Tuesday (I think) 4.50pm ~ A foreword
Woke up in the scum-pit that was my own trashed flat, all these terrible realities dawn on me at once, and it feels like Kelburn Garden Party was just some dream, an ethereal fantasy, a glimpsed memory. There is always a comedown after a festival (and I don’t mean from the drugs, though they surely exacerbate the matter). During a good festival you ride the peak of a high and beautiful crescendo that you never want to stop surfing, but inevitably you will hit the rocks.
Yesterday (Monday), Will Johnstone and I were the last two losers left, sitting in the sun-baked ‘scabby green Punto’ for slow hour after slow hour, wishing, unspoken, that it all didn’t have to end. We observe through dried and bloodshot eyes as tents are broken down and the cars slowly filter out, emptying the park around us, dishevelled hippies roll up their gear and make tracks back to whatever part of Scotland they came from. Between the three of us, Will, Uriah and I, we have drank enough booze to get West Scotland drunk, but there is nothing left of it except two rankly brewed French stubbies that are hot and tepid from sitting in the sun – we finish them off anyway with distaste and resentment. Nothing left, no booze, no narcotics, no BBQ food (aside from a half-eaten ‘acid-burger’ that has been pecked at by some seagulls who are probably having a pretty interesting time right about now!) and there is no music left either, aside from the harrowing, lonesome wail of a far-off set of bagpipes, the mournful sound drifts across the despondent dismantled ruins of the festival, serenading its loneliness. One thing we do have however is a story for the magazine and the scattered memories of an intensely fun weekend …
…It amazes me, looking back through the recordings of the event, that no matter how baked, fried or scrambled this omelette of drug-crazed journalists got, we still managed to glean plenty of material, I mean, it’s all here – interviews, reviews, sound recordings, frenetically- scribbled notes, videos and masterfully-captured moments of magical madness, miscreant mayhem and miscellaneous mischief! A vast chunk of the seventy or so musicians and bands that played have been covered, and all this armed with nothing but three notepads, a lot of spare pens, a smartphone and a digital camera/video recorder. Another proud and startling fact is that no matter how mashed or mangled we were we still managed to pull ourselves together sporadically enough to capture musicians fresh off the stage and stand tall and straight enough to conduct a professional interview with them, that was only partly gonzo and mostly pro. After one particular interview, the second I’d finished asking my specifically-tailored questions to the band, I said ‘Goodbye, thanks for talking to us’ and my body gave up balancing and began an inexorable sideways stagger (you know the kind, where you don’t manage to stop your momentum but you don’t quite manage to fall either) that ended with me ankle-deep in the nearby pond (gravity, the enemy of the drunken journalist), I managed to make it all look quite deliberate and stated ‘I was planning to get in an upturned umbrella and float off downstream among the lily-pads waving ‘Bye, thanks for the interview’ but I seem to have misplaced my umbrella!’ A good laugh was had by all, and afterwards we took Sir Robin’s minstrels and ate them and there was much rejoicing…
…So anyway, enough rambling, let’s get on with this, all that was left to do after that incredible weekend of indelible music was to lash all the material together and send it off down the Hellwire to the pixies in charge. However, before we get stuck in, I’d just like to add that it was not our intention to cover this in our traditional gonzo sense, but a series of small disasters and a string of unfortunate set-backs stripped us to the bone as journalists, so eventually we had no choice but to drink a bottle of bourbon for breakfast and resort to complete gonzo coverage! And that is exactly what we did, but it is what we do best, so what follows is a three-man drunken-capturing of Kelburn Garden Party in all its magnificent glory, and what a success it turned out to be, on all fronts – enjoy.
POST ORGASMIC SUNSHINE BAND INTERVIEW (SUNDAY 2.45pm @ THE VIEWPOINT STAGE)
CHRIS – ‘That was an awesome set guys, awesome! I love the way you diversified so rapidly from song to song, it started off all like electronic reggae, then fairground-ska, then all countrified….’’
ALAN – ‘Thankyou. We have a wide range of musicians in the band, very wide, and it’s interesting to try and get that across as much as we can.’
CHRIS – ‘Yeah, you’re definitely a crowd-drawer anyway.’
ALAN – ‘That’s the intention, it’s written around watching bands that did that, in places like this, The John Langan Band, people like that, that can take a crowd and really work with them, we are aspiring to the heights of those guys to the extent of entertaining people’
(at this point the rest of the band catch up, laden with instruments and introductions are made that come across on the recording as the jangled mess of a lot of people talking at once, so, next question)
CHRIS – ‘Personally, I am a huge fan of ska and obviously you draw a lot of influence from that genre, who would you say are the best ska bands out there today?’
ALAN – ‘We like modern day ska bands that got us into that kinda’ modern style, and obviously the classics, as well as bands like Fat Freddy’s Drop…
POSB – ‘For me it’s the Skatalites, original, old school, I’ve played with The Skatalites…
CHRIS – ‘You’ve played with The Skatalites!? Amazing, I’ve seen em’ a whole bunch o’ times, they’re one of my faves! So you all seem quite tight on stage, how long have you been together as a band’
ALAN – ‘The band have been together two and a half years, but this incarnation of the band’s only been together three months. We were a thirteen piece at one point but that was too many, trying to do a gig, with as many channels on the desk as you need for that and getting people together for rehearsals was a bit of a pain, but we had a personnel change in the beginning of the year after a not-so-good gig we had, so once the guys left it was sink or swim, do we go, do we stay, and thankfully we continued and we rearranged ourselves, we reinstrumentalised because of the lack of bodies etcetera, got some new members in to do their thing and it seems to be working for us and we’re very happy.’
