Monday, 25 August 2008

Tweeks 160 Characters Gig.

On Friday we (The Tweeks) played our first show of our “160 Characters video release” tour at The Backstage in Dunedin. We were joined by a solo Tono, and the DFenders. It was a solid night of music, and it was really great to somewhat formally acknowledge and thank Lucinda McConnon for all the work she put into the video.
It was really awesome to see Tono perform without the Finance Company (who are great by the way) for a change. The solo “format” showcased his amazing ability as a vocalist, and lyricist. He also treated the audience to a couple of his poems, which were absolutely hilarious.

The DFenders played a solid set, they just seem to be getting tighter and tighter. More importantly, they're starting to sound much more like a BAND, rather than a bunch of sausages (guys) who happen to play music together (which is one of my main criticisms of most bands).

Tom Bell did sound for the gig. He did an awesome job – like usual. That guy is one of the better live sound engineers in the country.

Anyway I'm not going to write any more, I'm totally exhasted from the weekend, which I'll tell ya'll about when I've had a bit more sleep.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

The Tweeks re-press self-titled album

Okay so when us at The Tweeks Ltd released our 2nd album, we decided to get 100 CDs printed, and about 40 USBs. We've run out of CDs, and our USB supplies are running low too.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not bragging about selling out of units. Quite the opposite. I'd say of the 100 printed, probably half were given away. Shithouse aye? Radio stations, music reviewers, feature writers, etc all demand at least one (and sometimes up the 20) copies for individual DJs, give-aways, and whatever. They'res no shame in it either, they tell you how many to send. They'res no asking. I got asked by one person (Renee Jones from IMNZ) to send a second copy to her home address so she could listen to it before her show at bFM, when one had already been sent to her pidgeon hole at bFM. Of course almost all of these people haven't done anything with these CDs. We've had 3 printed reviews... All of which were shit. To date Real Groovy and Rip It Up still haven't reviewed a Tweeks CD EVER. EVER. God knows where all the CDs, press kits, merch that we send them ends up.

The shit thing is is that all these people don't really realise how much it costs to send these things away for an indie band. Sure the per unit cost of a CD is about $5 plus postage... But the thing is we sell these at gigs for $20, which means that it ends up feeling like we're giving hundreds of dollars worth of potential income... Which we need! I find the media's selfish expectance of freebees sickening, and wasteful.

I am actually seriously thinking about ringing these people up and demanding they send me the CDs back...

Anyway so we need some more. I emailed Amstore, the company who printed our first run of CDs, and they kept everything on file from last time, so I don't have to re-send them anything. They're such a fucking awesome company. Seriously we sent them our masters a week before our first album release gig, and they got the CDs to us right on time (including a proof!), no stress, no fucking around. It was amazing. They truely are a great company, and I'd recommend them.

I've gone the cheaper route before as well, getting CDs printed overseas (Dualplover and Corduroy Records)and whatnot. It's a fine option if you prepared to deal with 1-2month turnarounds, import duty, Malaysian public holidays, timezone differences, printing proof problems, etc etc. These days I'd rather spend the extra couple of hundred and not worry about all that shit.

How was that for a rant? Aye? Aye?

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Future Sound Of Edin @ The Backstage

On Wednesday night I had the pleasure of playing with The Alan Ibell Band at Chris Keogh's "Future Sound of Edin" night. Chris has been organising these nights for a year or so now, with the intention of showcasing up and coming young bands. This time it was with Molly Van Dijk, and The Tobacconists.

It was the first time I'd seen Molly play, and while being quite shy in between songs, she had a good voice and her songwriting showed promise. She played 6 folky, pop songs with an acoustic guitar. Her songs were perhaps too long for my liking, but what the hey, I couldn't write or perform that well when I was 17 - what the hell do I know?

Molly Van Dijk

The Tobacconists were sweet. They play a mixture of folk, bluegrass, and psychedelia. Tom plays an awesome resonator guitar, and the other guy (sorry I don't know his name) swaps between mandolin and violin. I personally enjoyed the music, but I wonder if others would appreciate what they're trying to do if they engaged more with the audience. They're quite shy people, but I think that they're songs perhaps could do with some more introduction and explanation... Tom's diction can be quite slurred (which I find cool), so I find the audience kind of need a few clues to get the songs for first-time enjoyment.

