Not so crazy Darkball

Travel travails over, the ladies at the ground were happy to sort things out and let me in with a nice black paper wristband. The pitch was split into four as always, but one of them (bottom right corner from a bird’s eye view) was used for kickabouts and press. That meant that for a long period, only one touchline of the bottom left pitch and behind the goal on top right were available to press. I’ve only got a small digital camera, but the professionals were pretty upset about it as even they couldn’t get good pics on the top two pitches. One guy even refused to come in when he heard. They did relax it a tiny bit when it got to quarter-final time, but it wasn’t great. Still, I got some, and they’ll be along when I can get home and sort them out. I do have a team photo proving that they all were in kit!
To the football, then. Three games in the group stages. First up, East 17, who were no match for the dark skills of the lads in blue and black. TD looked a solid team, fully competent and more than a sprinkling of talent. It wasn’t long before the scoring got underway, both Hawkins boys finding the net and Justin scoring about 5! Job done. Next up were the Hunks (……) who were a different kettle of fish and much more physical. An injury to John Quinn in that game. Again though, Hawkins was the dominant name. In these first two games I felt that Dan played well but didn’t see as much of the ball, and seemed to unconsciously back off a little. Justin bore the palm in the first two, out of the brothers, but the whole team was good -Greenwood, Quinn and goalie Yousuf Rab especially. Justin’s goal celebrations drew mention amongst the press- ‘glad he’s doing some cos no fucker else is!’ 3-2, the score, a much much closer game and was only decided late on with the lead swapping back and forth. Next! Omid Dajalili. Apparently David Baddiel, Dave Gorman and Lee Mackenzie were in that team but I was too busy watching TD’s play to notice! This was on the bottom left pitch, the only one with a decent view, so I was running up and down the line a lot. Another good game, Justin still on fire and Dan really coming alive in this one. He showed a lot of determination and grit on top of those skills. The game went to 2-2 before second half goals settled the game at 4-2.
A bit of a break then while the other groups were settled, TD safely through to the quarter finals. I must admit that when Dan and Justin are on the same pitch, hair flying under identical headbands, they don’t half look like each other, especially now Justin has darker hair. More than once the wrong one got cheered. Ooops. The beard doesn’t help if the lad concerned has his back to you running the other way! It was great to see them getting on so well. Obviously things were patched up long ago, but it’s the first time we’ve actually seen it. During an interview the two gave, each said the other was better at football.
Umm… Where was I… Oh yes.
Quarter finals, against Tinchy Stryder. That was another hard fought game with sterling performances from everyone. Both Dan and Jus on the score sheet again, and worthy winners. Don’t ask me the score, I was too busy cheering. There wasn’t anyone you could get the scores from, tbh!
Semifinals came up straight after, as the tournament was running late. A bit of a buggers for our lads, as they had about 3 minutes to catch breath before playing again. Waterloo Road’s team were the opponents, and seemed to be a lot of young lads. Shouldn’t be allowed, in my opinion. Although they weren’t really the better players, they still won 3-1. To cap it all, the rain started with the game and it was a soggy TD and OI that left the field, beaten but unbowed. Justin was awarded top scorer for the day. I’d say it was a pretty good afternoon’s fun all round, and worth getting wet for.
Photos will follow.

Travel travails are not yet done. A cancelled train, a late and then further delayed one mean I won’t be home for another hour or so – but I’ve had plenty of time to write this. Cheers to everyone involved – it was by far the best Soccer Six I’ve been too, with the great atmosphere, standard of football and seeing TD. Three things that make for a fabulous afternoon in anyone’s book.

Team List:

Dan Hawkins

Justin Hawkins

Frankie Poullain

Ed Graham

John Quinn

Keith Dublin

Yousuf Rab

Simon Greenwood

Ean Gooding

 

