Tag Archive for Homemade Tour

The Enterprise end of tour party


Skinny on stage at The Enterprise

We jumped in the landrover over two hours behind schedule but safe in the knowledge we had finished the EP and we had fifty working copies to give out at the gig. After a day of last minute mixing and CD burning, it was a huge relief.

I drove with speed down to Greenwich to pick up Dan and Lorna and as I parked up was told by another motorist that the exhaust pipe was hanging off the Landrover. A quick look underneath the beast confirmed my worst fears. It was true. Quickly I jumped below decks and with a bungee from the roof rack, made good the exhaust. I thought the engine was sounding even more monstrous than usual! We loaded up and made for Camden.

We arrived in quick time but still only left ourselves ten minutes for sound check and a few more minutes to dress the stage, tight but doable and at around 19.30, we were just about ready. Doors were at 8. We all tucked into some pittas, hummus and crisps laid on by the venue, and then it was time.

We had arranged a special treat as our warm up act. Miss Apple Tart, a burlesque dancer who we met back at Festibelly took the stage and did her thing much to the excitement of all.

Then we got on stage and exploded with a weeks worth of pent up aggresion, hangover and booze all coming out at the same time. It was glorious and we had an amazing time. The crowd sang and danced with us and Lorna jumped on and off stage about thirty times whipping them up like some kind of folky whirling devil.

Lorna in full flow

The flagon did the rounds full of 4 bottles of the finest rum. After a quick on stage demo of correct flagon drinking technique everyone was keen to give it a go…

Jo exhibits perfect flagon drinking technique

After John Kanaka was sung for the second time, corwd and band were both spent and it was time to get downstairs for more booze and a less sweaty atmosphere. Much drinking ensued which was quite impressive for a Monday night. I got many text yesterday accusing me of corrupting people on a school night…. Mwa hahaha ahaa! That’s how the Skinnies roll.

Lorna holds hands with the crowd

I can’t believe its all over for the homemade tour. It has been an amazing ten days or so. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the updates, there will be plenty more of course. We’d like to thank eveyone who have come down to see us and for making us feel so welcome wherever we’ve stopped. What a fantastic way to end the tour.

To rai aaaaaaaye!

If you missed us on Monday, we’re playing Bullet Bar up Kentish Town way tonight (free entry), then two gigs on Sunday – Master Shipright’s Revelry in Deptford and Folk Newington. More info for these on the live dates page/FB.

Mule blasting

Homemade Tour EP Info

The track listing and info for the EP goes a bit like this in case you were wondering. And it’s on sale from the Skinny Shop for five English pounds plus p&p.

1. William Harker - Original tune by George Thomas (Max and Lorna’s Dad), performed by the man himself with backing by Skinny Lister. Recorded in Frolesworth in Max and Lorn’s folks front room on Saturday 23rd October, 2010.

2. John Kanaka – Traditional Shanty excerpt performed by Skinny Lister and the company of The Stag Inn, Hastings on Saturday 30th October, 2010.

3. Trawler Man – Skinny Lister original, recorded in Dan’s bedroom in London on Sunday 31st October, 2010.

4. Kite Song – Skinny Lister original featuring banjoman James, recorded in Room 1 of The Ship Inn, Dymchurch on Friday 29th October, 2o1o.

5. Keep Yer Feet Still Geordie Hinny – Traditional Geordie song sung by Tash and Billy Gray  (Tash’s Dad). Recorded in Tash’s folks front room on Wednesday 27th October, 2010.

6. Farewell to Devon / Tattoo Tale – Sandra Brace (Mule’s Mum) spoken voice with traditional tune backing by Skinny Lister. Recorded in Mule’s folks front room on Friday 30th October, 2010.

7. Bye Bye my Roseanna – Traditional Shanty excerpt performed by Rob, and the company of The Stag Inn, Hastings on Friday 30th October, 2010.

Homemade Tour EP Art

Day Nine and Ten – Spooky cellars and microphones

We awoke to the sound of sea gulls in Hastings old town the morning after an amazing show at the Stag. I vote the gig best of tour though the Forge was right up there too. It was great to see all my family and old friends – thanks for coming all, we really appreciate the support and we hope you had as good a time as we did!

I found myself waking up on the second floor the Stag which was a trifle unexpected. I was supposed to head back to my Mum’s place after a mix up with the B&B left us a bed short, luckily and very kindly Landlord Alan offered his spare room rather than take a taxi. We then proceeded to share a few after hours rums and went on a spooky tour of the pub’s basement and secret smugglers cave entrances before a deep discussion on how you should sing a sea shanty correctly!

