andrewcferguson

writer, performer, musician, wine drinker

Category Archives: cry of the cave people

….and we’re done

My total respect goes out to people like Mike Melville who regularly organise gigs. Cry of the Cave People, for those of you who weren’t there last night, was something of a success – despite some initial sound check problems, the whole thing came together, and by the end of the night the place was busy with happily drinking punters enjoying some stirring performances.

If I did one thing right it was the running order, with the acoustic, melodic sounds of Artisan and Norman Lamont giving way to the more rocked-up versions Hookers for Jesus and Isaac Brutal and the Trailer Trash Express had prepared for us. And not forgetting Ali Maloney’s astonishing spoken word version of Deep in the Woods!

Thanks again to all who came, participated, helped me with promotion, and generally was in the right place when I needed them to be. Gig promoter is not really my natural skill set, and I’m not planning to make it a regular occurrence. It was a two year gap between Dylan Uncovered and Cry of the Cave People, and 2015 sounds about right for the next one. Springsteen Rising, anyone?

Now to November, and the Andrew C Ferguson + friends show at the Bongo on the 14th, Duality Tango. Stay tuned: if you liked Cry of the Cave People, I think you’ll love this…

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Cave Week Continues

As things build towards Cry of the Cave People on Saturday, another band interview: this time, with Dickson Telfer, writer and performer extraordinaire, but also of Artisan, a three-piece outfit from the Falkirk area –

What attracted you to the idea of a Nick Cave covers night?

I thought it’d suit our singer, Ronnie’s range and tone, plus there are so many good songs to choose from.

How did you come to choose your set? Was it your favourite Cave songs of all time, the ones you reckoned were most playable, or a mixture of both?

We’ve picked two fairly recent ones, from 2012’s Push the Sky Away, and a classic everyone will recognise. It was a combo of songs we liked, songs we thought we could do justice, and songs that made sure the contemporary stuff was acknowledged. Personally, I think Push the Sky Away is one of his and the Bad Seeds’ best.

Cave uses some pretty interesting instrumentation at times. Did that inspire you to change things up from your usual sound?

Not really. We’ve put our stamp on one of the tracks though, using a guitar sound Cave didn’t.

Any particular challenges in rehearsal? Were there any songs you had to leave on the cutting room floor?

Thankfully, the tracks we picked worked, so nothing was cut. Ronnie found some of Nick’s phrasing quite challenging at first, but he got there in the end.

Have you something special up your sleeve for your performance, or would you have to kill us after you tell us?

Yes, and yes.

Finally, do you have any particular Nick Cave anecdotes you’d like to share, either from one of his gigs or otherwise?

Believe it or not, I’ve never been to a Nick Cave gig before but he’s on my list of ‘bands I’ve always wanted to see but haven’t yet’, along with The Cure and Underworld. And he’s sold out at the Usher Hall next month too. Oh well, maybe next time…

The Week of Cave Begins

To celebrate the start of Nick Cave week, an invention of my own which culminates, of course, with Cry of the Cave People on Saturday 5th October at the Citrus, here’s a short interview with Kenny Mackay, lead guitarist of Isaac Brutal and the Trailer Trash Express:
What attracted you to the idea of a Nick Cave covers night?
Some bloke asked us in a pub.  [ACF note: that was me.] Seemed like a good idea at the time! [ACF note: it seemed like a good idea to him even after the first pint!]

How did you come to choose your set? Was it your favourite Cave songs of all time, the ones you reckoned were most playable, or a mixture of both?

Most of the band have absolutely no interest in Nick Cave.  It was a case of a) can we play it, b) can the non-Cave acolytes pick it up relatively quickly and painlessly and c) would we absolutely not fuck it up!

Cave uses some pretty interesting instrumentation at times. Did that inspire you to change things up from your usual sound?

No.  We’ve already got a mandolin player!

Any particular challenges in rehearsal? Were there any songs you had to leave on the cutting room floor?

There She Goes My Beautiful World.  It was totally unsingable.  There was also a plan to have a go at Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart, but that never got anywhere.  And Sonny’s Burning would probably been a step too far for our drummer!

Have you something special up your sleeve for your performance, or would you have to kill us after you tell us?

Two of the songs don’t have a guitar solo.  That’s groundbreaking for us!

Finally, do you have any particular Nick Cave anecdotes you’d like to share, either from one of his gigs or otherwise?

First time I saw Nick Cave was when the Birthday Party played the Nite Club in 1981.  Those were the days when we had an Edinburgh Rock Festival and Richard Strange had brought his Cabaret Futura club up to Edinburgh for a week.  Great gig.  Strange was the support for all the bands and he was on great form too.  The second time I saw Nick Cave was in Cockburn Street the next day, with Rowland S Howard and (my memory likes to pretend) the paunchy cowboy himself, Tracy Pew!  But I suspect it was just Phil Calvert!  Either way no one paid them the slightest attention because no one knew who they were!
band image

The Autumn Forecast: Slamming, Caving, Tattie Howking, and Fast Bowling

Keats may have said autumn was a season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, but then he never lived in Scotland when it can be a constant diet of monsoons, high winds, crops rotting in  fields, and the inevitable heavy drinking. Keats almost definitely didn’t meet Nick Cave either.

Which is a roundabout way of saying the next few weeks are going to be a bit busy. First off, I’ll need to prepare for Slam Factor Fife, which is bringing the gentle art of the poetry slam to the Magic Kingdom. It’s at the newly reopened Kirkcaldy Galleries on Thursday, 3rd October.

