Tag Archives: rock and roll

Small tale of Sun, Booze and Rock: Part 4.

Sitting down at the dodgems in quiet contemplation with a can and a breakfast sandwich thinking about last nights gig, neither of us hurting or aching like we did yesterday morning. I look around at the village and I can’t hear a word being said about last nights gig, no chatter or criticism or complaints about the band. The thought runs through my head, how big was the crowd for them last night? Did they get the same reaction as Muse from two years ago?
“We need to start thinking about tonight and hopefully we can finally see NXT” I say to Sam “We do need to see NXT, we missed it yesterday and i’m not missing it again, it will be a nice buffer before Aerosmith hit the stage”
“Ok dude, lets hang around and have a couple of drinks before we head off, need to rest today, its going to be a killer”
“You gonna be buying a shirt today?”
“I’m not leaving tomorrow morning without a shirt or a hat or a hoodie, I’ve gotta get something this year”.
“Well save it for the Arena, you can get it just before we watch the NXT show and don’t take all day trying to find something we don’t want to miss the show again”.
We take a walk around the village for the next couple of hours to kill time before we make our way into the arena for the last time and I look around at the crowd of people walking around us and I can see the exhaustion in their faces and the aches and pains in their arms and legs and I might not be the only who hasn’t been for a shit since arriving at the festival. When everyone leaves tomorrow morning there will always be that sense of relief that you managed to make out alive but the first conversation you have is who’s going to come next year? Who’s going to buy the tickets? And who’s going to headline?  We all do it and we always will.

After spending most of the day in the village, walking around and even have a quick 3 Jack and cokes in the bar we finally make it to the arena and the entrance was a lot easier to get through than the past couple of days, maybe it’s because we got here a little later than usual.
The first place we head towards to the store so Sam can get something, the old bastards dead serious now, he’s not leaving here until he gets a shirt of something.
“Wait out here you fuck, I won’t be long” he says to me while waving the middle finger at me, so I just stand buy the door with my hands in my pocket and wait for the twat to get something, and I stand and wait and stand and wait and for the next 15 minutes I stare out looking at people walk in and out with something in their hands and now I need a piss but I have to wait.
After 20 minutes he finally emerges wearing a Day To Remember hat, apparently they had to dig it out from the back of the store as they had none left at the front, instead of changing his mind and going for something else he decided to stick with the one he wanted so I had to wait 20 minutes.
I send him to the bar while I go and take a piss up the chain fence while and I notice the time on the board for the NXT show and we’ve missed it, for the third time I’ve missed the show and what makes maters worse is that I can here a group of lads near by talking about how great the show was. I want to put the blame partly on Sam but I’ll leave it and remain silent.
He returns with beers and point towards the sign so he can see the show is over and he just shakes his head “never mind” he says “we will make sure that we get to see it next year if it’s on” and I just look at him and think to myself that it better be on next time we come.

We walk to the main stage and see Alter Bridge finish off there set and we manage to find a space to sit down and rest for the next hour while Aerosmith get ready to play.
Moving forward we get as close to the stage as we can, I want to see as much as I can which is harder than you think being a short bloke and at gigs you always get those monsters who stand right in front of you without taking a look behind them to see who’s view they’re blocking, but everything works out ok, the crowd has filled up nicely behind and nobody can get through, expect for the odd person and I can see the stage and the walk way clearly.
Then they come on and I can see everything, even with my poor eyesight I can make out the band on stage but the monitors are down for the first 4 songs and everyone around has spotted it and commenting on the situation, but at this point I don’t care I’m watching one of favourite bands play Download and it’s possibly going to be the last gig they do over here.
The rest of the gig turns out to be somewhat blurry, the emotional feeling you get when watching one of your favourite bands for the first time has taken over but it’s ok, that feeling is not something you get used to and it’s not something that shows itself on a regular basis. They make their way through the songs I want to hear and the songs the fans in the crowd wanted to hear and they close the show with Walk This Way and playing it the way it’s supposed to be played.
And then it’s over, just like that and we all take that walk back to camp for the last time until next year, slowly shuffling our feet as the crowd slowly moves forward, backs aching, arms aching and necks aching and a slight chill in the air is forming, but every things fine we will all be doing the same thing tomorrow morning and that’s going home.
But what is it that makes people want to come to something like this every year? Why do we think it’s great to spend 3 to 5 days away from home sleeping in a large bag in a field along with thousands of other strangers and spending most of those days drinking warm beer and eating crap food and not to mention the lack of hygiene. It’s something inside all music fans especially rock and roll fans that want to do this every year and no one is ever too old to do it, maybe this is thing we all will do until we die.

