London calling, so what could we do?
We couldn't resist the call, packed our bags and respond to that one. We had been there before, actually many times, but never played our music over there. So it was about time to change that. But not only for London, it should be a mini tour and this was our plan:
26-11-04 - England - Sheppard - Doncaster
27-11-04 - England - Greenroom - Redruth
28-11-04 - England - The Underworld - London
Till the last days before we would, go we didn't hear anything from Doncaster, so it seemed that that one was cancelled, but still more than enough reasons to go.
So we booked our van, packed our stuff and were ready to go. It was early in the morning.
Friday November 26 Th, we left about 5 o' clock straight on our way to Calais for crossing some borders and a big water of course.
Everything went very well until.......
We just crossed the Belgium border and went for some gasoline and filled up our own liquid level (burb), we stepped in the van and were ready to go on the road again.... accept the van seemed to have a mind of its own and took more rest, so with all our girl and man power we pushed the van but there wasn't much life in it.
So we were very glad with the ANWB and they helped us very well...at least we had a nice chat, the guy checked our website and in the meantime the Belgium rescue team arrived... they put us on their wagon... with all of us still in it... the Dutch side got almost a heart attack when he heard that we were all on top of the truck in the van... and we were gasping for air as well....
It seemed that we would be needing a new battery, not that they had any...so they just did nothing and wished us good luck and their best advice was ... "guys keep your fingers crossed"... and maybe the van got scared, but we were driving again and obviously missed a boat.
Still a bit worried about the battery but the trip went fine and you almost can't get seasick in 75 minutes. But we where very happy when we see the coastline and driving a couple of minutes later on English ground.
We took it easy, enjoyed the sights and we just let the landscape crawl by
Still, it would be long enough. That evening we would do our first gig in Redruth. And we would meet Manon' s pen pal Roger...
but first up: a nice night in
Music lives and is running through the veins of the English people... as we soon found out.
Right under the hotel was a karaoke bar, for all the talented people, who were ready to be discovered... So the next morning we still had the beat in our heads, later we got that one quiet after taking an aspirin.
St George Hotel
Finally and after some confusion about where we had to go, we arrived in Amesbury at the George Hotel, very cute and very pitoresque... The fire was burning, the bar was open and life was good again...
We wanted to have a good night sleep, but the hotel was a bit old and through the years, gravity had done its job...
So they removed some parts of the bed and closet so that everything seemed to be standing straight, it felt like being Alice in Wonderland. All was just not really what it seemed to be. The beds were straightened out that well, that we actually rolled off our beds.
The great and ancient stone circle of Stonehenge is one of the wonders of the world.
Of course that was one what we couldn't miss
Stonehenge is not the largest stone circle in the world as we could see.
We really expected this one would be bigger
Through Devon and Dartmoor...
Secret Nature of Devon, it keeps his secrets when you're crossing the landscape with 100 km/hr. But still very impressive just as Dartmoor one of the National Parks of England and Wales. It is a beautiful moorland landscape were a wealth of archaeological remains. ... and no time to discover when we were heading to Redruth
When we arrived in Redruth it was easier to find the Greenroom than we expected. In the Greenroom we met Greg our sound engineer. We played there with two local bands... but where is the flyer? I really can't find the damn thing for the names of these two bands, so sorry guys.... We had a nice evening, and after our gig we split.
Only for tonight, Rik, Linda and Manon stayed over at Manon's pen pal; Roger's place and Beer, Margriet, Martin and Karin went to a hotel with the van and all our gear.
The next morning..
Nice hotel, and after an unforgettable breakfast with some locals, it was time to watch some lovely nature, at the coastline of Cornwall. And let the wind blow through our hair...
We picked up Greg and the others at the Green Room (still not as fresh as we were before...). How a city (and people as well of course) can look different in the morning....,
According to a legend the infant Arthur was thrown by the waves on the beach at Merlin's cave.
We didn't have much time but we didn't want to miss this place, so for a brief moment we were the cliffhangers from Tintagel, and managed to go to some shops and back in the van again.
All we need is a round table
We also wanted to visit museum of witchcraft at Boscastle. But the museum didn't survive the flash floods after torrential rain in August 2004, as did almost the rest of Boscastle... it was horrible to see what it did to this wonderful area
So a bit more quiet than before we went to the highway... London here we come!
