European Tour Blog #1

As is generally known here - The Tangent and Karmakanic are currently vibing up for the Summers End Festival and have already completed a short series of gigs on the EU Mainland. We have had a fantastic time so far and totally enjoyed ourselves through trials tribulations and plain old fashioned "Good Times". We know that more of all of these will lie ahead and we await them with relish. So today here's part one of the story so far - the preparations we made, the things that went wrong and had to be sorted out.. and the coming together (and near falling apart) of Tangekanic...

The Tangekanic Tour started with rehearsals in Brighton, and the logisitics involved in this were a bit of a nightmare. We had the following obstacles:

  1. One member, Göran, could not attend rehearsals at all because of his work commitments
  2. Only two members of the band lived in Brighton and one of the ones who did NOT live in Brighton lived near Vienna.
  3. I live more than 250 miles from Brighton and cannot drive. Sally had work commitments and our car is off the road because we destroyed the rear suspension on the last solo gig
  4. Steve lives in Cardiff, and although he can drive he does not have a car to move drums around in.
  5. One way van hire from Cardiff To Brighton is only provided by one company who would not accept any of our credentials. If you ever saw the Little Britain sketch "Computer Says No" - this is pretty much exactly what happened here.

These were all solved - and big thanks to Chris and Jayne Elliott and Paul Johnson who quite literally made this happen by ferrying stranded band members from distant points from Brighton and finally getting us all into the room together.. albeit without Goran.

Once we were rehearsing - everything would go smoothly, wouldn't it???

By the end of day one of the rehearsals it had become apparent that owing to work and personal reasons, Marie Eve would not be able to come with us on the tour. She'd just got a new job and the company she was working for was not going to let her take a month and more out to tour with the bands. We were all pretty damn upset about this of course. But this was not Marie's fault and we just had to face it down and get on with it despite it being a blow to all concerned, Marie in particular.

So, just over a week before our appearance at a major Italian progressive rock festival, due to take place with a cast of SEVEN (including Theo Travis) - there were now FOUR of us to rehearse for this in Brighton. Let's rewind a bit and fill in.....

Of course, all members of the band had been privately rehearsing for the past two months. We'd been in constant communication about chords, melodies, solos and backing vocals since before "Slow Rust" was released. Steve had learned the entire set for the first time and Marie and I had divided up the keyboards work into two with Marie taking the job of piano and strings parts with me focussing on Hammonds and Synths.

As day 2 of the four days rehearsal began it was apparent that all the work I had done over the past months had to be rejigged in order that I could play ALL the parts including piano. For the Tangent this was not such a huge thing as only 2 songs had not previously been played by just ONE player and I had the system built for those before. But those 2 and ALL the Karmakanic stuff had to be consolidated into a one keyboards player setup...

It was, almost certainly, the biggest challenge I've ever had to face as a live musician. And this challenge had to be accepted and carried out as we rehearsed the songs. So we needed a plus, a really GOOD thing to happen - something to make it all fall into place. We got it......

At the back of my mind was the huge worry that we had a member who had never played with either band before. Steve Roberts on drums. The very anchor we needed to be dependable and guide us through the coming storm was, in effect, to us, an unknown quantity. But rather than add to the chaos, Steve arrived with so much knowledge of the songs and how they worked that the rest of the band just slotted together perfectly and the songs at root level sounded great. Albeit without piano, half the keyboards sounds missing, half the backing vocals missing, no lead vocals for Karmakanic material - what we DID have sounded great. It's just that we needed the rest of it all. Luke and Jonas stepped forward with the vocals (Jonas singing all Gorans parts in rehearsal. Each day I would get up two hours before everyone else and truck off down to the rehearsal room to reprogramme the system and learn more piano parts and work out how they could be played simultaneously with the rest of the sounds.

With a huge amount of patience shown by Luke, Jonas and Steve we worked the three days we had left and by the time it was over we'd got something that sounded like The Tangent and Karmakanic. Which is good because that's what people had bought tickets to see.

As we collapsed into beds dotted around Brighton on our last night there - we were thankful that we had a warm up gig before the Italian Festival at Veruno. Slightly less thankful that the gig was over 800 miles away in a small town in what used to be East Germany. ... to be continued.

What We're Listening To...

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  • Joni Mitchell
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  • Rush
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  • Strawinsky - Rite of Spring
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  • The Sex Pistols
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  • Egg
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  • Refugee
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  • The Flower Kings
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  • YES
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  • Theo's Choice
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