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  the lollies tour diary
 

 

Setting Sail on the Good Ship Lollie Pop 
...or a tour diary from Kate and Jane of indie pop maestros, the Lollies and they slip through the UK, powered only by chips and the World Cup...it’s hard being a rock ‘n roll star....
 

KATE:
First date of the tour, playing in Oxford. We were very pleased to get into Oxford and find this big huge thing with a picture and everything in Nightshift. That made us feel like proper rock stars.
And music journalists dropping by to find us and interview us. And then find out we've been demoted to the opening slot. Poo.

Ah well. Though it turns out we're playing with NPB!!! Who are like, the Irish Gospel FLC, but even bigger and even cleverer. Much mutual appreciation all round. Except my Etherialiser BLEW UP ten seconds into soundcheck. A pop and a crackle and then nothing. ARGH!!! OK, so it was belching smoke before the Slumber Party gig, but that's normal, isnt' it? Dammit, they just don't MAKE them any more. And it's the secret to the Lollies sound. Whatever shall we do? Shit. Well, we had to do a slightly more RAWK and slightly less etherial set is what we had to do. Totally threw me, and although everyone said that we played well, it just felt all wrong.
So, uh, yeah. Sheffield was WONDERFUL. It's so weird, how a gig like that can absolutely remind you of all the reasons that you're in aband in the first place.

 I always say that I'm in a band to meet boys and pull, etc. etc. but the highlight of the whole tour has been when this girl came up to me after the show and said "After I saw the Ladyfest tour, I went home and got my own guitar and now I have a band of my own!" Likefucking YES!!! I just want to hug girls when they say that, it makes me so proud and so happy and I feel like something we've done has made a difference in their lives and in the world. It was so cool because when we played, there was this row of girls right up the front, all dancing and bouncing  along and totally getting into it. All the bad stuff that we went through on last year's Ladyfest tour, it suddenly made it worthwhile. That the message we'd wanted to get across DID get across, and these girls, they understood.

Norwich was an odd gig; we played in a converted church, and I don't think that I like playing up on big high stages with bright lights where it's hard to see the audience. There were about 3 or 4 people dancing like maniacs up front, but beyond that, I could see nothing, and when I can see nothing, I'm convinced that people are just standing there with their arms crossed. But we played a good show, and the lovely Wombat Wombat people seemed to love us, and asked us back immediately and Vicky and Keith, who we stayed with were utterly LOVELY so we've decided that we love Norwich. Despite the fact that I got so drunk that I fell down a flight of stairs. Ouch.  I went feet first, so drunk I went limp. If I'd gone the other way, I probably would be dead. Scary.Next morning, we did a radio interview for Finnish radio. I was trying so hard not to swear that I got all tongue-tied and I'm not sure how well it went, but I think it was OK. We managed not to talk about Iron Maiden too much... Low spirits all around cause England were out of The Cup.

Then we got in the car and drove to Hull. Wow, Norfolk really is filled with pretty little churches. They seem to have them every quarter mile or so. And we passed through a whole series of towns called Stickney and Stickford and Sticktown, causing tour delerium  to invent a whole series of "What's brown and in Stickney?" jokes.

Hull ... what is it about Hull? It's in the middle of nowhere, butevery time we go there, we have the most AMAZING time. We had the night off, and Bod (Fabulous bassist for Fonda 500 and frontwoman of Harvey) was working the bar, so we went to the Adelphi to keep her company and chatted with Jacko for most of the night. The gig the next night was fantastic. If we'd thought that  Harvey couldn't get any better, we were wrong. They were great the last time we saw them. Now they are frankly AMAZING. I just could not believe how good they were, I was literally afraid to go on after them. It's big, pounding RAWK, as hard as Led Zeppelin and as experimental as Sonic Youth yet still poppy and melodic and Bod and Katie doing FANTASTIC harmonies over the top. Matt from Edible 5Ft Smiths even let me put his hair in braids so we all matched. We put on our best set, but we knew we'd been upstaged by the Harvey girls (and boy). It's weird, I had been frightened about touring as a three-piece, but everyone keeps telling us we're actually BETTER as a 3-piece. It's far more RAWK. I used to like the  keyboards, cause it would cover all of our mistakes. But the thing is, it would also cover up a lot of the interesting things we'd do. Now we can actually smack people upside the head with how good we've got. (ooh, and modest as well)

Went back to Bod's for the party to end all parties (at some point Jesse reports walking in on a jam session to see Bod rip a recorder into pieces and fling it across the room) and me trying to write a song for Matt Edible when I was too drunk to even remember which way up the guitar went.

Wake up the next morning and there is a giant sign above the bed that says YOU COULD DIE TODAY!!! and I'm not sure if this is an instruction to stay in bed or else bad things will happen, or an instruction to live every day as if it was your last, but I decide to treat it as the latter.

