2012 A Vintage Year
As we sweep into another year in the life of the herd it’s about time we had a little re-cap over the past twelve months, The last Blog was conceived after the joyful expedition to High Voltage Festival in the summer of 2011, so we’ll take it from there.
After another two festivals In September, the fantastic Greenpeaks festival at the Knockerdown Inn near Carsington Water which you can see highlights of here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ag43SKlTyYo and the following weekend at Headstock Festival in Newstead village with the likes of Herd favourites Echo and The Bunnymen we retired our summer of festivals and scribed it up as a total success!
Following this we had another visit to our favourite London venue, The Good Ship in Kilburn on the 12th November, This was to be Mark’s last gig for quite some time due to family and work commitments, but a great high to end on and a mammoth hour long set to rapturous applause.
Set list (not necessarily in order!) Bonfires; Catching Time; Foot Tapper; Leaving Home; Red Gold; Stage Fright; Three Ring Circus; Thursday.
Mark was to leave us for a while now....but not forever.
Drummerless, Paul, Neil and Fitz formed a splinter group to keep things rolling in the form of ‘Los Trios Herdos’ which is basically us but acoustic!
So first up was an acoustic show at the Musician in Leicester, this was an audition for the Summer Sundae festival and consisted of about 8 acts doing 20mins each, a Tuesday night in early January but a packed venue none the less! Alas due to us being on first at 6.30pm the people who were coming to see us missed the show, but still great to play the Musician which has always been a favourite venue for us to see acts in the
Set list (not necessarily in order!) Bonfires; Magnolia; Stage Fright; Thursday.
Following this we had to find a drummer! Nottingham LIVE magazine were having a showcase at The Maze in
Set list (not necessarily in order!) Bonfires; Catching Time; Red Gold; Stage Fright; Thursday.
The first main support slot of the year and another visit to
Set list (not necessarily in order!) Bonfires; Catching Time; Red Gold; Stage Fright; Thursday.
Next up another favourite of the year, with our old mates Frontiers at the Chameleon in Nottingham, probably one of the best small venues around and a good full Crowd, Mark joined us back on Drums for the night and a new rack of pedals for Paul brought us up to a new level, I think we fared well against our comrades, who were as brilliant as ever! Also playing that night were Lois, both these bands deserve so much more recognition.
Set list (not necessarily in order!) Bonfires; Catching Time; Leaving Home; Red Gold; Stage Fright; Thursday.
The Beginning of March saw the return of ‘Los Trios Herdos’ and another city under the belt as we had been invited to play an acoustic showcase at the Priory in Loughborough, this was a pure acoustic show; no Jack plugs, just 3 chairs and 3 Mic’s to play into. Fitz took up Mandolin duties rather than playing sass and I have to say was an ad-libbing master, having not really practiced what he was gonna do came up with some beauties! Thankfully this session was recorded so here is a link to ‘Leaving Home’ with extended Mandolin Solo: https://soundcloud.com/the-amber-herd/the-amber-herd-leaving-home also on our Soundcloud page is our version of Josh Ritter’s – ‘Girl in the War’. An excellent evening was had by all; also on the same evening were The Golden Troubadours and local legend Kevin Hewick .
Set list: Magnolia; Stagefright; Girl in the War; Leaving Home; Bonfires; Thursday.
We had decided some months earlier to put on a night at the Maze with some of our friends and indeed favourite musicians in Nottingham; That time had come; with the Indie rock magic of Strings of Seville as main support closely followed by our Keys man Ollie’s ‘other’ band, the masterful Library Music and the exquisite vocal styling’s of Winter House (ex. Model morning, Julian Cope members) This was such a fantastic gig with a surprising amount of Nottingham’s glitterati in the crowd. The support bands all surpassed expectations and we all left with a little warm feeling inside and a few quid in the pocket.
Set list (not necessarily in order!) Bonfires; Catching Time; Red Gold; Stage Fright; Painbirds; Thursday.
No Gigs this month, after feeling the pressure of needing a drummer we enlisted Young Kyle Comerie, just back from a whistle-stop tour of Asia and feeling relaxed and tanned, not yet back onboard with Fat Digester his main band, (although he is also now in the covers bands L.I.C.K and Zappa band project with Phil Booth ...’Just another band’) we grabbed him and locked ourselves away in the studio to teach him enough to get us through the following months whilst considering our position.
So...in at the deep end, a month late, we’re back on stage at The Maze for the ‘Offbeat Festival’ ; Kyle a little nervous, and us on second to last on the main stage before the Skank masters Breadchasers. We rattled through our set to an appreciative crowd, the youth was broken in with little problem, and a new song aired! Time for a drink or two!
Set list (not necessarily in order!) Bonfires; Catching time; Red Gold; Stage Fright; Another River; Thursday.
Paul’s side project for the past couple of years has been organising mini festivals in the beer garden of his local pub in Sneinton, The Lord Nelson, which was to be the setting for our next outing, back to a ‘Los Trios Herdos’ format for the day and on nice and early in the afternoon on a Sunny Saturday; we tweaked and twanged our way through a set of classics with acoustic elaborations!
Set list (not necessarily in order!) Bonfires; Catching Time; Leaving Home; Painbirds; Stage Fright; Another River; Thursday.
A few days later saw us return to Leicester and The Musician this time to support Brooklyn based Milagres, it was a quiet evening and we played to a smallish but attentive crowd, as did the headline act; who were quite honestly brilliant and I’m sure destined for great things with the right break! A friendly bunch they were too, more than happy for us to use equipment of theirs to make things easier on a small stage. Help them out; buy some of their music http://milagresmusic.com/
This was what we’d been waiting for since Bearded Theory May 2011, As we may have mentioned as we came off stage the legend that is Attila the Stockbroker grabbed us, shook our hands and said to contact him about his Glastonwick festival near Brighton the following May Bank Holiday....Jubilee weekend...at a Punk beer festival...don’t mind if we do! and as some of you know we do love a road trip! Paul got himself a people carrier and Neil brought his car, along with the band, Regular Road trip companions Liam, Andy and Estelle plus new to the crew Samantha all crammed in, with tents, crates of beer (to a beer festival you say!!! No that’s just for the journey!) A cracking journey, through Jubilee parties in the Home Counties and eventually arriving at Coombs Farm to pitch our tents and get stuck in to the 100’s of real ales and ciders on offer in two sizable barns. We weren’t due on stage until the Sunday; late afternoon (after the one and only John Otway) so Saturday was all free to sample the wares. Tents pitched in a circle with a gazebo in the middle we were all set, if a little bit of a walk up the valley.
I turned out to be a right grand day of drinking, culminating in it getting really windy and everyone cramming into Paul and Estelle’s tent to continue drinking into the early hours.
Sunday and a massive hangover...Paul only just able to function in time for stage at 5pm! The rest gradually building up again from the night before after many fruit juices, bacon cobs and a paddle in the sea!
So gig time came, after briefly trying to persuade Otway to join Andy in a Theremin off at the end of ‘Thursday’ (his wife was ill at home otherwise he’d’ve loved to!) a little nervous, a brand new crowd and after a total legend, we wondered if we’d fit in so well...turns out yes!! The crowd gradually grew throughout and the rapturous applause at the end was excellent, it was also then that we realised we had not nearly enough merchandise because everyone wanted a CD...you live and learn!
