manchester united

Just as glorious as I remember…

7 March 2010

The Lightyears boys chilling with The Golden Seal.Wednesday 3 February, 11.30am (Table Bay Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa):
We landed in South Africa this morning to embark on our 2010 Cape Town tour and the place is just as glorious as I remember. Ten minutes ago we checked into our hotel rooms at the Table Bay, Cape Town’s swishest hotel, and whilst the rooms are being prepared we stroll out onto the Waterfront, bathed in sunshine, to have a little shufty at the famous Golden Seal statue.

The Seal statue is the hotel’s emblem and sits atop a plinth adorned with a series of golden plaques, bearing the names of the many famous and illustrious figures in film, music, politics and sport who have stayed there over the years. I investigate more closely and am suitably impressed. Here are some of the highlights:

– Michael Jackson
– Snoop Dogg
– Maroon Five
– Wesley Snipes
– Vladimir Putin
– Manchester United
– The England football team
– Stevie Wonder
– Robert De Niro
– Quincy Jones
– Barack Obama
– …and, just above Obama and slightly to the left… us.

The Lightyears.

Our proudest moment.We have a plaque on the Table Bay’s Golden Seal. And in case you don’t believe me, I’ve posted a photo on the right.

I suspect that if Putin discovered that he featured on the side of a statue, he’d play things pretty cool. Not us. We proceed to take a variety of shameless photos of ourselves pointing and grinning at our name, flipping the thumbs-up and generally behaving like the worst kind of tourists. But we don’t care. We’ve got our name on a statue. With a little union jack under it.

Our mothers will be so proud.

Best start to a tour… ever.

(By the way, this got me thinking – how many other plaques have been forged in our honour without us knowing? If we were to return one day to the Knutsford M6 Travelodge, would one of the concrete parking bollards bear the legend “The Lightyears stayed here – and they saw that it was good”? There’s simply no way of knowing for sure.)

'One day, my son, all this will be yours...'Thursday 4 February, 8pm (Green Point World Cup Stadium, Cape Town):
Being in a touring band has landed me in some pretty unusual places. I’ve performed the Korean national anthem with a world-famous opera singer for Her Majesty’s Ambassador. I’ve played my piano in the centre-circle of a football pitch whilst Rio Ferdinand and Carlos Tevez kicked a ball about above my head. And I’ve sung my heart out to a hundred and fifty Belgian farmers in a cow-shed in Kortrijk whilst a massive bull looked on, apparently completely nonplussed by the music (perhaps he wasn’t into indie). Tonight, I’m drinking free beer and eating tiny little miniature hamburgers at the brand-new 60,000-capacity World Cup Stadium in Cape Town whilst a rugby talk show is filmed on the pitch – the first time cameras have been allowed inside. And I know almost nothing about rugby. How did this happen?!

In the Players' Tunnel at the World Cup Stadium.In case you were wondering, it happened because the organisers of the Cape Town Tens (the event we’re playing at this weekend) are big names in the rugby world and in some cases were being interviewed tonight live on camera. When the filming finishes, we make our way back into the players’ tunnel in order to be as close as possible to the bar. I stand, beer in hand, gazing out at the immaculate flood-lit pitch and an interesting thought occurs to me. In six months’ time, the greatest footballers in the world will emerge from this tunnel to an enormous stadium crowd and a global TV viewing audience of millions. There is something wrong, and yet at the same time so wonderfully right, about me – a man who throws like a girl, would struggle to explain the offside rule and consistently came last in the high jump at school – beating them to it. Bring on the 2010 World Cup…

The stage is set.Friday 5 February, 8pm (Cape Town Tens Rugby Tournament, Hamiltons RFC, Cape Town):
Here we are, back at Hamiltons RFC (South Africa’s oldest rugby club) in the shadow of Green Point Stadium, making the preparations for our gigs this weekend at the annual Cape Town Tens Rugby Tournament. Last year’s event was spectacular and it seems to have doubled in size for 2010. The stage looks fantastic, all kitted out with a fancy lighting rig and an epic sound system. It’s also quite strange for us to see the drums set up on a riser at the back of the stage, which has happened on account of the fact that, for the first time ever, Tony isn’t on tour with us. Tony, you see, is having a baby (or rather his wife is), and for our South African trip he has been replaced by the inimitable Andy Paine, who is a little more conventional than Tony and play the drums sitting down at the back of the stage. Soundcheck is a very straightforward affair – the in-house engineers are excellent, and in combination with Danny Lightyear they have the whole thing sounding absolutely cracking within about twenty minutes. We’re all very excited about tomorrow…

