Upcoming gigs

Upcoming Gigs

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Say Owt @ Deer Shed Festival, 21st July

Say Owt @ Great Yorkshire Fringe, York: 25th July

Working Title, Lancaster, 26th July

Nerd Punk, Edinburgh fringe @Banshee Labyrinth 19.50 13th August

Poetry Jam, Durham: 4th October

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

We're pretty vacant and we don't care: Punk & Confidence Part 5

 I'm not a good person / Ask anyone who knows me ”- Pat The Bunny, I’m Not A Good Person

There’s a conflation between being simple, stripped down and straight-to-the-point and being shit.  The prog bands were known for their technical skill, and so the punk response was strip rock back to three chords.  If these prog bands were being overblown with intellectual concept albums then punk would present their views in 3 mins or less with a gutter view of the world.  But does this philosophy mean that punk was a poor man’s rock?

Sure as a genre, punks and the punk scene were spat on by the establishment because the gobby kids spat back.  But it was originally a haven for the misfits and the outsiders who were told they were worthless.  In the industrial degradation of 1970s Britain (to the backdrop of black bin bags piling in the streets) British youth felt like garbage.

This despondency has been knitted into the lining of punk across the decades.  Across the pond, The Replacements named themselves to imply they were a B-class band, drummer Chris Mars saying it was “accurately describing our collective ‘secondary’ esteem”.  The Cramps sang “I've got a garbage brain” on Human Fly and years later Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong would question his sanity on the pop-punk hit Basket Case.  A huge proportion of The Ramones’ back catalogue is about being a weirdo outsider (Cretin Hop, I Wanna Be Well, Bad Brain, Now I Wanna Be A Good Boy) or directly referencing being mentally unwell (Teenage Lobotomy, Shock Treatment, Psycho Therapy and I Wanna Be Sedated).

Some songs oxymoronically revel in being ‘wrong’.  Nirvana’s Dumb has Kurt declare “I think I'm dumb” and yet he concedes at the end “But I'm having fun”.  The classic Sex Pistols song Pretty Vacant has Rotten declare “And we don’t care!”, surely the victory cry for 77’s snotty teens.

Some bands pin this crisis of confidence on the system.  Gang of Four’s post-punk masterpiece Entertainment! is about commodification of humans.  On Damaged Goods they state “Damaged goods, send them back / I can't work, I can't achieve, send me back.”  On the same album The Clash moan about career opportunities Strummer also questions “What the hell is wrong with me?” via What’s My Name.

I want to highlight three songs which have really stuck with me.

The first is by The Menzingers.  Masters at an uplifting anthem, Obituaries is no exception to their discography.  However the earworm chorus stamps “I will fuck this up / I fucking know it” over and over again.  It feels like failure is an energy.  Not deflated, but destructive and that confident outburst makes it seem like the outcome, “I am just freaking out, yeah I'll be fine” is worth fighting for.  I Don’t Wanna be An Asshole anymore is another Menzinger’s song with a light at the end of a shitty tunnel.

The second is by Pat The Bunny.  Loads of his Wingnut Dishwasher Union songs have this destructive quality, but I especially love the lyrics of I’m Not A Good Person that go “I'm not a good person / Ask anyone who knows me / I'm mean and bitter / And a failure at everything that I say I believe”.  Also check out the full album Probably Nothing, Possibly Everything.  The way Pat sings his lyrics seems so fucking bitterly honest.  His chords and his voice are drenched in a venom that it far removed from a pop-punk grumpiness.

Thirdly I recently came across a band from Leeds called Daves.  In The Menzinger’s style, they have a track on their EP called Change which shouts loud “I’m not ready to admit / I think I’m a piece of shit”.

So why do I listen to these self-deprecating songs?  When it’s so easy for me to believe that I am rubbish.  I can’t remember a time I didn’t think I was a Bad Person because of some drilled-in sense of binary Good/Bad.  And this sense of Badness gets conflated with being wrong, getting things wrong, or not doing things right.  This guilt leads me to think I’m worthless, useless, inadequate and better off not being around.  To quote Martha, “to tell the truth I’m struggling today/Why’s it gotta feel so sad?”  Thoughts are not facts, and yet it seems one central tenant of the Universe I am shit, the one cosmic certainty I can hang my life upon.  That’s because, in a kind of Cartesian solipsism, I can only rely on this within my head.

So I think it helps, like all art, to find someone that feels the same, and is sharing.  I do worry that this self-deprecating is influential.  It just helps dig the negative grooves in my brain, reinforces the pillars that prop up my personality.  It doesn’t feel that healthy.

