Sunday, August 17, 2008

Snow, Slow, and Automobiles


We played a gig down in Invercargill at a bar called the Gluepot last weekend and were lucky enough to be joined by our friends Tono and the Finance Company. We decided we would convoy down in two vehicles to make the trip more interesting, and decided to take the scenic trail. Which was longer and cost more petrol but was totally worth it's weight in laughs and scenery. I was manning the merchant vehicle, a grey toyota townace which was a lot more comfortable this time around as we were being supplied somewhat of a backline by Sector 7g who were playing with us.

Anyway, we were cruising around the hundred kilometre mark, and we were listening to something funny on the stereo, and I was looking at the speaker (as you do). Waihola seemed to morph around the vehicle and I cruised past a speed camera in the 70 kmh zone doing 100. Oops. Not sure what speed Bugs, who was driving the following vehicle was doing, but he didn't see it either. So i'm eagerly awaiting some good news mail, that'll tell me I owe about 400 dollars and have some demerit points taken off me and shit. I haven't even finished paying off my seatbelt fine yet! Ah well...

So we turned off at Balclutha to take the scenic route. There was a nice wee stop off at a cafe in Owaka I think it was, so, so quiet there and we must've been the only customers in that cafe the whole day. We then played for about an hour at the playground across the road. A seriously good playground for a town that size... even had a noughts and crosses game.

We stopped at this nice little inlet and played 'someone throw a big rock into the water, and while it's in the air, everyone else try and hit it with little rocks'. We're thinking of copyrighting this game as the Finance Merchant's Game, so look out for specialty rocks on sale at upcoming gigs. Anyway we played this for a good 45 minutes.

For the second leg of the trip down, it got dark and started raining torrentially. Ideal driving conditions really. There was a lot of leaning forward and squinting through the rain at the road. We're talking some seriously fuckin chubby rain. So it was a bit of a relief when we finally got to Invercargill. The trip that should have taken around 2 nd a half hours, had ended up taking something more like 4.

Blair from the Gluepot is a really good guy, and he has a tough job running a music venue in a place like Invercargill. The gig itself was reasonably quiet, but we enjoyed ourselves immensely. Sector 7g did well to engage a small audience and I really dig their enthusiasm. Tono was privileged to have half the audience singing his lyrics during his first song... must've sold a cd or two during his last gig down there. We played an ordinary set, it was a long time between getting to the bar and actually playing mind you, and the beers was real nice. A few guys had to go back to Dunedin directly after the gig due to work and other commitments at home the next day. So they would've left at around 2.30am maybe, and ended up driving back through a snowstorm so didn't get back till about 5.30am. Bet worked sucked a fat one that day.

A few of us stayed and got festive, and the Sector 7g boys and their pals were nice enough to host a small shin dig at their flat after the pub shut. After a tribal jam in the laundry and a lot of shit talk we walked back to the Tuatara backpackers, which by the way, is an excellent backpackers. The staff there are awesome and very accommodating. The breakfast menu will attend to any ticks and diseases that can afflict you in the morning.

So in our drunken idiocy we stepped outside for a cigarette and left the key in our room. After scouring the building for possible entry points, we gave in and had to call Blair to let us in. What a bunch of cocks we are.

The drive home on Sunday consisted of 60kph through some abominably snowy conditions which on a number of occasions threatened to send us into paddocks, where the only survival option would have been to adopt a ewe for snuggles and milk from the teat. We listened to some stand up comedy most of the way, notably Doug Stanhope who is a fucking obscenely funny man. Some excellent views and rants that man has... insightful.

So on Thursday we head to Queenstown for two nights of gigs. Coincidentally, The Julian Temple band is playing up there on Friday so we'll get to watch them and I think Matt Brook is playing his last show with Sunset Cinema with us at the Dux on the Friday night. God that's gonna be awesome.

I will post some photos and video of this trip as soon as I figure out how to hook the video camera up to my computer.... I need a funny looking cable, and the camera is a vintage model.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

So, this being the first post on this blogspot, I thought I would just write a wee bit of history and a bit about plans for the near future.  

Biff Merchants have been playing together since around early 2007.  Beginning as a four piece, a shuffling of the lineup and some sabbatical behaviour has resulted in the current five piece lineup that exists today.  An Ep entititled, The Battle For Jubilee Park was released in October of 2007.  It consists of 5 tracks, with a running time of over half an hour.


The next step in the process that curtails merchant behaviour involves gigging lots over the next couple of months in order to provide us with enough cash dollars to fund our debut album, which is planned for recording at the end of September.  Regarding the album, we have been writing a fair bit in the hope that come track decision time, we will have a large base of songs to choose from.  Some concepts for the album were bandied about during an incredibly baked stint in Queenstown.  Whether or not these will see the light of day, I'm unsure.  

One issue we have been contemplating, is whether or not to re-record any of the songs from the EP.  Since these songs have now been developed and rewritten, the EP versions are mere shadows of the current incarnations.  So there may be a couple of tracks that will appear on the album, in new and refreshed versions.

We had initially planned to record in July of this year, but money issues meant we had to move it to September, which has actually meant that there has been more time for new material to emerge, and other song's potentials have been more fully realised.  The only way we have really managed to make it look as though we might have enough money to do this, is gigging outside of Dunedin receiving guarantees from venues.  

It is a real shame that in order to make money, you actually have to leave Dunedin and go to a smaller town, when Dunedin's student population really should negate the need to do this.  if you want to read more about this issue in Dunedin you should pop over to Tono's blog which is linked on the right.  Also there is a forum on which is discussing this issue. see that here: How To Make Dunedin Bands Rich.

Anyway, now that the boring introduction stuff is out of the way, we can begin to share our stories, experiences, highlights and traumas.