More Ale, cider, Ollie and Liam getting their asses whooped at soccer by some children, an earlier night for some and a walk up a hill through mud and nettles in the pitch dark for others (culminating in Fitz laying on his back in the middle of them and phoning Ollie, at the top of the hill, to come save him as it was his fault!) a very hung-over and muddy morning came around to much a amusement about the prior evening and the journey home was eventually made. Cracking weekend and we’d missed everything about the Jubilee, perfect!
Set list (not necessarily in order!) Bonfires; Catching Time; Leaving Home; Stage Fright; Another River; Thursday.
And so to Kyle’s final gig with us and what a belter! Another great support slot and at the Rescue Rooms no less with 90’s Indie superstars CUD, a great gig and fab to be on that big stage again, we got a dressing room for the first time ...anywhere (disregarding containers for changing back stage at festivals) sofa’s, TV, Fridge, Microwave, One orange, no beer and miles from the stage! Can’t win em all I guess! Great gig, would’ve been nice to see some of the decent sized crowd that were too busy in the other bar or outside smoking, but those that were there were appreciated highly! And when they came on CUD were terrific, still on form as ever they were.
Set list (not necessarily in order!) Bonfires; Catching time; Leaving home; Stage Fright; Red Gold; Another River; Painbirds; Thursday.
The end of June and Sneinton festival was kicking off, due to his musical musings at the Lord Nelson Paul had bagged us a slot on the main festival day next weekend, but this was the opening day and a little acoustic set down the market whilst people browsed for their fruit and veg and another outing for ‘Los Trios Herdos’
Set list (not necessarily in order!) Bonfires; Stage Fright; Another River; Three Ring Circus; Thursday.
Mark thus was persuaded to take up the sticks again, if not as regular, we miss him when he’s not with us, so it’s great when he is, it make us feel whole!
Sneinton Festival main day with the likes of Breadchasers, 25 past the Skank etc. A great day out, local community event, well organised, although strange being on after a Yoga class! A busy crowd ran for the trees and listened from afar as the rain came down, typically! But it didn’t dissuade us and it soon stopped to bright sunshine, we had a fantastic sound, even though Neil couldn’t use any pedals and we finished with a revamped ‘Three Ring Circus’ which had been left by the wayside many years before! You can witness it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4Jp9GLd1P0
Set list (not necessarily in order!) Bonfires; Catching time; Leaving Home; Stage Fright; Red Gold; Thursday; Three Ring Circus.
August – November 2012
Holidays and album planning; summer is always difficult to organise gigs so we decided to use this time writing new material, revamp some old tunes that have fallen by the wayside and formulate a list of songs that we’d like to put together for recording an album this coming Spring.
A warm up acoustic show for our final one of the year, this was at The Lord Nelson ever the great local and finest of hosts and saw ‘los Trios Herdos’ expand to a ‘Las Quartos Herdos’ as Ollie joined us on keys! Now...one of the new tunes we have been working on has a certain epic quality, as a few of our tunes have a propensity to have! In practice sessions this has come in at about 8mins which is admirable to say the least, this evening, having never done it live before, nor acoustic, came in at 11.5mins! Monster! I think we’re ready.
Set list (not necessarily in order!) Bonfires; Catching time; Leaving home; Foot-Tapper; Thursday; Three ring Circus; In To Land.
For the past month we’d been hankering after this support slot and finally it came through! Our final show of the year and a fresh set-list of new, old and classics! The gig was at the Bodega Social Club in Nottingham, supporting newly reformed Ultrasound; Neil was particularly pleased as this would be the first support slot for a band he actually owned music by before playing with them! An excellent, attentive crowd, a decent rider and some remuneration from the door saw us pull off our most fun gig for years and it felt good to be airing new material that slipped into the set with ease. In To Land coming in at just shy of 11mins again, so that’s gonna be hard to shorten! A great end to the Year, Ultrasound were spellbinding and we left happy and a little wobbly on the pins!
Set list (not necessarily in order!) Apple; Days Like These; Three Ring Circus; Red Gold; Stage-Fright; In To Land.
2013 to be continued
We are now in the process of putting together our new material ready for recording and organising dates for later in the year so watch this space,
Until then....Peace, love and Cowparsley,
The Amber Herd x
As the nights draw in, the sun disappears and The Amber Herd gear up for the winter and indoor shows, it seems a good time to scribe about a summer festival season of rock, roll and the occasional rider (and indeed ride on golf buggies). We’ve been up to allsorts since we last blogged….
24th July: High Voltage, Victoria Park, London
Neil’s keen eye for all things classic rock first alerted us to the possibi lities of a berth at this festival and it was once again his keen eyes that spotted we had been shortlisted into the top ten from hundreds of hopefuls and it would all be down to the public vote. A feverish couple of weeks of voting ensued and despite the panic towards the end as others started to catch up, we were delighted to finish with the lead that we had held since day one and be invited to dine at the Rock / Prog high table, sharing a bill with the likes of Slash, Judas Priest, Jethro Tull and others.
And what a day it was! An early start from Nottingham to be impeccably driven by driver to the stars Nicko Irrelevant (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Talented-Moves/181519411902316) saw us arrive at a sun drenched Victoria Park on cue for a lady in a golf buggy – more used, perhaps, to ferrying Slash’s top hat about than our own Mr Wentworth’s – to invite us to load our gear and climb aboard for a chauffeur driven trip to our dressing room. Gentlemen, we have arrived!
Technically, the “Beer Tent” stage was an acoustic affair but minor technicalities rarely prevent The Herd from plugging in and thanks should go to the guys on the sound desk that ensured this slightly unexpected eventuality was accommodated wonderfully. A sublime set of Thursday, Catching Time, Leaving Home, Three Ring Circus (its debut outing), Magnolia, Bonfires, Painbirds and Stage Fright was played to a packed and seemingly appreciative tent; from the outset, everything came together making this one of the definitive Amber Herd performances of them all.
The rest of the day was taken up by a combination of star stalking (Neil, Andy and Mark being particularly delighted to chinwag backstage with Glenn Hughes, Rudy Schenker, Pete Way and Ian Anderson) and beer drinking (Fitz taking full advantage of Neil advising the crowd that it was his birthday, many of whom seemed more than happy to purchase a birthday beer).
All in all a perfect day and made possible by all who voted – so thank you everyone, including our mates War Elephant, who we look forward to seeing again at the Nelson's Halloween Gathering.
13th August: Lord Nelson Summer Gathering:
The Herculean effort involved in organising previous festivals failed to put Paul off co-ordinating this Cancer Research fundraiser and congratulations should go to him and all the crew down in Sneinton. On a bill including band favourites Wwolves, The Sons, Strings of Seville, Satnam’s Tash, Howling Buddha and of course Oldplay (the Nelson’s “house band”), we slotted into the 2.45 slot for a 45 minute run through Thursday, Painbirds, Three Ring Circus, a full chronological outing for the This Town ep for only the second time and then ending with a blistering Stagefright with restored Theremin from the mighty ELTRCN . Another excellent day with the weather largely holding out and a couple of nice comments from some hitherto Herd virgins. Overall, the day raised £700 and so a big thanks should go to Paul for pulling it all together, the bands that appeared, the folk that manned such necessities as the BBQ and other stalls and especially to mine hosts Josie and John.
