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Felix Hagan & The Family

STRING UP THE ENTERTAINER (EP) – FELIX HAGAN & THE FAMILY

 

When you get older, it’s easy to get stuck in your ways. That’s a sad truth, and no matter how hard you might fight it, it’s always there. It particularly applies to music. Gone are the days of me being blown away by a new band each month, having my whole view of music jilted on its axis by some unassuming piece of plastic or vinyl creeping into my stereo. Such is life.

 

But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t, occasionally, still happen. A while back I got an email, unsolicited as such, from one Felix Hagan, asking me to check out some of his music. Big whoop – this happens to me most days of the week, and when I do have time to check stuff out, it’s usually OK, passable, good even, but doesn’t grab me by the collar and demand my attention. This was different. I genuinely couldn’t decide whether I loved or hated what I was hearing. It was massively outside my own musical comfort zone – the mile-wide theatrical streak made me think of my own bete noir, musicals (urgh), the stylised nature of the whole thing was a long way from the punk rock or outlaw country that I feel comfortable around.

 

And yet I couldnt’ stop watching the video, and listening to other songs, and marvelling over the songwriting, the arrangement, the sharp-as-a-tack lyrics, the toe-tapping beats, the infectious melodies. In the end I decided I had to go see Felix and his band, The Family, play a show. Within about 30 seconds of them taking the stage, I was sold, a total convert, a newly-signed-up member of the cult.

 

“String Up The Entertainer” is the new EP from Felix Hagan & The Family. It encapsulates everything I like about them. It’s original, it’s clever, it tiptoes along the line between kitsch and parody and successfully skips past both into excellence by way of its sheer, unashamed, joie de vivre. There’s just enough tongue in their cheek (and in their kisses) to subvert their natural enemies and win over even cynical old punks like me.

 

Or to put it considerably less pretentiously, I really like this record, and I think you will too. Next everything else new I’ve heard lately, this is a total breath of fresh air.

 

You can get your copy, and find out live dates, from http://felixhagan.bandcamp.com/ from September 27th. Also check out their facebook. You’re welcome.

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The Big Ticket Fest

Hello everyone. We’re still in Europe, but we have some American news for y’all (authentic, that) nonetheless, as we are heading there next. On December 8th I’m playing at The Big Ticket event in Metropolitan Park, Jackson, FL.

Tickets are onsale now for $19.50, and there’re a limited number of discounted tickets onsale between now and Saturday, Sept 21.

Basically, the way they’re running it, for every day that you leave it, the ticket price jumps by five bucks, so get in here quick.

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December Florida Shows

Flordia folks, I’m playing a couple of shows in your state at the start of December. Details below:

7th December – 97X Next Big Thing 13 (St. Petersburg)
Presale tickets available now from here.
General sale opens: 13th Sept

8th December – The Big Ticket (Jacksonville, FL)
Presale tickets available next Monday from here.
General sale opens:23rd September

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UK Tour Merch Kits

Hey folks, so tickets for the UK tour are now on sale, and you can buy some additional merch with your purchase too if you fancy.

Tour Kit 1 comes with a limited edition Tour t-shirt with fabric pen to make your own tour mark, Tape Deck Heart bandana, engraved metal lighter, 2014 tour medal, A1 tour poster and an FTHC shot glass. All for £45.99.

Tour Kit 2 includes a standard tour t-shirt, and FTHC shot glass and plectrum necklace on ball chain. All for £25.99.

You can buy these at the same time as your tickets, just select the show you’re after and you’ll be able to choose your kit on the next page. Get yours from here.

If you do buy one, it will be posted out to you 1 week before the start of the tour, so make sure you add your full address.

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Arena Tour Thoughts

Today was day one of the February 2014 arena shows being on sale – well, the pre-sale – and it’s been an exciting and hectic day. The simple fact that I’m sat at home watching people buying tickets for venues this size to see me and the Sleeping Souls is pretty perfectly crazy. There’s been a lot of commentary and questions on Twitter and Facebook, and I thought it’d make sense to gather some thoughts and answers of my own for everyone here.

First up – thanks for buying the tickets, if you did, that’s great. Hopefully the ticket price is to everyone’s liking, I got it as low as I could. I know there’s also some booking fees here and there which can be a bit tiresome / excessive, alas that’s not something I have control over. The merch bundles are cool (I think) and pretty good value, and of course, you don’t have to buy them if you don’t want to.

Incidentally, none of the shows are sold out (!?) – it’s just the pre-sale that has gone, more tickets will be on sale on Friday morning at 9am. These will include tickets with disabled access, for those asking. The support bill for the tour is worked out, but I can’t announce it just yet. But trust me, it’s killer.

