KATERWAUL WOODEND BARN 9TH DECEMBER 2011
Alright, so this gig happened a while ago and I’ve not blogged about it. That’s pretty much because I was waiting for this gem of a video to hit the web so I could embed it. And now that its exploded onto the net here this is me trying to remember it as best I can.
I got up at 5:45am to get my gear packed. I strapped Isobel and my pedal board to my wee trolley and laboured it to my local train station then into Glasgow City Centre to catch the 7:40am train to Aberdeen. Sound check was at 5pm so I was making good time. Why so early you ask? Well it was the cheapest train I could afford so until Katerwaul becomes my full time job I’ll have to keep making these sacrifices.
The train got to just outside Stonehaven when I suddenly, instantaneously caught a cold. When I finally arrived in Aberdeen I felt rotten. My nose wouldn’t stop dripping and my throat felt like it had swollen like a football.
After a quick band practice we loaded up the car and I pumped my self full of cold relief drugs and grabbed the bus to Banchory with Nick. I repeat, cold relief drugs and the bus… that’s the public bus… this is how rock and fucking roll Katerwaul are folks. It seemed like the longest bus journey in history and I felt like death.
We arrived to the Woodend Barn around 5pm and we were surprised with what we found. When you hear you’re playing a place called “The Barn” you expect a small place, stone walls, hay and mud all over the floor and a novelty wagon wheel proudly on display. Well I can tell you there were stone stone walls, but this venue has to be one of the most impressive venues I’ve ever been to both as a performer and a spectator.
The place was huge, the stage was massive and the sound system was the most impressive I’ve come across. The sound man Iain gave us a warm welcome and stressed that his aim was to make us happy and get the sound that we wanted. This is also a very rare thing. We’ve only ever had this when Scott Bowden did sound at the Tunnels in Aberdeen and also when we played King Tuts, but Iain wasn’t kidding around when he said he was there to make us happy. I made a quip about getting hot towels for the dressing room… and I was surprised when I was told “ok”. I was of course joking around.
It was great to be given the freedom of a massive stage and arrange the stage how we wanted and felt most comfortable. The monitors were not set rooted to a specific spot like most venues so we got place them where we wanted. When I asked for an additional vocal monitor, instead of being greeted with a warm “Go fuck yourself, Bono!” Iain reached underneath the stage and brought out another vocal monitor. We spent around an hour in sound check and instead of us labouring till we were happy it was actually the perfectionist in Iain who wanted to get everything perfect. I can tell you, we were in good hands.
After sound check we dropped off our stuff in the dressing room and made our way to the Restaurant. We were really excited about getting a FREE meal. There aren’t many venues that feed you so we were going to take full advantage.
I’ll have to admit my heart sank a little when the waiter came over and said “We’ve got a Quiche for you guys I hope you don’t mind?”. A Quiche? Aw man, that’s lame. Being the polite boys we are we said it was fine, you can’t bite the hand that feeds you. Graham turned to me and Nick and confessed “I hate Quiche.” I don’t hate Quiche but to me its party food. Something you get at a children’s finger buffet. Well ,if you’ve not watched the attached video yet I can tell you, the Quiche was amazing! I can’t even begin to describe to you how amazing this thing tasted! I know this isn’t a food blog but by FUCK if it were it’d be getting 5 Michelin men in the face!
I’ve no idea what was in that Quiche but it cured my cold. All of a sudden I felt great. Praise the Quiche gods!
Ok so enough of the Quiche talk.
Davy Shanks arrived soon after dinner but was instantly called to action. We unfortunately missed most of his set, and I hate doing that as it makes me feel like a total big headed diva. I like to watch all the acts at our shows because I like to see new music and I’m a massive fan of Davy, but we had to do an interview for the Woodend Barn podcast. (See above video)
So now the show.
It was a very odd show. I’m going to be really clear about this, as I know I’m in danger of sounding really negative and I don’t want it to come across that way at all, but enjoyed it greatly. However the atmosphere was one I’d never had before in all my days of performing in not only Katerwaul, but in Bench as a solo artist and even the odd show I’ve played guitar, keyboard, melodica and glockenspiel for Amber Wilson.
We were under no illusion that we were going to sell out this venue and by having us play at all was an experiment in itself by their booking director David Officer, to whom we are extremely grateful. The thing that was so odd about it was that everyone was so civilised and well mannered. There were no hecklers, no one talking in between songs or anyone screaming. Instead we were meet with enthusiastically polite applause. Which we just didn’t expect and couldn’t get used to.
You could hear a pin drop between songs. Whenever I tuned up you could hear my guitar reverberate around the hall despite my guitar being muted. Its not a complaint as such, more of a statement of surprise.
After we played the song “You Love & I” one person asked, without raising his voice as I were sitting next to him, “Did someone break you heart?”. I laughed and explained, off mic and also as if he were right next to me, that the song does come across like a break up song but only because the thing I’m losing is the sense of worth in community. Like anything we say or do as individuals falls on deaf ears. The song references the Union Terrace Gardens fiasco and the Tyrant that I refer to is Sir Ian Wood. I made no apologies for naming him and made it clear that I understood he employed many of the people in the audience but they/you could quote me on this, I hate the man for what he stands for and what he has done to Aberdeen and what he will continue to do for years to come. At that point I realised I was in danger of sounding like I was preaching so I reached for my water to begin the next song. While I did so the hall burst into rapturous applause and I could help but smile. I’m glad I was not alone.
I won’t go too much into the technical things, like me forgetting to set my guitar to the right tuning for December Doesn’t Hurt then forgetting the lyrics to the first verse, but the sound on stage was amazing and it really felt like OUR show. Not just that we were playing at a venue, but this was a Katerwaul show. Its hard to explain but I’m sure many of you know what I’m talking about.
For all Aberdeen based bands, I emplore you to seek out gigs at the Woodend Barn because it is the venue that the city is missing. It is like the Lemon Tree was in the late 90s early 00s, maybe even better! David is trying more and more to get bands like us out there and boost the profile of this wonderful venue. Meursault are booked for early 2012 and that should be an amazing show. So if you are offered a slot, grab it with both hands!!
Fear & Symmetry
December Doesn’t Hurt
You Love & I
Depatrures (Debut performance)
What’s Left Of Your Homes (Debut performance)
You can watch us perform FEBRUARY here it was our last live performance of the year.
- timjcourtney posted this