I went with my mate George, who had only listened to four of their songs, and he drove - which is ~160 miles round trip. (So my thanks to him.) Left Bristol at three and got to Oxford before half four, which was good going.
Conveniently everything we could of needed was within seconds walk in on the street of the academy; car park, pub, shops = all good.
I had to laugh because according to the TBM twitter fans were already outside at midday, when we actually drove past the place going to the car park there were like 5 max outside.
So anyway went to subway for a bit to eat then popped over to the local pub, which even if you ended up coming out of paralytic you could still be carried the short distance to the gig.
The pub was pretty empty (although when we left it looked like quite a few people were in the beer garden) so we sat at the window so we could see what was going on. Some of the people that were walking about were quite obviously going to the gig. Now I don't know how much you're up on the whole gothic scene so I won't spend ages filling you in - I thought I'd seen it all; apparently I hadn't. A good few of these people were not the sort that I see in clubs, oh no, these people saw that level of dress code, considered it to be the normal level and thought 'meh, my cat dresses up in cooler clothes' and then raised the bar for themselves. TBM aren't even gothic, they just seem to of attracted these strange folk.
[N.B. Yes, I do do the whole Alt look, kinda, when I'm out at clubs.]
Obviously this is a 'you had to be there' situation, but here are some examples which I'll fail to carry across fully. We had one guy with a purple and black skirt & stockings combo, another balding with medium length hair thrown back looking like some Victorian - in a 'No, I mustn't see the light *hiss*' kinda way. What else? Oh, an old, fat guy going grey with a pony tail sporting a self made TBM T-shirt, which just looked crap. Oh someone with a cravat and associated period jacket in purple. Basically we were sitting in the pub talking with intermittent walking amusement passing us (And a few band members). Yes, I know I shouldn't laugh, but you know it's fun to make fun of people sometimes. ;P
So popped over to Tescos 'metro' (The hell it's a metro sized one, it was basically full sized!) picked up some sweets as mentioned in a previous post and went to stand in the queue.
The tour bus was parked outside on the main road, which is good for fans and venue access but probably a bit annoying.
Saw Chibi and Owen going in a side door. (Oh previously at the pub those band members were from Raggedy Angry.) This academy in Oxford it doesn't look big on the outside and most certainly like it doesn't have room up stairs, but there were loads of trendy cool kids downstairs and apparently another gig on the same time so the only choice was up; this turned out to be correct once we'd had our tickets poked at and the only other option was hanging around outside the cloak room. Got up there and into the room for the gig, only a few people were already up here (Since the queue wasn't too long to get in.)
Looked at the stage and the room for a brief second while my brain went "Yes, this it it!" then I went and spent pretty much all the money I had on me on merch (Which wasn't as much as I wanted to take, only £35, £50 would of been much better I actually regret not doing so.) So I bought a T-shirt (Black with white bunny logo on the front with the logo text on the back) if I had the money I would of got the purple T-shirt with the black bunny on too. (Didn't see any hoddies so I might just have a go at getting my own made up.) Also got a poster which I haven't looked at since - still rolled up in the corner of my room, a bunny logo sticker - which I got for free and (now this is where my brain needs a kick) I bought Nothing & Nowhere, fair enough I don't have any of there work legally yet so first album is a nice starting point, but the copies of Walking With Strangers were all digipacks! (my brain always loves them) and I still haven't heard Show And Tell (Other than the tracks on myspace)... right so yeah... I accept gifts of CDs and merch of bands I like, btw (not joking - can't buy stuff online, unemployed).
Anyway, put my poster in the cloak room (So now this £5 poster cost £6 which now makes the free sticker £1(!!) again), put my awesome new T-shirt on over my rather fetching Lacuna Coil T-shirt and the CD / sticker in a pocket - All good to go.
First row of the barrier was full, but luck was at hand; two short girls were in a decent place to the left at the front so we stood behind them, with an awesome view.
First act on were a local EBM act, who I've recently pissed off with mild sarcasm.
Next on where Raggedy Angry, a Canadian group that TBM brought over with them. Now this venue was quite small, probably a few hundred top could fit in the room, and the stage wasn't very big either (I actually think the beir keller's is bigger <-- Reasons for playing locally, hint hint. Not the upstairs of our academy though, that is crap.)
So on came two drapes in frames (plastic tubing), one said Raggedy the other Angry (both had a disemboweled unicorn as the background, in a non-hideous way.), there was so little room on stage they actually went next to each other rather than as you'd expect on each side of the stage.