Darkball Crazy

For the fourth time, I’m off to see Celebrity Soccer Six, because The Darkness are playing. Twice I’ve seen Justin play, this will be twice for the whole kit and caboodle. Memories of Goodison Park, 7 years ago, when the first ever article for OI was written. That was a great day. Darklings as far as the eye could see, a special Darkling hymn book written for the occasion, and a victory for our flame shirted heroes. Dan did scuff a horrendous penalty in the shoot out competition, but you can’t have everything. So, will victory be theirs again? The tournament has changed quite a lot since 2004. The teams take it more seriously (being mostly lads) and glamour is much more in evidence. Ladies, playing in false lashes and full slap isn’t cool. Making an effort and not squealing every time the ball comes near you will help, honest.
I’m on the train now, wondering how it will all go. Will Frankie and Ed make it out onto the pitch this time? Actually playing might be a step too far.. 😉 WIll the kit be like the last one? Who else is on the team? Will Lovesports have organised the press passes any better? For the third time running I’m going without any idea whether I’ll get one or not, because they don’t seem to reply to emails. I’m sure the staff at Charlton will be lots less snooty than some at Chelsea were, but that wouldn’t be too tricky…
Updates will follow. Lots of train changes to do.

Live Nation Give In

Following complaints and concerns that Download ticket holders  (who would be seeing TD anyway)  would be the only ones to purchase the warm up gig tickets for Leamington Spa and London, Live Nation have put those tickets on general release NOW. TD have posted on Facebook to say they agreed with the fans’ concerns and sorted it out with Live Nation. Good on yer.

http://www.livenation.co.uk/artist/the-darkness-tickets

Hurry. Norwich has already sold out.

:Edit: I’m sure those weren’t the only concerns, or the only reasons TD contacted Live Nation – but it was said, whether it’s agreed with or not.

Warming up and moving out on the road

The Darkness are playing three warmup gigs prior to their Download appearance on 10th June.

Live Nation announced earlier today that advance tickets go on sale tomorrow – Friday 13th May -for the following gigs. To qualify to buy, you will need a code that will have been emailed to you, and seems to be for Download ticket holders. General sale will be 5 days later and links go to Ticketmaster.

ON GENERAL SALE NOW!!! For the London gig, the best link is direct to venue – http://www.o2shepherdsbushempire.co.uk/

Monday 6th June – The Assembly, Leamington Spa

Wednesday 8th June – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London

Also announced by the  UEA ticket office:

Sunday 5th June – Waterfront, Norwich

That gig goes on sale Friday 13th May at 9am but there don’t seem to be any advance buying criteria. THIS IS NOW SOLD OUT

So. Festivals are lovely and TD will get huge exposure  – what we all want for them. There’s nothing nicer though than a venue gig – packed, sweaty, hot and bouncy. The angst of waiting to get tickets, the travel planning, who to go with, timings, money, work getting in the way.. it’s all starting here and now. Already has, here. I’m plotting and planning, not knowing if I’ll even manage to get a ticket!

I will be there. It might cost blood sweat and tears (though they might not be mine) and there could be hell and high water. It’ll be like coming home.

Not quite 30 years of hurt – only 5, and my god, there was hurt – but The Darkness and the Darklings are coming HOME.

Soccer Six Title Defence

Well, ok, the title was won in 2004 (that tournament was the first event covered by OI!) but a title defence is a title defence.  The organisers are The Lovesport Group  and the event takes place on Monday 30th May 2011 at Charlton Athletic FC (let’s hope they’re friendlier than Chelsea…). Tickets are available via the link on that page or direct to Ticketweb .

I believe in a thing called football. And by then, the Canaries will either be promoted or… playoffs.

Darkwatch #2

Time for another roundup…

Two more European festivals have been announced, confirmed and tied up in pretty bows:

NOVAROCK – Austria  Saturday 11th June 2011

Getaway Rock Festival – Gӓlve, Sweden Friday July 8th 2011

Plus the merch store now has a lovely new T, in all sorts of proper ladies’ and mens’ sizes. Gotta love metallic ink!

All looking good so far – big stages and big audiences, before we’ve heard a new note. Power of the Dark, innit.

Darkwatch #1

I thought we’d have a bit of a round up of recent Darklife. Not that anyone has missed anything, I’m sure, but someone might pop by who wants to know what the Lowestoft Four are doing.

So, the last time I posted, the new TD website was in a holding pattern, and breath was being held. Then one lovely Sunday morning, new things appeared. Contact details, and  MERCHANDISE. A brand new vintage Tshirt, based firmly on the classic logo/stage plan one from 2003. Ten minutes later, mine was all paid for and I was nearly in trouble for not paying attention to the males of the household demanding lunch. They duly arrived during that week – all lovely soft cotton and perfect logo. Smiles all round as realisation sets in – this isn’t a replica, or a reprint, or a nostalgia buy. It’s real. NEW. The first tangible thing. Mind you – have said it already elsewhere – they are cut slightly on the generous size, even for men, surely? Will be wearing my new TD dress as soon as possible! I’m sure we’ll get some that are more in tune with the female form in due course, as TD were alway pretty good with merch before.

