Tuesday 29 December 2009

Review of the year - 2009

2009 for me was dominated by the release of the 'Bird Head Son' album by Anthony Joseph and The Spasm Band. Endless touring all over Europe seeing lots of cities and festivals, especially France, playing almost all major towns and cities plus some obscure rural locations. Feeling nervous before playing live on French TV - 'Ce Soir Ou Jamais'. 3 days in La Reunion - swimming in the Indian Ocean. Dot to Dot Festival and Insomniacs Ball with Chik Budo. Late nights, motorways and fiddling with synths. Terrordactyl's first and only gig at Cafe Oto. Exciting new projects beginning to see the light of day - Wart Biter and Holub/McLaren/Webster. Seeing Sun Ra Arkestra, Seun Kuti, Egypt 80, and Archie Shepp live at in one amazing night at Jazz a Vienne. Sunny Murray at Vortex. Parliament/Funkadelic in Paris. New discoveries all the time...

Looking forward to a creative 2010. Less time spent on EasyJet, and more in the studio!

Wednesday 23 December 2009

Wart Biter @ The George

Live recording of Wart Biter at The George courtesy of Illi Adato.

Wart Biter - Live Encore

This is the last track of the set.

Recorded 6th December 2009
Colin Webster: Tenor Sax
Toby McLaren: Synth
Tom Fugelsang: Drums
Illi Adato: Electronics

Bird Head Son Tour 2009 Complete!

The Spasm Band tour of 2009 has just finished. Our last trip - predictably - was probably the most disasterous of the year. We played in Marne Le Vallee near Paris, in a great arts complex that was a converted farm. Plenty of snow on the ground, but still people made the effort to come and see us and it was a good gig. When we got back to Paris to get the train home we found out that the Eurostar wasn't running because of the weather, and we'd have to spend an extra night in Paris. Later that night we found out that not only was the Eurostar not running, but all planes were grounded, and Calais was closed to ferries.
It still wasn't clear the next day if or when the Eurostar would re-open. We couldn't get any news and no one seemed to know what was going on. Flights back to London were getting completely booked-up, and the prices were getting crazy. One report suggested that 24,000 people we're stuck, unable to cross the Channel.
We then decided the only option was to try and get a coach. Luckily there were spaces on one of the last ones that night. We caught it at 11pm, drove to Calais through the snow, caught a 4.30am ferry, and were back in London just in time for rush-hour the next morning.

Our autumn/winter tour also included a great two night stint in Montpellier, with fantastic gigs at Victoire 2, and Le Jam. In retrospect that would probably have been a great place to end what's been a brilliant, exhaustive, and inspiring tour!

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Chik Budo on Lobster Quadrille Mix-Tape

'Lost Our Way' by Chik Budo features on this cassette compilation from Lobster Quadrille Tapes.

For tracklisting and to order a copy go to: www.myspace.com/lqcassettes.

Sunday 4 October 2009

ArtReview Film Soundtrack

Chik Budo recently recorded the soundtrack to a short film our friend Oli made for ArtReview about the 10th Lyon Biennale.

Find more videos like this on artreview.com

Tuesday 1 September 2009

Recent Live Recordings

Live recording from The Flea Pit, available to download here.

Recorded: July 22nd 2009
Colin Webster: Tenor Sax
Toby McLaren: Rhodes, Synth
Mark Holub

Two live recordings from Wart Biter @ The Others
Wart Biter - Live 0.2
Wart Biter - Live 0.3

Recorded: August 27th 2009
Colin Webster: Tenor Sax, Synth, Percussion
Toby McLaren: Rhodes, Synth
Tom Fugelsang: Drums
Jussi Brightmore: Electronics, Processing, Synths

Friday 28 August 2009

Bird Head Son Tour Update

The Spasm Band have just finished the bulk of our touring for the year. June, July and the first week of August was very intense with the band criss-crossing Europe several times, followed by a long-haul flight down to the island of La Reunion in the Indian Ocean. There were so many great shows, but I'll try and pick out some highlights.
In Paris we played the enormous Solidays festival. Probably one of the biggest and loudest crowds we've played to this year. A week later we were in Malmo in Sweden. Much more sedate, but very beautiful. We had a late flight home, and spent the day my the sea. Paul Z slipped on some rocks and cracked his head open, so we spent the rest of the day looking for a doctor.

The following week we had a short tour around France, starting in Bordeaux followed by Vienne then Cognac. The Jazz a Vienne festival was incredible, for both the line-up and the setting. The venue was a 7000 capacity ancient Roman amphitheatre set into the hillside over-looking the valley. We arrived the night before and managed to catch some of Wynton Marsalis's Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra. Goes without saying that their musicianship was spectacular. In the hotel lobby I ran into a New York band I love called Kneebody. They were doing a collaboration with electronica producer Daedelus. I managed to catch most of their set as well which was really inspiring - great sounds, textures and insane beats!

