Thursday, 27 August 2015

We are the weirdos mister

About 3 months ago we formed The Potentials, a buffy themed feminist queer punk band. During that first practice we wrote half our set, watched the episode of Buffy where Tara's family come back and tell her that she's a demon and Buffy makes that awesome speech, and we also planned our very first tour with Yiiikes and Joyless Fucking. It was an eventful practice.

Tour poster designed by Alison Erika Forde from Yiiikes!

The main reason for wanting to go on tour really was that we sadly live in different cities from our bffs, and playing each night together meant we could hang out more and have sleepovers and fun times with people we don't get to see as often as we would like. We got Dave from F. Emasculata and the amazing Kathleen (Scratch that itch zine/ general awesome tour driver) to get us places and we had a tour team assembled.

While some of us have played in bands and put on shows for years, most of us had never been on tour or organised a tour before, so that was fun. The week before in our little group chat we had a thread dedicated to mental health and anxieties and fears for anyone that was feeling nervous, not about playing, but about disrupting their daily routine and being forced to socialise with 10 other people for a whole week. It was a scary prospect, and the week before we went on tour my mental health was the worst it's been in a long time. My ocd was out of control and I wasn't sleeping and was generally carrying around a lot of anxiety. The prospect of tour scared the shit out of me and I secretly longed to break my leg or summat to force me into not going. Which now feels dead alien to me as I look back 2 weeks later and I'm feeling good and posi and awesome and my ocd is manageable.


Banner goes up, zine distro is assembled, and Yiikes get their slime stage outfits on

Kathleen brought down Yiiikes from Manchester, the Joyless Fucking lot were coming up from Brighton, and The Potentials all assembled at Zak's flat before the first gig. It was the first time some people had met each other and so shy introductions were made and the best falafal was eaten. We set off to the Birds Nest to set up. It felt more like a monday night gig at the birds nest rather than first night of tour for The Potentials as we hadn't had to do any travelling yet, but for Yiiikes and Joyless Fucking it was showtime. There was a sequin banner made by seleena, a mini zine distro with an art attack gravestone made by Kathleen, and slime stage outfits. Dead exciting!

We saw Yiiikes get changed into their stage outfits for the first time and it was so exciting. For those that don't know, Yiiikes are Seleena, Alison, Kandy. Individually they are all artists working in different mediums, and together they formed a collective and have had several exhibitions. Their work is fun and accessible and imaginative. Snotboobs was my absolute favourite exhibition, it was glow in the dark daydream-esque and amazing. And they are also a band. It's weird when people describe them as art punk because I just assume that sounds dead wanky, when that's the total opposite of what they are about.

Yiikes are funny and bratty and loud and amazing and it's unbelievable that it's their first gig. They are total pros and super danceable and it's amazing hearing their songs properly for their first time. Sassy Arthur, a song about Gerard Way, is introduced as a song about Seleena's favourite laxative ( I was there, he really did make her do a shit when we saw him in Las Vegas) and there are new songs too. Gotta Run (not sure about actual song titles) is my absolute fave. But they are all ace. Also Yiiikes have a laminated set list because seleena loves to laminate stuff. We cheer them so hard and when they are finished everyone around me is in awe and heads off to get themselves a Yiiikes scrunchie from their merch table.

Joyless Fucking are next and they have a tonne of new songs and Frankie has joined Nick and Leesey on drums. Its quite different to earlier Joyless Fucking shows, there's a different energy and nobody has to press 'stop' on the drum machine in between songs anymore,but there's the same awesome lyrics and the same amount of fun. It's so exciting and all of a sudden tour feels well real. Ruiners and Glamour Muscles become proper anthems for the rest of tour and I still can't get them out of my head now. Joyless Fucking make everyone fall in love with them

We then play our Buffy songs and can't really hear a thing but we figure it's just the First Evil trying to fuck with us on our first night so it's fine. Plus everyone boos for Riley and Parker in all the right places so it's all good. All our mates are there as well as lots of people we don't know that have a lot of feelings on Buffy and it's a really nice friendly start to the whole thing. I have a sit down and a lemonade while Big Joanie play and now it starts to feel like we're on tour. 

