Oxford Part II

Wow, so this morning, in the first 4 hours onsale, 90% of the tickets for the Oxford Album shows (see below) went. So we’re doing two more, at the Cellar Bar, on the next two days, the 30th and 1st. Tickets are at the same link. I’m pretty chuffed that things went so fast, when basically we hadn’t got round to advertising them beyond on here. Good times. Now cannot wait to get the new tour dates out and about.

In other news, I can happily confirm that I will be playing two shows at this year’s 2000 Trees Festival, one solo and one with band. I’m happy to be going back to what is miles and away my favourite UK Festival. I’m also confirmed for the Hurricane and Southside festivals in Germany, and there’s a ton more festivals in the UK and on the mainland to come.

I’m currently in Trier, Germany. Today was to be a day off on the tour, but a few days ago my friend Robert offered a last minute show for myself and Polar Bear Club. The venue is a typical Europunk Community venue, an old 19th Century Monastery taken over by kids with weird hair. We have bunk-beds next to the backstage, showers and internet access. On the road, this is luxury that almost cannot be described. They’re feeding us too and then taking us on a tour of the Roman ruins in town. I love Germany, it’s official.

Oh, and check this week’s Kerrang! magazine for a feature and a hot photo.

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Oxford In April

Hello folks. A special announcement here. I’m about to start working on my masterpiece (known to the world as “album 3”), as soon as I get back off this leg of touring. In a break with previous form, this record is very much going to be a band album, rehearsed with the boys (Ben, Nigel, Tarrant and Matt) and played live. As part of the process, we’ve decided to play a couple of special small shows in Oxford in late April (28th & 29th), at the Wheatsheaf. These shows will be teeny, intimate, and feature pretty much exclusively new material (with maybe a few golden oldies at the end…). The shows will go onsale at 10am tomorrow morning, from the link below. I’m really excited about the prospect, and hopefully it’ll give the people who make it a taster of things to come.


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On The Shores Of The Adriatic Sea

With a heavy heart and a heavier head (Munich was out of control), our touring party left Germany at the weekend after a frankly stellar series of shows. I’ve honestly never had such a positive reaction overseas, and it’s now number 1 in my list of places to revisit as soon as possible. We stopped over for a night in Vienna, playing a show to the good-looking but slightly more reserved Austrians, where I finally sold out of all the merch I brought with me for the whole tour. A chance run in with a very old friend (anyone remember Austrian HC legends Cameran?) led to another night of over-indulgence and sore heads for all.

After such debaunchery, it was with pleasure that the Polar Bears and I noticed that the drive to Milan took us close to some awesomely picturesque parts of the world. A few googles later, we were booked into a hotel in Lignano, a small Italian town bewteen Trieste and Venice, on the Adriatic Coast. I’d never seen this sea before, so I took the time after breakfast to wash my hands in it and think about history, Romans to Venetians to Gabriel D’Annunzio. It made me feel slightly intellectually restored after the weekend.

The tour is over its half-way point, and is going as well as could be asked for. All 3 bands are bonding like it’s going out of fashion, and we have yet to have a duff show. Brian and I have been working on some acoustic duets to finish the set, which has been really great. We’re currently working on a version of the Bragg / Guthrie number, ‘Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key’, a personal favourite. Norwich / Nottingham / Dublin, you have been warned.

Speaking of shows, we enjoyed Germany so much that PBC and I have a last minute extra show: Exhaus in Trier will be graced by our presence on Thursday 26th, which is the day after tomorrow. German info can be found here. Spread the word!

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From Munich with Love

Another update from the travails of Frank, Polar Bears and Gaslights around Europe. We’re in Munich today (as the strapline would suggest). My love affair with Germany continues apace – after tonight I will essentially be out of merchandise, having started the tour thinking i had enough to take me all the way through to Ireland. Obviously this isn’t a bad problem to be having in life, but I suspect that the people of Austria and Italy may be a little short of options.

Last night we played in Wiesbaden, which is near Frankfurt in the West of Germany, in a venue called the Schlachthof. That means “slaughterhouse” in German, and apparently the venue used to be one. The actual gig room is in a side part of the building, which is a cavernous warehouse. It was all a bit weird. We ended up staying there (they have a band crash space, like many European venues, and damn the UK / USA need to catch up with that idea). Mass whisky drinking unfolded, and we passed a merry evening running round the main room tripping out to the sight of a torch beam flashing from the huge mirrorball. A fun way to pass an evening.

Tonight Munich, and I’m continuing with my tour theme of not seeing much of the places I’m in. It’ll be a shame to leave Germany tomorrow, but Austria is great from past experience, so it’s not too bad.

Some links? How about a link to a live set in Amsterdam (supporting the Levellers) from last November? Also, Ben from Million Dead is selling his kit, used to record the last album and much more besides. Have a look.

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Stranded In Stockholm

So, after the calamitous cancellation of the Helsinki show on Sunday, the tour has ended up on an extended hiatus in Stockholm. We arrived Saturday night and will finally play a show tomorrow (Tuesday). In the meantime, we’ve been sleeping 14 people in two hotel rooms (and trying to hide the fact), and exploring the city. Stockholm, I can confirm, is gorgeous, particularly the old city, which is on an island in the middle of the river. It’s interesting coming to an old city in Scandinavia – this end of Europe has the distinction of not having been steamrollered too badly in the 20th Century, and thus being genuinely old (rather than part or whole reconstructions). My only misgiving, other than the cold – it’s snowing – is the European habit of closing everything from museums to record shops on Mondays, thus derailing the day of culture that I planned first thing this morning from my corner of the dormitory.

