Sky Larkin are well-travelled sorts, accustomed to taking their effortlessly breezy indie-rock on the road. And right they are to do so, for it’s a treat for the ears and no mistake.
The Leeds-based trio’s debut album, ‘The Golden Spike’, is out this week on Wichita – look for a review of it on ClashMusic.com soon. The band’s Katie Harkin – lead singer and guitarist – very kindly kept an account of the group’s January 2009 UK jaunt, published below as one of our semi-regular Tour Diary features.
The tour finds Sky Larkin playing alongside the similarly excellent Pulled Apart By Horses, a domestic act you’re sure to be reading more about on these pages over the coming year. Read, listen, learn, enjoy… go see ‘em, yeah?
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Hello all. It is Friday morning and last night I dreamt that Robin Ince added me on Facebook. Before that, we played at the Louisiana, which was an awesome start to the tour, lovely venue and wonderful crowd. Huw 'The Don' Stephens came down to inaugurate proceedings and Pulled Apart By Horses (PABH) had the crowd quite literally hanging from the rafters. It was the first gig of the year for us, and our bodies weren't quite prepared and for the first time ever both (drummer) Nestor and I were sick onstage, just a wee dram though. We are headed to the land of Kruger (Cardiff) this morning for some radio station fun before the gig. Tom PABH's brother, Jack, has designed some new t-shirts from us and we will liberate them from the post depot in which they are incarcerated and unleash them. Rob PABH drank a bottle of rum to himself last night, the big awesome silly. I wonder how they are this morning...
Yesterday we played at the Barfly at Cardiff, which smells a bit like a lorry driver’s crotch. The gig however was pure good vibes and Tom PABH got a little bit naked. In Cardiff yesterday we both did a session for Ivy League at Kruger and ate some sandwiches and then Lee PABH bought a Tupac t-shirt. We are currently at BBC Radio Nottingham to do some probably shonky but hopefully passable acoustic versions of our songs. There is a signed photo of The Saturdays on the wall, those poor girls… they'll never be better than Girls Aloud. Nestor has just found a CD of sad music for obituaries. I love the BBC.
Sky Larkin – ‘Beeline’
Hello y'all, I write from the back of our trusty steed Horse the Van. This morning is bright and the snowcaps get whiter the further into Scotland we head. Tonight we return to the lovely King Tut’s (who give every band from first on to headliners a very welcome HOT MEAL) and reunite with chums Copy Haho who are your new favourite band (you just might not know it yet). Bloc Party are also playing in town tonight so I think there are some Wichita folk headed northwards on the rails to supervise some labelmate party wild times tonight.
Nottingham the night before last was the busiest show yet, so thank you! PABH played two shows in one day and James' voice has turned into that of a Velociraptor trying to be sexy. Loading out last night was pretty terrifying as it was Saturday night and we had to park the van around the corner from the venue, some very dodgy dudes were stood just out of the venue bouncers’ line of sight so I had to try my best to look invincible as I carried my guitars past them. But yesterday was our first and only day off of this tour which was conveniently in Leeds so I visited my grandparents and watched Sarah Silverman's Jesus Is Magic (though not with my grandparents). Onwards!
Glasgow / Manchester
Salut all! Apologies for the brief break in tour diary proceedings – there was whisky involved after our Glasgow show so I took a r'n'r (rest and recuperation) day yesterday. King Tut’s gig had the most dedicated dancers yet and our hearts received many good vibes loud and clear, so ta! Afterwards all three bands (us, PABH and Copy Haho) piled into a bar and then another bar after the first one was drunk dry (I jest, it was just last orders). I remember James PABH lifting me off the ground at least four times. Dave Tubelord is driving PABH, and I tried to play cupid for him after he met The Girl Of His Dreams but unfortunately the whole operation was filed under Epic Fail. Sorry Dave!
It was great to be back at the night and day in Manchester and hello to the guy who asked me to sign his bank statement – who paid 2p into your account?! During the PABH set Tom wriggled on the floor like a worm and James hung from the lighting rig like the apeman he is. The crowd kindly asked for an encore after our set and Nestor rolled back onto the stage, thanks everyone that came to the Night and Day!
We are on the way to Oxford now and in a service station (bassist) Doug just chose a Yorkie over a Wispa and is DEAD TO ME. People gave sweat and tears to get Wispa chocolate bars back on our shelves and those heroes should be recognised.