Move to Leeds and never leave

Frankie's got their Extra Flamey tee on, Yiiikes are eating flapjack in the backseat, Mel and Amy are on the door, and the Joyless Fucking fanzine is on the merch table. Leeds we are ready!

After a Linda McCartney sausage and toast feast (staple tour breakfast) and a bit of Tattoo Fixers on telly, we assembled everyone and got ready to leave for Leeds. Dave our other driver joined us and half went in the van, and the others went in the car with Kathleen who plays a lot of Heart FM which was wonderful. We got to Leeds and were fed by the bloody lovely Mel and Amy who were putting us on. They are my absolute favourites.

After a tour pilates session run by Shahnaz (apparently I've got a core and it is soft) we were ready to play.

From L-R: Merch babes, Yiiikes, Joyless Fucking, The Potentials plus everyone on stage.

Sadly Rare Junk had to pull out so it was just the weirdos tonight. After the nerves of first night we could all have a bit more fun and there was much more dancing and singing along tonight. Fists in the air for Revenge by Joyless Fucking as standard. And tonight was the first stage invasion for Cibo Matto.

My dad came to see us for the first time and had an ace time. I think he loved Joyless Fucking the most ( can't blame him) and thanks to Wharf Chambers being the best place that it is I got to drink Irn Bru all night long.

We headed back to Kathleen's after singing along loudly to Total Eclipse of the Heart in the car,where we met the first dog of tour and some super chilled out cats, and some of us even got beds. Because Leeds is awesome.

Everyone loves Stanley
The next day we feasted on Linda McCartney sausages and toast and all the tea in the world, and those of us living down south decided to move to Leeds not just because of rent and yorkshire accents being the best, but because Kathleen was the representative from the queer leeds tourist board and was giving us the hard sell. I spent most of my teenage years wanting to get the hell out of Dewsbury and Leeds and now I'm itching to go back.


We left a beautifully sunny Leeds for a super rainy Manchester, but we were so excited because it was Yiiikes' homecoming show tonight. 

Everyone loves Yiiikes merch, Teltos in session, Leesey's legs in the manchester rain, and vegan junk food 

We set up base at Seleena's house, I lost every game of Teltos I played, and then we headed into town to treat oursens to some vegan junk food at V Rev. Leesey got a special medal for wearing short shorts on this entire tour despite the wind and rain that Manchester had to offer. 

I think the last time I was at Retro, Buffy was still probably on the air. Retro was home to my teenage years and it felt so weird and ace being back. The sound guy didn't have any of the equipment promised to Seleena who was putting on the show or any interest in the night at all and decided that while we tried to sort things out and pull favours from our mates to help us out he would help by playing super loud aggressive rap rock with a ska infusion. Cheers soundguy. 

Joyless Fucking + Joyce D'Vision + Yiiikes!

Joyless Fucking and Yiiikes were too amazing for words and everyone looked great in the black light. Joyce D'Vision was a wonder to behold. If you haven't ever seen Joyce before then you are in for a right treat. I remember one time when Joyce played in London and nobody knew what the fuck to do, it was excellent. Joyce sang along to the backing track on their phone, which then went off as Joyce's sister was calling them to tell them about the stretch and sweep on their vagina that day which now played over the pa system. We were all treated to the ins and outs of Joyce's sister's pregnancy and then the whole thing ended with a conga through the retro bar. I think I actually wee'd myself, it was the absolute bestest highlight of the tour. 

We have a quick practice in the toilets to perfect a brand new song about Buffy's birthday which we dedicate to Kandy. We played, we had another stage invasion (is it an invasion if you politely invite people to join you?), and I got to see people I haven't seen properly in years. It was amazing and it also made me feel dead shy and awkward. We headed back to Seleena's for a big sleep and I had a nightmare that I was covered in spiders and stayed awake for the rest of the night. 