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A small tale of Lesta and Kasabian

Saturday June 21st 2014 and I’m waking up with a massive hangover, I spent the night at the Mosh nightclub in the town centre and didn’t walk through the door until 5 am with a box of half eaten Maryland chicken strips and a can of Pepsi.
Todays the day I go and see Leicester’s very own rock and roll band Kasabian play to a sell out crowd at Victoria Park. Many bands from the city have gone on to make It big, Showaddywaddy and many others that have slipped my mine but none of them have every played on such a grand scale that Kasabian are about to.
50,000 thousand people expecting to fill the park this evening and you sense a buzz in the air and social media has lit up with facebook posts, tweets and even youtube vlogs.
The suns blearing through the window, it’s a perfect summers day and the can of Pepsi will just go down well.
I crack it open, grab some pain killers and wash them down, sometimes a warm drink and two pain killers is the only hangover cure that can really work. A really cold drink will just upset the stomach and on a day like this it’s not worth the risk, all energy has be stored and the sugar needs to stay in the stomach at all costs. You don’t want to be walking around a crowd of thousands and faint out of nowhere because your sugar that drank earlier on in the day were all brought up because of a cold drink. You have to live by certain rules and this is a rule I will stand by for a very long time. Drink it warm and slow and eat something dry, dry toast or crackers but no cheese, that’s not going to soak well if you have a stomach full of beer and spirits.
I eat some toast and jump into the shower, a quick shower just wash off last nights booze that’s sticking to my skin.
The club was full last night with students from all over, teenagers with fake id’s and people in their 40’s and they are all going to the gig tonight, it was the talk of the club with none of the conversation leading towards how great the club might be, it was just about the gig they were preparing to see and it was all they care about because it might be the gig that changes their lives and makes everything complete, dreams of being interviewed in 30 years time about how “they were there” and how it was their spike island and their Woodstock.
I get out of the shower, get dressed and to pass the listen to the Bee Gees while I wait for a text from the boys about the days events.
Sometimes days like this need a bit of order and regulation, it’s too long of a day to get lost in the shuffle of things, you could find yourself being lead off into a pack of wild beasts on a stella binge and miss the entire gig all together, so you have to have a sense of order just to get things going and everything will turn out perfectly fine, it can’t be forced it has to follow a special routine and a certain set of rules can help with that.
I finally get the text from Sam “meet at KFC in an hour”
“Ok mate, we grabbing food and what’s happening with the booze” I reply.
“We getting picked up from KFC, we ain’t getting food and don’t worry about the booze we can pick that up nearer to the park, we all going for a pint or two first”
“Ok ill see you soon” It’s happening, it’s all coming together now and the day is starting to shape up nicely.

I get to KFC five minutes before I meet the lads and I look around the car park and see groups of men and women and kids walking around in t-shits with “LESTA” and “KASABIAN” on, is this gig turning into something bigger than the band? Why is this gig getting everyone in a buzz?
I hear a conversation behind me between two men and they sound very angry “I hate Kasabian, shower shite the lot of them, I have no idea why anyone would care and why they got so big, who gives a shit, why is this fucking gig turning into something so big? They’re not even that big of a fucking band anyway”
“I know mate” the other man says “I don’t get it anything, why the fuck would you go to a Kasabian gig, load of shit if you ask me, they couldn’t give a shit about Leicester anyway”.
I don’t know what think while listening to the conversation, I don’t know why they would care that much about people seeing a band they don’t like? Why do they care that people care about something they don’t care about? What do they care about? Are they fans of the Arctic Monkeys? Why don’t they get a couple of tickets and see a band they actually? They might actually forgot about the gig that’s happening tonight
I stop listening to the conversation because I’ve entered a state of deep confusion partly due to the blaring sun that’s hitting the back of my neck so to regain a little bit of focus on the day I give Sam a call just to find out where he is but he doesn’t pick and that’s when I hear a loud screeching voice and a car horn near the entrance of the car park and it’s Sam shouting me over “Over hear you little drunken fuck” he shouts and he’s leaning out of his girlfriends car window waving his middle finger at me.
I walk over to the car and Sam gets out to let me in the back, he’s got his Kasabian t-shirt on and the first thing he does is look at mine and says “where the fuck’s your t-shirt” and points up and down at it like he’s never seen one before, I’m wearing a white t-shirt with a picture of Times Square on it, it has a slight hole in shoulder but I thought it would be a perfect fit for a rock and roll gig in the sun. “I left it at home” i say to him, not letting him know that i don’t even have a Kasabian t-shirt.
We start making our move for the pub and looking out the window I can see people on every corner and coming out every drinking establishment wearing the same t-shirts as I seen in the car park. Am I the only one without a t-shirt?