Next up, and two days later… there had been a lot of speculation about whether they’d play Download, way before the official ‘we’re baaaaaack’ announcement. Every lineup announcement scrutinized. Finally, though, early last Tuesday morning, Download’s announcement came through and a little later, TD’s own. The Darkplace buzzed, plans made, day tickets wished for, weekend tickets bought. Precious belongings were sold (I assume games console thingies are precious?) to finance trips. Back on stage – a nice big one – right back where they should be.

There has been a fair amount of press attention, and most of it positive – even the NME joining in! Well done that lad wot wrote it. A few little snippets of interview, on the local telly  – a great start. Hopefully TD are pleased with the reception of the news. Much better to start with the good vibes flowing than having to withstand flak before even a note is heard. I have a feeling that there won’t be so much vitriol and dismissal this time around. Perhaps those first notes will be listened to with a tad more respect? And if not by people holding kindly disposed attitudes, at least they might be more willing to listen first with open minds? One can but hope.

So far, so good. One Tshirt, One gig, One very hairy photo.

 

Oh, and Frankie is looking for

Anyone interested in selling, lending or renting out a Gibson Thunderbird Bass Guitar?

So do seek him out on Facebook if you have.

 

Rebirth, Relaunch, Rededicate

I asked recently for fans’ thoughts on the Rebirth of The Darkness, so it’s only fair to do some work myself!

So… well. Oh LORD… we are so close to the Relaunch. So fucking close. Every time I think of it, it gives me a little shiver. I have a bounce in my step, a wide grin. My colleagues are already sick to death of hearing about it – either that or I’m getting patted on the head affectionately (well I hope so).  My husband has had fair warning and is still smiling.  Cats are a bit puzzled, but they sense something big is afoot.

Does it seem like a dream? Well, kinda. At the moment it’s all anticipation and preparation and planning of all kinds – much like the band themselves, I guess.  Work isn’t dreaming. Websites aren’t castles in the sky. The dream moment when I have to pinch myself will be at the first gig I can get to, standing there in the moments before they come on stage, just before the intro music. Oh, please,  RockGod, let it be ‘Arrival’!  Then, it will be time for a ‘quiet’ moment of ‘is this REAL? Say it is, say it is… ‘ and I KNOW I will have a lump in my throat. Every nerve will be on alert. I’ll have been nervous on the way, praying for everything to go right. If it’s the actual first gig, it’ll be a such a special night. Those nights for SG and HL were very special as well, but this? This will be… something more than that. Double that, and double again.  I’ll be an emotional wreck, and not ashamed.

We’ve all come a long way since October 2006, and so much has happened. Change and settling and rebuilding. That’s got to be a good  place to start from.

Everything in this household is ready to go again. For the love of the rock they brought,  I’m ready to go. I thought a lot about whether I could work for TD in the way I’ve done before, supporting SG and HL, giving everything I had time to give. I can’t physically do another Temple!  – there are other sites that can and will carry on in that vein. I can do this, though. I lay OI at the shrine of Lowestoft Rock, worship, hope, and wait patiently for miracles to happen (overblown metaphors a speciality, k?).

 

I can’t write this without some thank you’s for the rock we’ve had in the interval:

Robin Goodridge – for drumming so spendidly.

Stuart Cable (RIP)  – for stepping in to help.

Pete Rinaldi – for guitar, but mainly for being such a lovely guy.

Sam Stokes – for rocking hard and also being lovely.

Darby Todd – for being as cool as fuck, dude.

Johnny Haskett – for hugs, cake and splendidness.

Nick and Katy Brine – for just being ACE.

Toby Macfarlaine – for wit, elegance and charm.

Someone who deserves so many good things said about them – Richie Edwards.  You fronted SG so damn well, and are one of the nicest people anyone would ever wish to meet. We ALL salute you. I can only wish there had been one last time to ‘see you down the front.’  Maybe one day, Richie. xxx

 

Oh dear. Sniffle. See? Emotional already.  I am such a GIRL.

It’s time.

