Dispatches from the Madhouse Part 4

Greetings, Asylum Seekers…

So, Festival season is upon us. Time to dust off the sunscreen, dig the wellies out from the back of the cupboard and start poring over weather charts like Ben Fogle navigating a balsa-wood raft around the Cape Of Good Hope. If life is best lived – as Jack Kerouac once put it – as the pursuit of unforgettable experiences, the British Festival is a good place to start. There can be few who lived through the trenchfoot conditions of Glastonbury in 2007 who will ever forget it. Likewise, anyone who has been there when the sun is high in the sky, the Freak Flags are flying and the music is ringing around the hillsides, who hasn’t felt part of a community. Which, let’s face it, is pretty rare these days in this septic isle.
Whichever way, the band’s appearance on the Main Stage at 8pm on Saturday night was destined to be a night to remember.
In the meantime, here are Serge’s thoughts on the Week That Was…..

Elliot Palm
Consultant Narcologist
West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

How was the gig in Bridlington last Monday?

Serge: Great. It reminded me of the old days in a funny sort of way, when we used to tour around in a splitter van. It was a boiling hot day, so I marked out a pitch in the sand with my heel and we played a little match of three touch football against The Hours boys. They’re pretty good, but we beat them two-nil in games. The gig? I didn’t know what to expect, but it was rowdy as fuck. It was our first time there; the venue was a beautiful old building, right by the sea. The crowd were with us from the first chords of ‘Underdog’. We found out we were number one that day too, so we had a good old fashioned drink up in the changing room afterwards. A real Viking jolly, it seemed appropriate.

You played in Dundee on Tuesday night….

Serge: Yeah. We played Dundee back in ’05 and I had this memory of a town that was bang up for a good time. They really love their music and they didn’t let us down. The noise at Caird Hall has got to be the loudest crowd I’ve ever heard, and it was only Tuesday. Christ knows what it would sound like if we played on a Saturday. My eardrums were ringing like bass bins afterwards. After the gig we went back to the hotel, had a drink in the bar and tried to come to terms with the whirlwind of the last few weeks. It’s insane. Tom was really buzzing- being on tour is where he’s happiest- it’s the way he loves to live.

How were the shows in Edinburgh and in Glasgow?

Serge: For me the gig with Oasis at Murrayfield was the best of the Oasis shows- a cracking atmosphere. Noel told us afterwards that we’re getting better with every show. I think he’s buzzing off us being number one as much as we are.Glasgow is always great, but it was jaw-dropping this time. I’m a bit wary of saying these sort of things, because it’s such a cliche for musicians to say it, but it genuinely is an incredible place to play. At moments during the gig it felt like I was being lifted three inches off the floor. The energy, the noise- It’s that intense. It was also great doing our own show after the gigs with Oasis; you get a real sense of what songs people like and how the album is being received. They were singing every word, which for me as a writer, is the ultimate compliment -it means the new songs are being accepted, which is great.

Then it was straight to Ireland?

Serge: Yeah, on the bus then down to Dublin. The gig at Slane Castle was huge. It was frightening how many people were there. And what a phenomenal line up: Oasis, the Prodigy and us. As a live specatcle, that’s hard to beat. It was good to see Keith (Flint) again. He told us he was buzzing on the album. As a live force The Prodigy are insane. It was a shame we couldn’t have a party with them afterwards, but we’d organised a trip to the British Grand Prix, so we had to get back on the ferry. Silverstone was something else. The hospitality was lavish, and we lorded it up accordingly! We were treated like the number one band in the country, which I guess we are, for this week at least. We met Jenson Button, Eric Cantona and the Duchess Of York, amongst others!

How are you feeling about Glastonbury?

Serge: It’s a massive gig, and for us to be going on before The Boss with the album at number one -well, it couldn’t be better. It’s funny, I’d never been until we first played there in 2004. We were first on that year, and Oasis and Paul McCartney were headlining, so we had a brilliant time. I think I even slept with one eye open, it was that exciting. The gig on Friday will be as good as we can possibly make it. All I can promise is that it’s going to be a psychedelic extravaganza!.



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