News & Insights 15 June 2006

Meeting The Feeling

Thurs 15 June, 11.50pm (The Players’ Lounge, Charing Cross, London):
The Players’ Lounge is a popular actors’ hang-out just across the road from Waterloo Station. We’re here, unsurprisingly, with a bunch of actors whose play we’ve just been to see in Paddington. This evening The Lounge is heaving with well-groomed young men (men who, let’s just say, can probably dance really well) belting out heartfelt renditions of the hits from Cats, peppered with the occasional teary tribute to Rufus Wainwright. The Lounge has an in-house piano, but it seems to be something of an unspoken law that the piano is there for earnest recitals of Can You Feel The Love Tonight and not to play host to some trumped-up rock singer in a funny hat who quite plainly hasn’t combed his hair in a good while. Of course, this doesn’t stop me getting up there and having a go anyway.

Luckily I have something outrageous up my sleeve – a wacky, jazzed-up version of The Lady Is A Tramp – and, to my surprise, it appears to win them over. When the Players’ Lounge shuts, some devious soul convinces us to trek across central London to the Café De Paris, where we’re playing tomorrow night, to sample it’s fine selection of cocktails and banging tunes.

Some time later, we get there. It’s closed. Maybe that’s because it’s 5am.

Friday 16 June, 4.30pm (Café De Paris, Leicester Square, London):
It’s less than 12 hours later and, remarkably, we seem to be back at the Café De Paris. The reality of this is making me feel a little queasy. However, there’s a show to play so I’m forced to snap out of my reverie and get to the soundcheck. When the gig arrives, all goes well – we just about manage to stay squeezed onto the tiny stage and George debuts a solo version of a new song, “In Black Eyes”. Good work all round. Tomorrow, it’s back into festival territory.

Saturday 17 June, 3pm (Grovestock Festival, Chiswick, London):
We’re opening Grovestock, a day-long festival in Chiswick. It’s very hot. Especially in our full Lightyears military regalia. Today is significant in the history of the band mainly because we can now add Bjorn Belief to the list of superbly-named tribute bands we’ve shared a stage with (in case you’re wondering, Think Floyd and Oasisn’t probably top the list at the moment). When we come offstage we get booked for a gig on a cliff-edge in North Cornwall, so it’s time well spent, I’d say. Plus the burgers are excellent.

Weds 28 June, 11.15pm (The Feeling’s aftershow party, Portsmouth):
No gigs for a couple of weeks, so we’ve been on the look-out for alternative sources of amusement. As a result we’ve ended up here, backstage at Portsmouth’s Wedgewood Rooms, at The Feeling aftershow party, chatting with lead singer Dan. Tremendous bloke. Filled my little world right up. Later on I fall into conversation with the drummer’s dad, who expresses his perturbation at The Feeling being pigeonholed as an MOR band, when in fact they’re really quite rock ‘n’ roll. “I even took him to see Deep Purple when he was a nipper,” he protests. I put forward my point of view that a pleasant quirk of the band being nudged into soft-rock territory is that they’re likely to become very, very rich, although my logic seems lost on him.

For the record, The Feeling are a superb live band – and they really are more rock ‘n’ roll than you’d think. The support band were our good friends Genius; check them out here [note from Editor – sadly, Genius split shortly after this gig. RIP the wonderful Genius band].

Friday 7 July, 9pm (Bush Hall, Shepherd’s Bush, London):
Tonight we’re supporting Livingston at London’s Bush Hall. Every member of Livingston grew up in a different country (they hail from South Africa, Italy, Germany and Norway respectively) which puts Tony’s nostalgic anecdotes about trying to procure underage pints in the Dog & Biscuit in Reigate somewhat into perspective. Bush Hall is a wonderful venue – over the years it’s hosted major groups like REM and Coldplay, and more recently acts such as Boy George and Lily Allen. We end up having a great night and, having put away a few pints, decide it’d be best to leave the car outside the venue and pick it up in the morning. 

Having had The Lightyears tourbus impounded after the last Clapham Grand gig, we’re understandably reticent about leaving it on the street overnight. These days we even joke that it’d be cheaper for us to hire a chauffeur than drive to gigs, since the average cost of releasing the car from the evil clutches of the local council is nearly £200. Still, eager not to let past experiences make us paranoid, we depart Shepherd’s Bush in high spirits, having left the car neatly tucked away at the end of a leafy cul-de-sac. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? Really?

Saturday 8 July, 9.30am (Outside the Bush Hall, Shepherd’s Bush):
Yep. Somebody smashed up the car and broke in. Apparently that’s the worst that could happen. Which, considering it’s Shepherd’s Bush, can probably be considered fortunate. I mean, we could have turned up to find our trusty Vauxhall engulfed in a raging ball of flames.

Chauffeur anyone…?

Chris Lightyear

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