Permission to take off?

 

Granted.

 

 

Jo

 

The Darkness – 2011

The official website has a holding page – As Promised. The mailing list is up and running. The Facebook page is adding likes by the minute.

THEY’RE BACK.

All those months and years spent wondering- and lately, waiting – are nearly over. Rumours have been floating about for a very long time, and dismissed… but it’s true. There will be a Second Coming of the Saviours of Rock.

There have been mighty fine compensations. Stone Gods and Hot Leg have filled the gaps in bloody GREAT style. Stone Gods’ second album is still eagerly awaited and very much wanted.

But… but… there ain’t NOTHING like walking in the valley of Darkness.

Welcome back.

Celine and Nite Wreckage / The Savage Nomads

Alaska Studios, 20.8.2010

Nothing like a gig in London to go to – and this one was redhot, though I didn’t know it at the time of asking.

I knew nothing about either band playing at this showcase, put on by label Alaska Sounds, and by the time I’d decided I could go I’d left myself precious little time to check them out.  A little knowledge can sometimes be a bad thing, so I didn’t worry about it and set off in beautiful ignorance. And with perfect hair, which could well be the first time ever I’ve been able to say that.

At the back of the studio warren, Celine and Dave Ball were just finishing up soundcheck, and pondering the lighting vs visuals conundrum. Easily sorted with the help of small lamp and tall bloke! Both are polite, friendly and softly spoken, which sure as hell gives no clues for later. Calm more or less reigns with the protagonists, though prayers are being offered elsewhere that this all goes to plan. No signs of problems anywhere. Celine’s preparations are unhurried, and she still shows few signs of what’s to come.

To the tiny, warm room that’s tonight’s focus, then, glass of pink fizzy in hand.  The Savage Nomads, first. The four lads know very well what they’re doing, and do it very well, too. Clean, bright shafts of guitar dance across darker punkpop, illuminating and contrasting, allowing a flash of a 60’s vibe to escape every now and then.  They have a strong following already, and a residency at the 12 Bar Club, Denmark Street. EP coming out soon – listen and get more news on myspace.

A short break, much needed. It’s getting VERY warm, and people are buzzing. They really want to see this. Nite Wreckage  – collaborators Dave Ball and Rick Mulhall – are joined by drummer Terry Neale to provide visual and aural backgrounds for Celine, who is not so much of a singer as a protagonist.  When she arrives on stage, she’s not the same woman I met earlier. She’s transformed, and not just by clothes and makeup. Celine is now a denizen of the seamier side of London, switching through centuries as she makes sure you know where she’s at. Aggressive, contemptuous, funny and scary/scared – perfect portait of a Lady of Soho, don’tcha know?  She’s could be the Poly Styrene of THIS decade, but she is most decidedly Celine. Perfect electropunk swirls round her tempestuous lifelook, two sources of hardedged noise complementing each other lustily. Jane Austen is famed for her portrayals of society in miniature – Celine has it down pat, with grit and beats. Oh… and a hammer.

What a performance. Rapt hot sweaty audience, hot sweaty room.  There was humour, there were grins, there was dancing to damn infectious music. When Celine and Nite Wreckage are on stage, you pay attention. I am forever grateful to myself for taking up my invitation.  Entertain me? Fuck, Yeah.

Celine and Nite Wreckage’s single Popabawa is available for download on 5th September. The album Evolution? Revolution! is due out early 2011. Keep an eye on myspace for gigs and other news.

Many thanks to Martin Tibbetts and all at Alaska Studios.

Anders L.A. – ‘In Unison’

By Lucie.

The last time I reviewed Anders’ music, he was a child. Two years later, he’s still a child, but with an increasingly and impressively adult view on the world; you feel it in his music, and In Unison is the most grown-up melodic mission he’s ever been on.

I’m put in mind of another newish (but like Anders, having steadily worked on his craft for a fair few years now) young artist by the name of Streebeck – indeed, Anders’ debut album feels very similar to Streebeck’s Without a Baedeker, that delicate balance of songs on happiness and on loss, with the two themes occasionally merging.

Anders’ themes are more heartfelt than ever, his voice having settled in his tender years to suit the mood of this beautiful record and its nine poetic tracks. The rough edges of his previous EP’s have been smoothed and, such is the faith in this aural collection, it’s now available to buy on iTunes.

