While 2015 was extremely disappointing in terms of crucial Back To The Future II-related predictions failing to materialize, it was certainly action-packed in the world of The Burning Hell. In the spirit of creating even more list-related content to throw into the gaping void of the Internet, please scroll down for an assortment of top-five lists. First, here is a more detailed recap of some of our highlights:
Ariel and Mathias discovered northern Europe’s best winter festival way back in January when they played the Northern Winter Beat Festival in Aalborg, Denmark. Tak!
After the debacle of trying and failing to get back to St. John’s for Lawnya Vawnya in 2014, The Burning Hell finally made it to Newfoundland’s nicest (we’re biased) music festival in April. They originally booked us to be the backing band for Vish Khanna’s talk show, but once we got there the organizers announced a secret surprise gig at the Masonic Temple, which became one of our favourite sets of the year.
We released our live album Live Animals in the spring, and to celebrate we went on tour throughout Europe and the UK, playing some of our favourite spots and discovering plenty of new ones too, including the Glastonbury Festival. We arrived at 5:00am, watching the sun half-rise in the freezing dawn of a large metal cage called the “Artist Holding Area” and eventually made it through a delirious and surprisingly crowded morning set at William’s Green, followed by a brief nap amidst dancing pagans, and then culminating with a final gig at the Crow’s Nest, looking out over a valley filled what seemed like a million twirling hippies, the setting sun sparkling in their silver-beaded hair-wraps.
Just before our Glasto initiation, we holed up in the Cinque Port of Ramsgate at Big Jelly Studios where Al Harle helped us make a new and very loud record called Public Library, which you’ll get to hear on April Fool’s Day 2016. It contains a song written in the studio about another part of our summer adventure when our van broke down for the final time and we were rescued by a mysterious mechanic from Yorkshire, who drove us all the way to Scotland so we could play our gig.
Public Library also contains version #2 of “Fuck The Government, I Love You” — a song we liked so much we recorded it twice. The first version appears on Don’t Believe The Hyperreal , an album of duets that Ariel and Mathias released and toured this fall.
I’m writing this late in the evening of December 30, while watching the notice-board in the Charlottetown airport, which tells me that our flight to Newfoundland via Halifax is delayed. This is concerning because we’ve already been delayed for 24 hours, and we’re supposed to finish 2015 on the venerable stage of The Ship in St. John’s. Will we make it? Or will we be stuck in the departures lounge instead, eating old Thrills gum from the nickel vending machine as we limp weeping into the new year?* Well, to quote Forrest Gump, life is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. Likely, however, you will get chocolate. Because it is a box of chocolates.
OK here are some lists. I have been told that lists generate clicks, and clicks are what you want. In the old days you wanted props, hugs, gold stars, or the respect and admiration of your peers. These days it’s clicks.
Top Five Favourite Gigs:
- London, Sebright Arms, June 19.
- Aalborg, Northern Winter Beat, January 30.
- Glastonbury, June 26.
- Berlin, Kantine am Berghain, December 19.
- St. John’s, Lawnya Vawnya V, April 26
Top Five Questionable Decisions:
- Mathias growing his hair long.
- Taking an antique VW van on tour.
- Ariel and Mathias moving to the middle of nowhere to fix a crumbling farmhouse.
- Attempting to get radio play with a song called “Fuck The Government, I Love You.”
- Pop Montreal.
Top five Albums Made By Friends in the Western Hemisphere:
- Steven Lambke, Days of Heaven
- Ilia Nicoll, I In Team
- Blimp Rock, Sophomore Slump
- Jeffrey Lewis & Los Bolts, Manhattan
- Michael Feuerstack, The Forgettable Truth
Top Five Albums Made By Friends in the Eastern Hemisphere:
- Fenster, Emocean
- Susie Asado, State of Undress
- Stanley Brinks, Robotika
- Stanley Brinks, Strikes
- Mykey, Oh Rabbit Heart
Top Five Drunk Audience Members:
- Happy, shouting ginger man with eyes closed – Long Division Festival.
- Large Danish men outside Studenterhuset – Northern Winter Beat.
- Couple making out during most of the show right in front of the stage – London.
- Eccentric friend who knows all the words, sort of – Hamburg.
- Bearded Wiccan in UGG boots – Crow’s Nest, Glastonbury.
Top Five Bands & Artists We Saw Live For The First Time in 2015:
- Adrian Teacher & The Subs
- Les Hay Babies
- Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp
- The Holy Gasp
- Bruce Cockburn
Top Five Predictions for The Burning Hell in 2016:
- We will have a very good time at both In The Dead Of Winter and Shivering Songs, despite the fact that it will be January in the Maritimes.
- Ariel will develop the most complicated tech set-up of anyone in the band when she unveils her new Clarinet Rig on the Public Library tour.
- We will record a new album in the fall, somewhere in rural Yucatán.
- We will tour in Ireland for the first time with the whole band; at some point before soundcheck in Galway, Darren will announce that he is relocating to Connemara to distill whiskey and learn new mandolin tunes.
- Mathias will cut his hair.
*We made it.