I’ve heard a lot of things about The Antics’ live performances… A lot of really terrific things. There are many aspects of this band to love; from the sultry, dirty guitar to the powerful backing vocals to the tight pumping of the rhythm section to the charismatic stage antics of frontman Gaz. The Antics are known to cover every great musical aspect any gig-goer could ask for in a show! Wanting to find out what their all-time favourite concerts are, we spoke with guitarist Chris Hamblett. These are the kind of answers you want to read, so take a look at what Chris says his five favourite fab gigs are!
We played to 4000 people, still our biggest show to date. It was early days for The Antics so this was a pretty big deal to us at the time. On the line up was us, Tinchy Stryder, Modestep and Pendulum……how eclectic is that? Have to say Modestep blew us away, they were incredible. There’s a great photo of us from the seated area, we look so small on stage…it all felt a bit like we were straight out of the rehearsal room and straight onto an arena stage….which is basically what it was. We were shitting ourselves to be fair but to come through something like that is basically how bands earn their stripes. Now we’ve done something that big there’s not much that phases us so we were really lucky that it came so early, I look back and sometimes wish we could play it now but I guess that’s part of cutting your teeth.
Not quite sure how we managed it but Guinness asked us to play Arthurs Day in Belfast. We played two shows that day, one supporting Kelis and DJ Fresh in a small venue opposite the Uni and the other was supporting Ash at Laverys, a legendary Belfast venue. This was the first time we’d really showed anyone outside of our home town what we were trying to do with The Antics and also the first time Sean had left the country. We played the first show ok but nailed the second one. I look back at the photos and to me it looks like we’re still in the formative stages of working out what we were about. It was such a motivating thing for us to do…we came back so energised and with a clearer understanding of where we were headed…we all got wrecked that weekend too. The hangovers were on another level.
I won’t be giving you any photos of this one….it was carnage. I was so ill the next day it was all I could do to get on stage at Dunfirmline. We supported The Enemy at the Academy and to be fair, their crowds and Scottish crowds in general are the best in the world. For us the tour was going well…we were just about keeping on the straight and narrow, we hadn’t really had a chance to have a party yet as we were on a tight budget and basically driving through the night rather than staying in hotels. Musically, we’d just about found our confidence by Glasgow. That night we played the best we ever have played as a band, it all came together, the confidence on stage was amazing. We all felt it and it was the beginning of the end…we got on it straight after we played and hit the booze hard. We met some amazing people and we all had a party in the dressing rooms, apparently we went to a club too although I can’t remember. There’s a few video’s knocking around which I hope never see the light of day. Our sound engineer was one wrong word and a phone box away from getting arrested; actually I’ll let you have that photo. Everyone lost everyone. The hotel was miles away and we had drunk all our money. Then, much much later, I came round from my drunken stupor to find myself wondering around the hotel completely naked. Not sure why or how but I couldn’t remember which room I was in so I had to go and have a quiet word with the night porter. Nice little treat for him.
OK, so Northern English and Scottish crowds know how to have fun. We’d done 53 Degrees before so we were pretty relaxed and went for a beer in town. Literally just sat down and someone recognised us and came over…little did we know they would be absolute legends. They were there with a bunch of people coming to the show, smashing a few shots and basically getting on it. They were hilarious and they were chatting to us like we were old friends out on the lash. When we got on stage they were right down the front, and not unlike most of our female fans they’d taken a shine to Gaz. They kept putting him off by pulling their tops up and showing him their tits. He forgot the words so many times….it was genius. He forgot to start one song and pulled the mic off its lead in another. Love those guys. They found Gaz’s kryptonite.
Gig 5 – Cherry Cola @ The Purple Turtle, London
To surmise what The Antics means to me…there’s no agenda or manifesto….it’s basically a vehicle for us to go out, get wrecked and have a laugh. We get to do some crazy shit that without the band we wouldn’t be able to do. The lads are like my brothers and best friends rolled up into one smelly, hairy, drunk mess. So the seriousness of the industry and the pull of London hasn’t ever really hit us.
However, we got some nice exposure this year and the legend that is Mikey Johns (This Feeling) put us in touch with Alan at Cherry Cola, one of London’s finest live music nights. Now the night was class for many reasons, it was Matty’s birthday, Alan is a geezer, the other two bands on the bill were great (Bibelots and Cassius Blue), we did win the supposedly tough crowd over and also States of Emotion showed what heroes they are and came from Essex to watch us. But none of that is why it’s on my list. We’d heard London crowds are tough, particularly at the first attempt and it was our first London show. We don’t have lots of tunes online so I guess even the most ardent music fan in attendance couldn’t have known all of our stuff or what to expect. It was basically a brand new audience and we were expecting a tough night. So in a way a good first impression would help…get us off on the right foot sort of thing. The first words that left Gaz’s mouth when we arrived on stage; ‘Alright London….you big cunt’. I love him for that…and it set the tone…they were getting it whether they wanted it or not and it turns out they did.
For an interview with The Antics, click here!