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How my old band broke major Australian political news

12 May

If you subscribe to the Wasp Summer newsletter, you would have read about how my old band, the Mime Set, broke up on tour. In November 2014, I was flown back to Australia for an unlikely reunion.

If you want to subscribe to the Wasp Summer newsletter, you’ll get more bizarre and hilarious stories like the one I’m about to tell you, plus playlists, downloads, special offers and tour news every fortnight.
Newsletter link: http://eepurl.com/rO3db

Australian literary journal Going Down Swinging received a grant for their One Night Wonders concert series and their editor Geoff Lemon asked Sean M Whelan and The Mime Set, my old band’s spoken word project, to reform for the final show of the series. You can read an article I wrote on the reformation here.

When I arrived, I played 5 Wasp Summer shows in 6 days, then after just two rehearsals, Sean M. Whelan and The Mime Set were into the poetry shows.

On the Friday, we played to a full house at the Mission to Seamen in Melbourne. Even in rehearsal, I hadn’t remembered how intense the band could be in full flight. It was a glorious show, recorded for posterity.

Saturday, we drove 8 hours to Australia’s capital, Canberra. Sadly, they’ve now taken down the world’s best road sign just outside of Yass. We checked into our 5 star hotel to find ourselves booked into three rooms… two bandmembers to a bed. Seeing my surprise, the receptionist said, “Maybe you love your band but you probably don’t “LOVE” them, right?” We got better rooms.

Sunday morning, I got gastroenteritis and a fever. We had a 4pm show in the hotel bar. I slept until the show and emerged, weak and sweating, at 3pm to find Clive Palmer, one of Australia’s most controversial politicians, taking meetings in the bar and watching our soundcheck. The show was hazy and psychedelic. The music sounded amazing, textured, electric. I was singing ‘Honey O’, an epic ballad, and threw my hand forward. As I opened my eyes, Clive Palmer was walking directly towards me. “Honey, I can’t, honey, honey I can’t feel you…” I sang. Our eyes slid awkwardly apart as he left the bar.

Sean M. Whelan & Clive PalmerThat’s poet Sean Whelan in the foreground and Clive Palmer in the back. After the show, I went back to bed to sweat out my fever in high thread-count sheets. During the post-show drinks, several of the band noticed Clive Palmer speaking with Jacquie Lambie, the Tasmanian Senator who very angrily and publicly split from Palmer’s party. They took a sneaky photo and posted it on social media. Next day, the photo was front page news in Australia. Our band broke the story of their meeting.

2 rehearsals, 2 shows, 16 hours driving, 1 national headline. We laughed all the way back to Melbourne.

Cheers,
Sam

Gallery

Hit The Road, Wasp!

24 Feb

To quote great Australian songwriter Don Walker, “I measure my position to the obstacles we crossed, the territory covered and the parties that we lost. Those were the days.”

Here is a small selection of photos from 10 different countries and 5 different tours, both solo and with Sean M. Whelan & The Mime Set, Water Music, Remarkable Shipwrecks and Lady Danger.

I think the photos show that, more than the shows themselves, touring is about the people you’re with, the fun you make and the amount of crap you have to carry.

Wasp Summer Australian Tour Gallery Part 2

23 Jan

Hallo Dearhearts,

Here is part 2 of Wasp Summer’s Australian Tour gallery, spanning Melbourne to Brisbane to Meredith Music Festival. In these photos, I had a magic time with the following amazing people: Damian, SJ, Ari, Cam, Tams, Sally, Chez, Naz, Phil, Nicho, Bek, Patrick and Lisa. x

Wasp Summer Australian Shows 2014

9 Oct Wasp Summer tour poster 2014. Coming to a club near you!

Earlier this year, I got an email out of the blue from Geoff, the Editor of Going Down Swinging, the long-running and innovative Australian journal of poetry, writing, graphic novels and art.

He requested that, for one night, we reform Sean M. Whelan and The Mime Set, the 2005-2008 collaboration between my former post-rock band and one of Australia’s best spoken word performers. They had funding to fly me back to Melbourne from Berlin for the show. I actually cried.

So, Sean M. Whelan and The Mime Set will perform their One Night Wonder on Friday 28 November, 2014 at the Mission To Seafarers Chapel in Docklands, Melbourne. Click here for tickets. We’ve also picked up a Canberra show on Sunday 30 November, for the Bloody Lips night held at New Acton.

Sean M. Whelan & The Mime Set
Friday 28. November – Mission to Seafarers, Melbourne
Saturday 29. November – Bloody Lips @ New Acton, Canberra

And while I’m in the country, why not show people what Wasp Summer’s been working on in Berlin? So I’m organising solo Wasp Summer gigs in Victoria and Queensland. Here are the confirmed dates.