The next day we played the close of the festival - the Jazz Mix Night. The artists we shared the stage with were between them some of the most influential artists of the last 50 years. The Sun Ra Arkestra led by Marshall Allen opened the show, later on was Roy Ayers with Don Blackman. We played our set at around 3am, and were joined by steel-pan legend Othello Molineaux and Joseph Bowie on trombone. Following us was Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 (we shared a ride in their tour bus earlier in the day, great energy and they were so warm and friendly to us). Egypt 80 did a collaboration with Archie Shepp. I climbed to the top of the amphitheatre in the chilly darkness and watched their set as the sun rose over the valley - definitely one of the greatest gigs/experiences of my life!

We were backwards and forwards between England and France several times over the next few weeks. Great show in Angers by the river just before the rainstorm, beautiful weather in Vence in the equally beautiful town square. Hot and dusty gig in spectacular Grenoble - if only we had more time there! Esperanzah festival in Belgium was great too, set in an old monastery. We played twice at Bout du Monde festival in Brittany - mad crowds for both shows. Saw TV On The Radio (one of my favourite bands) at Les 3 Elephants festival - was slightly dissapointed by their live show - still love 'em though.

For the final leg of the tour we returned to Paris to play a support slot for George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic. They are an incredible band still, with more than 20 members on stage - all instruments and vocal mics on constant rotation, and great energy, which from the look of the hotel lobby at 6am carried on for quite some time.

The next day we headed down to Sete on the south coast. We managed to grab a few hours on the beach before soundcheck. The venue was spectacular. A roman amphitheatre (again), this time looking straight out over the Mediterranean. We were playing a support slot for Femi Kuti. Unfortunately we got a riotous response from the crowd followed by a mass stage invasion, which pissed Femi off so much he banned us from watching his show from the side of the stage!

The last trip of the tour was the one we had been looking forward to the whole time - La Reunion. La Reunion is a small island in the Indian Ocean which belongs to France. It's volcanic and rises straight out of the sea, it looks a bit like Jurassic Park. The funny thing is that because its part of France everyone drive Peugeots and eats croissants, and everything looks quite French despite being thousands of miles away.

The first night we were supposed to do a radio show at the festival site, but we got there late and missed it so we drank beer and watched bands, and had amazing barbecued chicken. The next day we swam in the pool, ate wild mountain goat, and in the evening had our set at the festival. This was our last gig of the tour. The shows had been getting better and better, with more interplay, inventions, energy etc.etc. and the show at Safiko was really the culmination of months of playing the set. Plenty of beer and rum followed.

In the morning Antoine drove us to the beach, where the Spasm Band nursed our hangovers in the shallows of the Indian Ocean. More curried goat was followed by a slightly drunken 20 hour trip back to London, and the end of the Bird Head Son tour... for now.

Friday 14 August 2009

Wart Biter @ The Others

Wart Biter is a brand new night/collaboration/band, performing on 27th August at The Others in Stoke Newington.

This project brings together four musicians from different backgrounds, who are all commited to genre-defying, progressive music - Colin Webster - saxophone (Chik Budo), Tom Fuglesang - drums (Gum Takes Tooth, Agaskodo Teliverek), Jussi Brightmore - electronics (Gum Takes Tooth), and Toby McLaren - keyboards (Led Bib).
Together and through different formations the musicians will perform electro-acoustic improvisations drawing from a diverse range of music - electronica, noise, jazz, metal etc..


Thursday 18 June 2009

Bird Head Son Tour Update

The Spasm Band has been spending a lot of time on trains, busses and budget airlines over the last few weeks playing shows in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany.

In Paris we supported Common at a big out-door event in Stalingrad. It's a running joke in The Spasm band that Anthony looks like Common, he's been mistaken for him before.. so it was really funny to see the crowd reaction when he walked on stage, and their ensuing confusion!
Common's set was great - very slick as you'd expect. Found myself watching the show standing next to Venus Williams. Was too shy to get a picture though!

A few weeks later we embarked on an insane train tour of France starting in Rouen, then Castres, over to Toulon, finishing up in Nijmegen, Holland. The train journeys were gruelling 8-9 hour affairs, testing patience and buttocks alike. Toulon was a fun show - we always have a good time in the South of France, there's something in the atmosphere down there that connects to the Spasm Band.

