We’re just attempting to settle back into normal life after living in the crazy, fun and exciting LeakyCon bubble for half of last week – which mostly means remember what sleeping is and adjusting to not being surrounded by happy singing Potter fans wherever we turn. What better way is there to keep the magic alive for a little longer than to share with you a diary of our experiences and memories from LeakyCon London through a series of blogs!
We arrived into London on Wednesday evening, and made our way to the apartment we’d be sharing with all of the wizard rockers for the weekend, nestled away in the heart of London – right near Leicester Square! We explored our quarters and within five minutes Cathrin had got herself locked in the miniscule bathroom – having to be freed with a spoon taken to the other side of the lock. After this, we headed down – one of us slightly red-faced – to a communal area to greet the American contingent. We had what would be classed in Leaky terms as an early night, nestling down for the night before 1am, after an exhilarating trip to M&S Simply Food at half past eleven AT NIGHT. It’s the little things…
Thursday morning arrived and we breakfasted like kings on our M&S purchases from the night before. We then ambled over to the Grand Connaught Rooms where the con was being held to collect our passes, stash our instruments, greet our friends and generally bubble over with anticipation for the show we would be playing in the ballroom later on. Seriously, the first time we walked in we were speechless; it was beautiful and gigantic. I think it well and truly sunk in then that this would be by far the biggest audience we’d ever played to!
Fast forward a few hours, and it was time for the opening ceremony. We heard some fabulous speeches and saw some great performances – it really gave everyone a taste of what was in store for the next few days, and I think it’s safe to say everyone was ready for it all to kick off. Also a magician came over to us and did some magic before our very eyes, that was cool. Once the majority of the crowd had filtered out (spare a few eager beavers at the front, saving themselves a good spot – we like your thinking!) we soundchecked with the lovely sound crew and then headed off to grab a bite to eat before the show. This meant traipsing through the epic maze that was the Grand Connaught Rooms, led by Matt of The Whomping Willows, who managed to take us to a derelict meeting room, with an official looking flip chart and sweeties in jars (?). We did eventually find our way to the penthouse, where the wizard rockers converged and enjoyed some delightful conversation before heading off back downstairs to get changed and wait in the wings…
Then it was show time. We were opening the wizard rock at LeakyCon London! As mentioned in a previous blog, we kicked off with a collaboration with Amy of Romilda Vane and the Chocolate Cauldrons as Sgt Potter’s Lonely Horcrux Band. We sang a medley of songs by UK and European wizard rockers to celebrate the wonderful scene we’ve been so involved in over the past six years. We really liked hearing the occasional whoop as somebody recognised a song!
Our Siriusly Hazza P set followed this, opening up with Hedwig and Madam Pudifoot’s, which got a lot of love because who doesn’t like owls and tea? We then performed Turn Around – a song with a dark tango feel, which called for a lot of dramatic head turns and stamping, and then to contrast, our song Arnold – about how lovable pygmy puffs are! We blew bubbles into the audience as that’s what Arnold would have wanted if he’d been in attendance. This was followed up with a bit of audience participation, as we taught everyone how to dance like a giant in Grawp.
They really threw some mean shapes out there! Next song up was I Won’t Feed The Peacocks Anymore, which we wrote for charity compilation Wizards and Muggles Rock For Social Justice: Volume 3 earlier this year. It’s all about Dobby’s plight at Malfoy Manor and is a cheery, upbeat number! We’d originally planned to don pillowcases for this song but we were so busy in the run up that we forgot to make head and arm holes in them. Never mind, eh? We closed with Witchface – after an onstage witchfight broken up by Matt Maggiacomo. Ironic that it should happen just before a song about a secret rivalry between the two of us…
Sgt Potter’s Lonely Horcrux Band reunited on stage for a rendition of Marching On – inspired by this much loved YouTube video and then we left the stage as it was time for Amy to play as Romilda Vane and the Chocolate Cauldrons!
Amy performed some of her most upbeat songs, whilst still showcasing her impressive vocals! We especially enjoyed hearing The Raid live again. We joined Amy up on stage as her Chocolate Cauldrons for Summer With The Weasleys, with accompaniment from Scott of The Blibbering Humdingers. It ended in a big group hug as we all were feeling that Weasley family vibe!
After Amy’s set, it was time for one last song from Sgt Potter’s Lonely Horcrux Band! Of course, we couldn’t do a show without playing The Ballad Of John Simons – the TRUE story of Harry Potter, in which Harry awoke from a coma to discover he was actually a thirty something named John and it had all been a dream. We mashed this up with Sonorus by Romilda Vane and the Chocolate Cauldrons and Hey Jude (Hey John!). The working title was Hey Johnorus, quite proud of that one. All of the audience joined in super loud with the ‘naa’s in Hey Jude – it was really awesome! Throughout the whole set, we were blown away by how fun and supportive the audience were, especially seeing as it was quite a few people’s first wizard rock show – guys, you’re invited back any time!
Next up were another European act – Solitary Snape. We’d been really looking forward to their set as we knew they would really get the crowd going and they certainly didn’t disappoint! I seem to remember busting some moves at our merch table – especially to The Battle. Lead singer Oscar was wearing a pretty impressive jacket, with ‘BORN TO RUNE’ emblazoned on the back in sequins. Witty. Good.
Alex Carpenter played next, which is always a delight! We heard a mixture of material from The Remus Lupins days as well as some of his more recent stuff. Admittedly, we had to abandon our merch table for a while so we could have a proper dance. I think Meet Me At King’s Cross went down particularly well with the crowd!
Finally it was Hank Green’s turn to perform. The audience was super pumped and sang every word along with him!
After a super fun night, it was time to catch a black cab back to the apartment so we could catch a few hours’ sleep before Friday kicked off! But more about Friday in the next blog…
You can watch some of our set in this YouTube video!