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Funny Old World – The Tour

February 28, 2011

Strange thing. Like waiting for London buses, you hang around for years trying to get some dates abroad (especially in Japan and Germany) and then four of them come along at once.

For that reason I’m calling this the ‘It’s A Funny Old’ World Tour as it takes in five concerts in three countries and happened in a fairly random way. The Half Moon, Putney (Tuesday 15 March) is a great old venue with a history of epic nights, Berlin Popfest (Saturday 19 March) is one of a clutch of international indiepop highlights dotted throughout the year, and the three Japan dates with The Monochrome Set (from Saturday 10 to Tuesday 12 April in Tokyo and Osaka) are the first time I’ll have been there since 1995, when I played a solo show (with a Japanese percussionist) at Club 251, Shimokitazawa.

We’ve been in contact with Tetsuya Nakatani of Vinyl Japan for nearly 20 years, as his shop has been a good customer of our record company, and he licensed two of our records for release on his label about ten years ago. And Uwe of Firestation Records in Berlin has been a great supporter too, has included some of our songs on his Sound Of Leamington Spa compilations, and probably got sick of me asking if we could ever play in Germany.

Thanks to our bass player Edwin, and the place where he teaches, we’ve got a rehearsal room (well, hall really) where we can actually hear what we are playing and where it’s a pleasure to practise. And it’s fun reworking the set for what I think of as our Beatles line-up of two guitars, bass and drums. Actually not much reworking is needed as we’ve generally used keyboards in the past mainly for texture rather than substance, and Richard, our guitarist, can easily handle the female backing vocals with his fine falsetto. So it feels like a tight, fit unit, which I hope will deliver a good, punchy set. 

The challenge has been narrowing down some 150 songs to about 15, and choosing a selection that people will know or want to hear for the first time, not forgetting our own personal favourites, of which I have many! 

We’re preparing an hour-long set for Germany and Japan and 45 minutes for London, and have chosen songs from all the way back to our first album right up to the next one, which should be out in time for the Japan concerts.

We’ve got a few more rehearsals before we hit the stage, and I’ll keep in touch with how it’s going. So long as it’s going well!

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