The Tobacconists. Seriously that has to be one of the best band names ever.

The Alan Ibell band played a shorter set than usual (featuring myself and Jeremy Clark), but it seemed relatively well recieved. I'm the rope-in drummer for Al's band, and we only had one practice before we played. Fortunately I know the songs well enough, and the drum parts are simple enough that I didn't make a complete fool of myself. Logan Valentine usually plays with the band but because of other commitments was absent. As a result the songs sounded perhaps a little barer than usual.

I should mention that I really like the Alan Ibell Band. I love the simplicity of the music, and the dark imagery in the lyrics. It's really fuckin awesome. He's putting out an album later this year, which is pretty cool.

Jeremy and Al

The band "rocking out" on "Zoo Song"

Anyway it was quiet, yet pleasant enough evening of music. Props.

Friday, 8 August 2008

A busy week for The Tweeks

So this week has been a busy one. We gave four performances, one of which was acoustic, one at a high school, and one at benefit. Also our video surprisingly was played on C4's “Watch This Space” show. I seriously didn't believe that was going to happen. Of course we didn't an NZONAIR grant this week however, though you can see who did here. It's appalling.

Open Mic Live Recording

This Tuesday The Tweeks were invited to perform at Alastair Burns' open mic night at the Backstage. Now don't get me wrong, it wasn't a random jam night, as the title “open mic” might suggest. It was a collection of musicians performing 2 songs each, which was being recorded live by Tex Houston (credits including The Clean, The Hasslehoff Experiment, The Verlaines).

It was a pretty cool evening – other notable performances came from The Biff Merchants, and King Leo and the Growling Dogs. I have to give credit to Alastair for organising the Tuesday night open mic night. It's one of Backstage's most popular evenings, bringing in an eclectic crowd. For The Tweeks performing at open mic night was a really relaxed affair, and a great way to bring our music to people who would otherwise not get the chance to hear us. Thanks heaps to Alastair and Niamh for having us again, and I hope the CD comes out well.

The Tweeks at open mic

Pint Night Refuel

On Wednesday we played our first Refuel pint night in ages. We played alongside Oh My Golly! and Sunset Cinema. The gig was pretty decently attended, though you never really know who shows up to see the band, or just drink at a pint night. Chris Bull made a real effort doing our sound that evening, it sounded a whole lot better than last time we played there – though I really do not envy him doing sound in there. I used to work as a sound guy at Refuel, and that room is just not conducive to good sound.

Students for Free Tibet Fundraiser

Last night we played at the SFT fundraiser at the Backstage. Holy crap what a massive night that was! The lineup was monstrous: The Biffs, The Bones, Paper Planes, Knives at Noon, Mama Yeva, Monica Yoeman, Best Boys Electric, and Sunset Cinema. Backstage must have at least 200 people in the bar when we played. Unfortunately I had just come down with a fever and was barely able to hold it together. I don't really know how I managed to play, but I did – wavering tempo and all. Fuck I hate being sick. Thanks to The Biff for swapping time slots with us. That was a really kind thing to do.

Rockquest Mentoring Programme.

Today (Friday) we met up at our practice room at 7:45am, packed the van, and drove to Wanaka to play a gig with and mentor the current Central Otago Rockquest winners, The Slur-Tones. The Rockquest mentoring programme is one of the few government music funding schemes that I actually endorse. Bands get invited by the Glenn Common, the Rockquest manager to go to the school of a rockquest finalist, play a gig at the school in lunchtime, and hang out with the kids for an hour imparting advice (and industry gossip). We get a grand for our troubles, and the kids get real interaction with real, touring musicians.

The Slur-Tones were a really tight unit, and it was obvious that they had outclassed everyone at the Rockquest regional finals. They had good stage presence, tightness, melodies, and arrangements. They were also really nice guys, and were genuinely interested in whatever smack we were talking. Anyway straight afterwords we jumping into the van and drove back to Dunedin. What a day.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

So last week I sent away DVDs of The Tweeks new video to Alt TV, and C4. Between me and Logan we came up with this. I think it's pretty funny.

Tweeks Leave You; Tube awaits.

