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The Empire Pool
Nigel, Saturday 13th April, 2013
It's one year since we played a particularly large show in London, so naturally I'm reflecting on it today. I'll ramble - anyone who's already been following my blog on thesadsongco.com will be entirely used to this - but hopefully there'll be some interesting stuff along the way. And if not then this is four and half minutes you'll never get back.
The run up to 'that show' was interesting and, in some ways, slightly tense. It was a big step - would it be a half empty nightmare? Some industry people thought we'd overreached. The whole stress was slightly mitigated by the fact that you can reduce the capacity of the venue by curtaining it off halfway along the hall, so even if we'd only sold as many as our sold out Hammersmith Odeon show the previous year then we would have got away with it. But that was hardly the point.
But then again the whole career up to that point had been confounding expectations of what we could do. There were the same murmurs of disquiet when we did Shepherds Bush and then we sold that out; same again for The Roundhouse the next year, and again we went to capacity; promoters however were dead sure that Brixton Academy was a step too far, but again we filled it. There is an element of bungee jumping into the void. One day we'll be wrong but it won't be for lack of balls.
A quick aside here. Semantically, linguistically, it's a bit hard to write about this accurately. I say we / us; but the decisions and direction come (quite rightly) from Frank and his manager Charlie. As his friends (I hope) and compatriots who have been slogging the road with him since his very first solo release he will bounce ideas off us, glean advice and counsel from our experience, but the drive and vision is his alone. But; I will continue saying we and us, just to make it more straightforward to read. OK?
The other fact about this big show is that, to me at least, I tried to keep it somewhat as another day at the office. We were touring hard immediately before. Frank went off and did some solo shows in the aftermath and we joined him not long after, so it was back to the grindstone as soon as possible. Sure, this show was big and exciting, but I knew we could do it, and do it well. My cyborg-ness couldn't entirely douse my thrill though, although it was expressed in a typically (for me) self-denying way - I remember about halfway through looking over and having a massive shot of adrenaline as I though "Fucking hell! My mate Ben is playing Wembley Arena!" (there I've said it).
And since then we haven't stopped. It was important to everyone I think that it wasn't seen as some kind of pinnacle. Big, important, fun, but not our last gig ever by a long shot. And hopefully not even our biggest headline show ever. We headed out on the road again, of course, arranged and recorded an album, more touring. I'm allowing myself a moment of reflection one year on, but in a couple of minutes time my vision will swing forward once more. So - see you on the upcoming UK / European / US tour, yes?