Post-script: Parts of this blog may come across as bitching/complaining but I genuinely do not care. I'm of the opinion that if a band is mistreated it should be made known. Silence about the offence only empowers the perpetrators.
DAY 1 - NO SLEEP 'TIL BROOKEBOROUGH
Left for Belfast from Enniskillen at 1am with Ohmz. We were chatting about rockstar deaths and shit. What a fuckin exercise in futility were they. Also, keep being reminded of how deadly SOAD are, better check dis out latah. Got into Belfast with Paidy and Fro. Aidy is managing to verily consume a Muller yoghurt with no spoon?! "It's possible." Eventually got on the road, picked up Adam, lookin like a sleepy boi. Tom ninja'd us with time- note to self, never trust Tom. And never ask Aidy for anything. Ever. Had some cake before ferry. We managed to charm our way through security with a wee V for Visceral bribe to the security woman on the way in. "Do yous have Facebook or Twitter??" I wonder who in the UK doesn't have one of these. On the ferry I have a sneaky can of Carlsberg, things are shaping up preetttty nicely. Slept for an hour. Journey to Edinburgh was ok, totally enamoured by the fact we were in Scotland touring like. Came across a housing estate that never ends. I think it was around this point we dub our transport (which is a very snazzy mercedes van) the Big Fuckin Woman. Had some more delicious cake. Edinburgh! Fucking wrecked. Met Claire, got a fucking amazing breakfast (pancake maple syrup bacon egg) and go back to sleep. The craic. Drift off to sleep... wake up 1 hour later, Aidy is fucking snoring. Am I fuck sleeping beside him at all this entire tour. Can't get back to sleep- FUCK. Get up and get human again, sound check is at 6 and it's now just past 5, Tom's baking a cake, I think its time for a crust wake up call aye? I grab an acoustic guitar and play some Nuclear Death Terror over and over til they get up.
Writing this next day - got to gig half an hour late for sound check- not bad for the VA. The guys are impressed with the venue- its the Banshee and it's pretty cool like, there's actually a fucking poster, might not be as bad as I expected (I had searched for this poster and evidence of the gig happening at all online and all I could find was a poster of gigs happening for the entire month at the Banshee). This feeling is short-lived. We're greeted with the information that 3 bands have pulled out. Great. Due to the fact I couldn't find shit on the gig online, and 3 bands have pulled out, I get the feeling no one is gona show up, but we'll see. We're asked did we bring a kit because they don't think they have one, despite us being told there is one, albeit dodgy. Aw lads. Eventually after hoking about we find an old battered piece of shit kit... it'll do the job... pretty fucking annoying. But on the plus side the venue is cool and our soundcheck is clear as fuck so let's stick with that. Also the sound guy is super nice, brings us to a cheap place to eat. There's a girl working at the place so Tom tells her she should come to our gig. She apologises, saying she isn't off until 1AM, but we get a free milkshake out of it. YAS. After a while we head back to the gig and Dog Tired are playing to a room of like 10 people...... They're a good band, tight and heavy, kinda like a laid back version of Lamb of God. People nodding their heads. Adam wants to go write a set, I'm not fussed so he goes and does it. DT finish. Just wana get this shit over with. Also, I want to point out that the promoter (Neil Thomas) who put on this show is nowhere to be seen. We play, it's good, people dig it. There's only about 25 people there, but might aswell go mad. Sound was great, and the soundman kept coming over to listen and help out. What a lad. Wrecked after the set, go chill outside for a while and have a smoke. Chatting a few people, they loved it, real dead on guys. They say they were equally disappointed with the turnout, but they've only heard of the gig in the last few days. They offer to help us out if we're ever in Edinburgh again. I get chatting yer man who was on the door, he's awesome, was up for the last song going mad. Anyways, turns out that the sound man had pulled out too, and the guy today (who was brilliant, STEEDO!) was called in at late notice. What a fucking surprise. He tells me the band who pulled out said they didn't know they were playing until today, the day of the gig (Post-script: since emailing the promoter, he said that the band had all forgot they were playing that day. I don't know if this is true or not, I'll leave you to decide). The penny drops. I've been thinking of this recently, after our gig on Wednesday in Belfast. The sound guy was a complete wanker, at our album launch. He asked us "Is this your first gig?" with his snide fucking manner. These bad vibes and shit made us unwilling to ask fucking anything from him, which of course led to a bad sound for us that night. But my point is, why should bands have to put up with this shit? We're the ones investing our time and money and energy into doing this, I would argue moreso than others involved. Yes we need others to provide services like venue, promotion, sound etc but they need us to have a fucking business. And they make it seem as if they're doing us a favour. Now I don't mean all promoters here. A lot are friendly and helpful and good at what they do. Just the ones that do a shit job or are wankers I think should be avoided and boycotted and also recognised for who they are. I think this can only bring about a better, healthier music scene. I would encourage bands in similar situations to speak out about these kind of scenarios and not be afraid to do so- there are always other venues to play and other promoters who most likely do a better job.
