From The Archives: Million Dead

This blog is taken from my ancient and defunct MSN Spaces blog from way back in 2005. I wanted it preserved, because despite the appalling writing, it documents what is still one of the greatest days of my life, centred around the most important band of my life so far.

I followed Frank’s progress, and struggle not to be smug about the amount of people who would scoff at the prospect of ever hearing him again.  As I update this it’s 2011 and I’ve seen him go from playing a pub with only a handful of people listening to packing out tents at festivals and selling out shows in Brixton Academy.  Julia recently joined another of my favourite acts, Future Of The Left, and I cannot wait to see what she brings to an already fantastic act.

Moreover, this blog is important to me, because I am a man who never takes enough risks.  The prospect of going to a city I didn’t know with no definite way home and no ticket to get me in to the place I was going was madness, but despite the quite plausible thought of failing to get in and having to sleep rough in a Bristol alleyway, I went for it anyway.

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From The Archives: The Million Dead Adventure

Taken from my ancient MSN Spaces blog, this covers the end of my favourite band, and how I tried to see them live before they went their separate ways.

While I did laugh hard reading the over-dramatic lines I put in here, do forgive the first entry’s title, it’s derived from a lyric, I promise.

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14 September
Struggling to mend the splinters of a broken heart

I intended to put a minimal blog here to simply say hurrah that im going to see the Magic Numbers, and then spend the day formulating a plan for my writing.
Then i discovered something tragic that shook my chest with the force of a cluster bomb.  My favourite band, my most annoyingly overhyped (even more than bloc party and dredg) musicians, Million Dead, are splitting up at the end of their tour.
are they coming to wales? no chance.  The best they can do is bristol.
So for the last hour or so ive searched websites, searched through pages of message forums, contacted First bus services, called the venue the Louisiana, called Bristol Ticket shop and offered bribes to friends to drive me there.

  • The gig is friday. So i cant get my ticket sent to me.
  • I would have to pick it up from the ticket agency, but it shuts at 6
  • i have to get there from work at 4
  • The agency says theyve only sold 80 out of 300 tickets
  • The agency said tickets are often available on the door. But though Million Dead are a small band, they have a passionate little following of fans, plus theyre splitting up so demand will be higher.
  • The last train to cardiff is 11.17
  • Louisiana says gig cerfew is 11 – but will a splitting up band be offered slightly longer? plus i want to get to speak to my heroes again one last time. (which would make twice tsss)
  • The agency said ring back tomorrow to see how many more have sold.
So after frantic thinking from a mind that has severe Logic problems, the plan is:
  • Tomorrow ask boss Kim (appealing to the fact shes a bristolian) that i need to get to bristol so if i can work earlier.
  • On break ring the line and book a ticket.
  • get to bristol and follow printed map to the agency.
  • if i dont get there in time fuck it
  • go to gig an camp outside till it opens
  • adore my heroes
  • run to station for last train back
  • if i miss it bus to bath at midnight and hope Jonner or niel will let me sleep at their house.

‘every note that made me lose my reasoning
every chord that made my conscience ache
every sound a memory
its all ill ever need
ill always have this song inside my head’

million dead – living the dream

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15 September
One last chance

Following on from yesterdays frantic panic – my chances for getting a ticket for the louisiana are very slim. the tiocket shop had ONE ticket left, i rang the louisiana back and the guy mentioned some record stores that might have tickets. i got hold of one but he was locking up and didnt know. ill ring them back in the morning. Other than that the guy at the louisiana said turn up at the door and see if i can get a ticket at the door. Ive left a comment on the bands message forum but it may simply be too late 😦
Not that ill give up – Niel said he may get me a lift back!!!!!!

‘I am the smalltown linesman,and youll find me out here on the line
searching ceaselessly to simply, find a place to call mine,
every corner of this country criss-crossed out with coloured lines,
A city lies before me
Another city sprawling out behind.’

Million Dead – After the Rush Hour

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16 September
million dead – the quest!!!!!

this is it. i got everything i think i need.
two more numbers to ring.
wether they have tickets or not i go to bristol on my tod and wait and see if there’s tickets.
it’s highly unlikely there will be.
But id rather try than give up on my last chance to see the most important band of my life.
See you after saturday with ecstatic or tearful comments
:-\

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From The Archives: million dead are living my dream

Taken from my old MSN Live Spaces blog:

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Oh yes. thats what ive been waiting for!

