LeakyCon London Diary – Day 1!

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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!

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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!

DSC_0621Photo credit to Anna M@sunlitlake.deviantart.com

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.


Photo credit to Anna M@sunlitlake.deviantart.com

Photo credit to Anna M@sunlitlake.deviantart.com

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!

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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!

Chocolate Cauldrons

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.

Solitary Snape

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!

Alex CarpenterPhoto credit to La Gazette Du Sorcier

Finally it was Hank Green’s turn to perform. The audience was super pumped and sang every word along with him!

Hank GreenPhoto credit to La Gazette Du Sorcier

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!

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Where To Visit Whilst You’re In London For LeakyCon!

So, you’re going to LeakyCon London? Hooray! With the big event fast approaching, I’m sure you’ve checked out the programming schedule and cherry-picked the bits that you’d most like to do. However, whilst there’s lots of fun things happening as part of the con, it’s easy to forget that London is a big and bustling place, jam packed with fun things to do, see and experience. So if you’ve got a gap in your schedule, or you’re hanging around a few days before or after, we’ve got a few suggestions of where you might like to visit! Of course, all within a short tube ride from The Grand Connaught Rooms, where LeakyLondon is being held!

For starters, you’ll be needing this:

tube map

Or something along those lines… Anyway, on with the list!

1. Platform 9 3/4, King’s Cross Train Station
How to get there on the underground from Covent Garden: Take the Piccadilly Line. King’s Cross is the third stop.

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So this is probably already on your list if you’re a Potter fan heading to London this summer, but it couldn’t go unmentioned! It’s such a great photo opportunity and since our last visit they’ve even added a wizarding shop, just in case you can’t make it to Diagon Alley before term starts in a month’s time. What’s more, it’s only six minutes away from LeakyCon when you hop on the underground!

2. The Sherlock Holmes Museum, Baker Street
How to get there on the underground from Covent Garden: Take the Piccadilly Line, change at Piccadilly Circus to the Bakerloo line. Baker Street is the third stop.

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Located (of course) at 221B Baker Street, the Sherlock Holmes Museum is housed in a charming town house. The door is guarded by a victorian policeman who will hand you a hat and a pipe to enhance your sleuthing powers. Within, you’ll find lots of recognisable scenes and trinkets from Arthur Conan Doyle’s writings.

Also on our visit to Baker Street, we found a Beatles shop, jam packed with all the Fab Four merchandise and memorabilia you could possibly imagine. Very apt, as we’ll be peforming as Sgt. Potter’s Lonely Horcrux Band on the Thursday night of LeakyCon!

beatles store

If you want to pay a visit to Speedy’s Cafe, which you’ll definitely recognise if you’re a Sherlock fan, you’ll want to hop off at Euston Square!

speedysA bemused policeman took this jubilant photo of us and our friends…

3. Abbey Road, St John’s Wood
How to get there on the underground from Covent Garden: Take the Piccadilly Line, change at Green Park to the Jubilee Line. St John’s Wood is the 3rd stop. 5 minute walk to Abbey Road Studios from there!

abbey road

If you were intrigued by the Beatles shop, you’re definitely going to fancy a trip to Abbey Road – where The Beatles recorded their music. This has been on our To Do list for so long and we haven’t got round to making the pilgrimage yet – but maybe this trip could be the time we make it to that famous crossing and recreate that album cover. I suggest you do the same, it would be especially  fun if you were to take your picture in costume, think about it…

4. Science Museum, South Kensington
How to get there on the underground from Covent Garden: Take the Piccadilly Line. South Kensington is the 6th stop.

science museum

Situated on a road full of museums, the Science Museum has lots to offer to fuel your mind! Especially awesome is the space exhibition, with real rockets overhead. There’s lots of interactive exhibits about the museum, making it lots of fun. The last time we visited was when on our museums week, where we visited a different museum around the country each day for a week. That was a nice time.

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Also, they make a mean cupcake in the cafe. Important.