The Lightyears onstage in Cape Town.Saturday 6 February, 8pm (Cape Town Tens Rugby Tournament, Hamiltons RFC, Cape Town):
The marquee is packed for our show tonight at the Tens… and let’s just say that the crowd are “well-oiled” after a day’s solid drinking in the Capetonian sun. After a storming warm-up set from Me & Mr Brown, we take to the stage amid flashing lights and dry ice and bask in the sonic glory of the Tens’ epic sound system. It’s a real joy to play on such a quality rig. The crowd are in the mood for singalongs tonight and the best moments come when we chuck in the odd South African number (Prime Circle’s “She Always Gets What She Wants”, for example – unknown in the UK but, boy, did that kick off in Cape Town!), as these really seem to capture the imagination of the locals. True to form there’s quite a bit of male nudity and playful wrestling going on during our set, as well as a practise in which one unfortunate chap is unexpectedly leapt upon by ten or eleven others until he turns red, like a tomato. Plus, these are BIG guys. All part of the fun of course.

My only disappointment tonight is that the increased security this year – as well as the barriers that separate us from the crowd – have rendered stage-diving pretty much impossible. Another time perhaps…

What do you give to the man who has everything he could ever possibly need?Sunday 7 February, 6.30pm (Cape Town Tens Rugby Tournament, Hamiltons RFC, Cape Town):
We spent today lounging by the pool and sampling the hotel’s excellent range of cocktails. If you look to the right you’ll see a photo of me and my blue margarita, which is admittedly something of a girly drink but is admirably offset by the book I’m reading (I would heartily recommend Slash’s autobiography, incidentally – any book which contains the sentence “This is exactly the excuse we needed to fire Bob Clearmountain” is worth a look, if you ask me). By the time we return to Hamilton’s RFC for the second gig of the tour we are feeling mightily chilled out and this definitely feeds into our set which, in keeping with the Sunday night atmosphere amongst the crowd, has much more of a laidback vibe than yesterday. We’re really settling in to performing with Andy and, as the sun sets and the tournament draws to a close, it’s a genuine pleasure to simply play music together. The highlight of the evening is when we join Me & Mr Brown onstage for a collective performance of Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” and everybody present absolutely sings their hearts out. Magic.

Me, staring poetically at a wave at Cape Point.The rest of the tour is seen out in typical style with a celebratory last night out on the Waterfront, a frightening number of Jäegerbombers (for which we chiefly have Danny to blame) and a hotel-room party complete with the inevitable and merciless mini-bar raiding. John, Danny and I stayed on for a few extra days to climb the spectacular Lion’s Head, indulge in a little winetasting out in the countryside and marvel at the beautiful scenery of Cape Point, the southernmost tip of Africa – but that’s another story, for another time…

ps. Jacob David Lyons, the world’s first ever Micro-Lightyear, was born on Thursday 18 February at 10.33pm weighing 8lbs 10z. The race is on to turn him into a drummer/guitarist/keyboardist/bassist (depending on which member of the band you ask). The grown-up Lightyears are all excited at the prospect of little Jacob joining the LYs as soon as he’s ready, on account of the fact that he would bring our average age down really quite considerably.

Buy your tickets for LYs at Wembley Stadium

6 September 2009

The LYs at London Road Stadium earlier this yearWe are playing Wembley Stadium this Saturday 12 September. Also appearing are Diversity, winners of Britain’s Got Talent. Tickets are just £10 – buy yours now by clicking here!

**THE LIGHTYEARS ARE ONSTAGE AT 1.30PM**. Gates open at 12.30pm.  Make sure you get there nice and early because Wembley’s a very tight ship and will definitely run on time.

For this criminally small investment you will also get top-class rugby in the form of a Guinness Premiership rugby match (Saracens Vs Northampton Saints), a tug of war, camel racing and all kinds of shenanigans. What a bargain.

