London had a shit week. I want to cry and scream with rage. And it is over 30 degrees. London is too crowded and dirty and sad for hot weather. It is sunny, and there is a big cloud of sadness and anger. The cloud of the Finsbury Park Mosque attack the day before, the cloud of Grenfell Tower, the cloud of London Bridge, the cloud of disappointment that we still have a government that we do not agree with or vote for, the cloud of Brexit, the cloud of Westminster Bridge. Too much. Give us a break. We are all being nicer to each other to ease the pain, but we hurt. If any other band had been playing on tuesday night then I wouldn’t have gone.
I’m sure Dam know a thing or two about rage and sadness and being attacked. They are from Palestine. They are Palestine’s longest running hip hop band, they’ve been making music for around 20 years. I only came across them a couple of years ago, when they released the excellent anti-gender violence song Who You R.
Within minutes of Dam bounding on to the stage all of the tension I felt inside started to melt. They were medicine for my soul. This band are so full of positive energy, hope and catchy tunes. It was impossible not to dance. They preach a serious ethic with a smile and a wicked sense of humour. “We are Dam, from Palestine. Our country is occupied, but we have a scene… Hey, you should all move to Palestine, I hear London isn’t so good lately”.
We stayed up with snacks, beer and tea til 6am watching the election on TV. Most exciting election this century. Lord Buckethead should have won Maidenhead, he wouldn’t be doing deals with line-dance hating thugs. This is my drawing of the Maidenhead results being called, Last Supper style. #nosleeptilhastings
I want my little friend Ozzy to grow up with healthcare, housing, education, opportunities, freedom and tolerance. We will get none of those if the Tories get in again. #VoteLabour #KickOutTheTories
OOIOO (support from Bamboo) Kamio, Shoreditch, 30th May 2017.
I have waited for years to see Japanese band OOIOO, and they absolutely were worth the wait. They are amazing and brilliant and words can never do them justice.
The whole band are incredible, but I couldn’t stop myself being fixated on bass player Aya. Everything about her is cool and she makes her complicated bass lines look so effortless.
I’ve wanted to see Immersion for ages. I love their album Analogue Creatures Living On An Island. I cycled up west for ‘Ambience Chasers’, a new night put on by the Sonic Cathedral label at The Social. Immersion were completely worth braving the freezing cold for. I have no idea how long they played for. Time stood still and I was wrapped in a beautiful bubble of warm ambience (and some annoying dry ice) for the length of their set.
For anyone who did not get one of the limited edition 2017 Gigs & Pencils calendar, do not despair! You can now download the pages for free to print out and enjoy!
For more info on each band:
JANUARY: Otoboke Beaver – otobokebeaver.bandcamp.com
FEBRUARY: Maid Of Ace – maid-of-ace.com
MARCH: Brix & The Extricated – facebook.com/extricated
APRIL: Hagar The Womb – hagarthewomb.bandcamp.com
MAY: Skinny Girl Diet – skinnygirldietband.tumblr.com
JUNE: Menace Beach – menacebeach.co.uk
JULY: Laura J Martin – laurajmartin.com
AUGUST: Mountain Of Fire & Miracles – mofam.bandcamp.com
SEPTEMBER: Sauna Youth – saunayouth.bandcamp.com
OCTOBER: Hell-o-Tiki – reverbnation.com/hellotiki
NOVEMBER: Ela Orleans – elaorleans.com
DECEMBER: The Parrots – theparrots.bandcamp.com
To hear tracks from all of these bands, plus some other gigs&pencils favourites please listen to this radio show:
I have set up an etsy shop selling a limited number of calendars here: etsy.me/2gdbgIC
The cover was screen printed by gavin at bigboxoftricks.com and the inside pages were digitally printed. The calendar is limited to 99 copies (only 25 are for sale), each is hand numbered (/99) and signed, and wrapped in tissue with a stickered bellyband and gift tag.
Page size = 9cm x 15.5cm.
Artists featured: Otoboke Beaver, Maid Of Ace, Bix Smith Start, Hagar The Womb, Skinny Girl Diet, Menace Beach, Laura J Martin, MOFAM, Sauna Youth, Hell-O-Tiki, Ela Orleans, The Parrots.
I’ve made some very limited edition hand made calendars, more information and ordering details will be announced on monday.
Illustrations for Keekaboo band merchandising website.
I did some pages for ukulele-punk band The Pukes activity zine, this is the ‘On Tour’ game.
I went to the Royal Festival Hall for the Living In Future Times Festival, to hear Margaret Atwood discuss her new novel Hag-Seed. She is amazing, intelligent, forward thinking, funny and highly entertaining and interesting.
Also at the Festival Hall, was an installation by Zach Lieberman, featuring text from Hag-Seed which interacts with the observer.
At band practice this week we added an explosion to the middle of our new song. It took us about an hour to work out how we would do the explosion. It sounds pretty epic. I really love the new song.
We had to fight through the saturday night life of Shoreditch to get there,
past the moody bouncers, and down concrete stairs,
to a friendly grey basement with a bar and a stage.
Sauna Youth gave 30 minutes of high-energy repetitive-beat punk-rock.
We were compelled to 30 minutes of non-stop head-nod, bruise-collecting arm-flailing, and size 9 docs thrashing scarily above my head as crowd surfers got too close for comfort.
There was no encore, Sauna Youth gave us their all, and I loved every song.
The Moth Club August 27th 2016
Slowcoaches were the last band of the night. For the first half of their set there was a big pit of (mostly) women, dancing and good-humoured jostling. At some point the pit was taken over by aggressive men and the singer/bassist of Slowcoaches picked up her mic stand and stepped off the stage and placed her mic stand in the pit and claimed the space as hers. She was thrashing around, all the time playing like a maniac. A guy pushed her and she immediately turned to face him and gave him a don’t-fuck-with-me look. He withered. She won. Don’t mess with Slowcoaches, they own the whole bloody scene. They rule.
Rough Trade East, 25th August 2016
This in-store show was the debut performance of The Parrots’ new album Los Niños Sin Miedo. I love their new album, it’s up there as one of the best albums of the year. The show was early and short, but the Parrots were enthusiastic & tight as ever, and i’m itching to get to their show at the Victoria in a couple of weeks.
FRANCE 5 – 2 ICELAND
WALES 3 – 1 BELGIUM
At the start of the Euros all the commentators were saying that the Welsh team had spirit and Bale. They are so much more.
I can’t wait to watch them beat Portugal (another 3-1 win please Wales!)
WALES – NORTHERN IRELAND
Jonny and Ashley Williams collide.
SWITZERLAND – POLAND
Penalties. It was painful to watch. You have to feel sad for Grant Xhaka.
The TV commentator said “O.M.G. That’s the worst penalty I’ve ever seen”.
Switzerland equalises in 82nd minute with Shaqiri’s amazing goal.
It was England – Slovakia, but I missed that game. Scotland won. I went to see RM Hubbert instead. He totally ruled. I will never think about thumbs in the same way again.
ROMANIA – ALBANIA
Armando Sadiku scores Albania’s first goal in a major tournament and gives them 3rd place in group A. (Thanks to Keith Goldhanger for giving me the tip off to switch to this game from France-Switzerland)
Barker Saevarsson scores an own goal in the 87th minute.
The Hungarian goalie. The penalty was debatable, but his trackie bottoms are definitely the fashion statement of the tournament.