On Saturday 5th, of course, there’s Cry of the Cave People, a celebration of the work of Nick Cave. Four bands, three spoken worders, one night of Gothic magic. Much rehearsal has already been had, and trading of song titles … the Cave People’s FB event page is now open for business.

In the midst of all this, I hope to blow the lid on my latest expose: how the Potato Famine of 1847-8 changed the face of fast bowling forever, or The Scots-Irish Conspiracy Theory of Cricket. You heard it here first.

14, a Magic Number

I’m not really into numerology, and I’m the opposite of into Maths. All the same, the number 14 seems to feature rather prominently in most of the shows I’m involved in for the foreseeable future.

First, on Wednesday 14th August, I’m taking part in the Writers Bloc collaboration with musicians John Lemke and Poppy Ackroyd at the Book Festival, as the Jura Unbound event that night. It’s on from 9 till 11, and is absolutely free. I’m really looking forward to this, and not just because I’ve booked a night at Hostal Inglis and will therefore, for once, be able to have a drink after the show.

It’s also the first time for a long time Bloc has collaborated on a story; the early rushes are looking good, and next week, the 8th, we rehearse with John and Poppy and see how it all comes together. Their material can be played on the Denovali site.

I’ve previously posted about my Virtual Fringe (see separate page). I’ve decided it’s now traditional for me to release an audio version of a Robert Louis Stevenson story as part of this, so this year it’s Markheim. As an extra bonus I’ll be sharing at the same time my own RLS-influenced Hyde’s Last Words. The Markheim trailer version is now available. And so, indeed, is the HLW trailer version. The full versions will go up on 28th August – weirdly, a number divisible by 14.

It gets spookier. Edinburgh may be filling up with bright, happy, shiny people just now, but come September the nights will fair be drawing in, and how better to celebrate the oncoming darkness than an evening dedicated to the Gothic Grandmaster itself, Nick Cave? Well, if there is a better way, I don’t know it – four bands, three spoken worders (self, Gavin Inglis and MC Andrew Wilson) on 14th September at the Citrus Club. More details to follow on the separate page for this gig.

Rather spoiling the sequence is the Writer’s Bloc Halloween show, on Wednesday 30th October. However, that’s going to be the only disappointing thing about the gig – on a theme of Unnatural Scotland, you can expect the usual mayhem from, amongst others, the returned (from France) Stefan Pearson. We don’t think he’s been anywhere near Lake Pub

Finally, the solo show I’m planning of music and spoken word has a provisional date of Thursday 14th November. I’ll post more about this in the coming weeks, but trust me, it’s going to be something special.

Cry of the Cave People

26th April: Brighton was an unseasonably warm 22 degrees yesterday, but I doubt that its most famous rock and roll resident was donning flip flops and knotted hankie headgear. I may be wrong, but it just doesn’t sound like Nick Cave’s style: a recent interview in the Guardian confirms that he even shops at Homebase fully suited and booted.

I came to Nick Cave late, thanks to my nephew Dave Allen, always a touchstone for stuff I should be listening to. He not only got me along to a gig at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange, a couple of years ago, but diligently burned a pretty comprehensive collection of the great man’s oeuvre for me in advance. The gig was fantastic, with Cave in storming form.

Not long after, I organised Dylan Uncovered at the Voodoo Rooms, a series of 8 acts reprising and reinterpreting that other great rock poet’s work. It was one of the most stressful nights of my life (key learning outcome: 8 acts + grumpy sound guy + inexperienced promoter + three hours = a lot of blue-arsed fly impersonation for promoter) people seemed to enjoy it, and shortly after, Mike Melville (another purveyor of excellent aural narcotics) said I should ‘do a Nick Cave one next time.’

That was over two years ago, and like childbirth (I imagine) the pain recedes and is replaced by a happy, warm glow of how successful the event was. So, what I’m looking for is:

– 3 more bands (Isaac Brutal and the Trailer Trash Express are already signed up, and will close the show)

– Twenty minute to half an hour each of imaginative reworkings of Nick Cave songs: Birthday Party, Grinderman, Bad Seeds, you choose. I’m not looking for faithful replicas. Take Cave’s version as the jumping off point, not holy writ. You can slip in one  or two of your own songs if they’re compatible, but the vast majority of the set should be Cave.

– If possible, some sort of demo of a song or two uploaded somewhere by 14th July. If I know you already I may trust you but the more info you can give me the better. It would be great if we could use some of that as trailers for the show but I would ask you first of course.

– A list asap of what songs you’re thinking of, to avoid too much duplication. Taken already:

15 feet of pure white snow

Bring it on

The weeping song

Death is not the end (yeah I know it’s Dylan, but Cave does it too)

Nick the Stripper

The Carny

The Singer (Johnny Cash)

From Her to Eternity

We Call Upon the Author

Higgs Boson Blues

Henry Lee

Are You the one that I’ve been waiting for?

Red Right Hand

Jubilee Street

Where the Wild Roses Grow

We No Who U R

The gig will happen in September, as a warm up for the great man himself descending on us at the Usher Hall on 1st November (already sold out, so there’s pretty clearly an audience).

I’m still finalising venue. It’s looking like the Citrus Club on 14th September.

Financials will be dependent on venue cost, back line hire (if necessary) and so on but I’ll basically be looking to share any proceeds with the bands. Dylan Uncovered left enough for a beer or two for everyone, and while I want to improve on that, if money’s your motivation, maybe this isn’t the gig for you.

Once we’re off and running I’ll create a page on my site which I’ll keep updated as we go along. If you want your possible involvement to be top secret, let me know.

If you have any queries, contact me at venus [dot] carmichael [at] gmail [dot] com.