Click here to read about our last stadium gig, performing for Manchester United at London Road Stadium.

See you there!

Stadium gig this Saturday

29 April 2009

The LYs proving that they're stadium-ready, May '08We’ve just been invited back to London Road Stadium to play in front of a sell-out crowd of 12,000 people this Saturday afternoon before the Peterborough United Vs Swindon match. 

Peterborough United, who were promoted last May from League Two, have just achieved a consecutive promotion and so next season will be playing in the Championship. They wanted a party atmosphere and so they called on us! And we shall deliver.

We have an interesting history with PUFC, A.K.A. “The Posh”, with whom we released a charity single last year in aid of local organisation Free Kicks, which sets up days out in sport for sick and disadvantaged the children. The single raised a ton of cash and even reached #45 in the iTunes Plus Top 100. We were then invited to perform at the closing match of the season and, subsequently, at a pre-season friendly against Manchester United a few months later. Click here to read up on our adventures at Posh on the Tour Diary page.

We are already in talks with the club with regard to playing in the stadium more regularly during the ’09-’10 season. Watch this space for updates…

And congratulations to the Posh for a second promotion in a row!

The tour has begun…

2 March 2009

The Lightyears hit Cape Town!FRIDAY 30 JANUARY, 2.30am (International Airspace, somewhere over Africa):
This is one of my favourite parts of any tour. I am on the plane, 40,000 feet above the ground, cruising at speeds of 600 mph. I am approximately four gin and tonics into an evening of steady boozing, courtesy of British Airways. Our hot-off-the-press recording of “Johannesburg“, finished only yesterday in Tony’s home studio, is playing in my ears. In a few hours we will land in Cape Town, South Africa, where anything can and will happen on this, the latest instalment in our ongoing International Rock & Roll Juggernaut Tour. Right now, the distinct aroma of possibility hangs expectant in the air. Although come to think of it, that might just be Danny. Soundman Danny drinks British Airways out of Jack Daniels

The Lightyears are about to land.

FRIDAY 30 JANUARY, 7.30am (Hertz Car Rental, Cape Town, South Africa):
Cape Town is gloriously warm. Emily and Skinny meet us at the airport with glowing tans (they’ve been in South Africa for a month already), a shining example of how we hope to look by the end of our ten days here. Job number one is to sort out the hire car, so George and I saunter over to the Hertz outlet to pick up the keys.

Now, until we’re at the stage where we get to travel around in a double-decker blacked-out nightliner replete with arcade games, plasma TVs, strippers and a ready supply of mind-enhancing hallucinogenics, we are somewhat restrained by having to work to a budget. Luckily, Tony’s dad is in the motor trade and was able to find us a great deal on a nifty little vehicle known as the Volkswagen Chico. For only £11.50 a day we would be licensed to career around Cape Town looking like refugees from Staines in an automobile that can really only be described as a “chavwagon”. In other words, if you’re driving this car and you don’t have So Solid Crew pumping out of the sound system, you’re doing something wrong. 

Standing at the service desk and waiting for the clerk to finish scanning our credit card and checking our details, we begin to share a collective concern that maybe everything isn’t going to go as planned. He keeps giving us funny looks out of the corner of his eye and it suddenly occurs to me that, dressed up in shades and shaggy haircuts and surrounded by guitars, we are very obviously in a band. And would you hire a vehicle to a bunch of foreign reprobates in a rock band? Exactly.

“So…..” the clerk muses, “four guys, eh? Musicians?”

“Erm….” (no sense in lying – I mean, I could say we were ballerinas but unfortunately the evidence to the contrary is damning), “yep. Just in from London”.

“London, eh? Well, thing is, we don’t have any Chicos left”.

Bugger. We’ve been rumbled. Push-bikes it is then.

“Can I interest you in one of these?” he offers with a nod, pointing at an A4 laminate featuring a whole range of cars we couldn’t possibly hope to afford. Before we can utter an objection though, he cuts us short. “Same price,” he says, a twinkle in his eye.

Surely not. The man is indicating an 8-seater VW Transporter – our ideal car.