ANYWAYS. That needed to be said. We chat and drink and hang about, go cruising about Edinburgh hurling abuse at people for the craic.
"You're a poser!!! Aw you're the biggest poser of them all" to the spidiest lookin guys ye could find. Buzz is well and truly on. Aidy freaks out at a driving near mishap- "AHH...FUCK!"
It's past midnight and now Adams birthday!!!... so we go to Claire's flat and sleep. PSYCHE. Stay up drinking and smoking and joking and eating cake at Aidys expense. Hilarious. Teddy bears were fucked. Faded REAL hard.
DAY 2 - BRODEEN
Slept so fucking good. Like 10 hours. Shower?! Yes?! NO. The water is fucking freezing. I'm pretty sure Omer used the last of it, pretty boyyyy. I suppose the sink will have to do. Crust, man. I find a sausage roll from last night that I stowed away which will do me for breakfast. The lads minus me and Adam go up town to get buns and be cool. We agreed to leave at 4. They have their buns and we end up leaving at 5. They think we're supposed to be there at 7pm thanks to me, but in actuality it's 8pm. Gona keep this to myself til we get there heh heh. Here- it's the only way man. 69 miles to go!! Next day writing this- Great night. Was expecting good things from Aberdeen after living there for 3 years and it delivered. The venue, The Moorings, don't do soundchecks, just linechecks, so despite the dodgy parking that literally smelt like a mixture of death and faeces around the corner from the bar we dropped our shit off and fucked off. Smooth. Parked the van and brought our bags as we're staying beside The Moorings in some guys flat, which is like basically a spot for any touring bands playing there to crash at. Running late enough, two bands on tonight including us, the first at 9, us at 10. And it's half 8ish. Hit up the Turkish kebab for some greasy spoon action and head to the venue. This is a bad idea. Heavy food before playing is not cool. I hope to fuck I'll digest in time for the gig. Kebab burps ALL the time...
Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet. Ah well. Meet a load of people I know and chat for a while. Decent crowd aswell. Thrashist Regime are on, doing what they do. The singer has a wireless mic and is cruising about and getting up in people's faces. Wish I had one :( good tight set, better standard than last night I guess. Old school thrash. Tom digs it. No time at all til we're on, I'm fucking psyched about playing. Teabags throws a shot of jäger my way, nice. Also the promoter is actually at this gig?? Fuck! That was sarcasm, directed at Edinburgh last night. So the guys set up and I remember the beer thing we've started doing for Eye of the Beerholder and go grab two cans. We're set up and ready to fuckin GO! Then something reminds Aidy he needs to shit. Fucksake. Set starts well. I love Reroute your Flute as an opener. Usually we mix into VA day but not this time- there's a major fuck up with Aidys amp. Well not Aidys amp, the amp at the venue he was using. It was apparently acting up recently and is just fucked (Post-script: I've just been told by Aidy that it was in fact 2 heads that broke. The first went, then they substituted it for another, when then broke, in quick succession). I keep the crowd entertained as best I can, use any and all stage banter without being a dick (suuuuure) and resort to making sex noises. The comedy stylings of chupacabre. FINALLY after 10 minutes and the help of a great soundman, the problem is more or less resolved.