5. Camden Market, Camden Town
How to get there on the underground from Covent Garden: Take the Piccadilly Line, change at
Leicester Square to the Northern Line. Camden Town is the 5th stop.

camden

Camden is a must every time we visit London! There’s so much to explore there; stalls full of vintage clothes and hats, quirky jewellery, tasty food and t-shirts you won’t find on the high street – and that’s just a small selection of what’s on offer. Who knows what you might find in this vibrant part of London.

I hope we’ve given you a few nice ideas if you’re not too familiar with our capital city. If you’ve got any suggestions yourself, do feel free to leave them in the comments!

Wizard Rock means lots of travelling! Watch our Edinburgh adventures from when we visited in December for the Snow Ball.

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Introducing… Sgt Potter’s Lonely Horcrux Band!

In our last post we enthused about the prospect of hearing Romilda Vane and the Chocolate Cauldrons play at LeakyCon in just over two weeks’ time. What we didn’t mention is the fact that we have been collaborating on something very special with her – and I reckon it’s about time we let the cat out of the bag and tell you what’s in store!

Sgt. Potter Poster Sgt. Potter Poster Yellow

Sgt. Potter Poster Green Sgt. Potter Poster Blue

For quite some time we’ve been intending to team up and make some sweet Siriusly Romilda Vane sounds, and what better time than now! There’s a big hint in the title of this post and the posters above. It’s safe to say we’ll be keeping things very British as LeakyCon comes to London. Expect harmonies, Harry and a hint of the Fab Four…

Have you watched us sing about Hedwig and discuss our favourite Doctor Who episodes?

Moustache

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Our Top Picks For Wrock at Leaky!

As I’m sure you’re aware, Leakycon in London will be bringing you lots of fantastic wizard rock bands from all over! Whilst every band will bring something marvellous and magical to the stage, here’s a run down of the sets we’re most looking forward to…

RiddleTM
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RiddleTM hail from Oxfordshire and make emotive music about some of the most-heart wrenching moments throughout the Harry Potter series which never fail to move an audience, along with the occasional song about wizarding sweets! Maybe one of their best loved songs is For Jo, which is a musical thank you to the lady who created Harry and his world. RiddleTM’s talents will make your heart swell, and most probably bring a tear to your eye!

Alex Carpenter
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We first saw Alex Carpenter play live at Scotland’s very first Snow Ball. We’d been fans of his music for quite some time so the chance to see him live was very exciting! He brings a lot of energy to his performances, making sure the crowd are totally involved and enjoying the moment. Looking For Trouble is probably one of our favourite wizard rock songs, hope he plays it this time!

Solitary Snape
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Solitary Snape are set to bring a little effortless cool to Leakycon London this August. We first heard the band play in their native Sweden when we played a show with them there in Gothenburg. Over in Europe at least, it’s quite rare to see a wizard rock band with a full line up (drums, bass, guitars – you know, the full works) so they’re really great to hear live!

The Whomping Willows
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It wouldn’t be a Harry Potter convention without The Whomping Willows presence! We heard Whompy live for the first time at LeakyCon 2011, and it has to be said his set was very fun, with lots of his self penned wizard rock classics to sing along to. The Whomping Willows are always sure to get everyone dancing, whether performing acoustic or with a band behind Matt.

Romilda Vane and The Chocolate Cauldrons
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Romilda Vane and The Chocolate Cauldrons’ music is brought to you by Amy from Ireland. She is renowned in the community for her stunning classically trained voice, showcased on songs such as Sonorus (which you may have heard on The Leaky Cauldron’s Christmas compilation, Jingle Spells 3). One of our favourite songs by her is Summer With The Weasleys, which is maybe more suited to the time of year!

Harry and the Potters
hatp

Harry and the Potters were the band that first introduced us to wizard rock, and really inspired us to start our own band back in 2007, when we got to see them live right on our doorstep, in Manchester. I would definitely recommend seeing one of their sets to everybody – muggle or wizard! They ALWAYS bring the party.

This blog could have been a very long one if we hadn’t restrained ourselves and selected only a few of the acts to write about. Of course, if you’re attending, we would recommend taking this amazing opportunity to listen to each and every band, because seriously, who can ever get their fill of songs about Harry Potter?

