Thursday, 28 July 2011

Tamara and the Martyrs Soundcheck

Here is a video of us soundchecking 'Charon's Boat' at the cellar on Tuesday night for London Poetry Systems. Video by Bruce Markos

The Martyrs Sound Check from Bruce Markos on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Truck Fest, Dance Fest, Cake Fest...

Mooching at Truck
Well, we just about made it back from Truck Fest in one piece. Tommy and I went down on Friday night, arriving just in time to put up the tents before the rain came down. It didn't last long and with the festival buzz in the air everyone was looking forward to a great weekend.  We mooched around the site checking out some of the new stages and extended areas. Our highlight of Friday night had to be watching The Rock of Travolta. They came on at 12:00am and the FM ten was already packed. Their set got stronger and stronger, reaching a crescendo with the 'Last March of the Acolytes'. The whole crowd was singing that killer guitar riff as they left the tent.

Saturday morning's hang over was patched up with copious amounts if iced coffee (only £1), Rotary Club hot chips, and sunshine. We wandered down to the Cabaret tent in time to catch a great set from Mr. George Chopping.  My favourite poem was Swanny which had the crowd in fits of laughter. Shortly after Thomas Truax got us back on the bottle with a very curious set of instruments littering the stage. He proceeded to play them all singing wild stories and jumping into the crowd when the sound cut out.

 We then hot-footed it to the main stage to catch half of the Richmond Fontaine band play a beautiful set. I've never seen this band before but know a lot about them as they're probably Tommy's most favourite band in the world, like, ever. I think they might now be one of my favourite bands in the world, like, ever, too. They played an incredibly moving set and the songs were beautifully tragic. After we dried our eyes we remembered to have dinner this time (Mmmm veggie burger) and vegged out whilst watching an outstanding performance by the Fixers. Then it was back to the Cabaret Tent to check out the burlesque dancers and The Long Insiders. There was a great atmosphere in the crowd, lots of whooping at the talented burlesque dancers as the men in the audience struggled in vain to keep their bulging eyes in their heads. The Long Insiders were awesome and a great appetizer for The Original Rabbit Foot Spasm Band, who headlined the night. By this point the crowd were well up for a boogie. We got a great spot right at the front and loved every minute of it. It was a small stage for seven rabbits made even smaller when they invited some of the crowd to dance up there with them. Baron Macbeth poured his heart and soul out to the audience and jived his way through the set. Johnny Moto caught the end of their show above with added laughter from Tommy.  With two encores it was a gig to remember and we shimmeyed over to the cake tent to shake some moves until the sun came up, or the cake ran out - I can't remember which happened first.

Richmond Fontaine
Sunday was a more relaxed affair, it needed to be after 4 hours sleep. The weather held out and we found ourselves in the Wood Tent listening to the quirky but wonderful songs of Rachael Dadd and her Saxophonist. She sang a song about her husbands 2 cats which he found as newborn kittens one day in his sock draw. Again, great song writing and the perfect thing for a lazy Sunday. We also hung out at the Truck-a-Doodle-Doo printing press, reading about the weekend's events while the Oxford Playhouse's site specific performers lined up and danced in front of us. As the evening grew old we headed back to Boxford where the cake and dance tent awaited for one last farewell dance. We sat among the teenage hoards and festival dregs 'til a hot young punk assaulted Tommy. We couldn't decide whether to get security or just leave them to settle their angsty differences. I went to bed.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Back from Bath, off to Truck and then a shower.

The Martyrs and I have had a pretty crazy week kicking off with a spot of recording on Monday at Studio 101. We're demoing some tracks to record for our new Album, which should be available in all good bargin bins of independant record shops in Oxfordshire a little later in the year. For a sneaky listen to what we've recorded (and much much more) you can join our Ongaku Lounge and receive the demos that noone else will ever hear! Tuesday saw Humphrey and I rocking out acousticly at the Gloucester Arms. I've never been to the Gloucester Arms before. I thought it was for metal-heads and hell's angels. It is, but is not as intimidating as it should be and I met a real mix of music-lovers. Thanks to everyone who came down to show their support.
On the road

Last night was one of our best gigs yet at a quirky pub called the Pig and Fiddle in Bath. We re-worked an old Huck and the Handsome Fee classic 'Thinkin' on a Problem' which went down well. The crowd were great. We supported a local band called The Idiot Savants who were very funky. Their sax player was awesome, and Tommy and their drummer were inseperable, gushing over dry-rides and high-hats. If you're in Bath I'd reccomend you go and see this band. And so now it's time for a little R'n'R at Truck Festival. I'm looking forward to catching Bellowhead's set tonight and the Original Rabbit Foot Spasm Band tomorrow. See you there!

Monday, 11 July 2011

Grahame Greene and so was the salad...

Enjoying a spot of Ploughmans 
The other week Humphrey and I went to an evening dedicated to the author Grahame Greene and inspired by 40s British culture. We performed a song I wrote years ago about his book 'The End of the Affair' and Humphrey read an excerpt from it. There were also readings from other Oxford artists including Richard Walters and Baron Macbeth from The Orginal Rabbit Foot Spasm Band. The night was organised by Oxfork, a pop-up restaurant group that is soon to open a cafe on Magdalen Street (where the old bike shop was). The event was held in the crazy and gorgeous Rotunda at Grove House. We found out that Grove House was actually Grahame Greene's place in Oxford, and the round building we were in was where his wife kept her doll collection. You can have a listen to our performance recorded live on the player below. If you want to read more about the night, well - just the delicious food really.. click here for the Oxford Mail's review. If anyone else knows more about the Rotunda or any neat facts about Graham Greene's life in Oxford - let us know. He's one of my favourite writers, and if you've not read 'The End of the Affair' then get yourself a copy. It'll make you weep.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Pictures and recording from our live set on BBC London Radio 94.9 FM

Last Sunday Humphrey and I trekked up to London to appear on Joanne Good's The Late Show: Sunday Sessions. Despite the thick traffic and blistering heat we managed to make it to BBC Studios in enough time for a sound check. Phew! Scoundrels were also playing some songs on the show and Humphrey realised whilst speaking to their lead singer that they had played a gig together before in Oxford. This was Huck and the Handsome Fee's last show with Scoundrels and Kill it Kid, which I couldn't make because I'd lost my voice. What a small world it is. After sound check there wasn't much more we could do apart from find shelter in some London pub, eat chips and try not to get too nervous.  We passed the time trying to name as many Oxford acoustic acts as we could. This didn't take long so we moved on to women we'd seen rocking out in Oxford bands recently. After a couple of hours we went back to the studio to listen to the Scoundrels play some tunes and then got ready for our live set. Joanne Good and her team were so welcoming and friendly and it was a very relaxed affair. As soon as we started playing Hang My Picture all my nerves disappeared. If you missed the show then you can hear it again on the player below. Thanks to all who tuned in and all the support.