Throwing each other furtive glances like 12 year-old boys who have just been told it’s OK to shoot at cats with their dad’s rifle, we garble some “thank you”s, grab the keys off the clerk and leave hastily before Ashton Kutcher’s able to turn up and tell us it’s all a big joke. 

I don’t know exactly who that guy was but I can only think he must have been Santa, gripped by an out-of-season rush of altruism. For the car that he has gifted unto us is a shining stallion of wonder. A glorious, pimped-out, brand new, 2.5 litre, 4-motion hunk of beautiful steel. And it’s all ours. Out of respect, we name it “Chico”.

The tour has begun.The LYs pose in front of Table Mountain

(n.b. Tony, who is hiring an alternative car as he’s not flying out for another few days, will almost certainly turn up in Cape Town to pick up his Chico and receive, well, an actual Chico. Which will look puny alongside our behemoth. This thought alone keeps me roundly amused for several days. At times I would even wake up at night, remember it, and chuckle surreptitiously to myself).   

SATURDAY 31 JANUARY, 9pm (Speedway 105 Cafe, Cape Town):
Our main reason for being here in South Africa is to headline at the after-parties for the first-ever Cape Town Tens Rugby Tournament next weekend. However, never a band to rest on our laurels, we have already booked another couple of gigs for the coming week at Speedway 105, a bikers’ bar in the centre of town. Tonight we are performing unplugged on the balcony and on Wednesday (when Tony has arrived) we’ll be playing a full band show inside. Auditioning for Grease 3 in the Speedway car park

Speedway is run by identical twins Dave and Paul Van Der Spuy, veritable movers ‘n’ shakers on the Cape Town scene. They’re also absolute chaps. They have the banter of Morecambe & Wise and the hospitality of saints. Dave’s wife, Janie, works in PR and is on the case with promoting “Johannesburg” to the local press, and between the three of them they have pretty much made Speedway our home from home in South Africa. The vibe this evening is pretty laid-back, and George and I are sitting on stools on the balcony, knocking out a string of acoustic tunes for a mixed audience of bikers, drinkers, regulars, friends and the rest of The Lightyears’ entourage.

It’s a great opportunity to try out “Johannesburg” on a native audience – and its maiden voyage proves successful. The song is simple and uplifting, I guess, which makes it very accessible, especially here in SA where the significance of the story behind it becomes even clearer (check out my blog “The Story Behind Johannesburg for the full tale). Later in the evening, Janie tells me she found it very moving and is confident we can get some good South African press on the band, using the song as our angle.

Liberated by the easy atmosphere and unplugged setting, George and I bust out some old tunes which don’t normally get an airing at LYs gigs – “Snog Song”, for instance, which we wrote years ago with our good friend Ben Scriven. It’s a song about inventing a love potion and getting jiggy with the Queen. Obviously. Try requesting it at a Lightyears gig one day – we’d be duty-bound to play it… Performing at Speedway

Afterwards things a get bit hectic when a group of Norwegian petrolheads start tearing up the tarmac with their enormous bikes. Danny, who knows a lot more about bikes than I do (not hard), explains that they are “doing burnouts”. When I ask him what a “burnout” is, he says “Wait and see – but there’ll be tons of smoke and a lot of noise”.

FYI, a burnout is essentially the biker’s equivalent of a crop circle – revving one’s engine and spinning the back tyre round in a perfect circle, on the axis of the front wheel, to leave a dark circular imprint on the tarmac. I think this a bit like when cats wee on stuff. It’s an imperial venture, in other words. It says “Me and massive bike have been here and there’s nothing you can do about it”. 

Unless you’re the local law enforcement agency, that is. Sure enough the cops have made an appearance within about twenty minutes, attracted by the noise. Driving in through Speedway’s main gates, they slowly circle the parking lot like a predatory steel shark and, once satisfied that they’ve made their point, disappear back into town.

The bikers, who personally I wouldn’t mess with, wait a cursory eight minutes and then return to the business of decorating the car park. This is brilliant! Will there be a ruckus though, I wonder? Who would you back? Probably the petrolheads. They’re Scandinavian and there are about twenty of them. The cops looked like they were all talk and no trousers. Having said that, when they return shortly afterwards and repeat their shark routine, it proves sufficient to put an end to the burnout competition and everybody retires inside to watch the arm-wrestling. 