‘You Should Smile More’ was instantly my favourite track – I’m always swayed by the bounciest song first. The subject matter (the title says it all) is simple, yet something nobody else has written about before. This is Anders’ strength, discovering new themes (generally various branches of the feelings that come with love), surprising when love is the most well-worn musical subject of all; it’s astounding to find that somebody is finding new ways of exploring it.

I’m loving ‘Under The Sun’, ‘The Hard Goodbye’, and ‘You’re Always There’ too, songs that span emotion, as the entire record does. The album sounds effortless and clean yet deep and soul-searching, an odd and enticing mix that surely is the stuff that makes the best records. Anders rules, forevz.

www.myspace.com/andersla

Karaoke For Beginners – 8.8.09

giginthepark, Halesworth, Suffolk

Back in the Park again. Another hot sunny afternoon, and I love this event. It rocks! A little shopping in the town yields a pair of gold lamé lined purple velvet knee boots, and meeting the rudest second hand bookshop employee you’ll ever come across. DON’T go in there.

Ahem. Anyway… although I come every year, when I can, this year I came to see this band. Ed Graham back on stage after illness and his departure from Stone Gods is not something to be missed if you can get there. Sadly missed the first ever gig, but very pleased to make this one. MySpace provided plenty of idea of what to expect.

It was, in the way of GITP, a very short set, but there was plenty I liked. This is  rather more my bag of stuff than most.  Fields of the Nephilim versus The Cramps,  a dash or three of humour and a bloody good rocking dark sound. Ben’s voice gives Carl’s a good drubbing.  Tbh, this ain’t a band who are going to be seen at their best at 5.45 on a sunny afternoon, in full daylight. They need dark places. And dry ice, though there was a puff of smoke that surprised everyone (FOTN in mind, a bag of flour was also called for, but that’s just my 80’s goff thing and not a dig).  They also need a crowd! They’re a getdown/get sweaty and dirty in the pit sort of band, and THAT, I like.

It can’t have  been their best gig, and too short. I want to see them again, indoors, in a place where sweat runs down the walls and the crowd are UP. Natural habitat.

Ed fans – He’s looking well and drumming like a good ‘un.

MySpace

Facebook Group

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Streebeck – ‘Catch As Catch Can’

By Lucie Walker.

If there’s one current band that understands the meaning of evolution, it’s Streebeck. ‘Catch As Catch Can’ is startlingly different to the simplistic ‘Without A Baedeker’ in many ways, yet it’s clearly the same creators behind it, with a new attitude.

The most notable difference is the layering of music, mostly absent from the debut, with a full deck of instruments and instrumentalists – it’s immediately obvious that Streebeck is now a band rather than simply Lawrence Mackrell and his acoustic.

I’ll admit that it was live solo Mackrell that charmed me enough to buy the first album, but it only took one listen of ‘Catch As Catch Can’ to prove that the right decisions have been made for the development of Streebeck. It pleased me to hear that the raw lyrical emotions remain (my favourite line from ‘Long Goodbye’ being “I wish you’d shut your mouth, I’ve heard this all so many times”) against the backdrop of warm melodies, but it’s all one large developing step forwards – an inspired move.

The opening ‘Southlands’ is positively epic in feel compared to any of the first record, bright and much heavier than we’re used to. This, along with the similarly upbeat ‘Evening Train’ and the heart-wrenching ‘September’, are my favourite tracks from ‘Catch…’, the former two utilising the Travis-esque way of pairing pained lyrics with buoyant music – a style I have a soft spot for and one that was used to great effect in ‘Without A Baedeker’. It certainly makes for far more enjoyable listening than certain other recent artists and bands of a similar (but depressing) ilk.

‘Whilst You Lay Sleeping’ and ‘Giving Up And Selling Out’ are both further proof of how musically rich this album is, while ‘We’ll Always Have New York’ and ‘Birds’ are intensely reminiscent of the first album, maintaining a smart balance that gently introduces the fan to the new twist, and gives the new listener a treat.

This album is musical development at its finest, and it seems as if Streebeck is very aware of it. Mackrell and co have found their feet on the back of the confidence that the release of ‘Without A Baedeker’ has provided. ‘Catch As Catch Can’ is impressively fresh, complete with the feel of summer within the music, made to be enjoyed – so enjoy it.

www.streebeck.com