Thursday, July 3, 2008

Was That You With The Sri Lankan Flag?

Last weekend was a spectacularly musical one for me. I've already bored you with some of the details but I'll mention them again. I had a gig on Thursday, one on Saturday and a band practice with an old band on Sunday. Those were all good, in varying degrees.

The highlight was definitely Saturday night's gig. It was a birthday party for someone, the weather was lovely, the atmosphere was kicking and it seemed as if everyone was out for a great night out, including the band. I played well, the others in the band played well and it gave me a little jolt of everything that can be good about a live band. Other musicians understand that there are few things that feel better than performing to an appreciative audience, whether it's two hundred or twenty thousand people. In my case on Saturday, you'll be surprised to know the figure was closer to the former, well about fifty per cent of it anyway.

Now I don't know if it's just me but the weekend felt special. It's about the third or fourth year in a row when I've played a gig over the Glastonbury weekend (not last year I know). I've never actually been to Glasto but I love watching it on TV. I know many people who have been there but I don't think it's my sort of thing. I'd love it for the music, I just don't think everything else is my bag of otters.

My idea of camping is a bungalow in Yala. A chap to cook for me, the most delicious rice and curry ever, those blinky star things in the sky, the Sri Lankan climate, frogs in the toilet and a Leopard or two. The thought of rain, mud, wellington boots, sleeping in a tent and hiding all my valuables, evading hippies and ending up smelling like one just doesn't appeal to me. I can't be sure but I don't even think there are any Leopards at Glasonbury either.

If I ever do go to Glastonbury I think I'll take the five star approach. Stay in a nice hotel and get helicoptered in every day. Unless I suddenly join a famous band that's unlikely to happen. But, until then I'm very happy to sit in my house, live dangerously and crack open a Diet Coke or two and watch the festival unfold on TV. There's less mud when I go to the toilet, I can take a break to nip off and play a gig and I can change channel to watch Walker Texas Ranger. No contest.

Every year (if it's on) Glastonbury seems to create some kind of atmosphere among the people who watch it. I've noticed this when playing. The atmosphere among the audience seems more electric, more buzzing and more lively and none of that's to do with the wiring in our PA system. I really think it's because many watch the TV coverage and are hungry for live bands. Cool I say.

The weekend was good for me though, Glastonbury, gigging and practicing made me feel as though I was bathing in music.

The TV coverage of Glastonbury was also a good reminder. On Saturday night I came in from my gig feeling all cocky and smartarsed, I'd just been solely responsible for making all those people dance and I was probably the best drummer in the world. They were dancing to my groove and my bass drum after all. Then I turned on my TV and was knocked down to earth, in the best possible way. I can't remember who I watched right then but all the drummers I saw were outstanding and made me realise that there's always so much to improve upon.

I watched the chap in the Fratellis, whose name I don't know. He played the set with so much energy and force that I could only gasp. I watched the drummer in the Zutons, marvelling at the sax player who I believe he's engaged to. That gets any bloke's admiration.

On Sunday afternoon I watched some of Neil Diamond's set. I must confess to feeling a bit disappointed. The performance was flawless and the set contained all of his great songs, most of which I like. But, somehow the energy wasn't there for me, I even fell asleep at one point. Having said all that, his drummer caught my ear as soon as they started, not just because the drums were way too loud in the mix.

I looked at the bearded grey haired chap and thought that he looked familiar. Then I recalled something in the recesses of my mind, that Mr Diamond had Ron Tutt, Elvis' old drummer, playing with him these days. I was right and it was a lesson in classy drumming that I felt lucky to be watching.

I perused the Glastonbury coverage on and off over the whole weekend, catching Nihal Arthanayake, the Sri Lankan DJ on Radio 1 a couple of times. It always feels good to see a Sri Lankan on TV here, particularly one that seems to be doing so well but I feel that his hair deserves a mention.

Have you seen it? It's all over the place, looking like something Dave Grohl rejected as being too messy for the video shoot of Teen Spirit. If I was his mother I'd give him a bloody good slap and drag him to Ramzi's for a short back and sides. How can your poor mother take you to see Aunts and relatives, how can she boast about your achievements and your greatness when your hair looks like that? At least put some water and clean it once in a while men. Chee! No wonder you haven't got a proper job like in a bank or something.

The best bit about Glastonbury was the flag. Did you see it?

I spotted it flying high and proudly in the Zutons set, We Are Scientists' set and also Lupe Fiasco's (I don't know either) set. I'm sure it was evident during other bands' performances too.

Among the sea of flags for tin pot countries like the USA and Germany, there was one that outshone the rest.

Yes, it was a Sri Lankan flag.

Despite the white van stories, the "war", the inflation, the corruption, Mervyn Silva and every fucking bloody shitty thing that's bad about Sri Lanka I felt proud.

Am I mad?

Am I Sri Lankan?

Or both.

Or neither.

Was it you? Please get in touch or comment. I'd love to find whose it was, it really did make me feel even better.



N said...

I'm glad someone flew it during the Zutons set...not so glad about it flying during Lupe Fiascos set!:)

pow bung on Nihals hairstyle...besides have u seen the kids back home these days? its the istyle....

Anonymous said...

How nice. You gave me one of my choked up 'Paradisian' moments. Tx.
I have on my bedroom ledge! Bit OTT I know!

Darwin said...

The mud and the toilet issues is what puts me off going to Glasto too. Plus it's rather mainstream now.

Also, The Fratellis are awesome to see live. Their energy can only be described as infectious.

Confab said...

hey, ppl with bad long hair can hold respectable jobs too ok?:P (raises hand!).

what is with all these fuddy duddies trying to get us to get a crew cut:D

ok no offence:)