Vixen Of The Violin: The Anna Phoebe Column (No. 12)
Our intrepid violinist loses her fave violin bow on the tube, goes to opera and the Download Festival, hangs out with Rage Against The Machine and discusses gold hot-pants with Bryan Ferry. Just another dull week! Check out all of Anna’s previous columns here.
What a couple of weeks!
The past fortnight has been the strangest amalgamation of musical experiences! Metal, opera, rock, pop…
It started two weeks ago on Monday, May 31, at the Purple Turtle in Camden with Jurojin, which was great fun. Then the next night I played my solo stuff at The Bedford, which was one of my favourite gigs I’ve ever done! The audience was absolutely lovely – and although sometimes it’s strange playing for a seated audience, in this capacity it was actually brilliant; you really felt the breath of every last note.
It especially suited the quieter numbers – and the tabla solo by Simran Ghalley was breathtaking – he’s a legend! Check it all out here.
The next day was spent at Glyndebourne – the famous opera house set in the heart of the English countryside. Dress was formal – black tie for the men and evening dresses for women – and the day was spent drinking champagne in the fabulous gardens before going into the opera house to watch Billy Budd. I wouldn’t say I’ve been the most fervent fan of opera but if this is what it’s like I am a convert!
Between the first and second act was an 85-minute break for everyone to go back outside and eat their picnic dinner (with more champagne). Very civilised! Our hosts were amazing and brought a whole feast – and gave us a backstage tour of the opera house. The pristine dressing rooms with immaculate showers and views of the green rolling hills were a far cry from the sticky floors and graffiti’d walls I’ve been used to changing in. And there was not ONE penis drawn in black sharpie pen, or any old bits of chewing gum on ANY of the backstage walls. Another world!
From one extreme to another – I went to Rage Against The Machine’s free concert in Finsbury Park on Sunday, June 6. INCREDIBLE! The atmosphere was electric, the band were on fire and the audience was mental! I watched the show from out in the audience – only this time I didn’t make the mistake I made in Berlin where I tried to be as close to the stage as possible, getting caught up in a moshpit full of angry Germans.
The whole show was a one-of-a-kind experience and a big community ‘Fuck You!’ to the evil empire of Simon Cowell’s reality TV shows. Not only did they pay for the whole thing themselves (which cost them in the region of $1.2 million) they also did not accept sponsorship of any kind and gave the money they made from downloads to the homeless charity, Shelter.
Rage made an hilarious video where a Cowell cartoon introduced the band to the stage. Watch it here! (Just ignore the awful English accent!)
After the show we ended up going out for a few drinks with some of the band/promoters/musicians and friends, until about 4am. A few hours’ sleep and I was in rehearsal studios for Roxy Music on Monday morning (June 7). Great way to start the week!
Am getting so excited about the Roxy shows. This was our last week of rehearsals and it’s all coming together nicely; the gorgeous backing singers joined us on June 7, which added a whole new dimension. These shows are going to be great! It’s definitely the most varied music I’ve played – jumping from acoustic violin to electric with loads of effects to suddenly playing organ to the Brian Eno-style VCS3 synth solos. A bit of a whirlwind!
Actually, I think on Monday night my head was completely somewhere else – because I woke up on Tuesday morning with a sick feeling in my stomach – I had left my best violin bow on the London tube coming home from rehearsal. Shit! The irony was that I actually took it home thinking I want to keep it safe and not use it for the touring gigs – oops.
Have spent the last week with the sick feeling growing slightly bigger each day. After filling in the lost-property forms on Tuesday I have been too scared to call them back. To take my mind off the impending doom (ie. telling my parents I have lost the bow they gave me when I was 15) I decided to get another fill of Rage Against The Machine at the Download Festival.
After finishing rehearsals with Roxy on Saturday afternoon, June 12 (which ended with me discussing stage outfits with Bryan Ferry – gold sequined hot-pants versus black feathered cocktail dress), I got in the car with my sister and we drove the 2.5 hours up to Donington. There’s something slightly surreal about going from classic cool pop played by immaculately dressed gentlemen with the best shoes in showbiz, to a rock/metal festival which is in full swing filled with long-haired rockers dressed in different shades of black. No champagne here – pear cider all the way.
I watched Rage from the side of stage – actually, watching the audience was almost more entertaining. Even before the band came on stage the scene was phenomenal – crazy people throwing bottles/cups, flashing boobs, naked men crowdsurfing. Turns out the bloke standing next to me with whom I was making polite conversation was Chad Gray, the lead singer of Hellyeah. We chatted about what it’s like to live in Oregon and Arizona, how their show was earlier that day and which of the girls flashing their boobs had the nicest nipples. You know, normal Sunday evening chit-chat. Incidentally – Hellyeah are playing in London on Tuesday June 15, and they are the current Classic Rock Gig Of The Week.
Once Rage hit the stage the crowd went berserk. ou can see why Slipknot call their fans ‘maggots’ – or why Led Zeppelin wrote the song The Ocean – the 110,000 people watching were one big writhing mass of human flesh. A lot of which seemed to be getting increasingly torn/bruised/battered with each song. It was crazy enough watching the audience – but to be standing on stage performing, knowing you are responsible for this heaving mass of people reacting in the way that they do – that must be so powerful.
The show stopped a couple of times because it was all getting a bit violent down at the front – but when Zack De La Rocha asked the 110,000 to take a few steps back, they did – and the show continued. The whole performance was a huge angry, ecstatic, euphoric orgasm.
So – another week beckons! I’m off to Aerosmith on June 15 at the O2 in London, then on Wednesday June 16, I head to Helsinki and then Barcelona for the first Roxy Music shows. Bring on the gold sequined hotpants!!
WAIIIIIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! JUST HAD AN EMAIL FROM TRANSPORT FOR LONDON!!!!!!!!!! THEY FOUND MY VIOLIN BOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THERE IS A GOD! I DON’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE, OH BENEVOLENT STRANGER WHO HANDED IT IN, BUT I OWE YOU A DRINK!!!
Amazing! This week just got better already!
Inspiration Track For The Week: Led Zeppelin The Ocean
Tags: Aerosmith, Anna Phoebe, Anna Phoebe Column, Brian Eno, Bryan Ferry, Chad Gray, Download Festival, Hellyeah, Jurojin, Led Zeppelin, Rage Against The Machine, Roxy Music, Simran Ghalley, Slipknot, Zack De La Rocha