There’s always something going on at Speedway. Gotta love the place… 

SUNDAY 1 FEBRUARY, 11.30pm (Cafe Caprice, Cape Town):
We are out clubbing in Cafe Caprice – a place justifiably known as “the jewel in Cape Town’s crown” that represents the centre of the city’s Sunday night social scene. The people in here are ALL beautiful. Big, bronzed Adonises of men and gorgeous, glowing women, pictures of youth and vitality. It’s like actually being in an episode of “The O.C.”. 

Whereas in England we while away God’s day with a back-to-back marathon of Songs Of Praise, The Antiques Roadshow, Last Of The Summer Wine and a toasted crumpet, Sunday is big business in Cape Town. Everybody parties here on a Sunday. We spent the early half of the evening at coastal hangout La Med, where local band Goldfish play a residency to an ample and enthusiastic crowd, week in week out. I mean, I say “local” – actually they are fast becoming one of the country’s hottest acts. Definitely worth a look – imagine Lemon Jelly meets Fatboy Slim. Click here to visit the Goldfish website

At La Med we meet Cape Town Tens organiser Ron Rutland, an absolute chap and the man responsible for flying us out to SA. He seems relatively calm on the surface; however, being only five days away from the first ever CT 10s tournament is evidently starting to take its toll on his sanity. There’s a lot riding on this and Ron is the man at the helm…

After a few beers at La Med we hit Caprice, on the advice of the legendary Dan Skinstad (A.K.A. “The Commander”), who seems to be something of a celebrity round these parts. Dan has a natural entourage at Caprice and we join them for a few bevvies to see the week out. Later I learn that, during our time in the club, George ended up in a fairly extended conversation with star cricketer Herschelle Gibbs, a member of the national team. At no point throughout their chat did George have any idea who the guy was. In fact, I believe his closing gambit was “So, tell me – what exactly is it that you do?”. I can’t imagine Herschelle is a man accustomed to being asked that question, what with him being generally considered one of the finest athletes in his country’s history.   

It dawns on me that, for a band who (Tony aside) know very little about sport, we’ve met some top flight sports personalities. Bob Skinstad and Robbie Fleck organise the Cape Town Tens with Ron and both happen to be global sporting legends from their days playing for – and in Bob’s case, captaining – the South African rugby team. Later in the week we will meet more rugby superstars in the guise of former Canadian international Eddie Evans and Italian Number 8 Matt Phillips. A couple of years ago we stayed in the same hotel as the Dutch national football team (in one particularly memorable incident, Tony stood next to Marco Van Basten in a lift and actually used the phrase “Do I know you?”). We have performed for Manchester United and Alex Ferguson, hob-nobbed with Peterborough FC director and all-round sporting hero Barry Fry and now George has failed to recognise one of the world’s most famous cricketers in a club. So all in all we could make a lot of fanatics very jealous, even though as a general rule we don’t know our silly mid-ons from our bogeys.


Stay tuned for South Africa Part Two – and find out what happened when we tried playing Frank Sinatra to 30 pissed-up Scandinavian bikers…

Chris Lightyear

It’s not often that our stage has turf…

14 August 2008

The Lightyears play London Road StadiumOn Monday evening we played at London Road Football Stadium in front of Manchester United and around 12,000 people. 

For George and I this was a chance to perform to our biggest ever crowd, to mingle with some of the most famous sporting celebrities in the world and take a few more steps on the path to becoming a fully-fledged stadium rock band.

For Tony, however, it was an unrivalled opportunity to pick up some handy gardening tips from the groundsman concerning how one can most effectively prevent clover from colonising one’s lawn.

Each to their own, I suppose.


So, the stage was set, we’d assembled all our gear on the centre-circle and kick-off was due in just under two hours. The match was a pre-season friendly between the newly promoted Peterborough United and European Champions Manchester United.

We were keeping our instrument cases in the bowels of the stadium and, as we carried them through the labyrinthine corridors beneath the terraces, we passed a familiar-looking figure deep in conversation on his mobile.