The Music Meeting Festival in Nijmegen was also a lot of fun. Loads of stalls selling food from all over the world, and some great bands as well of course. We played on monday afternoon, and were joined on stage by the notorious Joe Bowie. I've played with Joe a few times now, but in Holland something really clicked that brought the punk-funk out of both of us. As if that wasn't enough, I left the stage and got greeted by Seun Kuti who had just arrived for thier set. Also ran into Showboy - Egypt 80's Baritone player - who is a real hero of mine. I've seen Seun and Egypt 80 a couple of times before, and it's always an incredible show. There's so much history and character in their band, that transcends the music.

A week later we were on a early flight out of Stansted for a show at Bielefeld in Germany. I played Insomniacs Ball the night before with Chik Budo, and didn't get any sleep at all! The rain fell hard in Germany and the expected 1000 people at this outdoor festival was reduced to a handful of hardy (and quite drunk) souls. You win some, you lose some! Had some nice currywurst thoough..
A week later in Brussels we had a bit more luck, with a packed-out double bill with Bibi Tanga at Ancienne Belgique. The following day was supposed to be a day off in Amsterdam before a show at Paradiso, but a power-cut on the mainline meant we spent all day on packed local trains and busses trying to get across the border. Luckily we had all afternoon the next day to chill-out in Amsterdam, and that's got to be the most chilled capital city in the world! The show at Paradiso was great, and we were once again honoured to have Joe Bowie with us on trombone and some fierce djembe playing. The gig ended with a Sun Ra style procession off the stage and through the crowd - "Fire Brigade Water De Road!!"

Chik Budo @ Dot to Dot Festival

Over the May bank holiday weekend Chik Budo played at the Dot to Dot Festival. The first day we played in Bristol at The Cooler. We played to a packed-out venue, even though it was still early in the day. The crowd was very enthusiastic, and got really into the music. We spent the rest of the day hanging out at the festival, checking out bands. One of the highlights was Friendly Fires' set at the Academy. We had some excellent Spanish food, then partied at The Thekla until late/early.

The next day we got up early to drive to Nottingham to play at the Nottingham Trent Student's Union. We were a bit bleary-eyed but luckily our rider included a crate of energy drinks to see us through. The crowd was a bit more timid than Bristol, but we still had a great time. After the set we said our goodbyes an headed back to London.

Here's a clip of our set in Bristol. The crazy-dancing guy is 'Big Jeff', a local music afficinado and celebrity, we were honoured by his presence:

Friday 22 May 2009

Thursday 7 May 2009

Land Of Kings Recording

Live recording from Land Of Kings Festival @ Cafe Oto available to download here.
This was the second track from our set, recorded on April 16th.

Mark Holub: Drums
Toby McLaren: Rhodes, Synth, Piano
Colin Webster: Tenor Sax

Thursday 30 April 2009

Six Days in France

The Spasm Band just spent six days in France touring and recording our first music video. The tour started in Paris with a showcase at Fnac (record shop), and then a gig at the legendary New Morning. The show was sold-out which was a real bench-mark for us and such a buzz when we were on stage. The vibe at the show was really extatic verging on hysterical!
The next day we drove to Angouleme to play at La Nef - a great venue, with really excellent food. After that was Nantes to play the Nuits Zebrees show for Radio Nova. We played to another sell-out crowd, and the gig was broadcast live as well.

After Nantes we headed to the coast to play at Run Ar Puns near Brest. On the way we stopped off by the sea for fresh mussels. Run Ar Puns is an awesome venue. It's a converted farm essentially - the stage is the old cow-shed. It had a great spirit, and it was uplifting to see a place like it - constantly promoting leftfield music in the middle of the countryside.

After an epic drive from Brest (and some tasty crepes) we were back in Paris for the filming of our music video for 'Robberman'. I don't want to reveal too much and spoil the surprise when it's ready, but it was loads of fun and very hard work - it will definitely look amazing when it's finished. Here's a photo from filming anyway:

Tuesday 28 April 2009

Kazuo Ishiguro's Nocturnes

I recently played on the soundtrack for a short film by George Wu, based on the new book 'Nocturnes' by Kazuo Ishiguro.


Monday 20 April 2009

Agen and Marseille

This weekend the Spasm Band was in France for shows in Agen, and Marseille. Agen was new to us. A very cool little town, where everyone wants to shake your hand. The venue - Le Florida - was great too, a 1920's music hall than now also acted as a community centre. The vibe was great, with lots of kids hanging around in soundcheck, and a few young people getting experience with the sound crew which is a spirit I sometimes find lacking in UK venues..

The next day we took an epic 5 hour train ride to Marseille. The Spasm Band unplugged their ipods and closed their books, and dicussions flowed on revolution, politics, religion, spirituality, rock n' roll.. and on and on..