But a friend of mine said, whether you say something negative, you need to say the opposite.  You need to counteract the strangling voice in your head that whispers, dominates and demands.  And yes, I do listen to raised-fist-victory-to-us songs.  But also maybe these self-destructive songs are healthy too.  Because they prove someone has taken stock of their world.  Wrote it down.  Wrapped some chords around it.  It’s identifiable, it exists and it can be sung about.  My anxieties are a thought in chords, and they can be sung out.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

All I know is that I don't know nothing: Punk & Confidence part 4

Drinking beer on the kerb with all the punks
Read the free fanzine from back to front
Even chatted in the queue to Babar Luck
- Keep On Believing, Sonic Boom Six

I have the kind of brain/personality that loves to hoard information.  As a kid, on the nerdy side of my spectrum, I loved to know all about Spider-Man, Star Wars and Pokémon.  I’m the kid that bought those Encyclopaedia books and poured over recycled facts of whole worlds.

Getting into punk was much the same.  I would buy books, magazines, read CD liner notes and trawl through the internet.  I wanted to pick off every band.  If they were mentioned highly in the chronicles of punk, I’d make sure they were added to my repertoire.  I think this could be the result of a neurodiverse brain, or potentially being an Only Child, or coming of age around the Millennium with Wikipedia, YouTube and a book-end to the 20th century.  Or a combination.

I have a copy of a Mojo Special Edition from 2005, which I bought in my first year of College aged 16.  The magazine covers The Ramones, The Stranglers, The Clash, Sex Pistols and features a handy year-by-year breakdown between 76-79.  It is the perfect starter kit to move from a fan of the sound to a fan of the punk world.  Albeit, of course, a punk world presented as pretty male and pretty white and pretty straight.  This magazine was one of the many used as a prop in my theatre company’s production Whatever Happened To Vandal Raptor?

The magazine has a ‘Punk Smashers’ section where all the classic punk albums are listed so a young Henry could tick them off, band-by-band.  Looking back, it must have been so exciting to have this whole world open up and explore-able within the shelves of HMV and the realms of YouTube.

Around this time I was well-thumbing my copy of Mojo, I’d go see a local punk band called The Mighty Booze who had a song called ‘Best Mates’ all about an old punk who claimed to have met Sid Vicious and Joe Strummer and kissed Debbie Harry.  The protagonist of the song doesn’t believe the drunk punk, but will pretend to be his “best mate” as long as the bullshitter is buying the drinks.  Behold, the power of the internet and Myspace:  I found the song here!

As much as certain sections of society want to kick-back against ‘experts’, I believe we still have a hierarchy of knowledge.  When it comes to things like comics or music, knowledge can become a dick-measuring mechanism.

Punk demands that you care.  The Sex Pistols’ nihilism may have been fashionable for a brief period, but it was soon eclipsed by passion.

In this battle for knowledge, I have been guilty of searching out the most obscure bands (and genres) across Bandcamp or line-ups.  Even within the underground scene, we try and seek out the outsiders amongst the outsiders. 

Maybe this is part of punk’s need to prove it’s ‘Not Dead’ and evolve from punk to hardcore, hardcore to riot grrrl, from folk-punk to thrashgrass, from ska to ska-punk to skacore to hip-hop/ska/punk fusions.

Maybe this is part of punk’s need to constant search deeper and deeper below the surface of rock.  To take a page from Crass’ grimy book when Steve sang “Punk became a movement cos we all felt lost, but the leaders sold out and now we all pay the cost.”  So we reject those leaders and movements so we don’t end up “staring up a superstar’s arse”.

Maybe this is part of the arrogance of punk, the confidence mutated into a gobby swagger.

But naturally when we talk about knowledge, we have to acknowledge the song Knowledge by Operation Ivy.  When Jesse Michael’s sings “you can't get the top off from the bottom of the barrel” this seems a lovely image to accompany this idea that punks are all trying to prove themselves the most well-equipped about their genre and subculture, despite the fact we’re all stuck within this tight narrow genre and subculture.  Jesse’s magnificent chorus barks over and over “All I know is that I don't know all I know is that I don't know nothing”.  It doesn’t sound too self-deprecating, the repetition is a call-to-arms.  And finally the song ends with the simple, effective and honest rest-assurance that “that’s fine.”

