In the Court of the Creosote King
With the forthcoming sixth annual alt.folk hootenanny on his mind - the first of the great annual festivals in our book - Fence Records founder <b>King Creosote</b> recollects his 'Top 5' Classic Homegame Moments.
The Homegame is the Fence collective's annual spring festival held in the seaside town of Anstruther. This year, Homegame 6 runs from 17-19 April, and over these three days we're proud to present Fence acts, plus special guests, in some of the best kept halls of our picturesque corner of Fife.
There have been so many musical highlights in our previous 5 years of Homegame that to single out but a few for this article would be grossly unfair, and nigh impossible, so here instead are 5 of my favourite nothing-to-do-with-the-music homegame memories.
1. The first Homegame was held in the Erskine Hall, a high ceilinged sunny room with murals of cotton wool and acrylic paint pinned up on its bright orange walls, and with plastic toys stuffed below tiny metal chairs that hugged the oversized metal-caged radiators. You'll have guessed then that by day our chosen venue is used as a playgroup, whereas locals might be surprised to find a gathering of alt. folkies sitting about on the floor, instead of hutches filled with guinea pigs, of a weekend. We sold just shy of 100 handmade tickets in advance, several of which hadn't travelled well by Royal Mail and were now leaking sand all over the place. The Pictish Trail and I thought we had the ideal way to launch our inaugural event - a heartfelt, breast beating rendition of U2's One, making use of very long microphone leads to allow for much touching of hands with the sober and slightly uneasy audience. The thing was, Johnny Pictish hadn't realised his mic lead had wound itself around opening act u.n.p.o.c.'s guitar stand, and the brand new instrument came crashing to the floor. I was left singing "did you come here to play jesus..." accompanied by some high-pitched wailing and mumbled apologies from the stage area. Much like the original some might say.
DATE WITH THE RAIN
2. For Homegame 2, 'The Rematch', in 2005, we used the same Erskine Hall, but for 2 whole days. On the Sunday, however, we'd slept in from the excesses of the night before, and so didn't have the hall even remotely ready to open when our festival goers arrived en masse at noon sharp. As the rain clouds threatened and then spat, and with our backs to the wall, James Yorkston, The Pictish Trail and myself launched into an impromptu set in a valiant attempt to quieten the angry hordes, managing to extinguish a few flaming torches with our hastily written Let's Not Raise the Pitchfork Pat Shantz. This was to become a not-so-dry run for our much requested pooltable top performance in the Ship Tavern that very night, which incidentally marked the bedraggled hatching of Fence supergroup "The Three Just-Barely-Skinned-Alive-Earlier-in-the-Day Craws". We've since shortened the band name.
DISCO INFERNO (BURN BABY BURN)
3. Homegame 3 was "massive", largely due to the overwhelming support from the Scottish media after a single unsubstantiated complaint from the previous year threatened to close us down. Almost 700 folks arrived in town for the Saturday night shows, our biggest venue that year being the Waid Academy school assembly hall. My favourite moment of HG3 was of enticing a motley crew, in all stages of early Monday morning dishevellment, across the stepping stones of the ice cold Dreel Burn with promises of a disco in the tiny A.I.A Hall. Sploosh! the drummer of M Craft took a header into the water and completely submerged himself - 2 piece suit, carry out and all. A few locals from the houses nearby were somewhat perplexed to hear the church bells "wringing" out the end of "The Threematch" at a twenty to six in the morning.
4. Homegame 4 was so popular we had to run the festival over two weekends. Both weekends are a total blur to me, but on the weekdays between we promised to take the stragglers/early arrivals on sobering walks through the surrounding countryside, or along the Elie Chain Walk, and then in the evenings we'd play tiny booze-fuelled concerts in the Fisheries Museum. My favourite memory is of HMS Ginafore and I sitting side by side on an antique sea chest having a domestic during our brief set of duets in front of 30 mortified folks sitting cross-legged on the floor. Beats Coronation Street though, eh?
YOU'VE GOT ME DANCING IN MY SLEEP
5. As luck would have it, we couldn't book the main town hall for Homegame 5, so we chose to do a small Homegame - "The Gnomegame" - for around 150 folks using one of the smaller church halls as well as our local nightclub Legends. It turned out to be a most relaxed affair, so much so that by mid evening on the Saturday night I'd fallen asleep behind the deejay booth at Dominic's feet, pint in hand, whilst FOUND performed what was to become one of the festival highlights. This of course had nothing to do with Friday's all night party in the Coach House.
The Homegame is THE event of the Fence calendar, and it is by far the best live event we can hope to put on for fans of the Collective. That might not mean a whole lot to some, but to me it means everything.
KC, March 2009.
King Creosote's new album, Flick the Vs is available via Domino on 20 April.
Homegame 2009 takes place in Anstruther from 17-19 April. Tickets are available from the Fence website.
King Creosote plays:
The GRV, Edinburgh on 23 May
The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen on 25 May
Ironworks, Inverness on 24 May
The Garage, Glasgow on 13 Junehttp://www.fencerecords.com