News & Insights 31 July 2006

Thumbs-up from Roger Taylor

Monday 31 July, 5.10pm (Saatchi & Saatchi Ad Agency, Central London):
We’re at the London headquarters of ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, being interviewed to appear in their new worldwide ad campaign for Doc Martens. Apparently Doc Martens are releasing a hip new range of footwear designed to revamp their image. They take some photos, ask us about the band and tell us they’ll be in touch. I take pains to make it abundantly clear that we’re no crack-whores to the perfidious talons of the advertising industry and at all stages will passionately protect our artistic integrity, even if offered ludicrous sums of money to completely sell out at the reckless whimsy of corporate vultures.

OK, I didn’t really say that. I mean, come on. 

Friday 4 August, 10.30pm (Clapham Grand, Clapham, London):
It’s a packed house for our summer headline at the Grand, and there are some great support bands in – Livingston, for example, who we played with back in July at the Bush Hall, are on particularly good form. We debut some new tracks, including Life Today, a song we wrote in Korea, and a full-band version of In Black Eyes. Fireworks burst forth during the climactic section of “Miles Away”, prompting some satisfying “ooohs” and “aaaahs” from the crowd, and there are plenty of photographers kicking around to capture the amazing visuals. True to form, the venue turns into a club after we come offstage, and as it turns out we fail to resist the charms of the Grand’s ridiculous flashing dance-floor…

Sat 5 August, 8am (Lightyears HQ, Chiswick, London):
8am. Saturday morning. Out of bed, moving around. Big gig last night, slight hangover. Why out of bed? Oh yeah, that’s it – at some point in our murky past we agreed to drive to Brightlingsea (which, if you’ve never heard of it, is just, you know, a really long way away from anywhere) to open their beachside festival. We’re a little late leaving and as a result the journey to Essex is fraught with dangers, including reversing up a motorway slip-road to avoid grid-lock and speeding through Brightlingsea to make our sound-check. We hit the stage a little before 1pm and the compere introduces us thus: “We wanted The Lightyears to play at the top of the bill today, but the band requested the opening slot as they have to leave immediately to get to another gig. They still turned up late though.” Fair point, I thought. Still, what an awesome festival! The sun is blazing and there’s a huge crowd in attendance, despite the fact that we’re the first act on. We’re followed by four guys ingeniously named “Damn”, but sadly we have to dash off as we have another gig at a private party in Bracknell – which is, ironically, 35 miles the other side of where we left from this morning. Needless to say our tour manager received a firm talking-to.

Sunday 6 August, 3.30pm (Chalgrove Festival, Oxfordshire):
I feel odd. There’s no denying it. The last few days have subsided into a kind of sludgy mass of gigs and travel, and the intense heat today is not improving things. Still, in anticipation of a day off tomorrow, we give the gig our all and deliver a rocking festival set to the gathered crowd (a set which, if memory serves me correctly, included an impromptu extended jam during Banana Republic. How that came about I’ll never quite know). 48 hours, 4 gigs, 4 separate counties. ROCK.

Saturday 19 August, 5.10pm (The Grand, Brighton):
We’re playing a gig at The Grand in Brighton and word reaches us that Roger Taylor, the drummer from Queen, is in the audience. In a moment of questionable bravado that perhaps rivals the time we covered a Beatles song at The Cavern, we decide to whip out our version of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now halfway through the set. It’s a bold move, although after the show we’re told by one of his mates that Roger thought it was “f**king brilliant”. Which is preferable to him thinking we had sullied the memory of Freddie Mercury and all that is Queen. Which I have to say I was half-expecting.

What a result.

Chris Lightyear
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