The Tweeks newest music video, ‘160 Characters’, has been accepted for uploaded on YouTube. “It’s been tagged as a music-video, which is quite an accomplishment” enthuses drummer Stu Harwood. “With so much traffic on the Information Superhighway, it’s really hard to break through, and we’re really glad to be given the chance.” Directed by Lucinda McConnon in May 2008 ‘160 Characters’, features several beautifully crafted cellphone suits, a broken acoustic guitar, and a girl with a TV for a head.

In other news, The Tweeks have confirmed relocation rumors. “We were so keen on Bulgaria, but couldn’t raise the money for a house; so we’ve settled on London,” remarked guitarist Chris Keogh. The video-release tour will be their last, before departure in October this year.

See The Tweeks one last time, unless you’re from Auckland, ha!


22 Dndn. Backstage w/ The Defenders and Tono & The Finance Company

28 Chch. Dux de Lux w/ The Steffan van Soest Hit Machine

29 Methven. Blue Pub w/ The Exchange

30 Wgtn. Mighty Mighty w/ The Dissentors and Spoongoose

For further information contact Stuart Harwood
Phone: +64 21 467 590
Email: stu.harwood

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Vibrasics pay Lewis' Mum

This weekend Vibrasics played it's last ever shows in Wanaka and Queenstown. Matt Brook (bass) is leaving for London at the end of this month, so we decided the do these last shows, pay off our debt, and throw in the towel.

Vibrasics owed about 800 bucks to our major sponsor, Lewis Waite's (keys) mum. She bought us our plane tickets for our last summer tour, and due poor returns at the ticket booth, we never paid her back. Fortunately we got offered 1.5K to play at Shooters, and 500 to play at Revolver that weekend, so we basically paid off our debts, got drunk on the band money, and came home. Brilliant.

So first off we on Friday we grabbed an essential touring item: The Hirequip shuttle trailor. This is a great trailer, which fits a full backline with plenty of room to spare. However when hiring these one has to remember to get a padlock to secure the catch for the trailer door. Naturally we left the band “padlock” “somewhere,” so using our kiwi ingenuity we used a by product from another industry standard item (Nippy's Iced Coffee) to secure the door. Brilliant – just don't tell my insurance company (AON insurance – the only musicians insurance provider).

The Nippy's iced beverages range

The Ingenious "Straw Lock" system

Anyway we made it to Shooters in one piece, met up with Grenville from Entertainment Solutions (a good PA hire company in Wanaka), and set up for the evening. The venue was kind enough to feed us, and give us a shit load of beer (another essential touring item). Brilliant.

The bar manager that evening (I forget his name now), was a really nice dude, and asked if we could start playing early, because punters leave in droves after their “Happy Hour” finishes every evening. We obliged, and played live hip hop to a bunch of very uninterested, and mildly bemused tourists and locals. The highlight of the gig was the really drunk girl from the U.S. asking us to “play some American music.” Lewis replied,
“You came all the way over here to hear American music?”

So yeah, a pretty flat average gig. I thought we played pretty tight, and were in good spirits generally given the averageness of the situation. Fortunately we got a massive fee, and got really drunk on the band money in other bars later.

Vibrasics give Shooters the jazz hands

The next day we arose and made our way over to Revolver in Queenstown. Revolvers a pretty cool live music venue. It's got a whoppingly awesome PA system (A $100K turbosound rig), a nice interior, an enthusiastic (maybe too enthusiastic) sound man (Mark), and great bar staff. We set up, soundchecked, got an awesome burger from Fergburger, passed out for a bit in the backpackers, then went down to the venue.

Revolver at soundcheck

So basically the gig was completely dead. We didn't really care – it was our last show in Queenstown, we had a good fee, and we were going to party afterwards anyways. It must be really difficult to run a bar in Queenstown however, as there is so much competition in that town, and with such a transient crowd very little chance to try establish a meaningful culture around an establishment. The owner Jono seems to take it in good stride however, has bought the local radiostation Inferno, and is actively involved with the Queenstown skate and snowboarding community.

Revolver from Shotover street

All in all it was a pretty fun weekend away, everyone was in decent humour, and it was good to wrap up the band's business without too much trouble.