Tag Archives: gigs

Girls, Fun & A Real Job

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Well, hi there! It’s good to be back with some exciting news.

We’re delighted to announce a digital release of the single “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”, our cover of the Cyndi Lauper classic. It’s going to be ace! We’ve had so much fun recording it, and it’ll be great to finally give you guys some new music. Watch this space for more news about the release…

In the meantime, we’re pleased to be hitting the road again this November for the Real Job Tour — so named because of the following conversation, which occurs with hilarious frequency:

A: What do you do?

B: I’m a musician.

C: Yes, but what’s your REAL JOB?

The tour kicks off in London at the wonderful Daylight Music, at Union Chapel in Highbury. You can join the Facebook event here, and check out the other gigs we’re playing around the country on our gigs listings.

You’ll be hearing more from us very soon!

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Cogito Ergo Sum

by Ben Kritikos

Being a musician is a funny thing: it’s one part playing music, one part relentless admin and one part heavy lifting. If you’re anything like me, the first and last of these is not a problem; if you’re anything like me, the middle one is a panic-inducing stress-fest akin to going to the dentist when you know there’s definitely something really wrong in your mouth.

That said, it’s always good to learn new skills. There’s nothing like being thrown in at the deep end to confront those things about yourself that you’d rather relegate to the dark corners of your psyche, where you keep memories of all the kebabs you’ve eaten at 4am while staggering down a rainy, vomit-strewn street. Or that time you walked nearly the whole way across town with your fly undone while wearing those boxers with the broken button, wondering why every passerby seemed to be staring at your crotch. The brain cupboard under the brain stairs, basically.

I hate being a salesman (I once had a telesales job at a carpet cleaners). The only thing I hate more than being a salesman is being a self-salesman. But every musician is a self-salesman: YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO ME PLEASE LISTEN TO ME is the underlying message. A horrible little parasite of a man inside my heart, who feeds on weird black tendrils of self-loathing, frequently confronts me with the question, “Why would anybody want to listen to you?”

So the big, bear-hugging woman in my heart, who looks a lot like Kathy Bates and feeds on tea and lovely cakes made by my friends, takes the tough love line, and says between mouthfuls of Victoria sponge: “Shut up and get on with it”.

Poet, novelist and dreadful misogynist Charles Bukowski famously quipped, “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” While this isn’t altogether untrue, it’s not useful.

So many truths are useless. It’s like our Tom says, translating Descartes’ cogito ergo sum: believe in yourself and your dreams will come true. The moral of the story is: BUY CDs AT OUR GIGS. Just kidding. But seriously, do.

 

Ben is currently on tour around the UK. Check out the tour dates here.

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Herons! Gipsy Tour 2013

This January, our Ben is giving up the comforts of home and hitting the road for a solo tour of the country. He’ll be driving all over the UK in his car, which is called Yoko – a dented old Nissan Almera painted like a gypsy caravan (courtesy of the talented art students of Stroud College).

As part of the Herons! Gipsy Tour, Ben will be playing a plethora of venues and pubs across the UK, as well as front room gigs: small concerts in people’s homes.* The aim is to make friends, share Herons!’ music with a new audience, and earn enough to get Ben to the next place. It’s a tour that relies on the kindness of strangers. The tour kicks off on Boxing Day at our favourite watering hole, the Prince Albert in Stroud.

In the meantime, Ben is spending time in Dublin with old friends, and doing a bit of gigging. You can catch him playing guitar with the amazing Aoife Mc on Saturday at No. 63 Merrion Square (home of the Royal Society of Antiquaries), and also doing a small acoustic set at the Monday Echo at the International Bar on … you guessed it — Monday!

The Herons! Gipsy Tour is getting bigger and busier every day, so do check out our gigs listings or like us on Facebook to keep up to date. Bye for now!

