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Movie Eyes

Yesterday, walking about in my stoned stupor, listening to a Haim remix at about 110bpm. I observed at least a dozen consecutive civilian actions, flows, movements, developments that synchronised seamlessly with the music. My POV camerawork was without flaw. ‘Do these people know they’re walking on and off buses, in and out of shops, and larupping their children perfectly in time?’ Asked your Humble Narrator. It didn’t last much longer than a third of the tune, but it was wholly satisfying. I’d call this particular phenomena, ‘movie eyes’ (off the top of my head) or ‘movie eyes (off the top of my head)’.

By Dan Mason.

Indian advice, Chinese rap megastar, broken windscreen.

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Someone had stolen the glass out of our wing mirror again. The right hand side this time. While we waited for Will and Jamie to arrive, the rest of us went to fill up and buy a temporary one. It looked like a crazy mirror out of the funfair. It was fine when we were stationary, but as soon as we went over 30mph, the world in the mirror started to shake violently and then just destroyed itself head over heels in flashes of light and the black of the tarmac. We noticed that the small crack in our windscreen had also grown overnight into a nine inch faultline along the glass. I gunned the engine and headed North through the rain and the traffic. It would have to hold for now.

Liverpool first. Outside the venue, when we found it, were two men having an argument. One, of smaller stature and in a big black hat, seemed frustrated as he pointed us to the entrance, not looking in my eyes once, while muttering under his breath. The other just seemed confused once we got up close. The looming brick buildings which rose around us harked back to an industrial age, overtaken by the fame of The Beatles and Merseybeat.

A group of students wobbled past on high heels and lust for life, or each other, and disappeared into the night, their voices bouncing off the walls after we’d lost sight of them. The street faded into quietness again. No-one around. It’s another Wednesday night in Liverpool.

Before the gig, I went to an excellent Indian restaurant, with an amiable proprietor who spoke about Delhi and how it had changed from twenty years ago. I asked him what he meant.

“My friend’s servant now drives around in a jeep, with two bodyguards. Money changes people you know?

You can get held up at gunpoint, it’s not safe. North Indian wife is different from South Indian wife too. North Indian wife will say I won’t sleep with you tonight because we haven’t got the TV our neighbours have. South Indian wife is much cooler. In fact, in Bombay no-one gives a shit about anything. You can be anyone. You could be standing next to some guy in shorts and sandals and he’ll own the whole of TATA. You can dress a dog up in Versace, but it’s still a dog.”

Saddled with this wisdom, I took my paneer masala out into the street and walked back to the venue to eat it backstage and listen to the other band. As I walked in, I looked at the stage and realised that Black Hat and Confused were on the stage playing their set. It sounded great.

Later, around 2am, we were at the hotel. I carried my piano flight case through the reception and up to my room on my shoulder. It’s about as big as a person and looks like a black and metal casket. The receptionist winced as I just avoided hitting the glass doors with it, but said nothing. Incidentally, I do know a guy who is banned from Travelodges the world over for breaking one of their glass doors trying to enter, in the middle of the night. The van needed to be parked until a reasonable time, definitely until checkout hour. I stuck a pound into it which disappeared. None of the buttons did anything so I hit it and hurt my hand.

In the ‘morning’ we went to see the Cavern Club, where the Beatles played 292 times. Before we got there, Dan had to go and get some boxer shorts from H&M. It was a request from his girlfriend, maybe to stop him wearing her underwear on stage, which happened last week. The rain came down again (I’m sure it rains more up North, is that right?) and I saw the neon lights of a diner so disappeared inside on my own while the others went to a bakery. The music was good and the sauce was hot. Everything was okay for twenty minutes. My reverie was disturbed by the cartoon characters I choose to hang out with swaggering past the waitress and coming to sit beside me, singing along to the recording of “I get around” which came over the speakers. Will and Tim sat on the same seat, and Dan sat beside me, reaching over and taking the fries. Poor underfed boy. Will wore his massive black fake fur coat and was subsequently bigger than everything else anyone had seen that day. The diners at the table next to us laughed nervously and stuck their faces in burgers.

At the Cavern Club, a guitarist named Gary worked his way through a few Beatles hits, very well actually, and had the tourists singing along heartily to Hard Days Night and Hey Jude. His set was momentarily interrupted by a posse of Chinese rappers wearing tour jackets and weirdly, masks over their mouths. They were introduced onto the stage. It was MC Hot Dog and his entourage. They had a picture taken onstage but wouldn’t do a song. Jamie stood on the table and scrawled Tankus 15 on the ceiling with a black marker pen while everyone was looking at Hot Dog.

The windscreen held as we left Liverpool behind, and headed to Manchester. The staircase at the venue was so small we couldn’t get the piano up it, so I had to play the SV-1 on it’s legs and sit down. It gave the gig more of a twisted Blues Brothers feel.

