Thursday, 21 February 2013

Shaun Buswell / Buswell & The 121212 Underground Orchestra

Name: Shaun Buswell

Band: Buswell & The 121212 Underground Orchestra (

Where: Ipswich

I have to say that, in the past few years, I've had some pretty tough shows to sort out, trying to fit up to 70 people on a stage (sometimes people who have only met me and the music that day) in some pretty crazy and unique places. It's not always been easy, and people sometimes ask me how I manage to do things that are seemingly impossible.

The secret, you see, is that when things are tough, I just think back to a certain day in Ipswich and everything seems simple...

I was on tour with my band at the time, and we had just made the 200 mile trip from York to Ipswich, to play at a venue we knew little about. It was one of those stop off tours that you know you have to do (we were playing Hastings the next day and needed somewhere midway to play on the day off). So you kind of expect the show not to be the greatest. But nothing had prepared us for this show.

We arrived at the venue, and were greeted by a pretty stroppy woman who, before we could say anything else, shouted "YOU'VE GOT TO USE OUR DRUMKIT!". The drummer, a pretty calm guy, went to look at it and needless to say we not impressed. He tried to negotiate and was told "A THIN LIZZY TRIBUTE USED IT SO IT'S GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU!" So, he went to make the best out of a bad kit on what seemed like a makeshift stage while the rest of the band went to find food.

Now, I'm not meaning to be rude to Ipswich folk. But most of the people we encountered were very odd. Just, well, weird. Someone eventually told us of a pizza place and while we were in there we got a call from the drummer, asking us to please hurry up because "she's fucking odd and I'm scared for my life".

We got back, set up and got ready to play. It became apparent there was no local support but, as an important darts match was on, we'd have to make do with a massive screen showing it behind us.

During the set there was a lot of cheering and clapping. Sadly, not at the end of songs, where you'd expect them. But in the middle, normally when Phil Taylor nailed a 180. Slightly frustrated, we played a song about a serial killer and I went into a little too much depth about the subject matter before playing, only to be reminded afterwards that Steve Wright had murdered 5 women not long beforehand somewhere nearby.

Demoralised, we left the stage whilst the darts continued and got ready to put behind us an awful show. Surely the worst is over, right?

One person spoke to us afterwards. To warn us about Ipswich.

Accommodation was being provided by the venue, which turned out to be a caravan in the venue's back garden. That night, 5 of us tried to huddle together, scared of the shouts and howls we could hear, barely able to discuss the disused needles and broken children's toys that littered the ground outside.

In the morning, we packed and dressed quicker than ever and headed to Hastings.

On the way there, we stopped in a cafe and picked up a copy of The Independent and we'd been told our album was being reviewed in there. It was. They called it "A waste of plastic".

It didn't matter. I was no longer in Ipswich.

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