Move to Durham and never leave

The next day there were more Linda McCartney sausages a bit more tour pilates and Kandy's birthday to celebrate. Then we were on the road to Durham. On the way to Durham we stopped off at Snape castle to see if Snape himself was at home and then went for a birthday picnic in Thorp Perrow. I lost a few more games of Teltos, a nectarine was chucked at Seleena's face, party rings were chucked in Kathleen's mouth, and there were lots of baby frogs, probably a gift from Manon. 

Tour pilates and flying party rings

We head to Chicken Cottage where we are immediately given cups of tea and a big pot of chilli and it's the best thing ever. I'm no longer worried I'm gonna get scurvy on tour, we are being looked after so well. 

We head to Empty Shop and things get set up and I drink so much rose lemonade that my teeth feel like falling out. Its dead ace to play with Skull Puppies and I admit to Jack that I am a Teltos failure, but they assure me that the dice will one day let me know victory so I feel encouraged. 

Yiiikes were wonderful and we all shout SCRATCHPOST BOOBIES and do the handclaps in the right places during Gotta Run and I could honestly watch them play every night. Joyless Fucking are on fire and we are scream along to Ruiners. We play and despite not being able to hear owt we have a lot of fun and it all ends with a big dance to some chart bangers. Naomi has put on a dead ace show and got people to come see three out of towners during a particularly busy month in Durham, she is ace.

We head back to Chicken Cottage with Naomi giving us all the weird bits of Durham's history and tells us about the monkey having a wank while they filmed Harry Potter in Durham Cathedral. Back at Chicken Cottage we meet the rabbits and the rats as well as the beautiful cats. We don't meet Adorno the dog until the following morning, but Durham has already won the competition of best animals on tour.

The next day Naomi takes a few of us to the cathedral while others catch up on sleep and play Slash, It's a pretty ace tour of Durham which is super pretty. We get shown all the Harry Potter bits of the cathedral, and about 5 minutes in Alison asks where the merch is. So we head to the gift shop and gawp at the lego cathedral before getting chips and heading back to set off to Liverpool again. 

Durham adventures


We split into two with half of our group heading back to Manchester to pick up the bass drum pedal we left behind and the others heading straight to Liverpool. It's raining and I'm sleepy as hell and keep drifting off while Saves the Day is played on repeat. Nick loses it when we get in Liverpool traffic as some dickhead waits until we finally reach the green light to get out of his car and have a chat with the driver in the road rather than the 20 minutes we've been stuck in traffic. Nick gets mad and starts yelling 'what's the point in humans, why can't everyone just be dogs?'. Dogs not humans becomes the official tour slogan. 

When we get to Liverpool we head straight to Maguires for gluten free and vegan pizza. And although it takes over an hour to get to us, we are very happy indeed when it does. Kathleen informs us that we are in Peak Tour right now as everyone is happy and awesome and that tomorrow's final night will be too emotional to enjoy properly. And it definitely feels like Peak Tour as we set up and Lisa Loeb's Stay ( I missed you) comes over the PA and we have a big singalong followed later by Mel C and Bryan Adam's Baby When You're Gone. FUCKING TUNE. Tonights' gig is small but bloody lovely and Stef and Hyper Enough have put on a bloody ace show for us. 

Tonight Leesey gets shit eye and the middle finger from Seleena mid-song as Leesey is singing and dancing along too loud to Yiikes' set. It's brilliant, and we all return the favour when Joyless Fucking play. We are also playing with the amazing Puzzle tonight. Lucy points out that the last time we played together was 7 years ago when I was in Cooties Attack, but it feels like no time at all. Puzzle are just properly wonderful.

Alison finally gets pizza, Puzzle are amazing, and Potentials say FUCK YOU to 'Buffy fan's that can't handle their precious Riley being slagged off. He deserves it. 

We play and we dance and we have an ace time. Although as soon as we step off stage I found out the hot gossip that there had been some super huge Buffy fans in attendance tonight who had come specifically just to hear us. However the Buffy fans didn't really like feminism or queers, and were apparently massively offended by our songs calling out misogyny and slut shaming in Buffy. They left during one of our songs, unable to take the amount of bashing that poor old Riley/Xander/Parker were getting. And to those people I want to say it's ok to be critical of the things that you love. And that if you can't see the parallels of misogyny bro behaviour on a tv show and what impact that can have in real life then maybe you aren't really Buffy fans. Also we think it's hilarious that you had to watch Joyless Fucking before watching us, I can only imagine what you made of those lyrics. 