With the Skinnies all packed and loaded into the landrover we headed back to London for a last minute recording session to fully finish the EP, we still had to get the backing track for Farewell to Devon down and Trawler Man needed recording too so we trekked straight to Dan’s house and went into a frenzied 24 hours of recording, mixing, mastering and burning of EP’s. Max and I finished burning the last of the CD’s at 4.30 yesterday (Monday) afternoon before jumping in the Landrover for its final journey to the Enterprise gig. It was close but we made it!

We’ll do a special post about the gig later today or tomorrow when we’ve recovered some pics to illustrate the tale… Stay tuned.

The tour sign hung on stage at The Enterprise...

Day Eight – Hauling to Hastings

Hastings was up next. I must admit the thought of playing my home town filled me with the worst nerves i’ve encountered for some time. For some reason playing in front of people you know well is worse for me than playing to a room full of  people you don’t know so well. Funny eh?

We pulled up to my Mum and Dad’s place for a lovely lunch accompanied by 50′s classiscs on the radio, my Mum showed off her encyclopedic knowledge of rock n’ roll music and we were all amazed by her flawless rib, sausage and salad meal combo. What a cook! After dinner we headed down to the beach for a spot of swimming. Lorna went in, the rest of us looked on in wonder. It was icy cold and the waves were rolling in.

Lorna braves the cold and waves

Half frozen, we jumped back in the Landrover and went back to my Mum’s to record the tale of my Great Grandfathers bum tattoos form the source… It was lots of fun and after more tea and bread pudding we had run out of time. We headed over to the Old Town to check in to a B&B called The Medieval Lodge which was built in 1489. The guest house is located near The Stag on All Saints Street which in itself is a sight to behold with ancient houses jumbled together on a very narrow road.

After a quick lie down, we headed to The Stag for some food and to set up our stuff. The amazing landlord, Alan greeted us and fed us with the best meal we’ve had in a pub all trip! Saturday night in Hastings is usually a raucaous affair so we had every hope the night would turn into a massive party and we were right. A lot of my old friends and family showed up which was amazing to see (Thanks all!) and with regulars also in attendance, the place was packed out. We launched into the set and soon had the crowd singing along at the top of their voices. It was a classic gig and we all had a great time.

At the end of the night after an extended and unplanned shanty session featuring songs from locals and Skinnies alike, we got one of our new friends, Rob to record us a message for tomorrow night -

Bring on The Enterprise.

Day Seven – The Domain of Dr Syn

Rolled out of the cold dark recording studio and made our way back into Deal to collect our trunks from the Astor Theatre. Thankyou so much to the Cocos Lovers for putting us up for the night even though we didn’t even meet them really. Bound for the Ship Inn Dymchurch today which was the domain of Dr Syn the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh. Just finished reading Russell Thorndike’s novel of the smuggler hero. The pub was certainly coining in on its appearance in the novel with all sorts of trinkets including key rings, beautifully hand crafted scarecrows with a chocolate surprise and sticks of themed rock.

A few drinks in and the diddle started to roll to a rather small but most appreciative audience. We drunk and danced the night away again with the locals. Loads of fun was had and the staff at The Ship Inn were really appreciative of the Skinnies as you can see below.

Dymchurch we love you and we will return. x x x

Day Six – Deal or No Deal

We woke up in Tash’s Mum and Dad’s house a lot later than planned but all feeling much better after a relatively early night and a really good night sleep in super comfortable beds. We all seemed to have had extremely vivid dreams overnight and we regaled each other with stories involving tigers, landrovers, dog shows and canals over breakfast, then we had to get a shift on as we had over 400 miles to drive and not much time to do it in but not before Tash’s mum recorded a little message -

A full days travel on the A1 then followed with two stops for fuel, sweets and a KFC. We pulled into Deal at 8.30 and were instantly amazed by the venue, The Astor which is an old theatre in the middle of town. The guys who ran it had set up a stage in front of the main stage made to look like a living room. The place was packed and we were raring to go after being cooped up in a car for 8 hours.

On route to Deal

The roof was raised, Lorna went mental dancing on chairs and flashing pants as per usual, the gig was roaring. We were also joined onstage for the last three songs by our good friend from Canterbury, Banjoman James. After the show we dumped the gear backstage and ran down to the Walmer Castle, a pub that open all hours and does shots for £1. Things got hazy after this but we were being put up in a house somewhere down the road in a back garden studio. We hauled our sleeping bag for about an hour in a huge circle around Deal until we finally located our destination and instantly passed out on the floor.

Thanks for an excellent night Deal. We can’t wait to come back and do it again!

Day Five – Up to the Toon

Wow! Felt like there was no way forward this morning. Woke up after the night that was Blood, Sweat and Beers to an extremely hot empty house. Anxious feelings all-round after the behaviour of one certain Skinny may have found us out of favour with our kind hosts. After trying to call them a few times we decided it’d be best to just head off and try and find their café. Upon arrival chocolates and flowers were offered and it turned out that they’re hard enough to take a few knocks, spillages and breaks.