I glory in knowledge, because I glory in learning.  I love a good hard natter in the pub about punk and music, as well as films, politics and Pokémon.  I think though, in always learning, we should never allow this confidence we know our genre goes beyond a celebration into an arrogance.  Because that’s the pomp that punk strove to tear down in the first place.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

The Right Wing Never Sleeps So Nor Do We: Punk and confidence part 3

You still think swastikas look cool

The real Nazis run your schools
-Nazi Punks Fuck Off Dead Kennedys

On Saturday the Scarborough & Whitby branch of the English Defence League held a ‘protest’ to free Tommy Robinson, a man jailed for jeopardising a court case which could have led to a grooming gang go free.  The EDL believe themselves defenders of an England, and any opposition to their patriotism (see:  nationalism) is an attack on free speech.  Really, the EDL ubiquitously criticise, and subsequently demonise non-white people which leads them to attack and call for segregation/deportation/genocide.

York's antifascists came out to oppose them, a combination of the local Stand Up To Racism group, York Anti-Fascist network and many random people who either left the main Pride march to keep an eye on the EDL, or were curious about what was occurring and decided to stay to offer solidarity.

Whilst the Branch could only muster a small handful of 8-12 people on the 9th, many more gathered in London, marched peacefully for the cameras and then, unprovoked, began to try and storm Downing Street, smash up a tourism bus and assault Police.  The EDL’s claim they are not racist is difficult to swallow when they have persistently failed to root out, and thus embrace, seig heiling neo-nazis.

Punk briefly flirted with fascist imagery 76-77, though I believe this was messy of shock tactics from certain corners to appear rebellious and monstrous which soon fizzled out.  Examples include the very name Joy Division, Siouxise Sioux’s swastika or the name London SS as a potential and name.  The Ramones’ song Today Your Love, Tomorrow Your World is uncomfortable listening in 2018.   There is absolutely no excuse for flirting with this fascist iconography, and, like all corners of society, all the corners of punk have wrestled with racist elements, both for and against.  After this initial way, most punk bands at least rejected the right-wing ideology, some maybe could have done more to challenge it.

There’s a circuit of of Oi! bands embracing a blood-soaked flag and obviously there’s bands like Skrewdriver who birthed a wave of racist and neo-nazi punk under the banner Rock Against Communism and Blood & Honour.

There are many decent examples of anti-fascism in the early history of punk.  This has been well-documented with white bands like The Clash, Stiff Little Fingers and Tom Robinson Band playing Rock Against Racism, and of course the variety of punks of colour in Death, Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys, X-Ray Spex.

So in this series of blogs, I want to touch on the confidence that comes from anti-fascist punk music.

I don’t do enough to fight fascism.  It scares me.  I don’t like confrontation at the best of times, I’m a scrawny guy and never been in a proper scrap in my life.  But I know that this is something we need to oppose, and we need to find the confidence.

Facing the right-wing is a scary prospect.  They have a history of murdering, from the New Cross massacre to Blair Peach to the vile activities of Combat 18.  MP Jess Phillips received over 600 death threats in a single night, MP Josie Cooper was the target of National Action and of course MP Jo Cox was murdered by a man shouting “Britain first!”  Often their protests are male jumped with adrenaline, toxic masculine energy, the lessons learnt from football hooliganism and (sometimes illegal) substances.  Though Red Watch is very much out of date, the right-wing use spotters, cameras and social media to monitor and track not only those that oppose them directly, but Trade Unions, anti-cuts groups, refugee support networks and even environmental groups.

So punk songs need to inspire a confidence to face this evil down, and do so in many ways.
There are the simplest form of anti-fascist song which boils down to:  Fuck them.
Here’s just a small handful of songs from recent years:

Fuck The EDL by Lab Rats,
Picket Fence by Atterkop
British Nazi Parade by Stand Out Riot
Milk by Random Hand
No Pasaran by Joe Solo
This article on the Guardian is useful for some American anti-Trump hardcore.

Other songs are a slight more pointed about nationalism and the language of borders and nations. ONSIND’s BA77 tells the story of Jimmy Mubenga murdered by G4S, and their song Pigs In The Green Room is about an encounter with racists at a service station.  Loyalty Festers from their latest album dissects the grimy violence of patriotism.  KINKY’s Legal Fucking Murder is about state violence in the name of border control, and Efa Supertramp has written about detention centres, whilst Petrol Girls’ song Treading Water has cutting imagery of water, waves and refugees.  Propagandi’s Fuck The Border does exactly what it says on the tin, as does Downtown Boys' timely A Wall.