Million Dead Cardiff Barfly

9/10

I feel wrong rating this lower than the last gig, but that doesnt mean it wasnt one of the most important to me. I always missed their gigs, they went to wrexham or swansea and i had no way of getting there/back or noone to stay with.  Finally they came back to cardiff and nothing bar limbloss was going to stop me.

Openers engerica arent bad at all. They do look ‘too cool for school’ but tragically so does most of the crowd.  The frontman took a while to get into his stride, being a boring mumbler at first, till by last song hes laughing and joking with the front row.  Their music isnt particularly new, spiky, jarring post punk chords and some great drumming.  Its nothing I havent heard before but holds a lot of promise and deserve brownie points for having a song involving the line “i dont care if you think my haircuts gay” thats okay then, my thoughts werent damaging.

Next up is Days of Worth.  Their frontman was lively and engaging from the start. Mrre accessible fair than engerica, i saw them as a more interesting My Chemical Romance.  Their lead singers an odd fellow however, after mentioning that i hadnt heard much of their stuff before he cried “ah-ha!” and rushed off to get me something…. but then never came back.  this is an effect usually reserved for when i talking to girls.

Then comes my favourite band.  No one sounds like them, their songs are intelligent often catchy and they certainly dont deserve to be playing toilet curcuits(but selfishly i want them to stay, keep them close) Im biased, but im also right.
They come out to set up their equipment and sound check it themselves, exchanging some words with the front row fans.  Im stuck a few rows back, trapped between scenesters. its not pretty… or rather it is.  too pretty.  the guy to my left is wearing an expensive striped polo shirt (prob get an identical one from M&S for £10) and a haircut i scincerely doubt cost under £40 (rest assured it can be recreated at home with a bit of gel) most people around me stand motionless as they did through the support act, arms crossed and looking gorgeous.  of course even if they were enjoying the music they cant move as theyd stop looking utterly cool for half a second.  They eye the badly dressed bearded man going mental with disdain. how can i possibly be a fan when im so unfashionable. i can be of course because im not a vapid c*nt and as the band return to the stage i forget their boring existence and turn into the exact opposite of effortless cool.  They run through many of their new songs, and the prospects are looking good. The front rows are going mad but thats about it, though the scenesters were quickly looking ruffled, they were starting to sweat – not cool.  We are treated to all the classics and as something quite good for me we get B-Side Sasquatch, one of my personal favourites and unlikely to be heard in their set next time round.  Later the singer informs me with a big grin that its “about farming in scotland” with an ear to ear grin.  Their set closes with Breaking the Back and finally FINALLY the crowd moves, all the real fans realise that itll be over soon and even some of the coolites that know it get stuck in.  With that their set closes and most of the crowd want more.  When they come back on, im a little unsure, but think it may not be intended.  even Frank seems to be annoyed, jokingly-criticising us for only getting things going for the last and most famous song.  We do however convince him and they play the sprawling wall of noise that is The Rise and Fall. And its phenominal.  The whole band lash about as if theres bombs set to go off if they play slower, and as the final three minute instrumental wackery begins to enfold they rock up in places making it an altogether new song until they literally change it, moulding it into an incendiary Black Flag cover that has the front half of the crowd – with me now in the right place – nearly spewing onto the stage.  that one song alone was worth the ticketvalue.

Afterwards i hang around desperate to tell them what i think, terrified that my favourite band will either shatter my dreams by being utter dicks or ill make a fool of my self kissing their ass with i loved your set man i want your babies etc.  Luckily i do neither.  Frank and Julia are taking the set apart, patiently listening and talking to the real fans (with no more schmirnoff ice the cool kids have gone home to get their clothes dry cleaned).  hes talking to one kid whos following them round the country, and the singer is talking about encores and how too many bands do encores.  Perhaps it was something special.  I ask him about Sasquatch and what its about, and i already know that this man is why i want to be creative.  His eyes are wide, alive as he describes the song and that someone had shown an interest in a lesser known song.  I read an interview article about how they have been low on money, but every time they came close to considering packing it in and getting a ‘real job’ they listen to their music and remember why they do it, why living out of a van isnt such a bad deal, because they make something.  For all the things that crush you down in life their attitude and spirit – not to mention the quality of the material – i find them an inspiration.
Frank mentioned on his blog his fear of the leaked album getting onto the net, so as a show of support (from someone whos been far too much of an arr jimlad in his days) i ask him to sign a printout of my order form.  They were genuinely impressed, Frank screaming out “FUCK YES! PEN! MY KINGDOM FOR A PEN” and the lovely julia signing down ‘good man’
And yes i would have their babies.