Megan O'Neill


October 2016 Tour Diary - Day 3 - Bristol

It is well past noon when I learn that all day our bloody bass player has been quietly satirising me behind my back. 

CC Smugglers: infuriatingly good

CC Smugglers: infuriatingly good

I mentioned we're tour support to CC Smugglers and that they're bloody good. This is an understatement. They're one of the best live bands in the country.

On Friday night I stood at the back of Cambridge Junction for a first glimpse of this band we're touring with, arms folded and wearing a mildly sneering face. Go on, impress me. You won't be able to, because I am terribly sophisticated and a man of the world who has seen it all, but try to impress me.

Some bands claim to find all their contemporaries "amazing". They are liars. 

All performers are approval-craving fragile egos locked in desperate competition for attention with their peers.

Some of them are even slightly insecure.

Whatever anyone tells you, it's definitely a competition, and I was checking out the competition in what turned out to be a vain attempt to pick as many holes in their performance, their songs, their musicianship and, if necessary, their clothes, to support the desired conclusion that "yeah, well, obviously, they're great and all that...but we're better".

With most bands this is not difficult. "Good frontman, but their songs are shit."

Failing that, "their songs are alright, but their live show's really boring."

In a pinch you can even trot out the "well, yeah, OK, they've got good songs and, alright, the singer's great with the crowd, and fine, they can all play pretty well, and I suppose, yes, fair enough, they look pretty cool, but actually I met them backstage and they're really unpleasant people, in fact I hear the bass player is wanted for war crimes".

The Smugglers smashing Leicester

The Smugglers smashing Leicester

Watching CC Smugglers smash out a rapturously received set of consummate musicianship, showmanship, energy and entertainment I began to hope that at least maybe one of them isn't very nice to his mum, or something, so it was a source of even greater irritation chatting with them afterwards to also find them all thoroughly decent chaps. Wankers. 

A slow realisation dawned that if anything, considering I could find literally nothing I didn't like about this band, that pretty much makes me a fan. For two days I have been going on and on and on to anyone who'll listen about how insanely good they are, with the religious zeal of the newly converted.

Kesh, a Glaswegian and therefore a man for whom expressing a liking for anything at all is a trait to be considered hopelessly effete, has, it transpires, decided that the extent of my admiration for CC Smugglers has become unseemly. 

An innocent victim of Keshav Kanabar's uncouth satirical charades

An innocent victim of Keshav Kanabar's uncouth satirical charades

Airing this opinion in my absence this morning in our Travelodge bedroom, and finding himself in need of a handy prop to provide rhetorical emphasis for his point, he happened upon a nearby pillow, which he proceeded to utilise in the process of miming what I'm going to call an obscene act.

All the while drawing unfavourable comparisons between the act in question and my innocent enthusiasm for CC Smugglers' performance. 

"This is how Dan feels about CC Smugglers". 

It is probably 4 o'clock when I learn that every time I have expressed my esteem for CC Smugglers, which admittedly today has been quite a lot, unbeknownst to me Kesh has been standing behind me, raising his not inconsiderable eyebrows and knowingly muttering the word "pillow" in an unnecessarily arch manner. 

In point of fact his incomprehensible Highland brogue renders it "pellow", but you get the point.

Shithouse, I'll get him for that. Perhaps by publishing this photograph, of a bass player relaxing after the Cambridge gig...

Next Sunday, Norwich...