There are other songs which posit historical moments, WEGROWBEARDS are experts at this, and one of my favourite anti-fascist songs is The Ghosts of Cable Street by the Men They Couldn’t Hang.  On The Day The Nazi Died by Chumbawamba is the band’s response to the death of Rudolph Hess.

What is rarer are songs which, rather than being on the offensive, do celebrate what we have and should defend.  Kids of the Multiculture by Sonic Boom Six is one, I can’t really think or others but please let me know others.

The right wing have an alchemy of privilege:  white, western and mostly male.  This evolution from patriotic pride to nationalist zeal to white power ideology gives the right a huge bulk of confidence.  They employ the romanticised notion of Empire, as well as nonsense like eugenics and blood purity, to empower their chants and violence (though cans of Fosters does help too).

So that’s why we need to make these songs:  To nurture and empower our own confidence. Whether with a blunt and simple message which reinforces the need for anti-fascist thoughts and action or something more complex to allow us to unpack the racism in our heads and deconstruct the state-sponsored borders, both physical and sociological.

Let’s not forget the punk scene is mostly white, and us white punks need to challenge our own preconceptions, assumptions and in-built prejudices.  This article talks about those experiences  much better than I could ever articulate.

This is an amazing zine, apparently sold out but maybe messaging the (sadly split up) band Fight Rosa Fight you might be able to find a copy or PDF

Today, bands like The Tuts, Shopping, Screaming Toenail, Big Joannie are challenging these conceptions alongside Decolonise Fest, Afropunk and the Latinx punk scene.  Little Fists and Fight Rosa Fight have recently split up, but two amazing bands to check out. 

Oh, and if you’re reading this and are someone of the right-wing disposition, and you haven’t been convinced to give up your racist ways then I recommend giving this song a good, hard listen.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

I Am A Poseur And I Don't Care: Punk & Confidence part 2

I am a poseur and I don't care
I like to make people stare ♪
- I Am A Poser, X-Ray Spex

Someone recently suggested to me that, presumably, I don’t dress as a punk for ‘aesthetic reasons’.

I was wearing my trousers covered in band patches and my hoodie covered in band patches (and an Adventure Time patch).

I’ve always felt like my love for wearing band t-shirts and patches of bands was to turn myself into something of a cloth-billboard.  To represent and give a platform for the bands that I appreciated.  I wrote a blog about it some three years past.

Clothes have always been an integral part of certain parts of punk.  The Ramones uniformity in their leather jackets helped further the myth they were all brothers, and helped stylised the ‘family’ aspect of their music, attracting the weirdoes, outsiders and misfits to their mutant pop.  Of course McLaran and Westwood using punk to plug their SEX wears is well-documented in the history of the Sex Pistols.  The Clash also enjoyed the sloganeering on their clothes.  And this style filtered into the scene, who donned the array of safety pins, piercings, spiky hair and ripped clothes which then rebounded back into the music when those fans became bands. 

The next wave of UK82 punk fitted the generic pattern of painted leather, Mohawks, piercings and patches.   So what you get is a circular pool of style that rotates round.  The style evolves as bands inspire fans who become bands to inspire fans.

There are bands that take their costumes to extended lengths.  Devo’s post-punk discordant music is the soundtrack to their bizarre boiler suit appearance.  Aquabats present as a super-hero squad, and the late great Frank Sidebottom playing all his gigs adorned with a gigantic head like a warped crown.  Famously the Dead Kennedys lampooned the music industry with ties and shirts that portrayed $ signs.  Nowadays bands like Yorkshire’s Snakerattlers and Nosebleed perform in Americana blues get-ups to reflect their musical sound.

There is also something interesting about a rejection of a costume.  The Undertones local lads look of jumpers, parkas and jeans reflected their simple, but beautifully effective, pop-punk.  This uncomplicated honest presentation seems the opposite end of the spectrum to the star-spanglyness of rock and prog bands of the late 70s.  No time for glitter, go to pop down the park for a kick about.

Onstage, punks costume can signify unity and camaraderie (The Specials, The Ramones) or a spiky hotchpotch of influences and personalities (Rancid, The Clash).  It can be a fierce don’t-fuck-with-me-ness using the body with unflinching agency (Bikini Kill, G.L.O.S.S.) or invoke other styles and ideas (Mischief Brew’s romantic troubadour visage).  And of course, that is echoed outside of gigs in the ‘real world’.

The look becomes part of the act, it becomes visual as well as aural.  It becomes a whole parcel of identity.

When I got into punk, I remember owned about 5 t-shirts I loved dearly for a good period of time.  I didn’t put any patches on anything, I had a leather jacket and my love for the Ramones and desire to keep something clean and pure (like books) meant I didn’t want to paint it.

