Friday 14 December 2012

(This was) what we called a demo

The most recent upload to Soundcloud is quite a treat for Saloonatics. It is the full 12 track demo recorded for the debut album.

It was recorded onto our 8 track mini-disc recorder with me on mixing duties. After this mixing became a much more shared endeavour, with Amanda taking on more mixing responsibilities.  The final two tracks here were recorded at the same time but we decided not to include them: Free Fall went onto a 7” and Coda we didn't record again, although it did become the opening theme to La Jetee 

Anyway I hope you like these early versions and don’t let them put you off buying the album from our shop. 

(Additional 7.1.13 - I have edited the Soundcloud files so they are now downloadable. Enjoy.)

Monday 10 December 2012

Singing Adams

Currently Matt is the guitarist in Singing Adams who have a new album out called ‘Moves’
The lead singer of Singing Adams is Steven Adams formerly of Hofman, who were quite loud and Pixie-ish and were played a lot by Lamacq in the late 90’s and Broken Family Band who sounded like a Cambridge Herman Dune and were incredibly popular in comparison to any of the rest of us. Personally of his two bands I preferred Hofman but perhaps that is me just being contrary. Saloon played with both of Steve’s previous bands both of which were infinitely more slick, professional, loud, erudite, better dressed and popular than Saloon ever were.

They recently released this video called ‘Dead End’ which is taken from their new album.

To me the repeated two chords sounds vaguely like The Good Life from the second Saloon album. Only faster, and more professional and erudite. 

Even their flipping embedded YouTube video is bigger than the Saloon one. 


A couple of weeks ago my Dad told me that a contestant on BBC TV’s Mastermind answered a round on John Peel’s Festive 50.

Sadly ‘controversial’ 2002 ‘winners’ Saloon did not get a mention,  but after finding it on the BBC iplayer I was glad to see the contestant who did the Peel round was Rachael Neiman and that she went on to win the show.

I seem to remember, that Rachael played Arthur and Martha on her radio show a number of times and I think she may have come to one of our gigs in Leeds. She has been on TV before on University Challenge a few years ago, although her on that occasion her team were beaten by the eventual winners and the inimitable Alex Guttenplan. (My extensive research here comes from the Jewish Chronicle  Anyway, fingers crossed that Rachel wins Mastermind and lands a cushy job on Eggheads or The Chase.

Friday 9 November 2012

Supporting Laika at 21 South Street, Reading 26.2.2000

On 26th Feb 2000 we supported Laika at 21 South Street, Reading. They were touring 'Good Looking Blues'. I don't think we had much contact with them on the night, but they seemed nice enough and they were a friendly bunch. (I am rubbish for gossip aren't I)

It was a funny period for the Saloon. The massive learning curve of the first year was well-over and rather than trying to tout big labels we were very much trying to carve out our own niche on our own steam. This was the time of writing the debut album and the first rush of 7" singles, I think we flyered 'Shopping/ Song for Hugo' at this gig - which was still too late for the launch party.

Laika was the first really good band that we'd played with since Stereolab almost a year before. We obviously knew at the time it was a big gig fo us as we invited our parents (I remember my Mum and Dad were there and I  remember Mike's were as well. I remember the sound was good and I think we closed with 'My everyday silver is plastic'.

The one thing I do remember - mainly from the photos - is that this was the start of my bleach- blonde hair period. Which lasted unto the summer and was the source of much amusement to the guys at work.

Saloon: Live @ 21 South Street, Reading26.2.00Saloon: Live @ 21 South Street, Reading26.2.00Saloon: Live @ 21 South Street, Reading26.2.00Saloon: Live @ 21 South Street, Reading26.2.00Saloon: Live @ 21 South Street, Reading26.2.00Saloon: Live @ 21 South Street, Reading26.2.00
Saloon: Live @ 21 South Street, Reading26.2.00

Monday 5 November 2012

The Left Outsides at St Pancras Old Church

Alison’s band The Left Outsides are playing on 22nd November:

Cheval Sombre plays a one-off show at the beautiful St Pancras Old Church in London on November 22. He will be joined onstage by Sonic Boom, who co-produced new album ‘Mad Love’.

Support on the night comes from psych-folk duo The Left Outsides and Jamie Putnam’s new solo project, Prayer Meeting. Anyone who saw him support Spectrum recently will know how amazing this will sound in a church.

Tickets are here:

And then there were five

First Gig Flyer :
Design as ever nicked from somewhere
Lacking in any vision for this blog, lets just start at the beginning with the first gig...

