The day after we got back from our first ever UK dates I decided I would like to become a blogger after all. With the encouragement of my wonderful friend and album cover designer, who's insight it is that being a non-blogging artist nowadays is like being Scott Walker in the early 80's(no interviews), I now begin by recounting what I remember from the Great Escape 2008.
At the Helsinki-Vantaa airport in the morning I impressed myself (and probably the band too) by knowing the person who checked us in and handled our fragile luggage. By the time we got into the coach, which would drive us from Heathrow to Brighton every one was hungry. N, our tour manager and a native English man delighted us all (but most of all himself) by sharing a bag of jelly babies. There were various crackers, sandwiches and flapjacks too on the way down. I did my make up and contemplated on gluing eyelashes on while in my seat. I have decided that traveling is most creatively spent with just my I-Pod as entertainment, plenty of time to be forced to not do something useful. It's boring and tiring, yet creative and exciting. The south of England is full green with hints of violet and lilac at the moment. Where do all the horses come from? The sheep belong, of course.
We had barely enough time on arrival to check into our B&B and get our festival passes. The first night's venue was a pub with table football for 50pence a round. Drummer(Niko) won against guitarist(Mikael) and me 5-4. I was not very welcome to either team. Oddly enough I was back onstage with the Eastern Conference Champions, whom I'd met already in Brooklyn in 2007. They remembered This Could Be Mother's Milk even though that time I played it on my own. Thank you guys. We played well that evening with the excitement that this was our first time in front of an English audience. They were a small but enthusiastic crowd. Thanks to N's lovely friends who drove down from all directions. Moving the stage piano and all other gear in a covertible was definitely a first. We missed Friend's of The Bride showcase because this time hunger drove us to eat at the slowest pizza place ever. The reason we had to wait for an hour was 'the oven's not big enough'!
At night some of us established that women are amazing in Brighton, major labels are struggling, Great Escape is chaotic at times, catwoman boots aren't the best for walking all night, all musical gear and instruments should be allowed on airplanes and you should never sell your gear.
Our second show at the Great Escape took place in a circus tent exactly like the one we played in Cannes in January. Funny how energies and context never match in the ways you expect. That day the venue was very professional and people smooth, but we didn't have the same urgency as the day before on stage. During the show two women on stilts appeared in the middle of the tent wearing the most bum-revealing black knickers. This I observed in the middle of
a draining song about abortion. Oh well, I know some people had a good time and they said nice things to me after.
That night we networked with the help of our 'spiritual guide' B, from New Zealand. Some of us discovered the best Mexican diner on this side of the Atlantic, while others remained backstage close to the redstriped beer (and had lost count a long time ago) and maybe the Topman water. And whatever else they could get...We missed a great deal of bands because of the ridiculous lines outside venues again. Taxis are a fantastic invention when wearing the catboots for the second night out. Also found and saved that day: Olympic snare drum,
Lanvin silk dress, sunglasses, Hawaii shirt, jean jacket, flared jeans, the UFF Helsinki guy working at a second hand store in the North Lanes, soy lattes, endless supplies of music on CD's, girl power t-shirt...
Of course we met some interesting people all the time, and on Saturday (our day off) when we actually managed to see some bands to watch The Ruby Suns who had an amazing light energy about them, even after a nightmarish sound check with the audience standing and waiting in front.
Bon Iver was fantastic too, there are no words...
Brighton is a heaven with traditional English B&B breakfast, millions of veggie restaurants and truly heartbreaking fish and chips for the homesick, the beach, the pier, the fleamarkets and run-down colourful buildings. Will be back, soon.