We get to York, and Hull has so thoroughly kicked our asses that we need to visit the local NHS clinic, but it's cool cause it means that Matthew and I get to explore the wall. Wow, walled cities are cool, and York's is in so much better shape than Norwich's. We've decided that in the future, we will only play in cities with walls. York feed us and fill us with cappuccino, which is totally necessary at this point. There are only about 15 people there to see us, but for some reason (possibly the coffee) the three of us decide to put on the best show of the tour. Fuck it. Who cares if there was no one there - every one of those fifteen people walked out of the gig a raving converted Lollies fan. One guy was even phoning his brother in Devon telling him to get down to see us the next day. Then he asked if he could join us. I love shit like that.

Then the motherpussbucket long drive down to Exeter. Three cheers to road manager and soundman Jesse for handling it with aplomb. Four more hours of Brown and Sticky jokes.

Exeter was freaking weird. Weird vibe in the venue, but they feed us and give us an open bar. How drunk can Kate get? We'll see. We also find out that we're not on until 11pm. I know that in North America, that's what time the first band goes on, but this is weird to us. It was a very strange gig. The lights formed this tunnel effect so that we couldn't see a THING. Despite our wonderful soundcheck, the support band have FUCKED WITH all of our amps and totally changed all our settings and it takes several songs to get our sound right.

Jane was convinced the show was a disaster and the audience was not into it, but I could see one guy dancing during Goldcrush and Sweetheart Of The Radio. Mostly it was very hard to gauge. All of us were in a pissy mood by the end of the set. But thanks to the wonderful Kelly who put us in a good mood again by offering us a place to stay out of the goodness of her heart.

Left Exeter in a strange mood and headed for Brighton. We passed Southampton, and I wanted to kidnap the Nielsons and bring them alone (hey, they're so skinny that they'd fit in the back with the amps) but then realise I don't have any of their numbers on my new phone, and have to content myself with waving and hope they see us as we sped past.

In Brighton, we hooked up with the London posse. Oh, how nice it was to see familiar faces again. Palmer's Bar was rocking, the Fairy Traders came down, the place was packed, and MY GOD, does Brighton know how to rock. What a reaction! People were loving us, and we were loving them, which spurred us to play even better, and it might just have been the best show of the tour. People were dancing and drinking and shouting along, oh how wonderful. Every time I turned around Matt Eaton had poured us another round of shots of toffee vodka until I could barely play. The cutest hipster boys in the place came up to me after the show and asked about my pedals, and my god, they turned out to be so friendly and nice. They even asked Jane and I to sign their t-shirts. First time either of us had signed anyone's chest. Wooo!The Fairy Traders and the hipster boys invited us to go back and party with them, and oh boy were we tempted, but we thought we'd have pity on poor Jesse who had to drive us home, and returned to St.Albans.

Ach, finally a day off. So what do we do? We pack ourselves up in the van and drive to another city to go see someone ELSE's gig cause we've had the Dandy Warhols on the phone saying they're playing in Norwich so we should come on down. Courtney has a BEARD now. Ugh.

Way to draw attention to that massive CHIN of yours, dude. So not a good look on him, though Jane rather liked it.

Cambridge. Ah, the Portland is wonderful. Lovely, lovely coffee but expensive internet access. We went to Rainbow before the gig and ate way too much vegan food before the gig (Dude! I can't believe I ate the whole enchilada!) so that I felt quite sick during soundcheck,

but double vodka and red bulls soon cured that. Cambridge is beautiful so we took photos of ourselves in punts and resisted the urge to chuck each other in the Cam. But because it was the last night of the tour, we pulled out all of the stops and went fucking MAD.


Feedbacktastic. Looked up and Jane had hopped off the stage and was running around the audience, still playing her bass so I decided to run across the stage and sing into her mic, forgetting that Jane is taller than me and wearing heels and I can't even REACH the mic. Oh, the hillarity. We rocked so hard that these two boys came up to me after the set and were gushing "Oh my god, you're like the FEMALE NIRVANA or something!" Yes! Mission accomplished. We start the tour with all these "twee" accusations still ringing in our ears, and finish the tour being told that we are the female Nirvana. Weh-hoo!

I'm back in London and I can't cope with the fact that the tour is over. How odd it was to wake up in my own bed and realise that I didn't have to get in the van and drive and play a gig. I don't know what to do with myself now. Sigh. The last tour, a few days into it and it was such hell that I couldn't wait for it to be over. This one was SO GOOD that I never wanted to come home. Wow, what a difference.