Wasp Summer
Thursday 20. November – The Old Bar, Fitzroy, Melbourne
Friday 21. November – The Eastern, Ballarat
Saturday 22. November – The Bridge, Castlemaine
Friday 5. December – Couplet @ Brisbane Square Library, Brisbane
Wednesday 10 December – Skukum Lounge, Brisbane

Mitropa Mini-Tour EP Giveaway

21 Oct

To celebrate the two shows Wasp Summer is playing in Bratislava and Budapest, we are giving away our four new demos for free download as the Mitropa EP. You can download them from Soundcloud.

We are looking forward to the food, the hat shopping, the overnight trains, the new friends, the new cities, the new clubs and bars, the old towns, the spas and saunas and the beer. For both shows, Wasp Summer is playing as a duo. Here are the details.

October 23 – British Rock Stars, Nám. 1. mája 14, Bratislava Slovakia w/ Silverspoon and Hell’s Gang 20:00. 3€.
Facebook Event. Couchsurfing Event.

October 24 – Gólya, Bókay János utca 34., Budapest, Hungary. 20:00. Entry by donation.
Facebook Event. Couchsurfing Event.

The Last Dance, or Final Tour Updates

15 Jun
Image
Tour update #23: This song is my tour obsession! I’m home straight off the Paris to Berlin sleeper train and my body is still feeling a loooooooong right-hand curve. I must give a huge thank you to all my hosts: Petronella Pflaumenstein, Boumchaka and Le Nimby, Celia Wagenfuhrer, Sylvain, Sam Rasschaert and Salla Lahtela, Oscar, Denis Quélard and Eric for the great gigs and couches and wine and conversations.
Tour update #22: This morning, the Loire Valley skies were leaden, filled with rain and the air smelt like woodsmoke and blown roses. Later, the sun pushed through and I saw the broad river Loire running unusually high and fast, too dangerous to swim in. I saw the indigenous windmills of wood and pale yellow tufa stone, sentinels over the poppies and the low, yellow wheat.
Tour update 21: Dusk. Wandering in Don Walker’s steps “on Rue Île Saint-Louis”, I hear the most glorious singing from a blocky grey building. Of course, it’s a spectacular church and Friday night is full gospel service with 12-piece choir, live band and gooseflesh-inducing vocals from a Jean Carpenter. Went dancing into the night to eat Roquefort by the Seine and met a flute-playing Wizard under a wing of his *butterfly bicycle*. Last drinks at Pop In.
Tour update #20: Last night in Paris. Great time with Irene Wareing. On an otherwise serene Seine cruise, our self-appointed and inebriated “tour guide” exclaimed, “Look! Look! That’s where Diana crashed in the bridge!” Tonight I am contemplating dinner at “Saint Meat” followed by drinks at La Feline.
Tour update #19: Doing after-show shots with my mother at Pop In. That is all.
Tour update #18: Breakfast in Montmartre, then directed some American rockband looking for Jim Morrison as I headed for Edith Piaf to ask for a strong voice for tonight’s show at Pop In with This is Avalanche. — at Cimetière du Père-Lachaise
Tour update #17: Paris. That is all.

Tour update #16: Oh Brussels, I had a great time but I can’t take your emergency sirens seriously. They seem to have added vibrato which makes all emergency vehicles sound like a robot child running behind you making “scary” ghost noises. Also, I will never diss lacemakers again.

Tour update #15: I have no sense of direction in Brussels. Well, I was warned. However, I had an awesome plate of Muamba when I eventually found the Matonge district, plus some shopping at the St Gilles street market.

Tour update #14: Walking in Ghent, we saw two little boys forcefully herding a tiny black and white cat – “KAT! NEE, KAT!”. As we passed, they stopped us and, in hard Gantoise dialect, said they thought, because it had no collar, that maybe it was a lost cat so they were keeping it off the road. They pointed to a child’s handmade missing cat poster nearby but said they didn’t think it was the same cat because the cat in the poster was purple.

Tour update #13: From the pre-show dinner, this idea needs venture capital and a documentary immediately, Sam. Drunkle.com – short a drunk uncle at your next wedding/christmas/christening/sauna fest? Drunkle.com will compile a profile of your desired drunk uncle traits (including interviewing said relatives) and send a substitute drunk uncle to your event. Pelvic thrusting? No problem. A vast knowledge of football “songs”? Easy. Tie as ninja-style headband? Obligatory. Incoherent speeches? Our specialty.

Tour updates #5-#8

31 May

Tour update #8: Yesterday involved a scoop of banana sorbet, two new friends, a 14y.o. Chardonnay/Savagnin blend, a new song, a headful of ideas and a very good band in a very sweaty cellar. Today involves busking and an overnight bus to Brussels. Thank you Strasbourg!