People have been asking about VIP tickets and “meet and greet” stuff. I don’t sell VIP tickets, it seems entirely bogus to me. I also find the notion of “meet and greets” a little staged, awkward, false. Then again, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to hang out with every single person at the shows. I have a plan to reconcile all of this to everyone’s satisfaction, watch this space.

More generally, the subject of arena shows, and a little bit of statistical geekery for you. I know some people aren’t stoked about the size of venues on this run and are worried about them losing a sense of inclusion, intimacy or whatever. I do understand that. I guess I have two responses. The first is, as Wembley showed (and most of these shows are smaller than that), it is possible to create a great atmosphere at big shows. Never fear, my band, crew and I are working on making the shows great.

More pertinently, here’s the thing: with the pre-sales today, if we’d been playing smaller venues (Manchester Academy, Brixton, wherever), almost all of them would have been totally sold out by lunchtime today. That means that the majority of people, most likely including you, dear reader, wouldn’t be able to come to the shows. It’d mean that any new people coming on board in the next 5 months wouldn’t be able to come. It’d mean that anyone who is waiting for pay day to buy tickets, or finding out if friends can go, or making travel arrangements, or people who simply weren’t up at that time of day, wouldn’t be able to come. It’d make what I do exclusive, and that’s just not what I want. So for now, while fortune smiles on me, we’ll have shows like this, and they’ll be a ton of fun, don’t worry. In the future, who knows. Maybe I won’t be hip (haha) in a few years time and I’ll see all you die-hards back at the Railway Inn.

Finally, in terms of the range of the tour. It’s a short run, I know. Time is not on my side, with commitments for touring elsewhere in the world and the fact that, with my health right now, I need to actually take it a little easier than on past mammoth runs. For the record, it’s not quite fair to say I “never” play Birmingham / Newcastle / Leeds / Bristol or wherever. Of the 188 shows I’ve done in the last year (not including making an album), 66 have been in the UK, including shows in every single region of these islands of ours. If this tour doesn’t come to your town, don’t worry, it’s not like I’m not coming back sometime pretty soon.

Anyways, I don’t want to come across as annoyed, I just wanted to put my side of the argument for you all. Something I’ve always done, and aim to continue, is to be open to everyone and ideas about how best to do what I do to keep everyone happy. This is a conversation, not a monologue. It’s going to be one hell of a tour – see you there.

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UK Tour Announced

Ladies and gentlemen, the wait is finally over – we have a new UK tour to announce. Apologies for the delay, I wasn’t allowed to talk about it until festival season was done. But now we’re there I can let you know about the shows, and I’m pretty excited about it.

The Sleeping Souls and I will be playing shows in Cardiff, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Manchester, London, Portsmouth and Plymouth in February 2014. The shows go on general sale on Friday 30th August, the details are below. I can’t wait to get back in the saddle and around the home country again, for what I guess we’re calling the Tape Deck Heart Tour.

The venues are pretty big this time around, which I know isn’t always everyone’s favourite, but here’s the thing: I feel it’s important for me to present what I do in such a way that everyone has the opportunity to see the show. It so happens that right now, to do that, I need to play bigger places.

But don’t worry! The ticket prices are as low as I could get them, we have an absolutely insane support bill coming together (more details on that soon), and, as the Wembley show proved, we can all still come together and create a great atmosphere, singing and dancing together. Playing shows at this level is pretty insane for me, I’m pinching myself hard, and I think now is as good a time as any to say thanks to all of you for bringing me and my band and crew to this place. So: thanks.

I’ll see you all in February (if not before), with a fixed back and fire in my belly. Til then.

Thu 6th – Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
Fri 7th – Nottingham Arena
Sat 8th – Edinburgh Corn Exchange
Sun 9th – Manchester Arena
Tue 11th – Plymouth Pavillions
Wed 12th – London O2
Thu 13th – Portsmouth Guildhall

Tickets go on sale Friday 30th August from www.gigsandtours.com.

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I Am Not A Machine

To quote Black Flag, “I am not a machine”. Dammit. Ever since Bonnaroo Festival (back in June) I’ve had a slight issue with my back. As of last weekend, 30 something shows later, it’s become a serious thing, and despite my best efforts to ignore it, bully it into submission or just punk rock through the whole thing, it’s a problem I need to deal with. My doctor has sent me in for a spinal epidural shot tomorrow, which means there is no way I can play at Pukkelpop, Gampel or Highfield Festivals this weekend.

Anyone who knows me even vaguely will know that, as well as being in a fair amount of pain, I’m filled with rage at my puny weakling back for letting me down, not to mention all the people at the shows. I can only humbly apologise. Hopefully I can sort this issue now and going forward I’ll be fine to keep touring til I’m old and gray.

Speaking of the future, people coming to Hatfield, Reading and Leeds need not worry – the shows will go ahead, we are working on a plan, and if I have to do them in a goddamn wheelchair I will. Everyone in my team, from the Sleeping Souls on down, are being really great about making sure that the show goes on. Thanks for your patience and good wishes.