I knew they were kinda gay from my pre-gig research (Which of course everyone should do!), but when they came out on stage I was shocked (which of course was probably the point, stage presence and all.) Thankfully the guy in the PVC nun outfit with fish nets was on the other side of the stage to us, which turned out the be the more manly side. (Lead guitar + drummer). I wasn't blown away by their performance, but they actually weren't too bad. They had a free demo CD at the merch stand that I should of picked up really...
The drummer was using a digital drum kit which worked out quite well considering their sound. They did a cover of Gangsters Paradise which was quite different to the original (It wasn't better than the original though, some of the timings they changed worked against them I feel.)
Shortly after Raggedy Angry's set was over The Birthday Massacre came out! (The wait was like twice as long between the other two acts.) Owen has his keyboard stand higher at one end than the other and likes to climb all over it whilst playing as well as using the keytar. (Sung a bit with him.) Chibi's mic stand was really low before she came out. (She is short, but not that short. Chibi means 'short person' in Japanese, but you cool people knew that!)
Oh Chibi whilst looking around singing to people and waving etc sung two lines on two different songs with me!! (That was so great, she is such a great singer!)
May it also be noted that I sung along to every song without a break or drink flawlessly - bar cocking up goodnight while sing to Chibi not that she noticed I don't think... I started to sing 'A loss of innocence..' when it was 'A lack of discipline..' UGH
Rainbow was in stage performance mode and also seemed to like taking a swig of water and letting it just flow back out his mouth, Chibi wasn't impressed. M. Falcore didn't come to my side of the stage so I know nothing of him. :/
O.E. couldn't stop smiling, a bit freaky but he could of been actually that happy to be playing for us. Had the vibe that he is a great guy though. (As he should, we're awesome in the UK, well I am.) Rhim was stuck behind his drums keeping everything going.
Faultless performance I'd say, it was such fun too. <-- Needs more superlatives! words can't do them justice, but if you've listened to their CD's anyway you knew that. I'll try and remember what they played... Found it on a forum I go on.
To Die For
I Think We're Alone Now
Walking With Strangers
Oh, one thing before I forget (Might sound odd, but just go with it.); I don't want them to hit the main stream, they're so great and so unique.. I just.. urgh, can't let them sell out or be sold out. Don't want them to lose their magic spark. If they got a little bit bigger, okay, but I dunno. Over protective of me? Probably, but might be for the best too. [Insert examples of other bands here] Also I love TBM. (Like you haven't noticed.)
Back to business, so yeah, amazing set and performance. Owen came out in the crowd area after and I met him... What I wanted to say to him was how great the show was, if he was using his keyboard stand as a exercise step and that I have sweets for you... what came out was "Hi!" 'Hi' "Hello" 'Hi *Owen walks off, probably thinking I am insane*' "*Fuck, I've just fucked up*".
So when he was doing some stuff on the stage (removing kit/cables etc) I got his attention and through him the sweets for him and Chibi. (Not that I'd stop other members / bands from eating them!)
Hmm so yeah, then we left (via collection of the £6 poster), George wanted to get home so I couldn't be stalker guy like the other fans and wait for them outside. (That's the saddest emote I've drawn for the site, for this and the above failing I need a sadder one I believe.)
Got back to the car, whipped out the satnav and off we went.
I forgot to mention on the way into Oxford, after coming of the duel carriage way into a lovely looking area, we drove through a rather dodgy area which had quite a large pub (btw I do barely drink / go to pubs.) which had steel covers of the windows (aka boarded up with protection.), well when we were coming down to the road it was on (It's actually on the junction.) there was a police man with some tiny cones (I actually have bigger ones in my garage, but I guess they need to save space and all that.) waving people to go the other way because the road was closed due to 3 fire engines being outside this pub, one could only assume that someone had set fire to the place.
A few mins of the satnav shouting at us for going the wrong way it decided to go with us and get us back to Bristol.
Got back to Bristol in good time. (Despite some road works, with actual people working, meaning we had to take a small creative route change.)
I cannot believe how long it's taken me to find the time (Unemployed, so how does that work?) and mental concentration to write this up!
That being said, ahh lol I covered this in the opening bracketed sentence, heh.
Well anyway, it did make me feel quite rubbish for a good few days after and I've only just ripped Nothing And Nowhere to my PC (Whilst I was making a CD for a CD swap - which its self is exciting; new music for me!) I'll try and do something with the poster ASAP.
Hmm. Well congrats if you read all that, if you didn't however then I basically went to Oxford with a mate to see a truly exceptional band and it was awesome.