It was Man United boss Alex Ferguson, the most successful manager in English football history. Alex Ferguson! Using a mobile phone! Like a normal person! Unbelievable. I wonder who he was on the phone to? Probably the Queen, or Steven Spielberg. People often claim that well-known celebrities look smaller when you meet them in real life, although in this case I felt the opposite was true. He’s a big man, is Fergie. Quite an imposing presence. I briefly considered trying to engage him in conversation about St Mirren (St Mirren are the football team I support – a not-particularly-successful Scottish outfit with the dubious claim-to-fame of being the only club ever to have sacked Ferguson) but, as he seemed busy, I decided against it.

In the Peterborough FC office we checked the stadium’s computer system, which keeps a running count of exactly how many people have come through the turnstiles. The gates had only been open a few minutes but there was already a steady trickle of fans starting to fill the terraces. The tally was growing speedily and during the latter part of our set we would be playing to a near sell-out crowd.

Tony in the centre circleWhen it hit 6.30 and the place was starting to fill up a bit, we took to the stage (well, I say “stage” – it’s not often that our stage has turf) and busted out She’s The One, This House Will Burn and Beat Alive. The set seemed to be going down really well and the stadium was getting busier by the minute. We were playing Sleepless as the Peterborough team emerged from the tunnel and we followed this with a couple of stirring, high-energy covers Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now and Jerry Lee’s Great Balls Of Fire

Man Utd appeared next and, I have to say, I found it a bit depressing that the cheer they elicited from the crowd entirely dwarfed the one we’d just heard for the home side. Such is the nature of United’s monopoly over world football, they can visit pretty much any town in the UK and outnumber the home fans. Rooney was ill and Ronaldo injured (for “injured” read “sunning himself up in St Tropez in a pair of tiny silver pants”) but otherwise Fergie was fielding virtually his first team. So, as we unleashed a hearty rendition of our penultimate song, Emily, the world’s most famous football team trained beside us. Rio Ferdinand was on the pitch, along with Carlos Tevez, and Dutch keeper Van Der Saar was waiting on the sidelines. Funnily enough this was not the first time we had crossed paths with Van Der Saar, as around this time last year we found ourselves eating breakfast next to him and the rest of the Dutch international team when we shared a hotel with them during the Korean tour [n.b. one day I hope to be able to name-drop people who aren’t football players – you know, Sting perhaps, or Alice Cooper – but, until then, Van Der Saar will have to do].

We finished on a cover of The Fratellis’ Chelsea Dagger, which got everyone going, and left the pitch to resounding applause from a 12,000-strong crowd. This, let me tell you, is quite a feeling. Backstage we were paid a quick visit by Barry Fry, Director Of Football at Peterborough FC and one of Tony’s personal heroes. The kick-off had been delayed by quarter of an hour and Barry explained that this was due to a few thousand fans who were still piling over the bridge on their way into the stadium. “They heard you boys playing and ran like billy-o to get inside and ‘ave a listen” he chuckled. Good old Bazza. 

Anyway, despite putting up an admirable fight, underdogs Peterborough eventually lost 2-0 to the Reds. Not too shabby, since many people were expecting a thrashing. 

So, with stadiums out the way, there’s only one direction to go in – amphitheatres. I’m thinking the Colesseum, perhaps, or the Hollywood Bowl. No point in doing things by halves.   

Chris Lightyear

London Road Stadium – Peterborough, Cambridgeshire – 04/08/08

4 August 2008

The Lightyears playing at London Road for Peterborough United v Darlington earlier this year

How was it for us?

Our second stadium gig – and it was a cracker!

We met Alex Ferguson and played Emily as Rio Ferdinand and the rest of the Man Utd team trained around us. Bizarre – but brilliant.

We played for about 45 minutes and by the time we finished there were nearly 12,000 people watching us. Which is a few more than you can fit in The Troubadour. 

For the big picture, check out my stadium blog and Episode #4 of LY-TV

Chris Lightyear

How was it for you?

Were you there? Got an opinion? Want to write a review? Hit the comments box at the foot of the page.

Gig Details

Tickets are no longer on sale for this event.

