Friday 11 November 2011
The Inspiral Carpets in South America Day One
A tour diary by Graham Lambert, Inspiral Carpets guitarist..
”ËAre you here yet?’
”ËAre you here yet?’ my telephone beeped. It was our roadie Dr Death. Indeed it was Dr Death who sprang the first surprise on The Inspiral Carpets first gigs for 4 years. He’s had his teeth done, new haircut and sleek glasses looking like an Eastern European baddie from the TV series The Professionals circa 1981.
We gathered in Manchester Airport’s Terminal 3 departure lounge ready for our first visit to South America for 20 years. Instead of pints and tales of bravado it was coffees and cakes in Cafe Nero.
We slimmed down our gear and opted for South American promoter rentals rather than freighting over much loved, ancient, yet sentimentally valuable gear. Clint had spent hours at the Farfisa science labs in Italy drinking coffee fanning through manuals, sampling sounds to develop a keyboard we could transport around the world efficiently but still retain the distinctive earthy sound.
A short hop to London, followed by a pretty turbulent 14 hour flight to Buenos Aires.
Once airborne we consumed copious amounts of beer and wine, surfed through the in-flight entertainment of Partridge, retro American football documentaries and compiling your own compilation playlists on the audio files, we arrived in sun drenched Buenos Aires on time.
Federico Minig-from Quilmes no less-our Argentine roadie met us in the airport and whisked us away to our city centre hotel.
After a long flight from home the journey from the airport was the usual eye-opener, passing shanty towns and the national football training ground, ducking under frail overhead bypasses and weaving through unobeyed lanes of traffic.
In the square opposite the hotel there has been a long running peaceful demo by Argentine war veterans about equal pay for their involvement in Falkland/Malvinas back in 1982. It served as a rather fitting backdrop as we left home with Remembrance Sunday approaching. War and its subsequent fallout remains an imprint on the lives of all involved for years.
With 5 hours spare everyone snoozes and shops at leisure. We round up at 3.30pm and head down to the venue. We’re playing with Interpol at the Movistar Free Music Festival in the Lola Mora Park. The stage is built into a modest amphitheatre with quality PA and lights.
Screens frame the stage spewing Twitter posts. It’s not long before Twitter feeds are displayed from @inspiralsband followers back home and from around the world.
”ËStephen Holt is a red, red, red’ and various other mistruths were posted including a picture of a chalk written notice board from Molly Malone’s, a pub in London advertising an appearance from The Inspiral Carpets.
We did a few interviews and I could sense we were starting to make less sense. The Inspirals rider Gig Juice mixed with 12 hours canning Quilmes was kicking in.
Two local bands opened the Movistar Freemusic Festival. As our stage time approached I went for a wander outside the festival. Buenos Aires was how I remembered; every bit of spare grass was being used for some kind of football related exercise. New looking tenement flats kissed the clear sky and the odd graffitied wall screamed about Jorge Rafael Videla. He will never be forgiven.
The venue for the festival was in the Lola Mora Park. Lola Mora was a sculptor but there was no obvious clues that any of her work was displayed.
Once back in the dressing room I found myself looking for clues of any nerves or apprehension, we hadn’t played since live our appearance at The Fuzz Club Athens, Greece in May 2008. News of Madeline McCann had just broke and Gordon Brown had been Prime Minister for less than a year, it really was that long ago.
Eze our record company guy from 1991 bizarrely appeared just before we took the stage. He stopped by to have his picture taken and said he go out with us post show. As nightfall descended we took the stage, we ripped into Commerical Rain a song written in 1986, Stephen Holt was present then and was present now it was a defining moment, it was a monumentous gig. We blasted through Joe, a vibrant Head For The Sun, She Comes In The Fall, Butterfly, I Want You, Saturn Five, This Is How It Feels.
The crowd went mad when Ste announced up next was the new single You’re So Good For Me. Im not sure how the audience could have heard it but they sang along to the organ intro, it was excellent we were back fit and upbeat. There was no encore and Interpol soon followed us on stage.
Interpol were excellent, Ive not seen them for a while. Instead of looking like Streets of San Francisco extras with Bela Lugosi on bass they now look like extras from The Fall Guy with Iggy Pop on bass and Eddie Izzard on vocals. I think that’s progress of sorts. I love them, they went down a storm. Paul Banks spoke fluent Spanish which was pretty impressive. We chatted with them a bit, we did the talking as you do with Interpol.
The bus call to return back to the hotel for us came shortly after the end of the Interpol set. It had been a great day. Once at the hotel we showered and met in the foyer at 1am. All I wanted was a brew and casual chat, Federico had sourced a club ’10 blocks away’ called Red Rum themed on the Jack Nicholson film The Shining. Dr Death and I searched fruitlessly for 5 minutes a street side cafe before we went to our rooms. The other members of the party headed off for Red Rum-Craig on the back of Eze’s scouter-everyone else on foot. Day One Buenos Aires, done.