Tangent Web Manager

Tangent Web Manager

Tea at Betty's - An Insight

So here goes. Some slightly more random ideas about where we MIGHT go in the future. This is a DEMO only and will only be available for a little while before we whisk it off and start again. Fear not, when pre-orders begin, our subscribers will get it in their normal goodies folder so no need to download an app to rip the file or use dangerous analogue methods to record the piece. Here's the story behind the music... enjoy!

Two elderly ladies have just sat down in Betty's Tearooms and ordered a nice Cream Tea with cakes. The clink of fine china and low hubbub of conversation is about to be joined by a nice little Jazz combo who are just taking the stage. A waitress breezes through the chintzy decor towards their table with a trolley festooned with teapots, cake stands loaded with scintillating scones, colourful cartons of cottage and clotted cream and piquant preserves. As she reaches the table, on cue, the band start to play.

It's pleasant and appropriate music and the band who are resident here receive a warm smattering of applause as they play a piece of vaguely recognisable sub Davis slow bop. The ladies begin buttering their scones....

There is something happening in the foyer though, with a few large gentlemen with black leather jackets and biker style t-shirts featuring more depictions of skulls than the normal Betty's clientelle. They are 'saying' they have to deliver some items to the stage. The conversation seems a little heated, and, perhaps in an effort to maintain calm, one of the staff decides, in the absence of the manager who is in a meeting, that the best thing to do is to let these men deliver their stuff.

"The Stuff" seems to be packaged in a lot of heavy black boxes on wheels, a lot of which have the word VOIVOD printed on them in large white letters. The large leather clad gentlemen begin to set up the contents of these boxes (at fantasy level speed dear reader) around the band who are currently playing. Such is the level of fantasy required by this ludicrous story, that you have to suspend disbelief and accept that within a few minutes massive stacks of Marshall amps and lighting equipment on gantries have been erected, the drummer's kit has expanded from a simple three piece to a double bass drum extravaganza, and the ladies are now thinking about who will pour the tea. Beryl takes up the mantle and the Yorkshire tea is poured in that shade of perfect russet indicating the only true tea has successfully been mashed.

More than interested in the arrival of the extra musical equipment, the musicians are looking excitedly around the stage like children in a dentist's surgery that has unexpectedly metamorphosed into a substantial West End toy emporium. And some members of a local brass band have just popped in for a cuppa after a performance on the park band stand.....

Beryl and Lorne are quite impressed with the physiques of the large roadies. This is probably to do with a sort of lingering smoky smell that hints at garden mint, but is perhaps a bit stronger and more potent. It seems to be affecting the band a little, because their playing has become a little more erratic. The guitarist trips over his lead and he has to plug it back into his amp, but instead of his 50 watt Jazz Chorus, he accidentally plugs it into the head of a Marshall stack. This kind of thing happens 'accidentally' all the time.

The pianist turns round and is surprised to find a lot more keyboards there than there were to start with. This is itself interesting as Voivod don't have a keyboards player, but by this point the author doesn't care about accuracy. The keys player starts to play on a cool Fender Rhodes and is happy to find a serious distortion pedal just underneath it. The guitarist appears to have plugged into the pre amp section of the Marshalls and has accidentally got the pre-gain up rather high, and the Master volume isn't exactly quiet. They remember a few little licks they were doing at a jam session somewhere a long way from Betty's last week.. The bass player arms himself similarly.

Beryl and Lorne are now asking about the heady smell, and are making friends with the roadies who are demonstrating what you can do with a Gauloises cigarette, a large Rizla paper and a bag of very strong garden mint that they have on their utility belts. The roadies are delighted to find out that the ladies just happen to have been to a charity shop up the road, where along with purchasing some interesting table mats depicting garden birds, they've also managed to get some vinyl copies of "Zeit" and "Atem" by Tangerine Dream. One of the roadies (Sven) tells them that these two albums are ideal for "doing this sort of shit" - which makes the ladies giggle uncontrollably and stare in wide eyed amazement as Sven and his friend Lars concoct two perfectly conical cigarettes using the vinyl sleeves as a kind of impromptu workspace.

As if by some unseen signal, the band simultaneously hit their distortion pedals and the drummer Steve has a go with the DW double bass drum pedal. The effect is earth shattering. The brass band guys are getting their instruments out of their cases with a view to joining in. The staff are becoming more concerned about the goings on and that they will lose custom. However, fortunately a touring orchestra has just arrived outside on a bus, en route to an engagement at a theatre in Durham doing an amateur production of "The Wizard Of Oz". They are quite interested in the goings on, and book 10 tables immediately.

It has probably been 40 years since Beryl and Lorne did any headbanging, however now with sweat and blue rinse running down their faces they've moved a bit closer to the stage, well actually right up against it, and as more and more people pour into the tea rooms a mosh pit is developing. The brass band are up on the stage now, 2 trumpets, few trombones and a couple of them have deployed emergency saxophones (used primarily for scoring with members of the opposite sex while on brass band tours.) The orchestra have lent the ensemble a Vibraphone, and while they eat their scones the leader of the orchestra is dashing around with hastily scribbled manuscripts made on the back of menus, from table to table.

Chief waitress and front of house rep Sally is now perched on top of the PA system, the chef is setting up a merch desk, the band are now well into some heavy stuff while Paul (Betty's Janitor) is setting up some of his DJ kit he uses in a local club some weekends. The light show kicks in with a load of vari-lights and incendiaries and the orchestra are struggling with radio mics. The band leader Jonas realises this and signals to the band to quieten a little so they can be heard. The DJ drops a fat groove first though and by now everyone is seriously off their proverbial tits. The army guys who've arrived outside seem ok for this to continue so as to provide no threat to local businesses and consequently they just park the tanks and Humvees using the Harrogate disc parking scheme rather than having to declare a curfew. The orchestra get a small chance to play some intriguingly misplaced 20th century style chamber music before handing over to the bands guitarist who has just had a piezo pickup added to his guitar and wants to try his "acoustic" sound.

With some urgency, Sally motions to everyone that the manager's meeting is over and she will be back shortly. The Roadies receive a phone call telling them they are in the wrong venue owing to a wrong setting on a decidedly un-cultured GPS. A frenzied 30 seconds follows but with hard work from all the staff of Betty's, the Voivod Roadcrew, the 58th brigade of Yorkshire Music Nuisance Fusiliers, the Black Hole Colliery Brass Band and the Royal Cheap Philhamonic Part Time Orchestra manage to recreate a scene of normality with the band returning to their more usual repertoire for this venue and the rest of the gang innocently munching the finest scones money can buy and coo-ing over the jam.

Beryl and Lorne run out of the venue throwing their fists wildly in the air singing tunes from the session loudly into the Harrogate evening. They call a bunch of long haired guys waiting in a queue for a concert by Voivod at a nearby theatre "a load of boring old farts" get themselves a Donner Kebab some Rizlas and a massive packet of Fruit Pastilles and call an Uber.

Some 30 minutes later, the band leave the venue on zimmers and crutches and check into the worst hotel for miles around. One of them with long reddish hair turns round directly to you and whispers:

"Welcome To The Rabbit Hole"

And then, like that, he's gone.

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Andy Tillison talks Loudersound through the new Tangent album

ProxyReviewsThe Tangent release their new album, Proxy, through InsideOut Music tomorrow. It's made up of 5 tracks. It's the first album of the ten The Tangent have made where none of the songs crosses the 20 minute barrier, although 2 of the songs here make it past 16 mins - so into epic prog territory. 

Here bandleader Andy Tillison gives us his personal take on each track.

FULL INTERVIEW

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