LYs on the Beeb

11 July 2008

Chris and Tony playing DJWe just got back from an interview and live session on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. The station picked up on us a couple of months ago, around the time of the release of the Peterborough United song, and asked us into the studio to see if we had anything up our sleeves other than football songs. Which, thankfully, we do. 

The Audio Files is BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s weekly live music show. It’s hosted by Jeremy Sallis who, as it turns out, is a bit of a legend. You can call Jeremy “Jezza” if you like. Which we did. Jeremy had Jason Mraz on his show last week, so we had some fairly big shoes to fill, but I think we did a pretty decent job. During the off-air soundcheck, as we were bashing through a test-run of Emily, Jez had an enormous smile on his face. I haven’t seen a man that happy in ages. I figured at that stage we must have been doing something right.

After the sound-check we were given fifteen minutes of free time, which we decided to spend in The Flying Pig, the local pub. Following a sly half of London Pride and a quick pre-broadcast confab, we bombed it back round the corner to BBC studios for the start of the interview. 

Chris and JezDuring the show we played three live tunes (Emily, Sleepless and one of our new songs, Run) as well as chucking in a soupçon of delicious banter with Jeremy. Prior to the show we’d had a fairly in-depth debate on the perennial Mars Vs Snickers debate – Jeremy and George championing the notion that, by virtue of its classic status, the Mars Bar is the superior snack; Tony and myself coming down on the side of the peanut chief and former Marathon bar, Snickers. I pointed out that Mars Vs Snickers was a simple parody of your basic Beatles/Stones face-off, at which point George was audacious enough to suggest that a Snickers bar was basically the equivalent of trying to add an extra member to The Beatles – which would of course be pointless. Unless, as Tony pointed out, that extra member was Eric Clapton (Clapton being the peanut of the vintage rock world). If you see what I mean. I was actually mildly disappointed that the debate didn’t get more airtime on the show itself, although I suppose it’s not directly related to the Cambridge music scene.

Tony's car troubles...Anyhow, I digress. We finished our last song, plugged our upcoming gig at London Road Stadium for the Man Utd Vs Peterborough match and, as The Audio Files drew to a close, packed our instruments away. Tony took this opportunity to jump on Jez’s computer and check the status on his latest eBay bid – for a fully pimped-out motor home intended to double as the next Lightyears tour-bus. Meanwhile, as I was wrestling my keyboard back into its case, Jeremy asked me where the bass was coming from during our performances. “Oh,” I replied, “I play it live”. He was shocked. “I assumed it was programmed!”, he replied. I pointed out that most people assume our bass-lines are programmed and that, more importantly, the fact that I play them live whilst simultaneously bashing out complicated piano and vocal lines didn’t necessarily seem to impress the girls in the way that I originally hoped it might. This provided a natural segue into the story of how I once told a girl in a bar that “playing the piano is very much like making love to a beautiful woman”, with little to no apparent irony. 

It’s true. I really did do that.

But that’s another story.

Chris Lightyear

ps. click to listen to The Lightyears BBC Cambridge interview.

LYs to play in front of European Champions Man Utd

20 June 2008

The Lightyears play London Road Stadium, May 2008On Monday 4 August The Lightyears will be playing at London Road Stadium for the Manchester United Vs Peterborough United pre-season friendly. The band will be performing in the centre-circle just before kick-off, whilst the two teams train around them.   

The band made their debut performance at London Road on Saturday 3 May at the last match of the season against Darlington and have been invited back to Peterborough’s ground on the strength of their performance that day. Watch of a clip from the gig here.

The Lightyears have a long-standing relationship with Peterborough United following their collaboration with the club on the charity single release of Posh We Are (the PUFC anthem) back in May. The song reached #45 in the iTunes Plus Top 100 Chart.

The Posh were promoted at the end of the 07/08 season and the buzz this created has enabled them to schedule in pre-season friendlies with some of the country’s top clubs including West Ham and, of course, Man Utd.

This is an opportunity for LYs fans to hear a half-hour set of the band’s most familiar tunes played in a stadium setting to a crowd of approaching 10,000 people – surrounded by some of the most famous footballers in the world!

If you’re planning to come along, be aware that this match will sell out quickly. Tickets are on sale now from

Go on. Come and see Ronaldo kick a football at Tony’s head. Priceless.