JANE:
I am sleepy. Sleepy sleepy.
I've never been so sorry to return to sanity and normality in my whole life. I LOVE touring! I LOVE touring with Kate, who is so incredibly talented and cool and fucking fun on the road. I LOVE touring with Matthew, who is also incredibly talented and so wickedly funny that we finally had to dub it The Endless Hilarity Tour (aka the You Should Always Bring A Towel Tour). I LOVE touring with Jesse, who made us SOUND like an amazingly wonderful band every night, and kept us organised and got us to the right city on the right day at the right time, and didn't drink most nights cuz he had to drive and carried our equipment AND put up with me as a back seat driver for 2 weeks. That man is patience personified and I'm never ever even considering touring without him again. And I love being in a band that blows me away on stage every single night, and surprises me with its brilliance, no matter how crap the venue is, or how difficult the audience is or how little sleep we've had or how much alcohol is flowing.

The tour commenced with Jesse and I picking up the rock'n'roll tour bus (aka The Big Blue Fucker), complete with lucky dashboard leprechaun, Boss Hog and £1 Darth Maul, and driving into London to pick up the gear. Oh, and the other Lollies. But, within minutes of leaving St Albarns, we ran into traffic backed up up up the highway. Oh lordy. Only on tour for 15 minutes and we're already running late. It took us about 4 hours to get in and back out of London, and then 2 hours to get all the way to Sheffield, including stops to make Lollies business cards at a Moto off the M1. Fortunately, the other bands were even later than us, so that was OK then.

SHEFFIELD
What's great.
The fans who tell you you're an "inspiration" and all ask for your autograph.
The rider which includes as many sweets and red bull as you need. The lucozade which Jesse discovered was fizzy after he shook it up and opened it. Kovalchy, the kick ass girl band who opened for us. The Cribs, the blokes who opened for us, and got so drunk they gave us big weepy hugs when we had to leave.
What sucked.
They didn't feed us this time like they did last time so we had to eat in trendy Bar Ha Ha. Ha!

NORWICH
What's great.
The milkshakes from The Treehouse Caféé (non-dairy and dairy!) The venue in an old church with a ladder to blackness. The Wombat Wombats who were all sooo sweet to us it wasn't even funny. The storytelling. The local hospitality. The weed (or so I've heard). The cute little streets and cools shops (selling Buffy dolls of Anya in her rabbit costume) and kick ass market in the centre of town. The strawberries. The beer garden in the church yard. Coming off stage and having a very enthusiastic Paul Wombat accost me to say "that was FUCKING  BRILLIANT".
Paul and Vicky and Keith for giving us a place to sleep.
What sucked.
The highly inappropriate supporting acts. The very very tough crowd. The lollies that turned my teeth tongue and mouth parts all green. Having to leave.

HULL
What's great.
The whole Fonda 500/Harvey/Edible 5-Foot Smiths bunch who could possibly be the coolest people in the whole wide world. The Hull accent. I am starting to understand it, but still can't mimic it.
The calzone. SPIDERS. Cocktails for ££1.15. Shots for 60p. Drinking ALL the alcohol. Cute musician boys who spend all night complimenting you. The Humber. The Adelphi.
What sucked.
Gangs of arseholes beating up on one guy in the middle of the night. No one coming out to gigs cuz  they're too busy buying cheap drinks at Spiders. Catching my death of a cold wandering around the streets of Hull at 3am. Hearing untrue and frankly stupid rumours about your own band. Nothing else cuz Hull rules.

YORK
What's great.
Pork. Or veggie lasagne for freeeee. All the coffee we could drink in proper huge mugs. The Lollies. The guy who runs the hostel at night who gave us a whole big room to ourselves.
What sucked.
Danger of car thieves. Only 15 people at the gig - but hell we got paid anyway.

EXETER
What's great.
More free food. A rider which consisted of an open bar all night. The Boston Tea Party, which is the best café anywhere. Kellie for putting us up for the night. Kellie's art, which is frankly, pretty damn cool. Izzy and her friends for having a good time.
What sucked.
The one way system! Pretentious gits in the audience who thought their band was better than ours (yeah right!). Stinky backstage area complete with flooded toilet. Visiting the NHS. Rain.

BRIGHTON
What's great.
Matt and The Fairy Traders and our gang of friends who always show up there. Knowing our way  around. The beach. The pier. The HELTER SKELTER. Mexican food and proper margaritas and coffee bars very close to the venue. Free flowing Vodka Toffees. Indie boys who tell you you're an amazing bassist and ask you to sign their chest. Rocking out.
What sucked.
Frayed tempers. The heat the heat the heat. Having to go home instead of hanging out with The Fairy Traders. Being so so so tired and hung over and ill.

CAMBRIDGE
What's great.
The city. Unbelievably beautiful. The Rainbow Veggie café, though it wasn't as good as normal. Jesus Green. Jesus Pool. Jesus. The cam. The coffee. The very short drive from home. The way we ROCKED OUT on an incredible scale. All Lollies gigs should be that way.
What sucked.
The dead guy in the middle of the only road through town. Not headlining (ok, so I'm snooty). Dropping people off home at the end of the night. Ending the tour.