be creepers we just left in search of an all-night cafe. We didn’t find one but we found a Subway, so camped there for a while until it was time to get to the station.
A long wait at closed station gates and we finally got on the train back to London. There were delays on the line, but that just gave us more time to sleep.
So another day another We Are Scientists adventure.
As I mentioned before I didn’t take too many photos of the actual gig, and anyway my camera can’t cope with the dark, so those ones above are from my phone. I’ll refer you to the professional for better shots: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bad-wolf