The brilliant support band played to four people and us, sadly, although they didn’t seem to be very worried about it. Nude was their name. A Bowie-esque frontman who rarely looked at the audience, and scowled his way through various lyrics of regret and longing. The rhythm section were tight and funky, and I’m sure there were a couple of hits in their set. I wished more people had been in there to witness it.

After the show, I managed to source a pretty decent prawn korma with accompanying peshwari naan, and lacking any nuggets of wisdom from the owners, we sat at the plastic tables at 2am watching WWF Raw with Dan standing up under the TV yelling at the screen “SIT ON HER NECK! SIT ON HER NECK!”

This is our life.

From Cornwall to the Cosmos – Jaz Delorean

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We took a bow together, in front of a Cornish beach crammed with arms and grins and shouts. Dan, Tim, Will, Jamie, Lukas and I. 
Jools Holland was due to play next and we had played the Sun down over the horizon and our hearts had been lifted by the joy of a few thousand excited souls in front of us. We’re all on the same ocean, zig-zagging, tacking around, some lost, some confident, some lost and confident, and if you sink, you hold your breath and stroll along the bottom instead. It takes longer but the view is different, it’s just a bit like moonwalking, except when you look up, you don’t see Earth, you see sky through a hundred fathoms of refraction. Take your time surfacing or you’ll get the bends.

Looe Music Festival was a great gig. It was a return from last year. We really enjoyed going back. That night felt a bit like coming home, if home was a big sandy beach with the population of the town looking through your brick wall, through your kitchen, through your yard, and into your heart.

That gig at Looe was the end of something and the start of something else, in many ways. Louis and Jake left the band a month ago, to pursue different musical paths, so Jamie and Lukas joined us in time for this one. The evolution of Tankus the Henge continues; exploring the dark and the light at the same time, like a tight-rope walker on the edge of space, either looking up into the endless blackness or down onto the sunlit ground. Both will kill ya during a few last heady moments of exhilaration, one a lot quicker than the other.
After the mainstage show, we played an intimate show in Zute Bar, a tiny venue with a big heart (this was after Jools had taught everyone how to be a gentleman cool cat playing boogie without breaking a sweat) – and so began a night of music and stargazing like we’ve never had. We lay in the road in a line, all ten of us, and stared into the depths of space, back in time, looking at long dead stars in distant galaxies, hooting, laughing and then lapsing into moments of silence, probably to the relief of the sleeping neighbours around us. If they were looking at us, they’d see the dinosaurs. The stars that is, not the neighbours.

Thank you Cornwall. You never disappoint.

Canterbury was next. A beautiful city which we don’t go to enough. It was a night of students rampaging through the streets, looking for their prey in packs, wearing their colours with pride on white t-shirts with slogans emblazoned upon. We played in The Ballroom which was decked out for Fundrum, a post-festival event with an enthusiastic crowd to boot. I particularly enjoyed a six foot tall ‘hot air balloon’ suspended from the ceiling. I almost rode in a balloon, three times, but the weather was not on my side each time. It gets you up in the morning though.
Supporting the band was Funke & The Two Tone Baby, a one man street-style musical act, growling voice, acoustic guitar and loop pedals, and a groove to keep the audience bouncing.

We played for an hour and half, realising that because Jamie had just joined the band and played Looe only, which was forty five minute set, he’d have to wing his way through a few tunes onstage which he’d never played. Thankfully, that boy’s got a cool head on his shoulders under all that hair, and it went down fine. I got on the bar, and didn’t break a single glass, and we couldn’t even set the fire alarm off (we tried).
Ophelia had broken down on the way back from Looe so we were in a borrowed van, with no locking system on it, and a wet seat in the back (draw straws, boys). That meant we had to drive back to London after the show, and get all the gear out into a lockup at 3am. This is the life. It’s all glam. Ophelia’s fourth gear had gone on the drive up from Cornwall. Probably the best gear to go, but it’s not ideal. We picked the van up from the garage in Leyton and the mechanic cheerfully shouted “every time we have it, we improve it!”

Around the corner to Folkestone, and we played in The Chambers, a basement venue near the seafront. It was a pleasure to meet the owner Chris, who cooked us up a storm and introduced us with aplomb. Never been to Folkestone before, apart from when we’ve gone to France. Folkestonians came out to meet us. Even some returnees who were at the Canterbury show. Off down the cliffs in the early hours with some pirates to the beach, and back to a hotel with a grand piano in the reception. They’d lost the key, sadly. Jamie wisecracked “Losing the key to a grand piano is like losing a grand piano” as we rounded the corner to the very modern elevator.

We’re counting down the days with the sun in the sky. These sunshine days are numbered.

New Tankus the Henge website

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Welcome to the new Tankus the Henge website. Our online home and location for all tour dates, media and news.

We’re currently hard at work in our mad professor’s lab cooking up some dangerous concoctions for 2015 and we’re looking forward to seeing you out on the road, or at home in London this year.

Enjoy the site, and remember to share the link on social media with your friends.