Eventually I went through a good few years really enjoying customising my clothes.  I have a hoody devoted to queer and feminist bands (adapted from an Against Me! Hoody).  I have a ‘nerd punk’ hoody, and folk-punk trousers.  Just like my love for exploring genre and eras, I do like defining my clothes.

The confidence of this look comes from championing these bands (and politics).  There’s a confidence that the Petrol Girls patch and Clash t-shirt and Sonic Boom Six hoody mean that the music has your back.  Quite literally, it’s on your back.

Though I’m very fortune and privileged to have never been verbally or physically assaulted, I do feel like my clothes attract attention.  I want this to be positive, as people clock some bands to check out.  But, of course, this attention can also be negative.  Let’s never forget the tragic death of Sophie Lancaster in 2007.

These days, punk fans tend to stick simply jeans and a t-shirt.  There’s other aspects, beards and converse, but it’s often simple a sea of black with the odd colourful logo at the centre of your stitching.

There’s a layer of scorn in the punk scene if you don’t dress as a punk outside of a punk/gig context.  As if you’re not maintaining the belief, the scene, the style.  You’ll only wear your heart on your sleeve when your heart’s in it.  But I like the relief of not always being in a turning-heads Punk Mode.  A privilege not everybody has, but one I do exploit when I want to be ‘unpunk’.

There’s a toxicity to fashion, and we should always be wary of peer pressure to dress and present a certain way.  But sometimes I just like black jeans and a classic t-shirt and some anonymity.  Sometimes I like to be a watching quilt of bands.  And actually, that choice is empowering and gives me confidence I have options and not just an uninspiring narrow blueprint.

Monday, 14 May 2018

I Think That I Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Open My Mouth: Punk & Confidence Part 1

I Think That I Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Open My Mouth:  Punk & Confidence Part 1

I’ve felt conflicted and a lack of conviction/
I’d quit drinking but the beer makes me brave/
Here’s the half empty/
I’m always wrapped in thought my stomach tied in knots/
-Block Fort, The Half Empty https://blockfort.bandcamp.com/album/s-t

I’m going to try and write a series of blogs about the nature of confidence in punk.  The obvious arguments and the bizarre oxymorons.

OK, so let’s start with the obvious.  Punk bands own space. 

Whether it’s the sneer of Rotten, the sweaty leg-pumping of Strummer, the macho domination of Rollins or the jarring dance of Ian Curtis.  Whether it’s fiery don’t-fuck-with-me-ability of Kathleen Hanna, the cool-and-sharp-as-ice-ness of Debbie Harry or the gobby-bog-off-authority vibe of Poly Styrene.  Robin Leitch’s ska-spider scampering and Ren Aldridge’s almost back-snapping screech.

What drives this confidence?  In many cases, it’s the fact that out in The Real World, many singers don’t take up space and yet, here, they have a platform to be demanding, to be brutish; to be heard.  Punk is a way to be something you’re not in the real world.

Take Joey Ramone.  If you ever watch interviews, you’ll see he’s a shy guy, hiding behind his massive scuzz of hair.  Joey had obsessive compulsive disorder and his rapidfire mutant pop was a form of expressing his insecurities with the world.

In the superb book Our Band Could Be Your Life, author Azerrad talks about how Beat Happening were a band of “shy, retiring people who would never normally walk onto a stage.”  Lead singer Calvin Johnson would dance, contort and gesticulate comically.  Their sound was a lo-fi jangly spiky noisy indiepop, more Smiths than Stooges.  Bret Lunsford said they were dismissed by some punks because they weren’t macho enough.  But despite the feyness of the bands appearance, sound and lyrics Azerrad tells of a gig where Johnson was hit in the face with an ashtray, yet continued his set despite blood streaming down his face.  At the end of the set, he walked right through the audience who parted like the red sea.

These days, it’s not uncommon for punk bands to not only sing about mental health issues, anxieties and depression, but to talk about them onstage, too.  The Smith Street Band, Caves, Shit Present, Happy Accidents, Chewing on Tinfoil, T-Shirt Weather, Crumbs, Perkie, MeRex, Block Fort, Muncie Girls, ONSIND, Martha, Ducking Punches to name but a few have discussed this openly.  Though I don’t know their work, of course the sad passing of Frightened Rabbit’s singer Scott Hutchinson is a reminder that the essential discussion about mental health shouldn’t just be limited to words in songs.

