[Photo – Trying to show the bizarre difference in size of my manager’s tv and remote]
My First Tour
The final and exciting conclusion to my first tour!
The shows so far.
1st – Start The Bus in Bristol
2nd – The Grapes in Sheffield
3rd – Old Blue Last in London
4th – The Assembly in Leamington Spa
5th – The Playhouse in Cheltenham
6th – Resident Instore (afternoon) and (evening) Digital in Brighton
9th – Cockpit 3 in Leeds
10th – The Duchess in York
11th – The Welly Club In Hull
12th – Xscape in Castleford
13th – Photoshoot in Leeds
14th – Pure Groove Instore in London
16th – BBC 6 Music – George Lamb Session (morning); New Slang @ McClusky’s in Kingston
17th – The Regal in Oxford
18th – Moshi’s Tenth Birthday Party @ Matter in London
22nd – I Fly Spitfires @ Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh
23rd – The Tunnels 2 in Aberdeen
24th – Deaf By Stereo @ Met Lounge in Peterborough
25th – Fuzztival @ Sheffield University Student Union and then Stealth in Nottingham
28th – The Railway in Winchester
29th – Drift Bar in Portsmouth
31st – Bumper in Liverpool
1st Nov – The Deaf Institute in Manchester
So we established my lack of car in part three. Alas the lady is still not for turning…over.
This weeks hire car was Herge (the Peugeot 207) a delightful little number. Sprightly and full of zest…very much like a lemon. Although faster and not so bitter.
It was pretty speedy getting to Winchester. We arrived ahead of everyone, even the promoter! Soundcheck was a breeze as the sound guy Huw or Hugh certainly knew his onions. The sound in there was great. Loud but not loud enough that everything was distorting or feeding back as I’ve come to expect from loud gigs. It was an absolute pleasure from start to finish. Three great acts on before me. Reno, Nina Schofield and Mr James Bright.
The crowd went mental as I played. The vibe was great and I was pleased to see lots of dancing. A stark comparison to my gig at the Regal in Oxford.
The Drift Bar in Portsmouth was equally as fun. The night was put on by longtime fan and friend Iain. (So much of a friend that I don’t know his last name…who needs to when you’re on first name terms anyway!) Great sound courtesy of Joe (again…no details here). A wonderful night with extra special support from Peter Mosley, Damian Flynn and The B Of The Bang. And to top it off I managed to get some people to travel from the Isle Of Wight! None other than the maker of the best cheese in the world 2007! (I’m so going to track him down and request some free cheese!)
We then headed up to Liverpool for the last two gigs of the tour. I was supporting Noah And The Whale at Bumper. It was Halloween…let’s just say there were lots of crazy looking people…a few nurses too…not sure whether they’re meant to be frightening. I guess it’s all about context. For example if you knew a nurse who cut off your balls…that would seem pretty frightening!
It was a great gig. Lots of fun…met a lovely couple called Joe and Ali (I think that’s how you spell her name). They said they were just friends, but by the way they were going for it, they certainly looked like more than that…
We didn’t actually hang around for Noah and his peeps, although i did hear them do a good cover version of Kids by MGMT. We were too busy packing up the car and slamming our foot down. Had to get to Manchester and to my managers vacant house in Fallowfield.
We arrived at about three in the morning, bear in mind this place had been empty for a while. So no heating on for a while…it would probably be cold. PROBABLY?!! It was INSANELY COLD! I had to sleep in all my clothes, with my scarf on, in my sleeping bag with my coat over my head. I felt like I was in Withnail and I. You know it’s cold when you have to say it out loud to an empty room!
So after a frost bitten night. I emerged from my sauna-like cocoon and down to the shops where i proceeded to buy the essentials. Mainly coffee and milk, a few yoghurts for sustenance.
After a yoghurt or three and waking up properly, we headed out to the smaller of the Trof cafe collection. Indulging in a full fry up we discussed the heating situation the previous night. That over we realised it was 3.30pm and should probably think about moving on. Perhaps to the Venue where I was to play the last gig of the tour.
The Deaf Institute in Manchester. What a venue! Even my sound guy was special. None other than Sean (the drummer in Alfie!). A fun show with lots of my managers friends coming along to support. Maybe a few pints of Guinness were had…danger! And then the mandatory 4am curry as is tradition now, whenever i play in Manchester.
So that was it. I know this part of the tour diary might seem like I can’t be arsed to write it and that’s not strictly false…cos it’s already taken up a full month of my time and I’m desperate to do other things!
I had a great tour and it was cool seeing far flung places in the UK and meeting all the lovely people who lived there. I learned a good deal about what it’s actually like to play intensively for a month. Mainly that it’s very important to treat your voice like an instrument. Nothing frightened me as much as when I lost my voice on stage in Aberdeen. The only thing I could think of was how I would be letting down all the people who’d come to see me. Okay…on a few nights it might have been just a handful, but it still means people made the effort to come along. The least I could do was try and play well for half an hour. Not really akin to being a nurse or someone who actually works for a living.
I also know now why touring bands as soon as they load in to a venue ask ‘You guys got Wi-Fi?’
So “tired” rather than “emotional” is probably the most accurate word to sum up a month of touring (driving).
I wish I’d kept stats like Post War Years did on their tour, but I didn’t so here’s some crap ones I managed to rustle up for the 32 days.
3 cars (one Japanese, two French)
13 hours and 5 minutes spent on stage
20 lemsips sipped (approx.)
Innumerable amounts of coffee and fry ups
and the big one…
3836 miles covered
that works out at roughly 120 miles a day – which equals FUN