3rd September: Green Peaks Eco Festival:
The return of Neil from Mexico unfortunately saw Olly take temporary leave, eschewing the Derbyshire Dales for the charms of Portugal, but we soldiered on nonetheless. Sited at the delightful Knockerdown Inn near Carsington Water, this small but perfectly formed festival saw us take to the stage at around 1 bell and do sterling battle with an army of wasps that would periodically descend on stage at slightly inopportune moments – particularly as they made Fitz move about like an old school raver / squeal like a girl (delete as appropriate) with seemingly only Andy “Edison” Haynes (possibly as a result of the electricity that runs through his veins) not in the least bit worried by them. Nevertheless, a half hour set of Stagefright, Days Like These, Three Ring Circus, Bonfires, Catching Time, Painbirds, Red Gold and Thursday went down well with the crowd.
7th September: Trent Sound Radio:
A pre-Headstock natter with old pals Bainy and Andy saw the band (once again minus Olly) drop in on the Trent Sound studios and discuss the summer shenanigans, our favourite local bands and play semi-acoustic versions of Red Gold, Catching Time, Three Ring Circus and Painbirds.
11th September: Headstock Festival:
Given our collective love of headliners Echo and The Bunnymen, we’d fancied a bit of this all summer so were delighted to be relatively late additions to the Sunday bill of this near as makes no difference home festival. Some early technical problems (and a chilly wind) made the show a slightly trying one from a performance point of view but once these had been resolved a reprise of the Green Peaks set but with added Leaving Home up third saw an appreciative response from those that had wrapped up well, with some enthusiastic cheering from a couple more Herd virgins!
22nd September: Oxfam, Nottingham
We helped feed the world at the gala launch of the A/W collection at the flagship Hockley store getting a great return from an acoustic Leaving Home, Bonfires, Three Ring Circus, Painbirds, Thursday, Paul's always amazing Hurt, Country Feedback (in tribute to REM who had packed it in the day before) and Stagefright in tribute to our own continued longevity.
We move back indoors for the winter now and after a very special intimate acoustic set at the Nelson on 28th October our next big electric show sees us making a welcome return to The Good Ship in Kilburn for a Saturday night headliner on 12th November. We'll be sharing some news about studio work and further gigs in due course but in the meantime, at the end of what has proven to be an excellent summer, we’d like to thanks sound stalwart and the band’s George Martin, Phil Booth for helping out with the sound when we’ve needed it and for quite frankly being Phil; Andy Haynes for guesting at most of our summer shows to add a wall of sonic squeals via his mighty Theremin and most of all, all those who have voted for us, come to see us, added words of encouragement to our pages and shared the Herd love generally. God bless the good ship The Amber Herd and all who sail in her!
Avalon- The Herd @ Bearded Theory-13/05/11
Right, it’s the Friday of Glastonbury, we’re all freezing cold and piss- wet through so what better time to reflect upon a period when the promise of summer held us in its thrall?- Yes, fellow campers, it’s time to offer our belated blog about the first festival of the summer, Bearded Theory, in Derby in May.
For the first time, we had the full AH road crew with us including the legend that is Phil Booth- mo, the last minute but beautifully appointed Chris and the human sat- nav that is Ben so our load-in to the “next band on” portacabin, courtesy of Mark’s excellent and highly selfless transit, was seamless.
The mighty Andy Theremin and I then took the opportunity in the 20 minutes we had before stage time to wander through the festival site for the first time. We came upon the merch tent and being a lad of simple pleasures, I cannot deny how thrilling it was to find that the festival t-shirt had our name on the back of it- in the same sized font as The Orb and The Undertones and in an only slightly smaller one than Wagner!! A small victory, then!
We returned to the Beard Top stage to load in and observe a virtually empty tent which was a bonus as it allowed a good sound/line check with no chance for hecklers or nerves. We were the first second stage band of the day to come up against a main stage band in the scheduling and being Friday afternoon, not everyone was there yet anyway. However, whilst we’re not sure how many were watching the opening main stage band outside, when we started at 3.30, we had a decent crowd in our tent.
We were really pleased to have been given a 45 minute set which, having become used to 30 minutes at recent lesser multi- band gigs was a fantastic opportunity to run through the full card.
Not being wallflowers we went for broke and opened with Stage Fright, working on the assumption that if we played our first single and one of our biggest hitters first, those who hadn’t heard us before might stay and give us the benefit of the doubt. The strategy worked and would have worked even better had Paul’s lead guitar been audible in the first third. Its absence is still a mystery and the BT FOH crew scampering around testing leads during the first few minutes of our biggest gig ever whilst something was clearly not quite right will stay with me for some time to come. In fact, part way through the second verse when Paul’s huge electric lead guitar turned up in the monitors my initial reaction was that yet something else had gone wrong...
I think we settled down during our fourth song and BT forum fave, Foot Tapper. We have been blessed on a handful of occasions in our career with a great monitor (and out-front) sound and BT was certainly one of those (so cheers to the BT crew and of course, Booth-mo) Foot Tapper was perhaps the first song in the set which really took off sound-wise, and we were laughing from then, really. We were aware that we weren’t necessarily playing to an Amber Herd crowd but that song and the following Magnolia perhaps touched on the opposite poles of the assembled demographic and were a good mid set 1-2. The punky howl of the former contrasted well with the folky introspection and open - mouthed maelstrom ending of the latter with Andy wrenching every drop of spare current from his Theremin.
Into the home run, then, and our speculative statement on Sherwood Radio back in January came true when it started raining outside just as we were starting Red Gold. Paul and I both felt the rain pouring down the main tent pole hole onto the stage but at that moment, with a now packed tent, it seemed churlish to do anything but be electrocuted in battle. Thus, we cracked on and Red Gold and then, particularly, the closing Thursday, with Andy again wrestling seven shades from his “TV aerial” proved the highlight of the day. If we are allowed, for once, to blow our own trumpet, the crowd reaction at the end of Thursday and as such, the end of the set, made the whole Herd venture worthwhile so if you were there and you were one of them then thanks a lot!!
As I walked off stage the first person I came upon was a folk hero of mine, the mighty Attila The Stockbroker, who was on directly after us. He shook my hand and offered us a gig at his Glastonwick festival in June 2012, which of course, we were more than grateful to accept. In fact, we’ve sent Andy off to Glastonbury this weekend to agree our ale rider with him!
After packing the gear away we were accosted backstage by the unhinged We Love Festivals mob and in particular the incredible William Fontayne, from NYC and his foil and ersatz manager, Zoe. Paul and I participated in a hallucinatory interview and live acoustic session in the back of their black cab located in the middle of the festival site with reg.number XXX XLSD. At least, we think this happened....
The rest of the early evening was spent being music fans, rather than performers and we all loved Sonic Boom 6. The rain really happened then and the next (uncensored) thing I remember is being on stage with Athlete and nicking a drumstick for my 10 year old daughter...
Overall, then, a mighty first festival appearance. Many thanks to Andy. Phil, Ben, Chris and everyone else who helped us. Let’s do it all again at High Voltage next month!