I have come to realise that if any band could 'Save Christmas' it would be Pulled Apart By Horses, and they did last night. For reasons I'd rather not disclose as I don't want to be a big meanie, I really needed cheering up and by JOVE they saved me. We are currently sat backstage in the ICA art mecca and my art geek heart is beating extra fast. Today I went to the Beeb and got to choose six of my favourite tracks to play on Lammo's Radio 1 show, OMG. Woikfodfodosi – that is what comes out when you mash the keyboard aimlessly, I'm losing my mind as I am so hungry! Doug says I have to quit my jibber-jabber and come get food otherwise I am a dead woman, and I can’t survive on fear alone.... Thanks to everyone for being RAD, now its chowtime. xxxxx
Last night at the ICA totally bowled me over. The whole Larkin/Wichita family turned out and the crowd propelled us into playing one of the most enjoyable gigs I can recall. The ICA is an amazing art institution on The Mall, right between Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace, and it was pretty surreal to be loading the van right where the London Marathon starts (Erm, that’s where it ends – jogging Ed). Beforehand we Larks and Dave Tubelord and Sam (PABH's Bez) went for dinner in Chinatown, which was covered in beautiful New Years lanterns, happy year of the Ox!
There is something of a personal nature I feel it is only right that I reveal to you: Horse the Van has a girlfriend. PABH are driving in Tubelord's van called Debbie and as Horse and Debbie are of the same species (ex post vans) we thought something might be going on... It seems that they are now an item, though as tour draws near ending I wonder if Debbie sees it as a holiday romance and our poor Horse might get his heart broken. My hopeless romantic streak dreams that they make it last and have Hornby Miniatures and grow rusty together...
Woah, Brighton was hella fun but nearly ended me. We Larks were like a MACHINE buzzing round the city all day. We woke up in a Travelodge somewhere south o' the river in sunny London town and drove down to Brighton. Once we had arrived in fair Brighton we did a radio session for Juice FM, then to the venue on the seafront for soundcheck, then an instore at the (truly awesome) Resident Records, then two interviews, some photos under the pier (click HERE), some pizza and then back to the venue in time for PABH, WOWSERS. Resident Records had our CDs IN THE ACTUAL FLESH which was amazing, as it was the first time we'd seen them. We heart independent records shops, yes we do.
The gig was very ramshackle but a lot of fun. Huw represented again (his FOURTH show attendance of the tour, hats off!). The support band nicked off with our Korg charger and left before we played so we had to borrow batteries from a kind photographer in the front row (thanks!). At the end of the set Nestor fell over backwards and through a door to the backstage; in my tired mind this looked like fun and I jumped over the kit, and in the words of Tom PABH "wormed" my way down the stairs. My legs are more bruise than skin but it was totally worth it. We had to pack up and leave the venue quickly for some hideous graffiti competition that was going on between very posh boys in expensive designer urban wear. We all piled around the back of Horse the Van with Huw for a team picture and saluted him as he jetted off into the night with his new music radar to guide him through the universe. Leeds tomorrow. Carnage...
Sky Larkin – ‘Fossil, I’
After Brighton we drove up to Wembley to stay in a Travelodge that felt like the Ritz! Four humans in one double room yet again (shhh), but we were in a corner room so there was about twice as much floor space than usual. If we were having a slumber party it would've been perfect for perfecting dance routines, but no slumber party for us - just slumber. I fell asleep with my iPod on AGAIN and drained it, DRAT.
Nestor, Doug and Pete ('Backseat Pete', our soundman/tour manager/guidance counsellor) got up early went to some drum-mecca nearby called the Wembley Drum Centre and bought a massive spike. I stayed at the lodge and perfected dance routines (psyche).
So we gently rolled up the country back to the hub, aka The Brudenell Social Club. Cowtown were a wonderful addition to the bill, we heart them real hard. Nathan (king of the Bru) showed me the new Brudenell t-shirt design that the bloke off 'of' Herman Dune has done and it is real perdy. The gig was the 'most fun during' and the 'most nervous before' a gig ever. Nestor and I have been going to gigs at the Bru since we about 15 (not drinking then, natch) and it was heart-swelling/mind-blowing to see it so busy. I remember a stage invasion, Doug getting very tipsy and ending the gig jumping onto the PABH boys who were straight reppin' in the front row. James PABH and I are as emotional as a pair of old women and we had a little end-of-tour emo moment. Then he picked me up like in The Bodyguard and we saluted Mr Huw Stephens from afar once again. I now have a lumpy bruise on my leg the size of an egg from some point in the night but it was totally worth it. We have already plotted a tour reunion curry in this great curry house in (our) Hyde Park, which is a converted public toilets.
I guess all that remains to be said is a giant THANK YOU to everyone that came to the gigs, to PABH for joining us and always keeping us entertained, to Backseat Pete for being our Hero, to the venues for treating us so well and to Hizzle Sizzle for being the new King of Ears. Ta! Katie xxx
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‘The Golden Spike’ is out now on Wichita. Find Sky Larkin on MySpace HERE.
Watch an exclusive live performance of 'Molten', recorded at the Brudenell Social Club, HERE.