Although I should point out when we slag off Xander, it's Xander we are slagging off and not Nicholas Brendon, because he's having a really hard time right now.

We pack up and head back to Kandy's house in the rain. Kathleen freaks out as we pass the McVities factory on the way to Stockport and smell that heavenly smell, and Kandy tells us all the best stories as we drive down super dark bendy country roads. 

Season finale: Brighton

Peak Tour is over and the last day of tour hits. We have crumpets and cinnamon rolls and lots of tea before heading down to Brighton. I'm in the van again with Dave, Nick, Shahnaz, and Alison. We get cocky a couple of hours into our journey as we hit Watford Gap services and brag about how early we are gonna get into Brighton with enough time to go to the beach, play the 2p machines, and get donuts. But once we get back on the road we realise our error as we get stuck in hot traffic for a few hours. There are no windows for those sitting in the back and it's like being baked alive in a hot tin, so me, Shahnaz, and Nick strip off and get a bit naked in the backseat to cope with the heat. All the roads to Brighton are completely blocked anyway due to nice weather and then later in the day the tragic air crash in Shoreham takes place which blocks more roads. We are very happy to make it to Brighton safe and alive and although we are tired we don't really feel like grumbling. 

It's an emotional journey down as everyone is stressed and tired and worn out, and over the course of 8 hours I think each of us in the van has had a little cry. But once we arrive it's down to the serious business of having some chips on the beach and everything feels better.

Kathleen's zine keeps me sane in the van, misery on our faces as we realise it's another 3 hours to go, and the delight on seeing a bunch of homemade Potentials t-shirts. An emotional day.

The last show goes by dead quick. Michal, Amy, and Rosie from Bristol have driven for 8 hours to be there and will be driving straight back after the show. And a few people have come with their own handmade jarg Potentials t-shirts. It feels all kinds of amazing.

Yiiikes charm everyone in Brighton and there's a sudden rush on for their last remaining scrunchie on the merch stall. Joyless Fucking are wonderful and I feel dead emotional watching them. It's also a right treat to be playing with Men Oh Pause tonight, I can't even get over all the amazing bands we've played with. 

I don't really remember much about playing this season finale of a night except that every night on this tour when we've played the song Friend Zone, the screaming along has gotten louder and louder and tonight I can hardly play or sing for smiling at the 10 weirdos at the front of the stage screaming along. We dedicate Buffy's birthday song to Kandy for the 3rd night in a row as well as Shahnaz's mum and Kathleen who both have birthdays that week. Then we realise we are out of time and cut a bunch of songs from the set and just go straight into Cibo Matto for the final stage invasion. My guitar cuts out, I've lost my voice, and my fingers are too sweaty to play properly but its the best 60 seconds of my life so far. 

Yiiikes + Men Oh Pause + Daskinsey4

After playing I head to the back and I'm informed by Kathleen that the best way to watch a band is from the merch table standing on chairs. So we watch the fucking wonderful Daskinsey 4 and everything is amazing. 

After the gig a few of us head to the beach. Some of the group go skinny dipping but because I can't swim and I'm terrified of water I stay firmly where I am.  I talk to Dave about his daughter who sounds amazing, and we talk about tour in-jokes and how much we all need a shower. I see a shooting star for the first time ever and it's ace, and then we all head back to Nick's house. In the morning we watch The Craft, eat crumpets, and veggie sausages and beans, and people start leaving. It's just like the final episode of Bug Juice when all the campers go home.

End of your misery, midnight beach times, we are the weirdos.

Thanks so much to everyone who put us on and let us stay and fed us and made us cups of tea, all the amazing sound people, anyone who has lent us equipment, Kathleen for making my favourite zine of 2015 and for doing the zine distro and driving us, and Dave for being wonderful and driving us and being in one of my favourite bands. I have a bunch of feelings about this last week and I feel dead proud of my friends for making stuff and being total heroes. 

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