See you next at The Poacher on 26th June xxx
Setlist- Bearded Theory, 13/05/11: Stage Fright/Days Like These/Leaving Home/Foot Tapper/Magnolia/Bonfires/Catching Time/Red Gold/Thursday
Following the various personnel changes in the first half of the year, we have now settled into our classic Mk III line up and have spent the last six months increasing our profile doing radio sessions, playing festivals and a fair few indoor gigs- both electric and acoustic.
Here then, is a quick overview of what the band have been up to since we last blogged and before we update you with some very exciting news, indeed, very early in the new year:
Great to be invited back for another Saturday night headline show. Olly played his first gig with the band. A few sound problems but a packed room and another invitation back.Set: Foot Tapper/ Red Gold/Catching Time/Bonfires/ Painbirds/ Stage Fright/ Days Like These/ Thursday
Fitzs birthday party w/ The Trestles and Lois.
We played our festival set for this and the next three full band shows: Foot Tapper/ Bonfires/ Catching Time/Red Gold/ Painbirds/ Stage Fright/ Days Like These/ Thursday
A fantastic summer day and night for a three venue, five stage and 50 band urban festival by the canal. It would be easier to list the Notts bands who were not playing than those who were!
A last minute trio acoustic show for Im Not From London at the Nottingham Riviera. Amongst the imported sand and fairground rides we played a seaside set featuring Thursday/ Paidbirds/ Red Gold/Catching Time and Bonfires
Main support to The Peatbox. Great to play an outdoor festival in the dark at last!
Support to Luxury Stranger. Again, a few sound problems but a good crowd and good visuals nearly made up for this first show back after a break following a new addition to the Herd family.
It was great to be asked in by Bainy and Andy for their hugely influential Notts Live show. Paul and I had a chat and played live to air versions of Bonfires, Catching Time and a new arrangement of Days Like These.
A special Halloween acoustic four piece show with Ol on melodica and glock and hosted by the always lovely Lisa De Ville.
Set: Bonfies/ Catching Time/ a returning and fresh again Magnolia/ Painbirds/ Days Like These/ Thursday
Andy Havard of Fly Fm had us in for the lockup- an hour of free airtime which Paul, Fitz and I filled with two sets of songs and another interview .
Set 1: Bonfires/ Catching Time/ Painbirds/ Red Gold/ Magnolia
Set 2: A debut for CODY by Mogwai, prepared for the Matador Records charity show on 12th December/ Days Like These/ Thursday and Stage Fright, the latter, played live on the night but not aired. We hope to share some of this session up for you via Soundcloud shortly.
Our annual Christmas show, headlining the Luxury Stranger- curated A Funeral Party IV. We went to town for this and more than made up for the slightly rusty performance at the same venue in October. We played our festival set plus a fully electric Magnolia.
Great to tread the same boards as Led Zeppelin and The Pistols at this afternoon charity show celebrating the continuing legacy of Matador Records.. Paul and I aided our recovery from the night before with sublime acoustic runs through Thursday/ Magnolia/ Painbirds/ Stage Fright and CODY.
Another acoustic set for Paul and I live for Radio Sherwood and their Notts Live show at their first outside broadcast along with Satnams Tash and others. We sent the pre xmas airwaves a fizzing with lilting workings of Thursday/ Painbirds/ Magnolia and for the first time in three years, ended with A Spaceman Came Travelling to much audience participation and gratuitous cake. A fine way to end a year of transition.
The band are now back in full committed touring shape as we look to meet some very exciting challenges in 2011! Stay tuned to http://www.theamberherd.com for news as it breaks!
Following the Good Ship show Guy moved on to pastures new and electronic and we fulfilled a diary date in late January at PJs in Ripley with the Rip It Up guys with the lovely Dean Made of Leaves on bass. In between bassists, Paul and Neil appeared on the Tom Whiter show on URN (University of Nottingham Radio) previewing, in acoustic form, both sides of the forthcoming single.
After this and following an ad, we were impressed with the fact that one of the first respondents suggested that he was the man for the job so it seemed churlish not to take him on. Fitz is both a great bass player and an excellent mild drinker so he fits well into the team.
Fitz joining has given us a breath of fresh air and a slightly different dynamic. Also, in advance of Rach leaving for a bit on maternity leave, Neil has moved from acoustic guitar to playing a Fender Telecaster which has in itself sharpened up a few edges. The combination of these changes - together with a lot of new material that we are currently writing, is pointing us towards an exciting few months.We launched the new single and the new band at a headline show with Lisa DeVille at The Central in Nottingham on May 1st. We started with Stage Fright, ended with both sides of the single and in between played Shade and Honey by Sparklehorse amongst other old faves.
The new double A- sided single featuring Red Gold and Thursday was released on May 3rd. We recorded this with Albie Parsons from Mapperley and are very pleased with the results. The recordings are a step up from our debut single and we hope to be able to get as many people to hear them as possible. Red Gold is an allegory for loss and the unobtainable, using as its title the epithet for the product from the northern Afghanistan Saffron fields. Thursday is an inverted love song- based around the unhelpful human condition of trying to cast people in our own image rather than accepting them for who they are. The first of these two songs rocks like the proverbial whilst the second is as lush as a thing of beauty we have heard since Bitter Sweet Symphony.
On 15th May we headlined at the Rescue Rooms for a Sparklehorse tribute show in aid of local mental health charities. We played a four song set featuring Shade and Honey. Painbirds, Piano Fires and our own Thursday. The single has had some much appreciated airplay on URN and BBC Radio Nottingham and the band have been interviewed on both stations discussing the single, the benefit show and the future.
A significant leap forward was taken on 1st June where we were the only support for the excellent Delays at the Bodega. It was a pleasure to play to a sell out crowd and we played the following set whilst hopefully turning a few new listeners on a bit-
Bonfires/ Catching Time/ Red Gold/ Painbirds/ Stagefright/ Days Like These/ Thursday. An awesome night in front of our biggest crowd yet. We even got paid in beer!
We are gonna hunker down in rehearsal and song writing mode now whilst we bed in a potential extra special guest member to tide us over in Rachs absence. We are back in the Capital again on 17th July for what promises to be another big show before hitting the festival circuit for a bit.
In closing, we would like to share a review of the single with you that has just been posted on Facebook and a few other conspicuous places, including Amsterdams website (http://www.amsterdam-music.com) If you dont already have it, we hope this makes you wanna get it! It did us! Have a great early summer. xx
"Red-Gold" is that rare thing, a well crafted punchy song with a proper tune, interesting lyrics that you can actually hear, and delivered with passion by a distinctively voiced singer. I've been breaking my head trying to think who the vocalist reminds me of and I think there's a healthy dose of The Cult in the soaring, rawness of his voice and also in the strong 80's guitar sound. It's not a smooth Simon Cowell boy-band voice by any means but it stands out from the indie crowd and beats you over the head that the vocalist means every word of what he's singing, a quality all too often absent from the cynical blandness of chart material.Lyrically the song is strong and as a writer of poetry, that's important to me: Lyrics such as "Roll up another daydream, You tell yourself you're better, out of control" conjure up, together with the urgency of the guitars, a dark, chaotic world.
There's also a great pause before the chorus; I do love the drama of a well-placed pause - and then the chaos is back again with the sombre chorus "Smoke is rising from these streets, You're sat here staring at the fire, You try to speak but all the words you've ever said, Are just the voices in your head".