CHRIS – ‘You’ve got some very stiff competition there are some phenomenal ska bands around Kelburn this year.’
(A gaggle of names are thrown around here, only one I can pick out in the clamour is Esperanza, then a discussion of who has the best band name out of them all, which I think Post Orgasmic Sunshine Band win).
CHRIS – ‘Is this the first time you’ve been to Kelburn?’
ALAN – ‘First time I’ve played, second time I’ve been, last year was with the family, very chilled, great gigs, good atmosphere and a well-organised set-up so really like it.’
(Another rabble and everyone having a good laugh at the tale of me falling into the river during a previous interview).
CHRIS – ‘What plans for the future of the band?’
ALAN – ‘In this incarnation we’ve been together three months and we intend to continue. There’ll be a rosta of gigs booked for the end of the year. We’re playing Ashton Lane on the 20th July, 24th August we’re in Glasgow at The Admiral, Peartree for The Fringe on the 19th August in Edinburgh and we’re in London at various places for a week in October, we’re working with a couple of Glasgow-based places, we’ve got Pivo-Pivo and The Admiral, so looking good.’
CHRIS – ‘Well, we certainly hope to catch a few of those gigs and we’ll be recommending everyone else does too. Okay, you’ve played with some of the biggest names in ska, but who was the most fun to be around?’
POSB – ‘Well, I would say The Skatalites, cos’ I mean, they’re in their fuckin’ seventies man, it’s amazin’, I’m goin’ that’s great, I hope I’ll still be able to play when I’m their age, that’s amazin’ man.’
CHRIS – ‘Did you get to hang about with them much, before or after the show?’
POSB – ‘We hung about with them, talked to them, but Lloyd their drummer wouldn’t let us use their kit but he wanted free ganja off us! We wrote a song about him, we didn’t give him it free we said ‘’Hey you’re gettin’ paid ten times as much as us, so it’s not free!’’ Hahahaha, uh, allegedly’
CHRIS – ‘Yeah, we don’t condone drugs here at Hellfire, ahem!’ (Round of laughter).
POSB 1 – ‘The good thing about the Skatalites is they play at venues around the world and if they like your band they’ll actually take your t-shirt and wear it!’
POSB 2 – ‘We saw them at Cuba and they went on wearing Bombskare t-shirts. They are nice guys.’
CHRIS – ‘At the first ever Kelburn Festival I was the chef up here, Bombskare played and I’m skanking away for like five songs then I’m knackered and dehydrated so I’m like ‘’Fuck this I’m going to the bar’’ so I started walking away and the band are like ‘’Ho, ho! You’re the only one that knows how to skank properly, get back here! Everybody copy this guy!’’ And I ended up having to skank another five songs and nearly killed myself!’
POSB – ‘When the right person tells you to do something motivationally you are invincible!’
CHRIS – ‘Haha, yes. Well, this has been quite an interview! The Post Orgasmic Sunshine Band ladies and gentlemen. Any future plans for releasing an album guys?’
ALAN – ‘We’re in the process of recording an album and we have a couple of tracks already. We’re in the studio doing work, we’ve not got anything name-wise yet, we’re gonna’ let the songs name the album. Where we’re at just now we’re just trying to capture the raw energy and run with it, we’re sometimes bordering on shambolic on stage but it seems to work for us, so we want to capture that, a true representation of what we are.’
CHRIS – ‘Finally, how do you like your eggs?’
ALAN – ‘I like my eggs, with a hard yolk, on some wheat bread, with some nice butter’
POSB 1 – ‘I like mine scrambled’
POSB 2 – ‘I like mine unfertilised’
POSB 3 – ‘Over-easy’
(A discussion on the finer points of egg-cooking leads to me telling the tale of how I recently got myself fired from my job as a chef, by going in drunk and firing off the fire extinguisher in the staff room).
POSB – ‘That’s the way to do it man, I thought I was good cos’ I quit the bank and I went ‘’Fuck you all!’’ But that’s the way to do it man, cause some damage, go out in style!’
Discussions lead to some of the bands that are playing, bass guitar, funky shoes, Hunter S Thompson, drugs, hippies, promo, and goes on for another ten minutes and we’re three pages in already so we’ll wrap it up by saying Post Orgasmic Sunshine Band were definitely one of the highlights of a weekend of seventy-odd bands, so that’s quite an accolade. They infuse a unique element of many different genres into their music and their live sets are real get-up-and-go skankfests of volatile energy, so if you get a chance to see them at any of their aforementioned gigs, don’t hesitate! And keep an eye out for their upcoming album. Thanks to the band for the interview, to Hellfire for letting us loose at such events and of course to Kelburn, for giving us yet another annual dose of incredible live music and fun times!
*Originally published on NHC Music 23/07/2013