Finally, a band photo!
Aidys sound is not great, a bit muddy and lacking clarity, not thin enough, but it's too far gone now so we bull on ta fuuuck (found out later that during the entire rest of the set the sound guy had to watch Aidy for when he was doing a solo and boost his levels and add a bit of reverb haha). As energetic as possible. I swear people get scared they'll get hit (by me) or some shit, I dont blame them but everyone likes a mad crowd. I catch glimpses of people's faces and they like it anyways. Teabags remarks on the Semtex stains on our jeans. I warn him this whole place is rigged to blow. I'm telling everyone sitting at the back to go fuck themselves, at least I'll have some effect on them.
Pretty sure this is me eyeing up the ones at the back before telling them to fuck off. The bastards.
Done. Only after did I find out Ohmz bass wasn't plugged in at the start of it haha (and it's a bass intro). Buzzed. I fucking loved that set, and all the lads did too. Ohmz first words after the set are "Let's go eat some cake man."
Just look at the smile on Adam's face. He loved it.
We get our freak on, do some tequila, it's fucking disgusting. Band discount at the bar is awesoooome though. We party for a good while, The Moorings stays open and serves drink til 3AM. After such a great night, SOMEONE felt obliged to leave their mark.
To whom it may concern: Fro's sorry.
I found a McDonalds at some point in the night, unopened complete with drink and completely unattended. What a find. We stay at a guy who works at the bars flat. It has 3 bunk beds so we get a bed each, fuckin luxury, man. We're told that one room is off limits... it's like a big-red-shiny-button-saying-do-not-press on it scenario. Enter. The scary door. A lot of weird happenings. Tom's wasted. We go to sleep and wake up to catch the chick opening the bar so we can get our stuff.
DAY 3 - SCUMDEE
Find a wee cafe place for some food which turns out to be awesome. Before leaving Aberdeen we stop off at the beach. It's a shit day, cold and rainy, but there's cake and it's still a pretty epic view.
No place like home. Except for ALL of Scotland.
We arrive at Dundee at the Beat Generator. There's a good few posters outside the door and bands are turning up now, plus the venue looks pretty sweet inside so it looks promising. We meet the promoter Phil, who's a complete fucking legend. He's super impressed with the BFW and we chat about it and shit. Also, he's sporting a tricolour patch on his jacket which always goes down well with us. Phil heads off to tesco to grab food and drink for us for later, we leave our shit inside the venue (hauling bass amp, guitar combo, marshall head, drum breakables and instruments up like 4 flights of stairs) and check the place out. We have like our own band room kinda job which is deadly, it has a kettle and a fridge. Some guys are doing cartwheels in their underwear in the band area- fuckin losers. I get the feeling that the scene is gona be hardcore orientated and a lot of posers but hopefully the other bands will draw in a crowd. Soundcheck goes amazing, the sound is near perfect and it's done painlessly. Whilst we're doing that Phil offers to set up merch for us. Oh Phil! Quick job. We go in search of Dundees infamous helicopter burger that I've had before but fail. I ask a guy on the street if he could show me where it is and he says he will if I buy him something. I laugh. He insists on me buying something. I tell him nah, he's alright. Fucksake. No shame man. Get another fucking kebab. Kebab, cigarettes and beer. I need a new body or some shit, this is not a desirable lifestyle. Bands have started. I go check them out, good enough. There are barriers at this venue between the crowd and the band, I don't like that shit. A stage is bad enough. Meh. We decide not to play last as the band Drawn to Ruin are apparently big in the local scene so people should hang around until them... or at least that's the plan. The band before us are playing and there seems to be a good amount of people and hopefully more to come. We wrote a set and sort our shit and start setting up. The room has suddenly emptied and most people have fucked off. What the fuck. We stall for a while. It's so fucking annoying like, we make the effort to come over here to play music to you and you can't fucking be bothered to see us. Like when I'm at a