We arrive at the pub and it’s so packed that a crowd of people with pints of beer have gathered outside the bar, the laws of no drinking on the street have been wisely ignored today because how can the law control 50,000 drunken music fans on a day like today.
We get out the car and say goodbye to Sams girlfriend and we make our way through the crowd to the front bar and that’s where we spot Jamie standing at the corner with three pints, one for me and one for Sam and we are both wondering where everyone is.
“We’re just going to have one here and make our way over to the park, everyones backed out today but it’s alright” says Jay “it’s too packed in here to have a drink and we might as well grab a crate of booze and drink at the park and sit on the grass”.
We stand in silence as we down the pints of booze, we tried to talk but with the crowd of loud voices you can’t hear a thing, everyone’s shouting over everybody and it’s drowning out anything audible.
So we leave the bar and stop off at a local co-op for a crate of cider but immediately after walking into the store we notice that the shelves have been emptied apart from one crate of fosters and thankfully it’s a crate of 20 so we put our money together and grab the last crate available and then we start taking a slow walk to the park taking it in turns to carry the crate.
Getting through the gates after going through the typical gig ritual of being searched and I even had to explain that I have a pack of mints in my pocket and not a pack of hash, so we around the park looking for a place to sit and it’s already half filled.
Sitting on the grass near the ice cream van, cracking open a can I scan the area looking at everyone from mums and dads and kids and even old people walking around, there seems to be a different feeling now we have entered the park, something I didn’t sense while I was waiting for Sam to come pick me up, it’s exciting, it’s a feeling like somethings happening that people have never felt before and they are going to make the most of it today and it’s in the sun and the ice cream sales and beer profits are going to go through the roof around the city centre today.
I’ve never seen people walking around looking this excited before, have they ever been to a big gig before and if so was it like this? Why is has this gig made them so excited? Will they ever feel like this again? These question just keep running through my head as I watch them move around.
Jay gets up and says he’s getting some food and he’ll be back in a minute, we’ve been here for an hour and I’ve had two drinks, the time is passing by so fast I’ve not even noticed I’ve just been watching everyone walk by and trying to work out what they are thinking and feeling and time is flying by.
Jay comes back with a giant pulled pork baguette but he’s got a face of anger “£7.00 this was, what the fuck is that all about” he says “too fucking much”.
Me and Sam just laugh and take in what he’s just said, both me and Sam are lucky, we both ate before we left home.

The day goes on, we finish the crate of 20 and go for 30 piss breaks between us and then we make our way to the stage trying to get as close as we can but the crowd has picked up fast and we can’t get so close so we lean up at against a metal railing which is blocking off a stage where the bands family and friends are sitting and our view is restricted because of a hire loo, but we are fine with it, we are in the middle of it and it’s exciting.
The crowd surrounded this area have noticed a small group of famous people standing around and start to shout their names but nothing is happening, the celebrities are in a world of their own and just want to watch the gig, the have special passes that the rest of us don’t have and they ignore their surroundings and the voices screaming their names.
A countdown appears on the stage and on the screens, a 60 minute countdown and the crowd goes crazy and now they are ready for it and they start to fill the stage space, all 50,000 of them.
The 60 minute countdown comes to an end and the crowd gets ready for them to hit the stage and you can feel the buzz.
And it happens, the crowd erupts they are now on stage and they go straight in to their new song bumble bee.
Everyone us are jumping up and down as they make their way through the first song.
Half way through the gig a fight breaks out next to us, the excitement and adrenaline got to much for a small group of people and it all kicked off, two men with no t-shirts on and holding cans of Carlsberg come to blows and wrestle each other to the ground before their friends break them apart.
If this was a club they would have been removed from the venue but they just move apart and find a new spot to stand in the crowd as the band continue to play with the crowd singing along.
At one moment during the gig a small drunk man stands at the railing and starts to piss and everyone around him takes one step back to get away from him and then a shower of cups of beer come pouring over us directed towards the pissing man but he takes no notice and he finish his piss and walks away without looking at anyone around him. and he makes his way through the crowd and back to find his spot.
The band finish up their set and I have no idea where the gig has gone, the excitement around me and everything has made the gig a blur, it’s over already and I don’t know what to think other than how did that happen?
We make our way towards the exit along with a huge group of people and we all find the first sign of a chance to get the park and we rush towards a hole surrounded by security and mass panic begins and security push and push trying to hold us back but none of us really care we just wanted to get out and carry on our night.
The security have lost all control right now, the crowd of people are still singing and chanting and pushing to get out.
A crowd of drunken loons loaded with adrenaline and chemicals can never be stopped by untrained security officials like this, it’s like trying to hold of a pack stamping bulls all they can do is hope that the crowd will break off and calm down and walk away and they can then go on and carry on with their jobs directing the herd of people towards the true exit.
A group of smart sober people surrounding us near the front manage to settle everyone down and point the crowd towards the opposite side of the park towards the right exit and the crowd turns and make’s it’s way to the other side, still singing and chanting.

