panic baton (garage memories)

Since we’ve been editing the live recording / video which was shot at The Garage, Highbury, I thought I’d give you some history about us/me and that venue, a place I’ve played so often I once left a packet of rolling tobacco under a sofa in the dressing room and found it, untouched, several months later.

(1) There are two venues (or were, at least) at the Garage. The smaller one, upstairs, used to have a load-in which would have challenged shape-shifting hobbits with webbed feet and the upper body strength of a prop forward. They used to make you carry your gear through the main venue so you could stare at it in wonder and disbelief. ‘Who the hell plays here?’ I would say to myself. ‘They must be MASSIVE.’ Well, we’ve sold the same room out on several occasions, and I can guarantee that we’re not.

(2) We played the downstairs room supporting – of all bands – Nashville Pussy on the day we mastered ‘mclusky do dallas’, getting to the venue a whole four minutes late for soundcheck in the process, to find that the opening band (Sum 41, playing their first ever British hair-styling opportunity) had all of their gear already on stage and – and I’m not exaggerating here – bodily prevented us from taking the stage. Well, the band didn’t, their crew did. That was dead nice. Round of applause for them, then.

(3) One of only three times I’ve ever seen a tout for one of our shows was outside the Garage in 2004. He was a Scouse guy with a forehead so big I almost felt normal by comparison. I asked him for directions to the Wine Warehouse and he told me to fuck off. Scousers. Great sense of humour.

(4) The Fall’s ‘Manager’ once told me (2003, I think) that if we didn’t give him the drugs we’d promised then we wouldn’t be taking the stage, so I pretended I knew karate. It was pretty cool. Turned out that the opening band were in fact playing because they’d promised the Fall drugs. I suppose that’s a normal playing-with-the-Fall story.

nb. This story has been hugely compressed.

(5) The dance-floor is the perfect size for inter-band badminton tournaments. Might even be on the DVD extras. *might*

(6) We played the Garage on Kelson’s last tour supporting Future of the Left’s OHMYGODITSEASILYTHEBESTYOULLNEVERGETCLOSETOIT record, ‘travels with myself and another’, and it was easily the worst attended show we’ve ever played in the venue. The moral of the story – nostalgia is for liars. Pick up your weapons and crack on.

(7) in 2002, just after getting back from our first tour (with someone helping us out with driving and sound!) we were asked to play the Garage supporting Liars, who were/probably still are decent guys, with a band called the Yeah Yeah Yeahs supporting. On the way there, whilst driving, Matt (Harding, drums) had, for the first time on record, a panic attack and had to pull over, only for Jon (Chapple, bass) to take over and ALSO HAVE A PANIC ATTACK LIKE IT WAS A RELAY EVENT OR SOMETHING. We ended up at Membury Services (I don’t drive, I’m a *cough* artist *end cough*) wishing we weren’t until Liars driver, a lovely guy called Veg (that’s right, Veg) bombed it down the motorway to fetch us and throw our pathetic bodies into the venue 4 minutes before stage-time, a two hour round trip undertaken at what seemed to be the speed of light.

Ah yes, the show was good and the singer of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs wasn’t happy with us, for some reason or other.

nb. this story has also been hugely compressed for sanity and/or libel.

(8) Two years ago the mclusky* show we did for Cancer Research at the Garage sold out in a few hours. That was nice.

(9) best ever Garage fan – the bearded guy wrapped in the Welsh flag who went into a state of shock when he found out that I was English. Later on he was seen, head pressed against the PA, crying his eyes out.

I fucking love rock and roll.


ps. the recorded show – which we hope to releasing in the next couple of weeks – sounds better than I would have ever imagined – we’re just trimming some of the gaps between songs to keep it manageable, but it’s still somewhere over an hour and 20 minutes long.