Skinnies with their truly wonderful (and slightly damaged) York hosts

Back to York’s Black Swan Inn to pick up our trunks, flagon and instruments and load up the Landy again as we were Newcastle bound via a quick stop at the Angel of the North for a tourist photo.

Skinny silhouettes at the angel of the north

Once again we arrived to delicious homemade food and a hearty warm welcome from the ma and pa of Tash. Once eaten we had a few mins to update all our online shenanigans before setting up our mobile recording unit in Chris and Billy’s front room for a rendition of the Geordie classic ‘Keep ya feet still geordie hinnie’ by Tash and his dad. It’s so great to get family involved in our creative adventures. Next up loading up the Landy and heading off to the gig at The Bridge Hotel down by the riverside. Here we go again!

It was great to meet loads of Tash’s family and friends at the do. Tash’s Newcastle chums kick started the night with some acoustic numbers followed by my cousin before we Skinnies hit the stage.  A definite highlight was Tash and his Dad’s rendition of the Geordie classic. The crowd footstomped and clapped their was through this number. We rounded off the night by giving Chris and Billy a lift home in the Landy. As we bounced over potholes and swayed our way round bends back to the Gray household shanties and Geordie verse lifted our spirits. Ahh life on the Homemade Tour is heart warming at times. I’m not sure the  Landy will be filled with such emotional warmth on our 400+ mile expedition down to Deal in Kent… tbc

Day Four – Blood, Sweat & Beers

Ok so here we go. Rain, rain and drizzle started the day. Soaked through and tetchy we set off from Ye Olde Star Inn with a hearty breakfast and the offer of a paid Sunday gig under our belts. After anxiously travelling for roughly 8 minutes the tarp worked its way loose from the roof exposing our trunks and double bass. Damn! After turning off and making a few adjustments we set off for the second time to visit Dan’s gran in Selby.

Made it in good time for tea and biscuits with Vilma and Peter. What a lovely way to pass the afternoon. Talked of Dan’s great grandfather who ran a fleet of tea clippers back in the year 1853. So all those sea themed songs really are coming from the heart. Also found out rather shockingly that Mule’s great grandad was a sailor who had two eyes tattooed to his behind! In true Pulp Fiction style Dan was presented with his grandfather’s diamond engagement ring and less like Pulp Fiction but nonetheless heartwarming Lorna received a beautiful black hand-me-down handbag. We left with plenty of warm wishes, an advert for our grand London finale (see below) and the suggestion that Dan’s Gran’d make for our gig in The Black Swan later that eve.

We arrived in York around dinnertime and feasted on Rabbit and Pigeon before regrouping for the evening diddle. Alcohol flowed as usual and what started as a polite sit around the table type affair descended into a night of rambunctious, rollicking, rousing chanties, songs and hollerin. We were joined by our most junior guest yet as Dylan graced the stage for Jon Kanaka after attending the previous evening and picking up the jist of it. After being turfed out of the pub we went on to the wonderful Annelise and Tomo’s place. I don’t think they quite reckoned on inviting a certain member of the band who caused mayhem which included blood, beer and tears. The less said the better maybe. Anyhow they didn’t seem to mind too much as they provided us with a bed and a breakfast at Coffee Culture their delightful little cafe in the centre of York.

Day Three – Brid

Another slow start but nevertheless the gang busied themselves with sign making and vintage suitcase fixing duties and when we were finally ready to set off we were all in need of a good lunch. We stopped in Leicester to pick up a few supplies for the Landy, more bungees, PVA glue to keep the amazing Homemade Tour sign letters stuck onto the wood, (hats off to Max for a stirling job on that front). We picked up some substatially loaded sandwiches and were off.

The sign

At 60 mph the Landy becomes a bit wobbly especially with everything on the top and the wind blowing us about. But Max was equal to the challenge, the rest of us were seriously worried for the first 20 mins, but we got used to it. Kind of.

On arrival at Brid we did a whilstlestop tour of the places where Dan used to live and got some salient Heptinfacts about the local area. Then we got ourselves some Fish n’ Chips from Busy Bees cafe and scoffed them sitting in the Landy staring at the sea. It was good.

Fish n' Chips

Ye Olde Star Inn was quiet – to begin with – and for sometime it seemed that we were going to play to an audience of one (and he actually became part of the band, so to none infact), gradually our friends turned up and before we knew it, we were having a bloody good time, hollerin, dancin and necking the rum kindly bought by Reg – (ta fella).

Dancing at Ye Olde Star Inn

Skinny Lister

Dancing at Ye Olde Star Inn

Crikey – half past two – a lot of maths and Farenheit man – time for bed ‘it’s only Monday’. A tired Landlord presented an amazing breakfast in the morning. Thank you Mark – those mushies were well tasty.

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