News & Insights 11 May 2007

Secret gig in Pennsylvania

Friday 11 May, 7am (Lightyears HQ, Riverton NJ):
I am waking from a hazy, gin-induced sleep… Bugger. Bugger. What the hell is this legion of weird bumps all over my lower back? Can’t see them… but they feel massive. What’s this? The only possible explanation for a swelling this large is that I must be growing a new head at the base of my spine. Wait… no. No. They’re mosquito bites! Jeez! The mosquitoes out here must be bloody mutants. I was eaten alive last night out by the river! Damn my tasty flesh. Damn it to hell.

Anyhow… first gig today! Our US agent, the one and only Jon Clifton, has booked us a secret show tonight at Milkboy Acoustic, the younger sibling of the main Milkboy venue that we’re headlining in a week’s time. Jon will announce the gig at the last minute on the WXPN message board (WXPN being the radio station we’re being interviewed on next week) and bill it as an early opportunity to see the band in an intimate setting before we hit the bigger venues later in the tour. He has called the night “Meet The Lightyears”…

Friday 11 May, 6pm (Standing in the street next to the van, Riverton NJ):
This is a good start. The first gig of the tour, an unannounced show at Milkboy Acoustic in Ardmore, is just a couple of hours away and the van is leaking. Tony is doing his mechanic’s act and squinting inconclusively at the problem, opening and closing the bonnet, stroking his chin and so on. He keeps saying worrying things like “It’ll probably be alright”. Well, that’s good then.

Thankfully, we make it to Milkboy Acoustic in one piece. The van hasn’t exploded yet and, until it does, I think we’re all going to assume there’s no problem with it. The news of the secret gig has filtered through to our fans and it’s good to see some familiar faces from the last tour in the audience tonight. We play a relatively chilled-out set, throwing in a few acoustic numbers from the early days like Home For The Weekend and I Could Be. To save space on the diminutive stage, Tony is using a cardboard box for a bass drum. The Americans love it. I have a feeling some of them may have assumed this is just what we do in England.

After the show we are taken out for dinner by our hosts and a smattering of fans. I am in the middle of telling some of the guys that they must try London Pride if they ever come to the UK when I realise that they actually have it on the menu! London Pride! Awesome. The Americans order a bunch of those and in return I sample the local brew, Yuengling, which I have to say is rather fine. I am then served a stupendously large burger (the first of many on this tour). I go to bed feeling pretty pleased with myself.

Chris Lightyear

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