Day two was even more like a movie.
They were booked to play an outside show at UCSB – University of California, Santa Barbara – at 12noon. It wasn’t part of a festival or anything, just a random show, on a break, as people went to lessons – we didn’t even know where outside it would be. Aimee reasured everyone it was a normal occurence.
This is us arriving. Everyone there seemed to travel by bicycle. It was a bit like Center Parcs. I’m not going to lie, there were some in our midst who were questioning the gig’s chances of being a banger.
We walked to the yard area where they were going to be playing. I was trying to keep spirits up by saying cheery things like, “It looks like a Greek amphitheatre.”
There were some protesting students on a march. Fghting “for justice, and an education”.
The college radio guys wanted to do an interview. Connor had discovered he’d lost something to do with his high-hat on arrival and was driving round town with Aimee trying to frantically find a replacment, so I was left to fill in.
Things were running to the wire. The band were informed that they were contractually obliged to play for 50 minutes or they wouldn’t get paid, despite usually playing for 35. They were also informed that due to sound regulations the set had to end by 1pm sharp. At 11.55am, there was still no sign of Conor or Aimee.
Despite a relatively underwelming turn-out and over-arching cyncism from the band, the set turned out really fun. It felt a bit like a scene from Heathers, or something.
When they came to the end of the set, they were still running four minutes shy of the contracted 50. One of the university’s roadie committee – no joke, this exists – ran down and asked for one more song. Problem was they’d exhausted every song they knew how to play. So, as a finale, they stuck on Saint Etienne and had a little dance.
Next up was their NME shoot. We all went back to our Santa Barbara hotel and got dolled up in preparation. Much discussion of appropriate/clashing sweaters ensued…
As you can see the shoot was a total drag. One of those really gruelling slogs that you just have to grit your teeth and plough through, keeping an eye on the prize.
You don’t just learn a sultry indie swagger like that, that’s something you’re born with.