HOLY GHOST REVIVAL TOUR DIARY, LONDON, JULY 2008

7 Dec

Okay, here’s an oldie but a goodie…

Holy Ghost Revival, Cowboy Vampires. (Photo by Roger Sargent) (L to R): Sebastian Sheldon, Jakes Bayley, Conor St. Kiley, Mikko Freeman, John 'O Donnell

Cast of Characters:

Sebastian Sheldon – Keyboards, guitar, fine food, fish oil capsules

Jakes Bayley – Bass Guitar, modeling career, worst smelling dirty socks of all time

Conor St. Kiley – Vocals, junk food, mad genius

Mikko Freeman – Drums, fine cheeses & wines,

John ‘O Donnell – Lead Guitar, solo career

Justin Maurer (not pictured) – Tour Manager, Latin languages

Tour Manager’s Diary #1 June 25th, 2008.

Hi! I’m Justin Maurer, Holy Ghost Revival’s tour manager here in London until December 2nd.

Back Story:  My infamous friends, Holy Ghost Revival, got signed to a British record label called 1965 Records.  Their new album is slated to be released September 1st, so the label had the idea of moving the band to London where they could play all around the UK for six months straight, promoting the new album, “Twilight Exit.”  The guys moved out of their house in Seattle, “The Bro Chateau,” and boarded a British Airways flight to London on June 2nd.

Needing a tour manager, driver, Au pair, roadie and all around organizer, I was offered a job in London for 6 months.  I left my job at a coffee shop, put my band Clorox Girls on hold, and flew from Portland to England where I’m living with the five members of the band in a four room council flat in the Vauxhall area in South London.

We’re all living on meager wages, but trying to artfully wage musical warfare, in the land where many of our ancestors fled from religious persecution, financial hardship, and the great Irish potato famine.

Wielding guitars and our American accents, we’re here to engage in discourse with the willing and unwilling.  We are Holy Ghost Revival…. And like a well oiled machine we march forward, bearing our human tragedy, and eagerness for a new tomorrow.

Like April O’Neil from the fabled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, I will sketch these Teenage Mutants to the best of my ability.

“Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work; there is now no smooth road into the future; but we go round or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”

– D.H. Lawrence

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 Tour Manager’s Diary #2 

 Sunday the 29th of June

London @ 12 Bar, Soho

We did a last minute show at 12 Bar on a Sunday evening, the same night of the Spain vs Germany Euro Cup finals.  In the audience were about six people, including two Korean girls, two French, and a young English couple from the suburbs.  The stage was tiny, but the boys played their beating hearts out for the six people, who all had smiles on their faces by the second song.  This could have been because Conor was serenading each individual in his confrontational homo-erotic way, gyrating like a serpent, not unlike Jennifer Lopez in a smaller pair of jeans.

The sound man looked relatively unimpressed, but the couple from the suburbs was fanatic about the band, and bought some records.  When I thanked the owner of the bar, he told me gruffly, “Sunday night is pretty much amateur night.  It’s always empty in here on Sundays.”    We hit the streets of Soho, and celebrating Spanish football fans were shouting and honking car horns singing “Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole….Ole… Ole Ole Ole!”

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Tour Manager’s Diary#3

 Monday June 30th – London @ The Old Blue Last, Shoreditch

For a Vice Magazine owned bar, the staff was really normal, friendly, and laid back.  The crowds turned out in droves, and as expected, were wearing the usual “ironic fare,” but all the kids in London are about twenty years old, so you can’t take them too seriously.   The place was absolutely PACKED (because of the free drinks).  Conor freak danced a cameraman filming the show, and engaged the crowd, testing the mike cord to the limit that it’d stretch.  John and Sebastian had huge smiles on their face to the Jackson Five conjuring tune, “Arrogant Army,” but what really got people dancing was “Flowers of Evil.”

A few people walked out, a couple fatso punters were up front shaking their groove thang, a couple people threw beer and various liquids on Conor, but most of the onlookers had an amused, confused, or plain blank expression on their faces as they downed the Robitussin cough syrup-tasting free drink that was the attraction of the night.   This is the silence before the storm…… Embrace the hate, baby….

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Tour Manager’s Diary#4

Saturday July 5th – London @ The Windmill, Brixton

The big news at this moment in time over here in the London fog is that Jay Z opened his set at the Glastonbury Festival with Oasis’ “Wonderwall,” singing and playing acoustic guitar. There was a massive controversy because the Glastonbury organizer had said that the festival wasn’t created for rap or hip hop music… and Jay Z apparently took  it all in quite elegantly, a class act.   He threw some party for his tour manager that cost hundreds of thousands of pounds….. as I read in the tube station.. along with Amy Winehouse on house arrest by her father in Camden,  who was quoted as saying something like “Crack will kill her.”   While another one-time crack smoker, Jared from Atlanta’s finest, Black Lips, was quoted in the NME saying “She’s got a lot of soul for a white girl.”