The second song on this double A-side "Thursday" is altogether another thing. Much more gentle in tone, more mellow and contemplative and a more sophisticated style that shows maturity and the ability to write in different styles to convey subtle differences in the nuances of emotion between songs.
Soft guitars drift you along on a current of gentle regret and underlying sadness as the singer narrates the story of a love that has run its course ... "It's just a ringing of the half-time bell, It's just the beating of a drum, It's just the breaking of another heart, It's just the firing of a gun...."
But this is no saccharine tinged easy listening ditty; although the singer's voice is reigned in a little it still has that edge that reminds you that this is no factory-produced anesthetic for the masses; it's real life with all its pain and regrets, all it's "what-ifs" and "why didn't I's", distilled into words and music; rock 'n' roll in its purest form.
All in all, The Amber Herd can be proud of a couple of great songs which successfully combines the heavy guitars and dark lyrics of 80's indie, with a sound that is very contemporary and extremely compelling.
There are some artists and bands who it's hard to define, they don't all achieve chart success or worldwide recognition but if you're a lover of "real", passionate honest music, you recognise the spark of it when you see it and you don't really need to put them in a box and label them. You just know it when you find it.
Go out and buy this single; you'll never regret it. Available from Amazon, itunes and www.theamberherd.com
The original of this blog is available here
The only proper way to get closure on the astonishing events of last Saturday's show at the Good Ship on Kilburn High Road is to blog about it, so here we go...
2.30pm- Pick up from Herd HQ. The nearly-bus with its iffy wheel arches picks us up and trundles to... 3.00pm-Second pick up at Bar Herd. See local character wheeling shopping trolley out of his house to go off shopping- " saves a quid" quoth he. How??
3.30pm- M1. No snow. Beers.
5.40pm- late for soundcheck. Paul, who is there already- having wisely decided not to death-trap it, reveals there is no sound man or drum kit at this stage anyway. As such, we are not late at all! Same old, same old!
Now, The Good Ship is an amazing real ale pub/ venue in North London. We were chosen to play there mid/late last year and the communication from the venue was amazing throughout. They have an excellent pay deal, too, for all you bands thinking of giving it a shot- 100% of individual door take less £20 for the (absolutely excellent) soundguy. Get yerself 30 or more in and you're laughing! Is Nottingham the only town in the world that doesn't pay bands ???!!
10.00pm ish The Neon Pop Orchestra- Superb psyche-pop from Northampton/ London nutters. Enjoyed an accapella Vegetable Man at soundcheck. Missed this during their set as I went for a wander to find the Abbey Road Studios but returned to a supreme Effervescing Elephant. Good work.
10.45pm ish. The Herd's very first headline show in the capital. In fact, our very first show in London at all. It was amazing and you really had to be there to understand why! The place was packed and not only was it packed, everyone seemed to be getting what we were doing. At last! Vindication! We knew damn well that if we carried on doing our stuff in as many places as possible, someone , eventually, somewhere, would get it! Finally they did! We set fire to and then stamped out, in a McWhirter- threatening world record time, the following Porky's Prime Cuts - Magnolia/ Bonfires / Foot Tapper / RedGold / Catching Time/ Stagefright/ Days Like These/ Thursday. It felt like a homecoming greatest hits set. Perhaps it was... I think there will be some camcorder footage of the night on this site soon so look out!
Special, special thanks to- Kirstie, Wally and Narek, John Goodship and especially Guy, who is now moving on in search of space- or something even more brutal. Thanks also to the rest of you who travelled down to see us. We hope you had as good a time as we did. As we said last time, The Herd are now heading into a period of change and this is certainly still the case.
We have a date in Ripley with the luscious Dean Made of Leaves on bass next Friday 29th Jan and are thrilled and flattered at the prospect of appearing on Alex Frontiers' new show on University Of Nottingham Radio (URN) shortly, playing some new tunes acoustically and banging on a bit. I would strongly recommend that you join us in Ripley next week. I can't necessarily speak for the other Herders but in about 20 years of making noise, where we are now is in the best live band I have ever played in. Join us and feed yr heads!
If you can't be there then listen out for us on Monday nights on URN on 1350AM or online on http://urn1350.net/
Failing that, we will be back and we promise to make your lawn die with the release of RedGold in Spring 2010.
Take care and keep Herding xx
We’re in 2010 already and it’s about time we blogged again from the never ending tour....Now, the problem with being constantly on the road is that details get a bit blurred so this is what we remember since September...
18th Sept- The Running Horse w/ Luxury Stranger. The first but not the last time with the awesome LS. A huge crowd and a good sound. 29th Sept - The Bodega w/ Sound of Guns. A last minute show with up and coming scouse( and Red) jangle guitar types. Notable for first performance of Days Like These.
13/10- The Royal, Derby. supporting ex- hiscodenameismylo noise pop terrors White Belt Yellow Tag. Notable for Simon LS carrying our guitar effects case back to the train station for us and also for the sheer volume of folk in this city centre club. We met WBYT later on at one of their subsequent shows in Nottingham and were pleased to hear that they remembered the gig and us fondly.
25/10- Brownes, Nottm- The Hockley Hustle. Given the fact that e magazines are merely tomorrows virtual chip paper, we are pleased to replicate, in full, the text of our blog of the day as published in Nottingham Live Magazine........Dancing In The Streets- The Amber Herd's take on The 2009 Hockley Hustle. It's just past lunchtime on Sunday 25th October and Hockley is alive! It's stupidly early for the average gig goer and certainly the average muso but the place is packed! There are not just people crammed into each of the many clubs, pubs, cafe's and barbers(!) lining the route but the streets are full too. Full of burundi drummers, loonies with electric blue facepaint and albino goats on unicycles, to name but three subsets.
Herein follows, then, our take on this day and night of unprecedented bachannalian excess....Following a 2009 where we think we've really raised our local profile, we were thrilled to get the call from Arboretum records to play at Brownes on Carlton Street. We arrived just in time to see the excellent Becky Syson hold the attention of the early afternoon beers and lunch set with a wistful and melodic run of original Joni-esque songs. We started drinking at around this point which proved to be a sound move as it enabled us to catch up with everyone else and set us up for our show at half past three. It was great to see Brownes full as we started and loads of people seemed to be arriving throughout. Nothing to do with us, I'm sure- more a reflection of the vibe of the event, where attendees were free to pick and mix between 200 odd acts in 20 + venues all within a few minutes walk of each other.
We played a half hour full electric onslaught of a set in order to kick out the jams a little and our gamble paid off. We started, for the first time, with new electro- beast "Wailing Wall" followed by our debut single and usual final song "Stage Fright". It was great to see so many new faces getting into what we were doing and also great to see Kristi from Doledrum and Forge FM, Alex from Frontiers and URN and Dan from the mighty Made Of Leaves checking us out. We dedicated "Magnolia" to the new lovers (and look forward to plenty of "Hockley's" being Christened next July!) and wound up with a monumental "Thursday" complete with false ending and general mayhem. This is feasibly our next single and it was a nice way to end.