It’s nice to spend some time in one place for once and actually get to see a city I’m in. As noted below, my experience of Berlin and Cologne consisted of some dressing rooms and some strangers’ floors. It’s got me in a pensive mood. I’ve been getting to know the Gaslight and PBC guys a little better, setting the world to rights over excess-Valentine’s bottles of champagne and so on. Working on demos of new material too, which is always encouraging. Trying to fill the gaping holes in my knowledge of Scandinavian history. Bettering myself, ha!

Some points of interest, to help pass the working Monday. A friend of mine is running in the London Marathon to raise money for the Parkinson’s Disease Society. You can find out more and help out here. If you’re a Last FM type of person, you should go and join this. And finally, some words of wisdom (at long last).

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Helsinki Disasters

Shitpants. Tomorrow’s show in Helsinki is off. This is because last night, in Gothenburg, someone tried to break into Gaslight Anthem’s van. Thankfully they didn’t get anything much, but police inquires meant that they missed the ferry from Stockholm, and they don’t come so often. So there’s no show tomorrow. This really sucks, everyone is gutted. I’ll be back in Finland with Anti-Flag in March, so hopefully anyone coming down can make that instead. Apologies everyone.

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A Vast International Conspiracy

When you wake up on the floor of a Swedish University Hall to a batch of emails about shows in New Mexico and questions about Russia, you start feeling invincibly international. At times that’s a good thing, hell, I’d be an arse to complain about my lot in life right now, but at times it can be a little, um, daunting. Anyways, this all gives me occasion to talk about American shows!

As many people already know, I’ll be at SXSW in Austin this March (I have this nightmare day where I have to fly from Riga in Latvia to Texas, through about 4 different flights; the mind boggles). I’ll actually be playing half-solo and half-full band, though I’m only meeting the musicians I’m playing with a massive 5 hours before our first show..! Then I’ll be off on tour with the good people of Look Mexico and Steve Soto & The Twisted Hearts (members of whom will kindly provide my backing). The dates at the moment look like this:

  • 19th March @ NME Showcase, Latitude 30, Austin, TX, USA, 8pm
  • 20th March @ Jail Guitar Doors Showcase, Friend’ Bar, Austin, TX, USA
  • 22nd March @ Rock Bottom Tattoo Bar, San Antonio, TX, USA
  • 25th March @ Hensley’s Flying Elephant, San Diego, CA, USA
  • 26th March @ The Viper Room, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • 27th March @ The Blank Club, San Jose, CA, USA
  • 28th March @ Thee Parkside, San Francisco, CA, USA

There’s more shows TBC, of course, in New Mexico, Arizona, and then Oregon, Idaho and Colorado. Also, for people on the East Coast / South, I’m back over in May for some more shows in your areas, so hang tight. Essentially, though, it’s awesome to have some more great US shows in the diary, and with some great bands too.

Berlin was great, the drive / ferry to Sweden was long and crushingly early but beautiful. Malmo was cool, and today we drive to Gothenburg. I’m still breaking new ground every day, which is too awesome for words.

A quick one to finish off today… Jenny Hardcore, a photographer friend of mine, has a post here about the photo in the sleeve to Love Ire & Song (one of my favourites). Enjoy.

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Europa Europa

Hello from backstage in Berlin. This is shaping up to be one of the most fun tours I’ve been on in a while, but also probably the worst for sightseeing. This is the first time I’ve ever been to Germany, let alone played here. Last night in Koln / Cologne, we had a blast – sold out show, an extra show in the car park, the works. Alas I missed the entire city, and am in the process of doing the same in Berlin. Shucks.

The tour is generally ace. The UK shows were all a blast, really nice to play to old friends and new alike. Gaslight fucking rule, but we knew this. Polar Bear Club, my erstwhile travelling companions and other support act, are the turn up for the books – excellent people, excellent band. I feel adventurous. Tomorrow we’ll be in Sweden, another first. I feel European.

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Snowed In

Hi everyone. You may have noticed snow in the UK today. Alas, this means that while I am stranded in Kingston, the Gaslight guys’ plane got diverted to Glasgow, meaning that tonight’s show in Portsmouth ain’t happening. The good news is that it’s been rescheduled for the Saturday. Hopefully everyone can still come. Sorry for the inconvenience…

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Saddle The Horses

What a fun week of instores that was – thanks to everyone who came down and saved me from Spinal Tap-esque embarrassment, much appreciated. I’m now at home doing some last minute washing before heading off on a mammoth run of dates. First up is the UK and Europe with the excellent Gaslight Anthem and Polar Bear Club. Then some dates in Ireland, then Russia with Anti-Flag, and then off to SXSW in Austin Texas, followed by a short run of US dates. Phew.

Once I get back from that, I’ll be in rehearsals with the band for album 3, and then into the studio with Alex Newport to record in May. We’re looking at a September release, with a single beforehand. I’m really excited – things have come together a lot material-wise in recent weeks, and my lyrical block has gone too. So, expect face rocking and all that kind of thing.

One last thing: on a frankly ridiculous stop-over between Belfast and Samara (Russia), I’m playing one last instore at Pure Groove on March 7th at 6pm. This is in part to promote a limited run 7″ vinyl of ‘Reasons Not To Be An Idiot / Thunder Road‘. Every single last damn one of them will be hand numbered and annotated (whose idea was that, ffs?). You can pre-order them now from the Pure Groove site. There’s only 300, so get cracking.

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