Monday, 15 September 2008

Fully fucken teckle

In the time we've been together, we brave few of Flatlands have developed something of a collective fondness for Scotland. People up there seem to welcome us and our music with an enthusiasm we rarely find this side of the border. Nowhere else have an audience played human skipping rope for us, and nowhere else do they know how to batter and deep-fry haggis properly...

This past weekend, we ventured northwards for our fourth visit to Scotland (the third for Gareth, he was still a matter of idle speculation the first time we went). What follows is a vague attempt at cataloguing the events of the last few days in words (mine) and pictures (mine and Mike's).

It takes seven hours to drive to Aberdeen, so Adam had to get pumped first:
And then Fred had to make sure he had something to read on the way:
All I know is that I'm glad I got to sit in the front:
Along the way we stopped at the legendary Tebay services, during which Mike fell on his arse and we bought a selection of farm shop pies. Our eventual arrival in Aberdeen went somewhat awry, as the post code the venue published on their website took us to a sedate residential suburb, and finally a small lane called "The Woodies", on which the only buildings were a grim collection of lock-up garages. We didn't stop to take photographs, lest we were murdered.

We finally found the venue thanks to the old fashioned method of ringing up and asking where it was. Turned out it was called "The Tunnels" for a reason:
We were given a welcome pile of roasted veggies, chicken, pitta bread and Reggae Reggae Sauce by friendly promoter Dave, and Fred fell in love with the barmaid. Then 1864 & Art played:Me and Adam started to flag. Ablach's insane crusty grind failed to rouse us:
Then we played, and it went pretty well apart from broken cymbal stands and iffy cables. Perennial Flatlands favourites Kaddish rounded things off, their set punctuated by a classic heckle constructed solely of Disturbed lyrics. Then we all went back to Dave's house to shout nonsense at Call of Duty 4 players and to fall asleep:

During the set at The Tunnels, Mike had asked the audience if there was anything to do in Aberdeen the following day, as in two previous visits we felt we'd exhausted the possibilities that our next port of call, Dundee had to offer. The sum total of their suggestions: "GO TO DUNDEE!"

So, the next morning we bid Dave farewell and set off to wander about the granite city for a bit - a lick of paint wouldn't hurt the place, there's only so much grey I can handle. We visited the greatest music shop I've ever seen, which was disguised successively as a newsagents and a coffee shop before revealing its true splendour. This aside, Aberdeen is just a generic medium sized British city, only in monochrome.

Aberdeen dealt with, we decided to head off down the coast in search of the best fish and chips in Scotland, which are apparently to be found in a fishing village called Stonehaven. It was nice little place, falling somewhere between quaint and Lovecraft (G wondered if it was actually Innsmouth under an assumed name). We went down to the sea, the lonely sea and the sky:
We went for a saunter along the beach, and Gareth decided to wander off on his own and look moody:
This backfired somewhat:
A solution was quickly devised:

Following this episode, Gareth returned to his posing ways, having learned nothing from his ordeal:
Then we admired some sculptures:
And Fred threw rocks at an increasingly distant Adam:
After all that exertion, it was fish supper time, courtesy of the award winning Sandy's:
We wanted a deep fried Mars bar for afters, but despite the proud boast, this chippy was shut:
Ice creams all round:
On the way out of town to Dundee, we noted that American rappers are never slow to exploit any business opportunity:
Having arrived at the Dundee venue, Drouthies, Gareth put some rum in a coconut and we pulled faces for a bit:
Opening up the show were a local band whose name escapes me, they did some nice hardcore and moved about a lot:
Gareth's hand went massive, shiny and rude:
Then our Irish buddies Stand Up Guy played a storming set (Fred having apparently not moved for some time):
Kaddish were up next, and their set was a treat as always. If you're even vaguely into hardcore, screamo or post-rock (or whatever), I can't recommend this band enough. Mike took some arty pictures:

Our turn next, and great fun was had by all - starting off with the glee of realising how painfully loud we were in such a small space, and reaching a peak with the ultimate in Dundee compliments being bellowed at us by promoter Maxi (see the title of this post).
After the show, we and Stand Up Guy headed back to the massive abode of the man known as GW (short for Gingerwank), or Owen, to his friends. Owen has put us up every time we've stayed in Dundee, and never fails to entertain with his charming way of referring to anyone and everyone as a "fucken prick". This night found him in great form, having screamed incoherently throughout our set he then dragged Mike, Fred and Adam off to an awful rock club while the rest of us watched hours of Father Ted in his front room. He also called Mike a "speckled fuck" and threatened repeatedly (in mime) to forcibly penetrate Gareth. All this and he was due in work at nine the next morning.

Morning saw the two bands getting some food and parting ways, us leaving Dundee only after a thorough perusal of Groucho's second hand record shop and the purchase of a great many 10p CD singles. Off we went to Edinburgh, with Breakfast At Tiffany's and six mixes of Woohah (Got You All In Check) for company. We were looking forward to this show, Edinburgh has always been a highlight for us, and we were yet again playing for the Cold Dead Hands collective - for the second time this year, which I later found out was a rare honour as they normally employ a policy of only putting bands on once a year. What's more, this was their fifth anniversary show, so being part of the bill felt pretty special all round.

The venue, Henry's Cellar, was a dimly lit subterranean room, next to the kitchens of a Chinese restaurant. I developed a desperate craving for noodles after around ten minutes. There were a lot of bands on, sadly I didn't get to see all of them. Secta Rouge provided some highly accomplished techie spazz metal stuff, as I recall, and The Process pretty much laid waste. Mike got some shots:
We played right after, and it seemed a bit subdued compared to our previous outings in the city. Still, the overall reaction was very positive, and you can't have limbo competitions going on every time you play.
After we finished, we decided to head off in search of some more Scottish cuisine, Mike having spied out a possible source for the elusive deep-fried Mars bar. We were in luck, and doubly so as Fred sampled the delights of battered haggis:
Sadly, I don't have a picture of the Mars bar, but it wasn't unpleasant - imagine a pancake full of melted chocolate and caramel sauce and you'd not be far away. Full and vaguely nauseous, we wandered back to the venue to catch an awesome set from Germany's Planks, before I was driven outside by the oppressive heat, thus missing headliners Tombs. I did get to meet a charming drunkard who took the time to explain to me and Mike how Oasis had changed music, and what was going on inside was "fucken shite".

Show over, we drifted across town to the flat of our good friend Linds, for tea, weed and a lengthy conversation about Warhammer armies. Fred was riveted:
We eventually went to bed, but not before Mike had positioned a terrifying homunculus so as to upset Adam in the morning:
Suffice to say, it worked.

Morning came, more tea was had. Breakfast was provided, as ever, by the Seabreeze cafe on Leith Walk. Sadly, they no longer have the neon pink tomato sauce we had grown to love on previous visits, but you can't win 'em all. Then it was time to bid Linds and fair Edina a fond farewell, and face up to the trek back to Sheffield with only four mixes of "I Got Five On It" to entertain us. We did get a picture of a favourite landmark on the way south, though, which I'd like to dedicate to Mr Daniel Quantrill of Coventry:
"Make it a fucken big boax!"

Sheffield came eventually, and brought us one final show for the weekend, but that's another story. More importantly, I want to finish writing this and go to bed. Thanks to Dave, Maxi, Owen, Kay, Graham, Scott and Linds, as well as all the bands and the many other lovely people we spoke to or who shouted at us over the weekend. And good night.

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