Tour update #7: Slow busking day but I did get a lesson in extracting tourist money from the original Gold Mouth Woman, a wonderful withered Roma Dame who came to me and indicated that I had an OK voice but needed to ‘work it’ more – she sang to me this amazing song of longing and suffering. With her eyes, her voice, she suffered and loved the suffering. She touched her heart and then stretched out the cupped hand as if offering her heart. Then she said, “Shit spot. You need to go by the Cathedral.”

Tour update #6: Wonderful Strasbourg hostess (and skilled whistler) in *fairytale* Petite France district and a profitable busking session today including selling CDs, jamming with local street musicians and pissing off the local busking mafia. Tonight, flinty Alsace Pinot Gris and further wanderings.

Tour update #5: Great show last night in Thionville, but it was so hot my thumb kept sticking to the back of the guitar neck. I started outside, singing on the street and got a hug from the bar owner at the end. Today a festival in Metz and then onto Strasbourg.

Album Launch

13 Apr

Album News

cover art for Close as a Slow Dance

first look at full cover art for Close as a Slow Dance

I just got the artwork for the album back from my wonderful graphic designer, so I’m all set for getting the album pressed into shiny digipacks. There’s a preview. What do you think?

I’ve decided on two Berlin album launches – an intimate club show at Heroes Neukölln (Friedelstraße 49  12047) on International Star Wars Day, May the Fourth (be with you) and a Sofa Salon house concert for my birthday on May the Eleventh. Then I’m out on tour. Check the current dates below.

Please have this free Bandcamp download of debut rockabilly-flavoured single ‘Dancehall at Louse Point’ to help me celebrate the record’s release or just listen to the song.

Tour Dates

Apr 24, 2012 – Berlin, Ber (DE) @ Club der polnischen Versager – ANZAC Eve: Berlinerin Aussies & Kiwis w/ Sandra Serala & Lavender Drake & Kate Camp

Apr 26, 2012 – Berlin, Ber (DE) @ Ufer Cafe – Wasp Summer & Lena Tjäder w/ Lena Tjäder

May 4, 2012 – Berlin, Ber (DE) @ Heroes – Wasp Summer at Heroes

May 11, 2012 – Berlin, Ber (DE) @ Sofa Salon – Wasp Summer Sofa Salon Album Launch and Sam’s Birthday

May 26, 2012 – Thionville, LOR (FR) @ le Nimby – Wasp Summer’s ‘Close as a Slow Dance’ Tour

Jun 6, 2012 – Paris, IDF (FR) @ Pop In – Wasp Summer ‘Close as a Slow Dance’ Tour

Jun 9, 2012 – Blaison-Gohier, PDL (FR) @ Eric’s House – House Concert for Eric’s Birthday

Jun 22, 2012 – Berlin, Ber (DE) @ PANDA Theatre – Berlin COMPASS: Summer Edition

Jun 29, 2012 – Hamburg, Ham (DE) @ Makrele – Wasp Summer ‘Close as a Slow Dance’ Tour

Jun 30, 2012 – Kiel, S-H (DE) @ Gaby’s House – Wasp Summer in Kiel

Dancehall at Louse Point

5 Apr

New, free single download

I am so delighted to be able to bring you Dancehall at Louse Point, the first single from my debut solo record Close as a Slow Dance. In Gold Coast parlance – I’m stoked as! No, it wasn’t named for the PJ Harvey/John Parrish album per se, but the song was always called Dancehall and the ‘at Louse Point‘ just seemed so appropriate to the theme of a Fifties dancehall singer trying to get over a louse who broke her heart. Please have this free Bandcamp download to help me celebrate the record.

Single launch

Tonight, I play the Berlin launch show at Laika (Emser Str 131, Neukölln) with another ex-pat Australian, Jason Kenny, who launches his album Fugitive. Doors at 19:30. Music at 20:00. I’m on at 21:00. The after-party is at Bethanien in X-Berg.

Album launches – May the fourth be with you!

I’m doing two Berlin album launches, a club show at Heroes in Neukölln on International Star Wars Day, Friday 4 May AND a special Sofa Salon house concert at my place on my birthday Friday 11 May.

Plus I’m doing house concerts and club gigs across Germany and France through late May and June and a whole heap of Summer gigs. If you would like to host me for a house concert, email waspsummer [aet] gmail dot com

Gig: Retreat Hotel

15 Nov

Melburnians: 7:30pm sharp tonight at The Retreat Hotel, 280 Sydney Rd, Brunswick. Wasp Summer’s 2nd last show in Australia.