The boss of Arboretum flattered us by taking the mic as we left the stage and awarding us the epiphet of "warm and dark!" That'll do! The only possible approach after we finished our set was to stow the gear to avoid the tiresome need to take the wheel of a motor car until well into Monday and see what else was cracking off...We started by popping into the event's hub, The Broadway. On the way back we bumped into Alex Frontiers again and he interviewed us for Tom Whiter's excellent Monday night show on URN (University of Nottingham Radio) Following this we made the dash to Bunker's Hill which was hosting the excellent Drowned In Sound stage to see the undisputed band of the day- Spotlight Kid. Subdued lighting and the occasional well- placed strobe illuminated the band as they played an amazing set which, to these ears, took the best bits of The Cocteaus and Slowdive and ran it through a modern alt-rock mixer. We're looking forward to seeing what these guys have to offer in 2010.
Things were starting to get a bit hazy now-even though it was only 7.30pm(!) but I believe we found our way to Shaws next to catch up with Dean Jackson's BBC Introducing Stage. Now, we played a lengthy acoustic set at Shaws a month or so ago on a Saturday night to mainly diners and folk in the bar and it was interesting to see it now as a full on packed-to-the-rafters rock club! I have no idea how any of the bands fitted on the small and very high corner stage but fitted they did and we saw Captain Dangerous and an excellent set from Euler. We managed to have a quick chat with Dean who was understandably proud of the sheer breadth of local talent on display- not just at Shaws but all over this part of town today.
Following a lengthy period just soaking up the atmosphere on Broad Street outside Shaws and The Broadway we popped back to Bunker's Hill where we variously spent the rest of the night either holding court outside in the unseasonably mild Hockley air or upstairs watching the likes of Exit Calm and Boxer Rebellion play solid sets to a still busy room. The Hockley Hustle 2009 then; very like Glastonbury. Not because of the mud or the drugs but because of the fact that it wasn't really the music that mattered- what mattered most was just being there (man!) and soaking up the massive good vibes emanating from every corner.
In the whole 11 or so hours we were there we didn't see one fight, one moron, one bad band or generally anyone at all who was not in a totally positive and euphoric mood. Of course, like Glastonbury, none of this would have happened in the first place were it not for the music and we saw enough to convince us that not only is the Nottingham scene a scene, it is a rampant kicking and screaming multi- faceted mother of a scene deserving much wider recognition.
Huge thanks must go out to the guys from Oxjam for making it happen and of course, all the bands who gave up their time for free. Following this huge high, we were really pleased that Tom played out the interview we did with Alex on his show on URN on the Monday as part of a full overview of the day, including also a chat with Dean Jackson and Rugosa Nevada together with a play of our Stage Fright single.
Next up for us as we head towards the end of a hugely successful year is a show for Flux at The Olde Salutation on Saturday 21st November with a great line up of electric bands upstairs and acoustic ones downstairs. We will be joined upstairs by Made of Leaves and Satnams Tash amongst others. After this is the big one-the Nottingham LIVE night at Seven on Tuesday 24th Nov with Scarlet's Wake and others.
We are then hunkering down in the studio to record at least a new e.p which we hope to have available very early in the new year. Our annual Xmas show is, this year, at the Central where we'll be a part of The Funeral Party II, Luxury Stranger's celebration of all that is dark and warm and possibly sticky. We hear that advance tickets for this once in a lifetime show have already gone so get in quick!
Thank you to those who saw us at the Hustle. Hopefully see you all at our forthcoming shows. Check us out on http//www.myspace.com/theamberherd And remember, keep herding! The Amber Herd x
21/11- Salutation. Flux night w/ Made of Leaves. First time in this rock and real ale fan’s mecca. We saw a few nodding heads amonst the metal set which’ll do us. Nice to play on a Saturday night in town.
24/11- Seven. Our last (ever?) gig at Seven for Nottingham Live. Great sound. Good set from Ghosts Wear Clothes.
5+6/12- Recording. Sessions for our forthcoming Red Gold single. Just a few more knobs to tweak and this will be released to a huge fanfare and radio play and a prestige launch gig. It is going to blow everything else you hear in 2010 out of the water! Believe us!
11/12- Central. A Funeral Party II w/ Luxury Stranger and In Isolation. Superb night at Central with a lot of dark and wet folk and some amazing sounds. Top venue.
31/12- Central. NYE. w/ Luxury Stranger. Set: Magnolia/ Bonfires/ Foot Tapper/ Red Gold/ Stagefright/ Days Like These/ Thursday. Fantastic night under initially difficult circumstances. Widely reckoned to be our best show so far.
Given that shot in the arm we are looking forward to 2010 like you wouldn’t believe. However....there will be a few changes along the way but we can’t talk about them yet. For now, we are very looking forward to our first headlining show in London on 16th Jan at The Good Ship in Kilburn and we hope to see you there. Herd Out xx Friday,
Hi Guys, Just thought we'd give you a couple of new reviews we've recieved recently. Firstly a review for our debut Rescue Rooms show supporting 'That Petrol Emotion' on July 6th. We're not as old as he makes out - honest!! nd the second is from our good friends on reverbnation, 'This Window'
Not Pink Floyd fans then! As for news, we'll be making our triuphant return after the summer break at the Running Horse in Nottingham on Friday 18th September, supporting the mighty 'Luxury Stranger' and there will be cheap entry for those wearing red and black. http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=111350146321&ref=nf
Following this will be a short tour of the East Midlands, check our schedule for details...And to start 2010 we have a special treat for you. We're playing down in the Big Smoke at 'The Good Ship' In Kilburn, www.myspace.com/thegoodship, a tremendously lovely venue, more details will follow, but we will be organising a bus for another 'Herd Hit the Road Tour' and for those who came on the Manchester Herd Bus, expect much the same.
Take care all, Peace, love and Cowparsley Xxx
.....And indeed a last minute entry from our good friends
Thanks guys! xxx
We're back in touch, folks and are pleased to list what we've been getting into trouble over this last quarter...
25th April was an early summer Saturday road trip to Manchester's Studio. The key for this gig - in a marvelous, packed, 200 capacity, central Manchester club with a great sound and crew - for me, was the Jagermeister that Jamie made me drink two seconds before going on stage. Like Cash at St Quentin, a highly- charged set of Foot Tapper, Bonfires, Thursday, Magnolia and Stage Fright were dispatched in about two minutes and getting back home was a unique challenge...Thanks to Jamie Russian Linesman & Liam & Ollie Made of Leaves for keeping us entertained on the journey there and back - bus wankers!!
Immediately after this 'overseas' triumph, we were offered a small victory at home - an acoustic show at The Rescue Rooms, or rather the bar of the Rescue Rooms. In front of a small but appreciative rainy Monday night audience we reprised the Manchester set but in vaguely acoustic form (but still with Stage Fright's vocal delay set to stun).
A great show back in the comfort zone on 30th April at The Maze with our lovely Doledrum Promotions chums and with Frontiers and Made Of Leaves. A stella cast and a good turnout were dealt Foot Tapper, Bonfires, Thursday, the brand, brand new and still wet with mother's milk, Wailing Wall, Magnolia and Stage Fright.
We were thrilled to be finally asked to play our first Bodega show on 1st June. We Supported Blackbud with the ace Alberto Veto. Once the soundcheck 'disco' (thanks Rach) had stopped we played the same set as at The Maze and I think we pulled it off.