British sensationalist media aside, for the time being, non crack smoking Holy Ghost Revival were playing the Windmill in the fabled neighborhood of Brixton. We were singing the Clash’s “Guns of Brixton,” on the tube, but changing the lyrics to, “Guns of Vauxhall,” our neighborhood, the “up and coming gay area of London.”     We’ve befriended the bike riding Somalian and Jamaican drug dealers outside of our flat, as well as the rabid foxes who make mating calls in our garden all night long….  It’s a big deal to us watching the foxes from our balcony…  it’s provided hours of entertainment…   back to our story…

The lads and myself carried all the gear (massive keyboard, merch, guitars, etc) down the stairs and into the Vauxhall tube station.  Arriving Brixton, we must have looked like circus freaks with our tight pants clad crew of post modern dandy/ruffians – but there were plenty of colorful characters to greet us there as well.

After load-in, Jakes and I enjoyed some Fish n Chips from a place called “Chicago Pizza,” run by young men shouting in Arabic – although they were very friendly and seemed amused by our presence.   Conor ate some fried chicken, while Mikko wolfed a veggie burger, and John a chicken burger, respectively.  Sebastian met us at the chip shop with poet/musician Derek Meins in tow.  Derek informed us in his lovely Scottish accent that he would not be drinking gin because he lost his voice the weekend before (I assume from an abundance of shouting – possibly poetry – at passers-by and party people).

We enjoyed the view of a man eating fried chicken with low cut pants – his pubic hair clearly visible… and then headed straight for the off license across the street where we purchased some cans of Scrumpy Jack Cider – as we can drink six of them for the price of two inside the bar.  Jack we imagined as a rough and tumble sea faring man with windblown hair.  Scrumpy Jack was a man of few words and frequent fisticuffs.

Our friends from the Ripchord imbibed on the Cider with us, and we hung out with some Jamaicans before heading up to the Windmill, where on the benches outside, Saul from the Metros was shouting in some sort of unintelligible Cockney Rhyming scheme.  It’s like a mad mathematical equation, Cockney slang…  apples and pears, trouble and strife, taking a butcher’s…  I told Saul that the next piece of Metros merchandise should be a knife, to commemorate the record number of stabbings in their South London ‘hood of Peckham.

Derek Meins warmed up the crowd with his elegant and often hilarious poetry, and Lyons and Tygers from Liverpool opened for Holy Ghost.    Our very own heroes or anti-heroes depending on your perspective took the stage next, where St. Kiley tore up newspapers and tossed them into the audience.  By the end of the set the bar floor looked like the bottom of a hamster cage minus the wood chips.  Side note – hamsters often devour their young, and I imagine Conor St. Kiley would as well if he were to bear offspring.

Derek Meins (Photo by Azadeh Falakshahi)

Saul from the Metros DJ’d some great tunes including Dead Kennedys “Kill the Poor,” and Clorox Girls “Walks the Streets.”  After the show we got paid zero pounds and received zero complimentary beverages.  The dapper curly haired Liverpudlian promoter got us a few beers from the off license and apologized profusely, while on the other hand, the management of the bar acted like uncouth muscled Mafioso and didn’t seem to appreciate the presence of poetry and music and drink purchasing punters in their establishment.

Saul Adamczewski (The Metros) Photo by Gareth Cattermole

A little frustrated but never defeated, we said “fuck it,” and returned to our council flat in Vauxhall where we drank well into twilight with some Brazilian friends we met from down the hall.  Listening to Os Mutantes in their flat, filming the mayhem and chaos, and playing acoustic guitars, all parties involved had a blast.  Conor St. Kiley drank a little too much vodka and was crawling on his hands and knees tackling our guests in traditional American football fashion; rolling on the floor wrecking some furniture in our sparse dining room. Conor gained a new nickname that night, “Death Time.”

"Death Time" (Photo by TV Coahran)

In the morning one of our dining chairs had the back ripped off.  Mikko observed, “Now it’s an ottoman!”    Our living room was decorated in broken glass, and a sleeping guitar player (Johnny O.D.) blanketed in jean jackets was wearing cowboy boots while passed out on the couch.   Next time this tour manger will hide the vodka.

– Justin Maurer, Vauxhall, London, Sunday July 5th 2008

Berlin, Germany, 2008. Tour Manager Justin Maurer with Conor St. Kiley and Jakes Bayley of Holy Ghost Revival

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