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Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Sonisphere Bucharest

After a couple of hours kip in a bloody horrible Belgian hotel we got on a plane to Romania, ate a dreadful in-flight meal on the way then were dropped off at a proper big hotel in Bucharest, this one only ten minutes from the airport and right next to the festival site. Russians take note. In fact, as I constructed pedal boards in my room for the show the following day I could see Metallica playing their set. (Un?)fortunately I couldn't hear them as my window wouldn't open. According to Matt they were a bit ropey.

Despite the festival stage being enormous we ended up with an area about the size of a tea towel on which to work, the reason for this being Rammstein's stage-hogging monster of a set - all welded pipes, gas canisters and steel walkways, though I can forgive them as their concert was incredible - perfect sound, insane pyrotechnics and a wicked sense of humour. They definitely gained a few fans in the Anathema camp. We had a good titter with them at their after-show party as well, Les taking the time to engage in a bit of friendly keyboarder rivalry:

"Balls to your treadmill, I've got a mini trampoline and a unicycle!"

I look forward to the day he readies the act for stage. All in all a highly enjoyable weekend.

Saturday, 26 June 2010


A nice mellow voyage to Zebrugge on the North Sea ferry for the band to play a blinder in a packed marquee, opening with a mighty rendition of Led Zeppelin's Kashmir. Afterwards I met someone who is kind of partially responsible for my being there. The gentleman's name is Biff Byford and his band is Saxon. When I was fifteen my uncle took me to see them play at Sheffield city hall. It was the first gig I'd ever been to. Not too long after that I bought my first electric guitar, and now I make a living travelling the world tuning and re-stringing the things. So I shook Biff's hand and said thanks. All he had to say in response was "Who are you?" It meant something to me though. I also met a very knackered Lips, lead singer with Anvil. He's just as nice a bloke in the flesh as he is in the highly entertaining documentary, "Anvil: The Story of Anvil".

Jamie was rather keen to show everyone his very smart yet curiously branded sunglasses which apparently he found in his car. Here's a photo of him wearing them (click for larger view):

How they came up with that name I've no idea, but I reckon they should team up with the company that makes the television we saw in Turkey. I'd buy shares in Arcelik and Knobbout.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Cologne (continued)...

Not a good day football-wise for both Germany and England. It was embarrassing to watch our eleven idiots cluelessly chasing the ball around the pitch, our being in the company of many surprisingly cheerful though unsurprisingly crapulous locals. And what a bar we chose to watch it in - dimly lit, curiously decorated and full of weird Heath Robinson-style automated musical devices. "Tunnes & Schal", a deeply sinister robotic accordion/tuba combo relieved us of far too many of our euros, their repertoire being remarkably comprehensive and their renditions flawless. Who could possibly resist this?:

Tunnes & Schal play Kraftwerk

Luckily our ferry back to the UK was the not-too-shabby Pride of Dover, not its sister ship, the oddly depressing Pride (should be Shame) of Kent which carried us across the channel at the start of the trip.

Three days rest then it's Graspop in Belgium followed closely by Sonisphere in Bucharest.

Friday, 18 June 2010


Just watched Germany lose to Serbia in a pleasant city square. The locals don't seem that bothered which is good as a lot them made the effort to doll themselves up for the occasion. So now we're down by the river watching USA v Slovenia, making sure we'll be in the right frame of mind for the England v Algeria game later this evening. A few Bitburgers should do the trick.

In Germany you can experience the disappointment of your team losing while waiting for your tram.

Thursday, 17 June 2010


A very hot and sweaty concert played to several hundred happy and excited Frankfurters. Danny rather aptly dedicated his performance of "Are You There?" to a chap in the audience called Amir. Most amusing.
Just arrived in Frankfurt and it's piddling down. Not much to report from Hamburg - good crowd, good local crew, nice take on the traditional ham and cheese load-in grub. All very efficient.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010


Well on our way to Dover and we find ourselves on the bus that took us to Scandinavia and back last autumn, though it's had a lick of paint and a new bog since then. I wonder if that's anything to do with the fact it's also the bus that followed Davina McCall and David Walliams (among others) on their recent charity bike ride for sport relief. Apparently we're much nicer to have on board. With the bus comes top driver and all-round good (dirty-minded) bloke Tim, who never fails to inspire confidence whenever we entrust our lives to him. Among the improvements to the bus, I've noticed the kettle has been replaced, or "upgraded" as some might put it. I wouldn't. The new one glows blue, and when it's ready it spits out exactly one mug's worth of boiling water (note to self: remember to put a mug there). It's not so much a tea's made, more a "water's poured". Now call me old fashioned, but sometimes I want more, or less, than exactly one mug of boiling water. What about my noodles? What about John's "Vesta" ready meals (which I haven't come across since the 1980s)? What if I want tea in a small china cup? The possibilities of being annoyed by this thing are probably endless, though I can't think of any more potential grievances right now. Why re-invent the bloody wheel though?

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Download 2010..

..or "Heavy Metal Holidays" as Les so aptly puts it. Anathema played a blinding half hour set and then after a frantic pack down I found my old mate Darren who'd been parked up, patiently waiting until I could get his ticket to him. What followed was booze, food and a stunning set by AC/DC who I expected would be entertaining but not nearly as good as this. Later poor Darren had to wander the campsite and eventually curl up on the grass as an inebriated Jamie had nicked his sleeping quarters, though in his defence Jay had erected two tents and got to sleep in neither.

Shame I didn't get to have a beer with Emily (who I hadn't seen since she was five years old) and her Das Bunk sign - sorry, mobile phone trouble meant I didn't get the message until I was back home. There'll be another time.

Germany on Tuesday and back to the world of bunk.

Matt Rowley is Monitor Man