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‘Losing Days’ + US Summer Tour

Hello, friends, from Madison WI, and the last date of this short North American run. We’ve been to lots of new places on this run – Vermont, Rhode Island, not least here, and I’m expecting to spend my afternoon eating cheese and listening to Bon Iver. We’ve also been lucky to share the road with Off With Their Heads and Ben Marwood, a pleasure as always. Parting will be sweet sorrow, tempered by the knowledge that reunion will be a blast somewhere down the trail (case in point: got drunk with Sean from Andrew Jackson Jihad last night in Ann Arbor, which was joyous).

To business! If you haven’t seen the video for Losing Days yet, well, why not? Haha. You can watch it and admire my steely resistance to pain (and my armpit hair) right here. And if that doesn’t sate your lust for, uh, tattoos and body hair, you can check out Ben Morse’s excellent behind-the-scenes video and photographs right here. Enjoy.

Speaking of Ben Morse, the loveable baldy giant has been on tour with me and the Sleeping Souls over on this side of the Atlantic lately. Aside from teaching us how to do stage fighting (seriously, it’s ace), he’s also been taking photographs. Excellent photographs. Have a look for yourself in this gallery here, and if you spot yourself, give yourself a tag.

Egad! The summer is nearly done. Time flies when you’re spending a significant portion of your life on transatlantic flights. We have a few more festivals to go though – catch us at Jurassic Rock (Finland), Pukkelpop (Belgium), Gampel Open Air (Switzerland), Highfield (Germany) and, of course, Reading and Leeds back in the homeland. We also have a warmup show for R&L on the 22nd in Hatfield, which is nearly sold out, so get on those tickets fast if you’re planning on coming.

All of which is a nice way to wrap up what has been a great summer. Thanks to everyone at shows, of course, and we will see you all in Europe or North America before the end of the year (and in other more obvious places after that). Travel safe, give em hell.

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Fall US/Canada Tour

VERY Excited to announce I’m going to be heading back to the States and Canada in October and November for a two month tour. Support will be provided by The Smith Street Band and Koo Koo Kanga Roo, both of whom I’m excited for you to see.

Tickets go on general sale this Friday, but there are some pre-sale tickets available right now! Click here to get yours.

The full listings are below, see you there!

October 04 – Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland, OH
October 05 – Intersection, Grand Rapids, MI
October 06 – Wooly’s, Des Moines, IA
October 07 – The Waiting Room, Omaha, NE
October 09 – Ogden Theatre, Denver, CO
October 11 – Urban Lounge, Salt Lake City, UT
October 12 – Hard Rock Live Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV
October 14 – The Fonda, Los Angeles, CA
October 15 – House of Blues, San Diego, CA
October 16 – The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
October 18 – The Neptune, Seattle, WA
October 19 – Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR
October 20 – Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, BC
October 22 – MacEwan Ballroom, Calgary, AB
October 23 – The Union Hall, Edmonton, AB
October 25 – Louis’, Saskatoon, SK
October 26 – The Garrick, Winnipeg, MB
October 28 – Varsity Theatre, Minneapolis, MN
October 29 – The Vic, Chicago, IL
October 30 – The Blue Note, Columbia, MO

November 01 – Granada Theater, Dallas, TX
November 02 – Mohawk, Austin, TX
November 04 – Fitzgerald’s, Houston, TX
November 05 – Soul Kitchen, Mobile, AL
November 06 – Jack Rabbits, Jacksonville, FL
November 08 – Culture Room, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
November 09 – Beachum Theatre, Orlando, FL
November 10 – Center Stage Theater, Atlanta, GA
November 12 – The Music Farm, Charleston, SC
November 13 – Jillian’s, Columbia, SC
November 15 – Amos’ Southend, Charlotte, NC
November 16 – The Norva, Norfolk, VA
November 18 – The Orange Peel, Asheville, NC
November 19 – Jefferson Theater, Charlottesville, VA
November 20 – The Taft Ballroom, Cincinnati, OH
November 22 – St. Andrew’s Hall, Detroit, MI
November 23 – Town Ballroom, Buffalo, NY
November 24 – Calvin Theater, Northampton, MA
November 25 – Upstate Concert Theater, Albany, NY
November 27 – Terminal 5, New York, NY
November 29 – Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA
November 30 – House of Blues, Boston, MA

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FTHC Tattoos

Hey everyone. As we all know, there’s a fair few of you lovely people who have got tattoos that are related to the music I make.

That’s awesome – to the point that I want to actually document and celebrate it a little.

I can’t be specific about the plans right now, but if you do have FTHC-related ink, please do get in touch by emailing frankturnerproject@gmail.com.

(Image courtesy of Matt Herring)

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