The gig in Marseille was a return to the Bol De Funk festival that we had played 2 years ago on the first Spasm Band tour. We were really looking forward to the gig as Marseille crowds are insane. They didn't disappoint us either, with a sold-out crowd waiting with anticipation. The reaction we got was one of the best we've ever had.. almost Beatles-esque! The gig was incredible, with plenty of rock n' roll antics, and a full-on stage invasion at the end.

Thursday 16 April 2009

Terrordactyl live at Cafe Oto

Here's a live shot from the Terrordactyl gig a few weeks ago at Cafe Oto.
One of the most intense sets I've ever done! A track from the set is available to download here.

photo by Valerie

Monday 6 April 2009

Cully Jazz Festival, Switzerland

This weekend the Spasm Band played our first gig in Switzerland at the Cully Jazz Festival. The set went down really well, with the band getting called back for 2encores - it reminded me of the first gigs we did in France back in 2007, when the audience didn't know quite what to expect! Cully is a beautiful town set on the shore of Lake Geneva, with mountains all around.

Earlier in the day we weren't sure if there would be a gig at all.. All the flights out of City Airport (which is a total shit-hole) were cancelled. Luckily we got put on one later in the day that went to Zurich. This meant a race cross-country to make our soundcheck, but we would be there in time. We all got on the plane, but Christian was missing! We landed in Zurch without our guitarist wondering what to do. Then we got a voicemail saying he was on the next flight an hour-and-a-half later. He arrived and we made it to Cully just in time for our set 14 hours after we set off from home.

Thursday 2 April 2009

Land Of Kings

Just confirmed a gig at Cafe Oto in Dalston as part of this cool looking new festival: www.landofkings.co.uk

I'll be doing an improv set with Mark Holub (drums) and Toby MacLaren (keys), who both play in Led Bib.

Haven't arranged the support act yet, but I'm really excited about this one!


Thursday 19 March 2009

Aftermath: Jazz Snob: Eat Shit

Last sunday was the first ever Jazz Snob: Eat Shit at The Others in Stoke Newington. First on was a duo between Shabaka Hutchings (clarinet and bass clarinet) and Seb Rochford (drums), follow by my trio with Mark Holub (drums) and Chris Williams (alto sax).

I don't really want to get too into explaining how it went.. I'm not a reviewer! But below is the third track from our set, and there's also a link to our epic opening track that you can download for free!

Tuesday 17 March 2009

Terrordactyl @ Hulk Dash 8

I'm playing this show later this month with Tom from Agaskodo Teliverek/Gum takes tooth/Infants. Expect an onslaught of blast beats, noise, free jazz, and grindcore!


Thursday 26 February 2009


This is an improv night I'm putting on in London in March:


"Mark is in a band called Led Bib, and so is Chris. Chris is also in Chik Budo, which Colin is also in. Colin isn't in Led Bib, although Mark once jammed with Chik Budo back in the day, but that's not important. What is important is that they make fucking incredible music that gets rave reviews by everyone everywhere.. probably."


"Shabaka is probably the best clarinetist in London (he also plays sax darn good too). Seb is in Polar Bear and Acoustic Ladyland and is the best drummer in town according to me - he also has massive hair. They will doubtless make beautiful music together."

This all going to happen at The Others in Stoke Newington, and you can see it for the dirt cheap price of £3!


Thursday 19 February 2009

Wednesday 18 February 2009

Good time to start this blog

I just got back from a few days in France playing gigs and doing promo for the new Spasm Band album - Bird Head Son. It's been out for a few weeks now, but this was the first time we'd seen it in the shops (these were in fnac in Paris) - always a great feeling no matter how many times you see it!

Anyway, last thursday we left London for Paris on the Eurostar. When we got there I went with Anthony for an interview at Radio Nova, then after to France Televisions Studios where the band did a live session on 'Ce Soir Ou Jamais'. The show was like a long discussion programme about Iran, followed by a blast from the Spasm Band - funny.

The next day we caught the train to Dijon to play at the Generiq Festival. We played in Dijon 2 years ago, so it was cool to go back. We were supposed to play in a big tent outside, but it got blown down in the storms, so the set was moved to the bar - which was sweatier and more rock n' roll! After that it was back to Paris then on to Creteil to play Sons d'Hiver festival. Also on the bill was Saul Williams. Saul's set was awesome - a mash-up of electro, reggae, rock, and proto-hip-hop. The band were dressed like Funkadelic, and looked great - the stage invasion at the end was well deserved.

The next day we travelled back to Dijon and on to Besancon for another gig. We played at Le Cylindre which was like a stone tunnel. The venue was freezing, but seemed to heat up after a few minutes of the Spasm Band set.