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Our Wizarding Attire!

One of the things most important to us is putting on an exciting and fun show, and a big part of that is wearing something flamboyant, theatrical and a little bit special! We thought it was about time we shared with you a few of our favourite show outfits – as well as a couple from the early days of the band (can you believe that it’s coming up for six years since we first performed as Siriusly Hazza P?!)

So, I guess we should do this in chronological order. Back in 2007, there were three of us in the band. We liked to bring a pop of colour to the Hogwarts uniform – with bright blue, bright pink and bright yellow garments. At our first show, it was skinny jeans, and at our second show, Potter Rocks – where we first encountered fellow wizardkind, we went for colourful tights.

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A few shows on, and we were performing as a two-piece. We stuck with the yellow and blue theme, and at one event this took its form in tutus and bright heels. I suppose this is where the look we’ve got today started to develop a little. We later donated the tutus in The Snow Ball raffle.

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After this, we really started to develop our retro sound – with a new retro look to boot! We unveilled this at the Hogwarts Spring Fling in Cambridge with polka dots and sequins. However, the most notable outfit was later on in the year at the aforementioned Snow Ball in Edinburgh, 2009. This really set us off on our love of fantastic stagewear!

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We took a trip down to London to find the perfect dresses for the occasion. We found these black jones + jones dresses with lovely full skirts. The pièce de résistance though, was of course our shoes! They were so insanely high and beautifully sparkly that they were certainly a talking point.

Probably our all time favourite show outfits have to be what we wore for Cork Midsummer Festival. Our set was very theatrical and so we needed something to reflect that. We opted for burlesque showgirl dresses – complete with corsets, feathers and sequins!

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We like to have something nice to wear for before and after the show as well. These unique hats had to be aired somewhere special, after all.

The 2010 Snow Ball soon rolled around and we knew we had to wear something to equal what we had worn in the summer in Cork! Again, we went for the showgirl look, but this time our dresses were adorned completely in sequins. As it was Christmas, we couldn’t resist a little tinsel to complete the look…

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Most recently – at the 2012 Snow Ball, we went for a 1950’s look, with petticoats to give the silhouette of the era. The look was fun and linked in to the new upbeat songs we’d written about the animals of the wizarding world.

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Speaking of magical creatures, it’s not just us two who like to dress up. Our pygmy puffs Hughie and Toby like a slice of the action too…


Hughie wears a baby blue bow with white hearts, whilst Toby sports a stripey pink number.

We’ve got a few ideas up our sleeve as to what we’ll be wearing for our performance at Leakycon, but you’ll just have to wait and see!

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Looking Forward To LeakyLondon!

Over the past few days, our Twitter feed has been full of tweets from happy wizards the world over who were making their way home from Leakycon in Portland. It’s not long to wait for the next LeakyCon though, and this time it’s in London and we shall be taking to the stage!

There’s lots and lots to look forward to for all you Leaky London goers – fun and frolics with friends, discussions about your favourite fandoms and of course plenty of wizard rock! We attended LeakyCon in Florida back in 2011, so we’re super super excited to be involved this time.
Here’s a few snaps from our first con experience, can’t wait to add some from this year…

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New Album, Available For Digital Download Now!

Hello there wizards and witches,

Well, we had a most splendid time partying with some of you at The Snow Ball in Edinburgh a couple of weeks back – I’m sure a blog about what a lovely time we had will spring up in the not too distant future.. : )

Siriusly Hazza P - Front Cover

If you cast your minds back (or, y’know, just scroll down the page) you’ll remember that a while back we promised you would be able to grab a digital copy of our brand new shiny album, all about animals, Siriusly Hazza P and their Magical Menagerie. Now, that didn’t quite happen on time, as preparations for our trip to Scotland took over! But you’ll be happy to hear that you can now get a digital download of the album, right here from our website.

Just head over to our ‘Releases’ page and follow the simple instructions given and you too can become acquainted with the likes of Hedwig, Fawkes, Fang and more.

Lots of love and magic,

Siriusly Hazza P

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