On 13th June, the next full day of summer after Manchester, we had a Live Aid planet- straddling two benefit shows in a day - the first at the community fundraising Lenton Festival and then later for the daft I'm Not From London's bonkers 'local scene' film (more of which later). We played the festival set largely by sense of smell but it is possible the sound out front was good for Foot Tapper, Bonfires, Thursday, Magnolia and Stage Fright. The evening show at Seven was, I reckon, the best we've ever sounded and we re-introduced Wailing Wall into the set, as a result, after Thursday.
A one-off on 26th June saw Los Trios Herdos support Fat Digester at The Maze. We played Jazz-Funk versions (well acoustic really) of Foot Tapper, Bonfires, Thursday, the forgotten yet remembered Catching Time, Magnolia and Stage Fright.
The 6th July was a big one and perhaps, the pinnacle hitherto. We played at The Rescue Rooms with That Petrol Emotion and for the first time had proper tickets and proper advertising and a monitor engineer and everything - hell we were even allocated our own dressing room and channels in the PA! Our highly impressive Tuborg rider allowed us, in front of over 100 paying punters of both persuasions to give it some Foot Tapper, Apple, Thursday, Bonfires, Magnolia and Stage Fright and Dean (our stand in Bassist for the night from 'Made of Leaves') did us all more than proud.
Since that huge high we're been mainly on film and playing the lucrative restaurant circuit! Really! We met the lovely Zoe, from The Nottingham Evening Post, in Stealth on 22nd July for their This Is Live video showcase. We filmed an acoustic Stage Fright and a soft porn- referencing interview, not in that order, due for release on the Web around mid September so watch this space! I think this will also appear in the paper - we'll let you know!
We repeated this televisual feast on Saturday 25th July in the well-ordered company of Phil, Danny and Will for I'm Not From London's ace scene movie! We performed an astonishing full on electric maelstrom version of Stage Fright to the cameras. We hope we make the final cut!....The afternoon at Loggerheads reminded us of those great Loft days with Curtis Whitefinger and Joey Chickenskin and all and the evening reminded us too of those long acoustic sets we used to play there...We were gutted to pull out of the evening gig at Loggerheads - but Guy was unavailable so we though it was best to pass on the gig.
However, the day after we pulled out we were offered a paid acoustic gig as Shaw's (which we decided to give a go as a reduced Herd. At a well meaning and well attended Shaw's Restaurant that night we played our longest set ever, in two parts and for you train spotters, featuring the debuts of more than one tune and many old and new covers rarely played nowadays...
25/7/09 - Set 1 - Green Is The Colour (Pink Floyd) / Three Ring Circus / If (Pink Floyd) / Country Feedback (REM) / Girl In The War (Josh Ritter) / Kite (with Rach's new verse) / When the old Cricketer leaves the crease (Roy Harper) / Fake Plastic Trees (Radiohead).
Set 2 - Magnolia / (the brand brand new kickin' and screamin') At Times Like These / Bonfires / Wailing Wall / Foot Tapper / Catching Time / Country Feedback (again) / Thursday / Stage Fright.
Out of our comfort zone, that one, but it was nice to be amongst friends by the end! Thanks for reading this, chums and thanks for all your support. Following all of the above madness we're Herding out now for a little bit but we"ll see you soon.
We're back playing live in September supporting the awesome Luxury Stranger at The Running Horse. xxx
As we career towards the 10,000th play of our music on this site, it seems appropriate to extend the running metaphor to allow us to draw a little breath as we pick ourselves up off the floor and take a breather from the most amazing month ever before we charge headlong into the next bend...
On 11th March we were honoured with the chance to record a live acoustic session and interview on the Beeb with the mighty Dean Jackson and his Beat show. We went for abridged versions of Magnolia and newie, Thursday and also went all out to promote the forthcoming release of the debut single, Stage Fright and its launch gig at Seven later that month.
To add to the pleasure/stress of the occasion, the BBC also filmed us live in session! Now, other than a brief soundcheck, these songs were all recorded and filmed absolutely live, in one take, as was the interview. By now you may well have heard or seen this footage. Its as real as I don't know what! After that, we're ready for Swap Shop or anything else the BBC can throw at us!
Following the session, we were thrilled to be able to command the final 13 minutes of Dean's Beat show on 14th March with the acoustic Magnolia, the full interview and then the first worldwide radio play of the Stage Fright single! Nice one. We hear the phone lines were down across the entire East Midlands following this show....
We followed this excellent exposure with the single launch at Seven on 19th March. A worryingly low early turnout morphed into a huge crowd by the time Made of Leaves ripped it up with their new set and thankfully, everyone stayed for us and against a theatrical backdrop of smoke, strobes and superb back projections thanks to the masters in their field, The Sensitive, we all got it on to Foot Tapper/ Apple/ Catching Time/ Thursday/ a returning and punked- up Bonfires/ Magnolia and the single, Stage Fright. Top night, top gig.
Thanks millions to Hannah and all at Seven and to you lot for coming. We even sold some singles!
Life, after these tumultuous highs, then became dull as dishwater for a week and a half until the master, John Holmes, decided that his drive-time listeners for Monday 30th March deserved a little more Herd! We were really chuffed to be asked in again- this time to do a totally live to air interview followed by the second worldwide play of Stage Fright! If you ever read this John -thanks a lot.
Since then, our best mates at the Beeb have posted an online interview with links to the live tracks, the video footage of the session and the interview and also our Myspace site! We have been well and truly Introduced and are really flattered and humbled to receive the patronage of the Corporation who recorded the Floyd at The Paris Theatre in 1970! (clearly amongst other things!)
With this lovely groundswell of publicity and support we're now heading into our next phase- starting next Saturday 25th April at The Studio in Peter St. in Manchester. This is our first important out of town show and we really need your support! After that, we're back at home at The Maze on Thursday 30th April for Doledrum supporting the magnificent Frontiers and playing with Made Of Leaves.
We love you all. You are truly ace. x
The Amber Herd The Golden Fleece Thursday 5th February It's definitely a pub gig night tonight; the promise of a cosy room and a chilled Guinness keeps us going through the ankle-high snow up Mansfield Road, and the Golden Fleece's genial atmosphere is, thankfully, the perfect antidote to the big freeze outside. Resplendent with washes of Joni Mitchell-esque introspection - 'Lightbulbs', for one, is a modern take on Mitchell's 'California' - Flo Rowland's lean, almost rushed set belies the depth of a regular on the Worcester grunge circuit, while her giggling commentary's a welcome relief from the elusive stage shows of many a singer-songwriter.
A steady opener to the evening then, and a sign of things to come. You'll remember it's only a week since we last saw The Amber Herd - so effortlessly was their usual set transferred to the acoustic-only confines of the Loggerheads caves, their name was scrawled straight in the TC little black book and plans made to see their next gig as soon as it was confirmed.
It's convenient (or fate, depending on how you look at it) then, that they're shoehorned into a Golden Fleece headline slot so soon afterwards, and as we settle down by the corner radiator, it's evident their Loggerheads set wasn't a mere flash in the pan; the technicolor early New Order on which they pride themselves gets a shot in the arm in these minimal settings, with tracks like mid-set highlight 'Bonfires' and soon to be re-recorded closer 'Stage Fright' stretching the venue's PA to its limit.
