Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bitter Years, good time songs

No excuses, Internet land - here at team Bond Street Bridge, we do not excuse ourselves.  We stumble out midsentence, knocking over glasses and upsetting the furniture and while that is an impediment to our social advancement, certainly, we think it makes us charming.  However: People - probably you - have brought it to our attention that there has been very little blogging lately, and apparently (bless them!) they miss it.  So - an update, without any excuses for lateness or the longish time between bulletins.

The Summer Throwdown tour came hard on the heels of the Explorers Club: Antarctica tour, without really much of a chance to collect thoughts or take a breath and look at the scenery. That led to interesting mental health outcomes, but generally as well to a thumping good time.  The great disappointment of the summer so far has been failing to get a photograph of the odometer in the old Honda Odyssey as it ticked over 350,000 kilometers - fortunately other disappointments have been few, however, so we remain breezy and chipper. 

The old bus looking at the scenery as it thinks about the next hill and the one after that.

This tour has stood out from some others (not that they all blur into each other or anything - I may not remember people well but I do remember the order that the shows came in, and sometimes I count them instead of sheep when the last coffee came too soon before bedtime) because we had a new band along with us for the duration.  Band or cult, call it what you will,  and I have been meaning to write a little thing about it for as long as it has been in existence, which is coming up to two and a half months now - coincidentally about as long as this blog silence has lasted.  The band is called The Bitter Years, and I will explain how it works.

We look a lot cooler than we actually are, but we are still pretty cool.

The Bitter Years is Brendan Jehosophat Turner, who now holds the distinction of playing more Bond Street Bridge shows than any sane human should, Emily Millicent Cater, who has been Bond Street artist in residence since day one and now plays the banjo and a mean tenor uke, Alison O'Flagellant Millar stomping a mesmerising beat, and myself, doing the things I do but mostly hollering.  We play unplugged, we play outdoors, we play in bar-rooms and halls, we play loud, we stomp and holler, we play love songs and fight songs and old-as-the-hills country songs and we've been raising up a dust storm from here to Milford Sound and back over the past two months.  It's not a Bond Street thing, it's its own thing and for every old gospel song we sing about Jesus we sing one old gospel song about Whiskey&Mayhem to balance the books.  So now you know.

Stomping, hollering etc.

The house we all live in.  We sleep in a big pile on the floor.  I took this photo 
and I think it could definitely be in a calendar and get sold at gift shops.

It's kind of an old-timey family band, and the middle part of the tour when we were traipsing around the South Island picked up a bit of that raggle-taggle family feel.  We planned to meet up with old co-conspirators The Broken Heartbreakers to play some shows, and of course that meant bringing along four-month old baby Jean Heartbreaker, who took the whole thing well.  Once I had a fair idea about who was coming - a couple of weeks before the shows as it turned out - I rang up our man at the Blue Duck out in Milford to let him know that we might have a few more people along than I had first suggested.

"I thought we said three?"
"Well, yeah I know, the email did say three but the Heartbreakers are bringing their drummer now of course."
"Ok, so that makes what, six? Two of them, three of you and a drummer?"
"Pretty much, yeah.  But there's actually four of us now, cos we've started this new band that's actually a cult."
"So seven then?  That's no problem.  We'll find space."
"Yeah they're bringing a baby too, but I think that she has a box to sleep in or something so don't worry about her."
"A baby? Grand! No problem."
"Oh and also the baby's grandma?  Rachel's mum is coming to look after the baby when they're, you know, playing and stuff."
"Makes sense.  I'm sure there's room.  Bring 'em out!"

So we did, and that's why I love playing at the Blue Duck.  The next day we saw a shark, and in the evening we played at a house with a horse in the actual living room, and after that things just got weird.  I'll tell you about it sometime, but for now the message is:

The Bitter Years are a thing.  You can see us play at the following locations:

16 March:   Matakana Markets, 10am-2pm, then Coatesville Markets from around 4 or so.
22 March: Rogue Fest Rotorua, Kerosene Creek, sometime in the evening.  This will be pretty sweet.
28 March: Ponsonby Baptist Hall, Jervois Rd, with Great North! This will also be pretty sweet because they are a proper band and they know what they're doing.
30 March: Matakana Markets again - they've kind of adopted us.
4 April: The Gunslingers Ball presents DYLAN at the wine cellar.  This will be hilarious and also very fine.

But!  Bond Street Bridge is also a thing.  You can see us play at the following locations:

22 March: Rogue Fest Rotorua, Kerosene Creek, sometime in the evening.  As I said, this will be pretty sweet.
23 March: Wellington Opera House supporting Mr Billy Bragg
25 March: Auckland Power Station supporting Mr Billy Bragg

And after that we might just take a small break and actually stay at home for at least two consecutive weeks, and I will put some more stories on the Internets.  Gosh!

This is where the shark was.