When we started out, our rehearsal space was a room above the Fox and Hounds pub in Caversham, Reading. It was a great space with lovely natural reverb (as heard on 'Shopping' amongst others).

Throughout our 'career' the punk rock spirit of getting out there and doing it yourself was really important to us. So for our first gig we just put it on ourselves, in our rehearsal space, which being a pub room, had a licensed bar in the corner.

Mike made the flyer and poster. Our early designs were all nicked from a Taschen 60's design postcard book. I think this was a James Bond poster. We invited friends and just flyered the town. At the time there was a real buzz in Reading about local bands so loads of people turned just because it was our first gig.

Having only been together as a 5 piece for a few weeks, we only had 8 songs, all of which we played. The most notable songs on this recording are perhaps Miranda and Bring all your love (to me) as they were never recorded or released in any form, although there are a few live recordings. The four songs from the Blue Demo were played but the only songs that ever ended up having proper releases were 1 (Pink) and 7 (I am the cheese) which ended up being the b-side to Girls are the new boys. 

The most 'interesting' song here is probably Pink. It was the first song we wrote collectively and it was very much a Saloon 'manifesto' song (like Plastic Surgery).  The first half of it was based on some chords from Matt, I am pretty sure I wrote the melody but Mike and Amanda also had input into the lyrics. (The line 'Pink cafetière' was pure Mike) . The ending was a couple of chords that I thought sounded a but like Quickspace that I hadn't found a home for. I used to 'conduct' the song, which basically meant let it go on until until the audience start to look really bored and then nod my head for the next bit. In this recording, when the end chords kick in you can hear someone say 'at last, the chorus'.

All in all, although the recording is well ropey, this was a great first gig and we came out of it with a real buzz about us. We crashed down to earth with the follow-up a week later though.

I don't have any photos, if anyone else does (maybe Matt) let me know.

Friday 2 November 2012

We meet here in the future

Saloon:  L-R Mike, Amanda, Adam, Alison, Matt
I have never been one to dwell on the past. A fascination with the future, whether it be the robotnik future of ‘Happy Robots’ or the brink of Armageddon sung about in ‘Impact’, an interest in the future has always been in the music I've been involved in. But despite this I have never been that interested in the internet and ‘social’ networking, even though Saloon were web 'early adopters'. Whether it is the disconnection with the real world I dislike, or just the being stuck in front of a keyboard for hours on end, there is something about it I find a bit dull.

For me, I lost my passion in being a band when a night in doing ‘band-work’ became plugging a gig by trolling on MySpace. It has none of the romanticism reading a review in a new fanzine, the frantic nights-in copying C90’s to send to record labels that will never listen to them and running around town centres in the dark sticking up badly printed posters with wallpaper paste.

So, why now to resurrect the Saloon website, and even more so, why do it in a ‘social-network’ blog format?  For me, this is not about looking to the past, but it’s about looking forwards, drawing a line, exorcising some demons, and most of all, making space for the new.

Now a proud parent, I can no longer afford to have several large boxes of videos, C90’s and press cuttings cluttering up the spare room and I have begun to scan and record everything onto my computer.  

The timing feels right. It is ten years since Saloon reached our career ‘high-point’. Having released the debut album in April 2002, we toured pretty much every toilet venue in the UK.  In November 2012 we had just done a tour in the Netherlands (my personal favourite)  we had played a blinding gig at the ICA with some of our favourite bands (and on that one night we were better than them all) and we were going into the studio (my Mum and Dad's living room) to record our next album on a real high. Only two months later, we topped John Peel’s Festive 50 and it was pretty much downhill from there, both in terms of the music but also personally. We split up later in 2003 and pretty much disappeared. Perhaps if we had stuck around a bit longer we may have gained some sort of recognition during the years where folkatronica  found some sort of acceptance in the music press. That was just one of many boats we missed.

Ten years later, it feels right to share some of this stuff that I have had languishing in boxes for years; if not just so I can throw away the tapes. Most of it sounds terrible, and it will be of interest to literally about 5 people, but what the heck, if it is not your cup of tea go somewhere else.

So I will use these pages to share as much of the Saloon material I can, and I may make a few reflections and bits and bobs about other projects we have been involved in.  Hopefully I might be able to get some of the others to contribute to site, who knows.

Of course this is all done in memory of the friends and family loved and lost since the band split up,  not least our drummer Mike who died November 20th 2010 along with his much loved wife Sara.

Adam ‘Loon