It's a fine, polished performance, a half-hour of both blissfully melancholic indie and uplifting stripped-back folk and comes to a sprawling, open-mouthed finish with an almost Velvet Underground-esque wall of sound, acoustics flitting between prog keyboard stabs and all buried under Neil Beards's darkly overdriven Mary Chain guitar.
Nottingham's best kept secret? We won't tell if you don't...
The Amber Herd played: • Foot-Tapper • Apple • Thursday • Bonfires • Magnolia • Catching Time • Stage Fright
I know from the countless emails we get that you all love our irregular, but perfectly formed, blogs so here's another one - an old/new year-straddling behemoth of verbiage designed to fill you in, as it were, on what we've been getting up and down to of late as we career into what may well be the most exciting chapter in Herd lore so far...
Our last gig of last year was our slot at those lovely Doledrum folk's night at The Maze on 30th October. A super bill also featuring The Jet Boys, Vaarlets and the very special indeed Model Morning. In front of a good crowd, we played, for perhaps the last time ,our 2008 vintage set which comprised Apple,Magnolia, Foot Tapper and Stagefright.
Following this we retired to the country (well, Sneinton White Rooms)to get our heads together,man and write and herd-up some new tunes. That should have been it for a while, really but for reasons unknown, gigs have been falling into our silky laps a little this year and we've just come out of the other end of a punishing early 2009 schedule that makes Dylan's never ending tour look like the work of a recluse...
First off we were the featured band at The Running Horse's acoustic night on 13th Jan. Now, the Runner, as it's chums know it, has by far and away the best onstage sound this side of Carnegie Hall so we had a lovely time rolling out some acoustic gubbins featuring the debuts of some new tunes. We started with our newie, Thursday, in order to alienate our fans the best we could and then turned in Magnolia,the other newie, Catching Time, the ever-present Stagefright and unusually for us, were dragged kicking and screaming back for a run through of Apple.
We were pleased to be asked to play at the first Wire and Wool evening at The Loggerheads on 30th Jan which attracted a huge chunk of local Notts talent, all interacting and checking each other out in the caves and main room whilst lunatic street magicians sawed virgins in half in the courtyard illuminated only by abstract projections of witch trials. We somehow shoe-horned ourselves into the cave for a really enjoyable set lit by a random standard lamp and punctuated only by the sound of smashing glass. Acoustic again, then, but with a little spot of electricity giving a bit of oomph, we teased out Foot Tapper for a lively start and then rolled on into Thursday, Magnolia, Catching Time and Stagefright. The lovely guys at Wire and Wool recorded the set so we're looking forward to hearing that and hopefully posting some of it for you lot soon. The mighty ThisCityMagazine were in the house and our last blog replicates, entirely without permission, their review.
Bringing us bang up to date, we played our first proper electric gig of the year on 5th February and thankfully a lot of folk, including most of Model Morning, Mint Ive and Made of Leaves, braved the snow for a good show with the lovely, talented and in demand Flo Rowland. Whilst length isn't everything (try telling that to fans of Gabriel's Genesis) it was nice to have an hour before curfew to fill, having got used, of late, to the standard four band/half hour each deal. We played Foot Tapper, Apple, Thursday, the returning Bonfires, Magnolia, Catching Time and a particularly daft Stagefright. Lovely.
We're very excited indeed here at Herd Towers as not only do we appear on Left Lion's "Poddington 3" podcast (about 25 minutes in for those pressed for time!) we are tonight being played on the BBC for the first time, at sometime after 9pm on Dean Jackson's super show on Radio Nottingham!! We'll post a link to the listen again thing as soon as poss. Hey, why not listen live and join us as the Herd go global!!
Our next show is the absolute biggie and forgive us in advance if we go on about it a lot over the next six weeks! We're doing our first proper grown-up headline show at Seven on Thursday 19th March. We're playing with our friends Made of Leaves together with The Wickets and Ghost Cassette. Its going to be an amazing evening with DJ's, back projections and special effects. Its gonna be like the UFO on Tottenham Court Road and you've gotta come!!
After that we're at The Studio (formally the Late Room) in Manchester and then, in May, fingers crossed, a very exciting show indeed which we'll tell you about as soon as we can! Right, That's it, chums. Don't forget to tune into BBC Radio Nottingham tonight and we'll see you for some more head spinning Herdular insanity very soon x
From This City Magazine (http://www.thiscitymagazine.co.uk)
Wire & Wool @ Loggerheads - 30 Jan '09
"Meanwhile, back outdoors The Amber Herd take to the erm... cave for a slow-burning set of dense and atmospheric post-rock, at times hushed, at others fist-clenchingly anthemic. Far from the Fly-era U2 it evokes on record, 'Stage Fright' here becomes a scene of almost Nick Drake-esque storytelling, ditching the soulless drum machine for a pair of well-worn bongos, while the sprawling Smashing Pumpkins likes of 'Magnolia' and 'Bonfires' fill the sandy room."
Comments from the fabulous Alright The Captain's blog
".......we saw the Amber Herd down in the main cave which was awesome and the cave was packed, it was a really nice setting with low lights and lamps and heaters......"
All around the world... We got some very exciting news yesterday that we'll let you in on in a bit but before we do we know you're desperate to find out how we've been getting on in live skirmish since we blogged last...
On 28th September we were pleased and not a little flattered to be asked by our a trifle mad chums at I'm Not From London to headline their show at The Chameleon Arts Cafe (to give it its pedigree name) on Angel Row.
Two touring bands were playing in between us and the lovely Ying in a Notts artistes sandwich. Jacob's Stories from Bristol and Arms And Sleepers from Boston, MA were both good in a detached electro kind of way. Half eleven on a Sunday night is clearly not our best slot but we gamely gave it some to the dwindling few with a set comprising Magnolia/ Apple/ Foot Tapper and Stagefright- all of which featuring a stand in bass man who was hearing the tunes for the first time as he was playing them following Guy's last minute bout of weird fish related poorlies.
One of our top three shows ever happened at the Loft on 2nd October. We were thrilled to be back at our spiritual home again after a break, and particularly so to be playing Satnam's night. We had a good sound, a good crowd and a jolly good time as we played Apple/ Foot Tapper/ Magnolia and Stagefright as one continuous half-hour suite. Without going on about it too much, we were tagged afterwards as "the most progressive band in Nottingham" and " like an aeroplane taking off" not necessarily but probably, in that order.
Nice one. We are now thrilled to report that we have our own rehearsal studio in town thanks to the glorious In Isolation and are really looking forward to getting our heads down and polishing up some new tunes for when all you lovelies come and see us next. To close - the big news we teased you with at the start. Last year we recorded a version of our epic Magnolia for a web-based album project. Said website, perhaps a little belatedly, but certainly very kindly, saw fit to publicise the album last week and posted a download link to the music and artwork.
We were told yesterday that in less than a week, Magnolia has has over 4,000 downloads worldwide!!! That's nearly as many as In Rainbows! Use the link below to check out what all the fuss is about! We're really hopeful of a club gig in NYC sometime early in the new year! You can carry our bags if you want! In fact, the person photographed in the stupidest place wearing their complimentary Herd badge as dished out at the Loft the other week will win a duty free bottle of Bombay Sapphire which we'll purchase at JFK on our way back home! Keep with us chums, 'cos we is takin' off! xxx
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