Finally we leave the park and start to make our way home, heads pounding, hungry and buzzing with energy.
Walking down London Road with everyone around singing Kasabian songs and me, Sam and Jay all join in and I can’t help but think this is the type of atmosphere you would only get a football match but it’s a rock gig and i’m never going to see this type of thing again.
We go for a quick pint in an empty Irish pub just to find a place to calm down and re group.
I settle down and just think about the day and everything that’s happened, I don’t think any of these people experience what they have today, is it the band? is the event? or is it something else? It doesn’t matter what it is, it just happened.

Small tale of The Shed.

I first heard about the Shed when I was at school. I was sixteen and an old friend who left the year before and went to college to study music was playing at the venue, it was the first time I’d heard ever heard about it. I just remember hearing about how cool and amazing this place was. This smelly little venue on the edge of town, a toilet, a dump of a place and a friend of mine was playing it.
Seeing the picture of his gig were something to behold. The small stage dimly lit and the large backdrop sign saying “The Shed” in the background. And there was my old mate rocking away with his guitar. I think he played the Saturday afternoon under eighteen slot, but I don’t know, I never went at that time.
I just thought to myself I have to go this shit hole one day and see his band play. But his band didn’t last long it was just a simple college band that played about 5 gigs and recorded some really bizarre but heavy songs.
So for the next couple of years after I left school I planned with friends to go to the Shed, I got a shitty provisional ID and I asked everyone “lets go to the shed, it don’t matter who’s on lets just go and fucking see a band”. But it never happened.
The first band I joined just became a bedroom band but we planned on getting tight and eventually playing The Shed, because that’s where everyone played. Get the songs down and then get that first gig on that venue and see what happens. But It never happened.