What is the rough connection between punk and confidence?  How does confidence manifest itself?
It is a comfort, a necessary and important outlet of rage, stubbornness and strength so that, for 30 minutes on stage, you are in command?  And the gig context:  How does the attitude of punk give you confidence in the day-to-day world?

Or are punk songs a way for artists to disguise their anxieties?  Act strong, act tough and act like you own the place as a distraction or disguise from the negativity on your head without really facing that insecurity? 

Over the next few blogs I want to talk about the costume/disguise/character that punk offers, the immediacy of the 2.5 minute punk song and 25 minute set.  I want to talk about my own mental health and the oxymoron I struggle to be in social situations and meet new people, and yet find it very natural to stand before a bunch of strangers and be shouty.  The obvious and the oxymorons, the arrogance and the anxieties, the space-taking and the self-supporting.

What punk artists do you think exhume confidence?  In what ways do you think punk bands own a stage and space?

If you have anything you want to add, please comment or get in touch via henry@henryraby.com.

Thanks x 

Friday, 4 May 2018

Vandal Raptor tour blog #3: Harrogate and That London

Almost a week since we finished tour, here is (finally) my third (and final) blog about our adventure across this fair island.

Tuesday and Wednesday we played in Harrogate.  You might not imagine Harrogate to be a city hungry for a show about a riotous punk band trying to smash the system, and yet we had some lovely audiences well up for a bit of shouting and a bit of roaring.  First show we had Harrogate Youth Theatre coming along and joining in with some superb dinosaur impressions.  The next night was a battalion of friendly faces and a great way to finish off the show in Yorkshire.

But London awaited!  And many hours, many Lucozades and many crisps and sweets we finally arrived at the Big Smoke.  And across the run I saw many old friends from Youth Theatre days, University days and modern day punk/activist communities.  We had plenty of strangers too, coming along to see this Northern chap tell his story.

During the run it was announced Trump would be visiting the country in July, which helped with a little ripple of potential trouble-making to coincide with a show about resistance.  I did, of course, take time to pay extortionate London prices to see Avengers:  Infinity War where I topped up some Nerd Points after stacking up on Punk Points.

I can honestly say that every single audience were vastly different.  Some audiences were polite, respectful and really drew in the full story.  Others chatty, forward and became part of the DNA of the show. Some audiences really clicked with the world and characters, others found the Henryness of the show their way into the production.

I’m so proud of what we achieved.  No funding from Arts Council England, touring purely based on generous donations from audiences and the fees of the few theatres we were programmed into.  Me and Natalie have cemented ourselves as Vandal Factory and we’re dead proud of all the connections we made across the UK.  Thanks so much to everyone who programmed us, came to see the show or supported us in the venues.

Keep an eye out for Vandal Factory in the future with our upcoming shows, workshops and PLANS FOR MASS REVOLUTION.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Vandal Raptor tour blog #2: Leeds, Bristol and Derby

So we’re now ½ way through the Vandal Raptor tour.  The show is a story about 4 friends forming a band, playing gigs and going on tour.  Did the 4 teenagers of Vandal Raptor squeeze all their gear, merch and clothes in a tiny Vauxhall Corsa like we’ve been doing?

The show is about growing up and in Leeds we performed the show at the Workshop Theatre, part of the University of Leeds.  I studied in that very building, have performed on that stage and learnt a good ol’ whack about theatre in the building.  It certainly felt like a homecoming.  Although the characters in the play return to a dirty pub, not a well-equipped theatre space.

The show is about reclaiming space.  Few bookshops allow punk bands to play gigs, but Hydra Books is one of the coolest venues in the whole UK.  Located in Bristol, Hydra not only stocks radical books, it also hosts meetings for the IWW, feminist groups and other assorted lefties.  The welcoming crowd clocked a lot of the subtler references to the punk scene.

Finally we did a show at Derby Theatre.  The space a traditional theatre venue as opposed to radical bookshop, the audience in rated seating as opposed to sofas.  This meant we had opportunity to play with the lighting a little more, enjoy decorating the space, transforming it, playing with it.  Possibly the best show we’d done probably because we worked that tad harder to engage, entertain and tell our story of a punk rock band changing the world to a audience who didn’t really know our work or form!

The show has 5 more performances on tour at x2 venues.  Harrogate Theatre 23-24th and Ovalhouse in London 26-28th.  We’re feeling confident, we’re feeling exciting and we’re ready to (once we’ve had a couple of chill days) to get out on the road again.  The show is absolutely for anyone to enjoy, come forth!