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Irish festivals and ice cream parties

Published: July, 2008

July 24th
We had just travelled from one side of the planet (Japan) to the other (Ireland). I was hoping to get a long sleep on the bus after it picked us up at Heathrow, but once on the ferry the Irish sea’s motion constantly set off the surrounding car alarms. That was the end of any potential beauty sleep…

July 25th – Galway Arts Festival
We arrived in Galway on Friday morning to play the Galway Arts Festival that had been running all week. Us and our old friends The Dandy Warhols were playing in a big top round the back of the cathedral. It’s actually quite nice having the whole backstage between just two bands, no cues for the showers or toilets and plenty of hot water, what a luxury! I met up with my parents who were in the area, my Mum used to run around these parts when she was a kid and my Australian cousin had also drove up from Cork, with her new fiance, so it was nice to see them. Galway cathedral is pretty impressive. Walking around it I was thinking, where on earth would you begin to build something like this? Those old masons sure did know their shit.

We were on stage unusually early at 8 p.m., only 30 minutes after the gates had opened! The tent was only partially full and not the greatest view to arrive to, but as we could see people were only arriving we shuffled the set to play the bigger singles later as it filled up. By the end it all went pretty well and we had the crowd yelling for an encore.

After the The Dandy Warhols played we all hung out for a while, drunk champagne and Courtney and me tried to persuade Rick and Helen to get married. (They’ve been together 11 years!) Courtney was sporting some awesome custom made boots that looked like Obi-Wan Kenobi’s. I was pretty jealous, until he told me what they cost. Before long we were back on the bus and heading north for…

July 26th – Glasgowbury Festival
We’d been asked to headline Glasgowbury earlier this year and jumped at the chance after hearing such good reports from 2007. This would be our first ever headline of an Irish festival which made it all the more special. Set up the Sperrin Mountains it has breathtaking views and it was great to be back on home turf. After meeting the charismatic promoter, Paddy Glasgow, we ventured around the site checking out other bands and getting our bearings. Kerrang! interviewed us on the bus for an upcoming feature on ‘Behind the songs’ and there were so many familiar faces to catch up with, it was like a high school reunion. (not that I’ve ever went to a high school reunion to know what its like) Paddy had provided a class tent/teepee for us as a dressing room and everything was pretty much perfect.

Triggerman was awesome in the tent and it was amazing to hear real heavy, pounding music that also made you grin and want to body slam into security. Oppenheimer played a blinder on the main stage, their quirky synth-guitar pop is just so catchy, you gotta love them. I love that Rocky sounds like Soundwave when he talks to the crowd.

Fighting With Wire were amazing, no fucking about, in your face rock. Cahir has great stage presence, not unlike a certain Dave Grohl, only with a bit more menace. He had a bit of a freak out on someone who was throwing shit at the stage, which just got the pit going more mental. I like these guys a lot, we hung out for a while at Download and hopefully they’ll be playing with us again very soon!

By the time we were to go on it was properly dark and there was a great atmosphere in the air. The other stages had shut down and there was a massive crowd gathered. A bit of a delay due to tech issues held things up, but once we hit the stage and the bass opened “Meltdown”, the crowd was swarming and I knew it was gonna be a good one. It’s kinda fashionable in Northern Ireland to slag off any local success but there was a sense of celebration as everyone involved with, and attending Glasgowbury knew this was a special festival. Second song “Burn Baby Burn” erupted into mayhem and the set progressed seamlessly until the sampler broke down before “End of the World”. Tim played an impromptu “Teenage Kicks” while Rick solved the problem and everything resumed as planned. “Girl From Mars” and “Twilight of the Innocents” built the set to a crescendo and we came back out and encored with “Lose Control” and “Jack Names the Planets”. ATL filmed the whole set so hopefully we’ll see some highlights on the TV soon.

After the show there was loads of family and friends in the area soaking up the rider. I hung out round a camp fire with the organizers and it was great hearing the sound of all the partying drifting across from the campsite. Around 4 a.m. the bus pulled out and headed for Belfast. We’d be receiving another ungodly wake-up call in the morning. As the bus would never make it there in time, we’d have to catch an early flight to London. Regardless, as far as festival experiences goes this was the coolest and most enjoyable one in a long time.

July 27th – Ben & Jerry’s Sundae
Indeed. Once we got into London, and checked into the hotel, we had to go straight out and attempt to look presentable for a Kerrang! photo-shoot to accompany the previous day’s interview. It may well be obvious from the pics that we were a bit zombified.

Andrea had flown in so it was good to see her and the bump. I like to shine a torch at it to get it kicking.

Today we headline Ben & Jerry’s Sundae in Clapham Common, the 30th birthday party for the ice cream giants. It’s an absolute scorching hot day so the free ice cream is a very good thing. Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly and indie legends The Lemonheads also play and it is great hearing Evan Dando singing It’s a Shame about Ray in its entirety. Once they had finished there was a mass exodus of their fans which had me slightly concerned, but 30 minutes later, when we returned to take to the stage, there was a way more massive crowd, sweet! Where they all came from I have no idea?

Anyway the show was better than what we expected, being somewhat of a family orientated festival there was never gonna be a crazy mosh-pit but the crowd were well into it and it was surreal to see Evan watching from the side for the majority of the show. Afterwards we hung-out with the other bands and relaxed backstage, Safron from Republica and Gail Porter were bizarrely in our dressing room, how random? Then we headed back to the hotel for a relatively early night after a rather exhausting week, looking forward to some well earned days off.


By Mark Hamilton