After four years of waiting to go to The Shed I finally got the chance to go. Four years of hearing about this toilet in town where Kasabian played their first gigs and i’m finally getting to go. It was 2010 sometime around July or August and the music world at the time didn’t really have much of a buzz going for it.
I get a phone call from a band friend telling me that we can go see his cousins band, The Boobytraps play the final of the OBS competition. I’d got to see them a month before at the Musician, a fancy music pub near to the Shed. It was my first live gig. The smell and look of the place when I walked through the door just felt right. A bar was the front and small stage was at the back. A poster of Richie Havens hung on the walls “Richie Havens Live at The Musician”. I should have gone to that. But I was finally getting to go to the Shed.
We turn up around 8:30, half drunk and excited for tonight, the final of a band competition. We walk through the doors and up the small flight of stairs that leads to the foyer. It’s everything I expected, it felt like the centre of the Leicester music scene. The place was packed with people, all kinds of people. Posters from past gigs sat on the wall, sound of music comes through the doors to the left of me and Kev sits at small counter at the top of stairs (Kev, the owner, later would go on to book our first gig). Above where he sits there is a picture of Kasabian in black and white the words “who’s next” underneath it.
We pay the £5 entry and we go in to the main stage, walking through the crowd of people. Older people, young people, indie rockers and metal heads and a guy who looks like Paul Weller (Jesus was that Paul Weller?).
We walk around looking for the Boobytraps, we grab a beer that costs £3.40 and we find a corner to stand in. The lead singer of the Boobys, my band mates cousin comes walking up to us and says to us “We are on next so get ready”. So we finish our cans of beer and run straight to the front of the stage.
As we stand at the front of the stage while the Booby’s set up and with a broken air conditioning unit dripping warm water on to our heads and a small fight breaks out in front of us.
A lady in a stripy shirt and white jeans had touched a girl with ginger hair on the arse and her savage of a boyfriend squared up to him “Fucking touch my bird, ill fuckin’ kel ya'” the boyfriend with a huge forehead and black eyebrows said “i’ll murder your arse”. The boy with white jeans backs off “sorry dude” he says “is that your missus”. The boyfriend with the big eyebrows shrugs his shoulders and walks away and leaves the front of the stage. The lad with the jeans sits on the stage and starts signing a Kasabian song before men in black coats grab him under the arms and walk him out (I didn’t see them at the door).
The boobys finish setting up and their intro music starts to play and red lights fill the stage. They walk on stage pissed as rats and go into a cover The Beatles Day tripper. The crowd of about 35 drunken loons go mad for them and they dance around like chimps. The are unknowns but their small group of drunken fans treat them like royalty.
After about 35 minutes of playing they finish to a huge round of applause from their fans and they stumble off the stage while a group of young blonde students take down their gear and the band head towards the bar.
We stand around and wait for the runner up and the winning band to be announced. As last years winners (The Heroes) play I can sense  tense atmosphere is in the room, you can fell it like a storm is about to come over. I can’t make out the chatter amongst fans of the bands that have played, I just notice their excitement and anticipation for who is going to win the prestigious award.
A huge 6ft something  woman in a black coat and red hair gets up on stage to announce the runner up. All the bands from the night line up at the front of the stage waiting for their name to be annouced “And your runner up is….. The Stiggz”. The Stiggz, a legendary Leicester based band which I only got to see on this night but I would continue to hear about them when I started to gig. They had a bad night. The bas guitar practically blew up and the strings fell off, if I remember rightly the bass amp also exploded into the face of the bas player almost sending him crashing across the room. The bassist had to a borrow a bass from last years winners.
They congratulated the crowd and the fans they brought and they bands that played that night and the eventual winner that’s to be announced. You can sense the disappointment from a majority of the people in the crowd, I think a lot of the crowd wanted them to win. They seem to have worked shit hard for it and just had abit of explosive bad luck on a night they didn’t need any bad luck at all.
They walk off of the stage and mix amongst the crowd, patting the heads of their fans as they walk by and brings back a memory of the film Cool Running’s.
The woman in the black coat and the ginger hair says “Thank you to The Stiggz.. and now your winner”. And that lump of excitement fill the air. They’ve fucking done, they boobs have done” says my friend. And the huge woman announces the winner and a small sigh fills the room. I can’t remember the band that won but it was an acoustic band who’s lead singer’s uncle was on the voting board. And everyone felt it, everyone knew. The bands fans where happy, all 12 of them that turned up. “What a load of shit” says my friend “They weren’t bad but they didn’t deserve to win, The Stiggz where the band of the night, the boobs should have come second at least”.
We decide to leave The Shed in disappointment and remorse and start to walk home. A taxi was going to be booked but we didn’t want to pay out more money. We were already lacking in funds. “I’ve got a text from Jamie” my friend says as we walk by a Subway “He aint happy, he says he’s abit pissed off but they seem ok.. The singers uncle was probably a judge”. We shake our heads and carry on walking home, mostly silent for the journey.

That was the first time I went to The Shed and it would become a staple for the future. 22 gigs will be played at the venue and I will be surrounded by people living a minimum wage lifestyle trying to become rock and roll stars. It’s the centre of everything rock and pop in Leicester. It makes sense to go there when you’re 18 and watch an drunk out of tune rock pop punk band playing songs you will most likely never hear on the radio.
It happened to one band and it might happen again, Kasabian played it and they got signed and eventually played to 50,000 people on Victoria Park. Arctic monkeys and Ellie Goulding they even had the chance to play a headline slot at The Shed.
It’s ok, these toilets exist and I will keep going to them.
Just another lock in and smoking and drinking around an acoustic guitar in the middle of the room while Dawn mops around us will do.

………

Ste Harris is entirely fictional and the writings in this blog are fictional. Some writes may be based around real places and real people but the stories are pieces of fiction and should not be taken literally.
As well,  the views and opinions expressed in this blog by the people in them do not come from a personal or private place and should again be viewed as apart of a story.