*You can help! Would you be up for hosting a gig at your place – whether it’s a house, a flat, a barn or a garage? If you could get about 20 people (give or take) together who like music, then you’ve got a gig! Email heronstheband@gmail.com if you’re interested.

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Herons! featured on Folkroom Anthology

Herons! are pleased to announce that we’ve contributed to the independent London-based label Folkroom’s second anthology, which is released today. Our track “Aliens” features on this compilation, and it’s the first recording we’ve released since our debut So Long! in 2010.

We’ve had the good fortune to work with the Folkroom bunch before, having  played at their regular showcase gig at the Queen’s Head in King’s Cross. We’re really pleased to be contributing to their Anthology Two (which you can download for free here) and we’re dead pleased to be doing another London gig with them on the 15th November, at The Islington — aptly located in Islington.

Check out the Folkroom website for more info about the artists who’ve contributed. Over the next few days, you’ll be able to read some words about each track, written by the artists themselves, on the site. Oh, and for your information — “Aliens” will feature on our forthcoming album Some Things Run Wild, but the version on the Folkroom Anthology is a special recording that is only available as part of the compilation. So go ahead and download it!

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Stroud, The Prince Albert & Sam Shepard

Why, hello there.  Haven’t spoken to you in a while.  Just thought I’d say hi and let you know some of the more interesting things we’ve been up to lately.

After trading the crushing monotony of London for a life resembling real life in Gloucestershire, Anna and I have finally settled in.  The Stroud area, where we’ve made our home, is an old industrial hub of the Cotswolds, making it less posh than other Cotswold towns, and also quite a bit more gritty and interesting.  Its 40,000 (or so) inhabitants are as varied as any city I’ve been to; so as well as Wurzels and Fred Wests, you also find coffee experts, brilliant anarchist letter-press artists and poets, dozens of young bands, old beardy legends, my favourite brewery in the Cotswolds — and the greatest farmers’ market that just about takes over the entire pedestrian-friendly town every Saturday.

When we first arrived, I was skint and in need of a beer.  Hence, I arrived at The Prince Albert pub, on Rodborough Hill.  From experience, I’ve learned that playing music is the best way to make friends, and if you’re skint it’s also a good way to get people to buy you beers.  When I rocked up to the Albert’s open mic night, I killed a few birds with one stone.  Between songs, I admitted to the audience my need of work; when I got off stage, three people offered.

The Prince Albert has become a kind of Mecca for other London expats seeking clean air and cheaper rent in the area.  Herons! have been lucky enough to collaborate with some amazing musicians who’ve found themselves situated cosily in the Five Valleys.  Last weekend, we performed at our beloved Albert with cellist and producer/arranger extraordinaire Jo SilverstonEmily Barker also graced us with her dulcet tones, when she, Anna and I brought the set to a finish with a cover of Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” — not without trepidation!  As an encore, special guests Vena Portae (Emily Barker & Dom Coyote), joined us on stage to sing “The Old Triangle”, which sounded great with Dom’s wonderful bass harmony.

In other news, I was lucky enough to work with actor Jack Tarlton and director Simon Usher on a short theatre piece entitled Making The Sound Of Loneliness, which explored the work of American poet, playwright and actor Sam Shepard, set to music that I composed for the piece.  The performance used extracts from a large cross-section of Shepard’s prose, and was performed by Jack Tarlton and David Beames.  The performance took place at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston on the 22nd of September as part of the Side Orders festival, courtesy of Actors Touring Company.

Making The Sound Of Loneliness counts as my first musical foray into theatre, and I hope it won’t be the last.  The experience was doubly rewarding for me, as I’d never really heard of Sam Shepard (besides as Patti Smith’s ex-boyfriend); I spent the whole workshopping week being blown away by this great American writer whose whole body of work I can look forward to reading.  Luckily, there is a possibility of Making The Sound Of Loneliness getting a full run in the New Year, so watch this space for more info.

Until next time, keep your chins up this autumn.  Port and Stilton help.

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