In one of London's oldest pubs we had our gig, it would be together with Uniting the Elements,... but it became a lot more due to some problems with another festival. They combined the two events so it became a special evening, not that it brought more audience, but the atmosphere in Camden's most legendary club was good.
First we checked in, in our Hotel the Holliday Inn, brilliant place and very near the Underworld.. So time for some relaxing and freshing up ...time for Goth and Roll. And missing some bands... Due to the big amount of bands it was a bit hectic in time and change overs... so not much time to socialise before the gig, so we had some catching up to do...
After the show we had time to talk, so a good moment for doing an interview. After a chat at the bar we did the interview with Sam Grant and Charlie Farrel with some noise in the background, and some interruptions for photo's and autographs
Karin was talkative as ever, but the rest of the band was ready to go to the Holliday Inn. So it was about time to end the interview, shake some hands and hit the sack
Asrai, Greenhaus (and others)
The Underworld, Camden, London
Sunday 28th November 2004
Well the gig scene, here in London at least, has been very hectic of late and I have to admit to being
pleasantly surprised when Dutch Gothic Rock outfit Asrai announced a small UK tour in the midst of all
the usual pre-Christmas nostalgia events (The Darkness included). However, a self financed tour was going to
be difficult to promote, so there was little surprise when their gig was merged with a Goth/Electro event organised by Flag Promotions. Despite the presence of 5 or 6 bands on the bill, the overall turnout was a little disappointing. I arrived in time to catch UK Electro act Greenhaus, whose material was quite pleasant if not exactly groundbreaking, though I must admit to being slightly surprised by the presence of several guitar solos
during their set. Hardly your stereotypically Electro act in appearance, they nevertheless came over as being quite professional, having apparently spent 3 weeks this summer touring in continental Europe.
Asrai are a Dutch band who has been around the Rotterdam scene for quite a few years now, in one form or another. The basis of the band are twin sisters Karin (drums) and Margriet Mol (vocals) who are complemented by Manon van der Hidde on keyboards, Rik Janssen on guitar and Martin Rooy on bass. With their roots in '80s Punk, New Wave and Goth, their sound is an eclectic mix of all of those influences, only with a punchier guitar sound and a slightly fuller overall sound, supported by the keyboards and samples which most 'gothic' bands employ these days.
After the quiet, slow-paced Greenhaus, the sheer power and volume of Asrai came as a (pleasant) shock. They
blasted through 9 of the 10 tracks from their current album 'A Touch in The Dark' and for a 'Goth' band they
really are extremely heavy, with good chunky guitar riffs that carry a punky edge propelled by the powerhouse drumming of Karin Mol. I thought that the first half of the set was the strongest, with Margriet Mol's vocals being particularly good for songs like 'Whisper', 'Child' and 'Dream'. The only tune which
did not match up to the recorded version was a slightly disappointing 'Pale Light' but the Dutch 5-piece finished strongly with the excellent 'Shadows'.
Though the crowd was small, consisting mainly of the bands themselves and a few friends, those of us who watched the set seemed to really enjoy ourselves and the band certainly won themselves a few new friends.
All of the musicians appeared to have really enjoyed themselves on stage, though with the available time at
a minimum vocalist Margriet Mol kept the chatter and song introductions to an absolute minimum. Perhaps she was also saving her voice for her singing as she really belts out her vocals.
Afterwards there was time to have a short chat with Manon and Karin at the bar. They really do consider themselves to be a 'Gothic' band rather than 'Gothic Metal' band and all the band members assured us that
they had thoroughly enjoyed their brief trip to the UK. Despite spending a lot of time on the motorways,
they also managed to get a bit of sightseeing done,visiting Stonehenge and Tintagel on the way between
London and a gig in Redruth the previous day. They had a refreshing attitude that it was all a bit of fun and
a bit of a holiday, so I'm sure that we'll see them back here again in the new year
Whisper / In Front of Me / Child / Tower / Dream /Restless / Touch in the Dark / Pale Light / Shadows
And back again...
The next morning we were still a bit sleepy after a lovely night, but woke up when we realized that we just had 30 minutes to go shopping in Camden, before we had to go... Running around like a wild pack of wilde beasts through Camden, we managed to buy some nice goodies.... (and promised ourselves to go back again)