gig, even if I hate the band most of the time I'll move to the front to support them. Maybe it's because I know how it feels. I guess everyone is friends of friends and all that shit (in the not good way), clicky as fuck. Pissed off we blast through the set, it goes well and it's tight and sounds good. Adam at one stage during a song walks into like a side room and plays the rest of the song there offstage haha. Good enough craic but I have no want to interact with the crowd that much except to swear at them occasionally for sitting at the back and shit. There's a few people at the front who are enjoying it. Whatever, we finish, singer from Drawn to Ruin says he enjoys it. He's dead on like. I go outside and smoke. Catch the Drawn to Ruin set. Again Lamb of God orientated. What is it with the huge amount of those style of bands these days? They actually cover Ruin though which is pretty sweet. Sell a few bits of merch and stuff. Hanging about afterwards and Adam comes up to me to inform me we got paid £10. I'm in disbelief. The sound guy cost £100 apparently. This leaves a fucking horrible bitter aftertaste. What the fuck is the point? No wonder music is shit and unoriginal in the UK. No wonder people sell out. Why have people became scared or intolerant of individuality, which is really what the underground scene is supposed to be about. It seems as if it's all about what "I like" and that's it. I know this has nothing to do with the promoter himself as he can only do so much, it's up to the people to go. It's still despicable. It shows a real lack of community in the scene and it's very disheartening from a band perspective despite the compliments and all that shit. But it's a lesson learnt gained from the experience which we otherwise wouldn't have to the same extent.
Anyways, we walk about Dundee and chill for a while then head back to Phils. Semi-party going on with some beers for us. Phil cooks an amazing pasta concoction for us which is delicious. Chatting Phil it turns out he has been to Enniskillen and played in Blakes in his band Threshold Sicks. He knows a good few enniskillen bands and even knows the guy VA recorded their demos with before I joined. He tells us a story about said guy involving swamp crabs and lobsters which we all find amusing. It's a small world. We stay up late enough chatting and smoking and drinking and eating cake til life's cool again, then we fade.
DAY 4 - GLASGAY
More like Glasawesome. We wake up in Phils, sleep was deadly. Pretty sure one of the girls in the flat was searching for something in the room when we were passed out semi naked. Awkward. Phils up in his awesome poncho/towel combo and ready to make us a fry. What a hero. He's been such a great host and all round nice guy. This is how promoters should be (despite the poor pay last night, but it genuinely wasn't his fault). We give him a tshirt and CDs and shit and Tom sneaks off to get him a bottle of JD. He tries to not accept it- as if! It makes me think that from the process of touring all you're trying to achieve and spread around is reputation, and the financial means to do so. At least if we didn't achieve the latter we got the word about and can vouch for the right people and slander the ones who deserve it. Oh yeah, so it turns out we forgot the box of CDs in Aberdeen :( and my beers!! CDs I could live without but that's just too far. After saying our goodbyes to the legend that is Phil we bounce on to Brodeen pick up our shit and we're now on our way down to Glasgow. Epic journey. Amok and Citizen Death are playing tonight- thank FUCK for no death metal and hopefully a thrash crowd. The promoter emailed me today saying there will be a good turnout. I hope he's right. My throat is very fucked. Strepsils all the way. We're an hour behind schedule and the lads want to stop for some cake. Nae happenin min. Sicken. I'm now writing this post-tour and it's all very fucking hazy. You'll see why. We get to the venue, it's called The Bay, no one's heard of it though it wasn't hard to find thanks to sat-nav. It's a cosy wee venue tucked under a building below street level. The layout doesn't seem ideal for a gig with single glazing windows and the soundman beside the band, but I've stopped caring about problems.
It's our last show, thrash bands, let's fuck shit up. We scope it out and then I decide to run off and get something to eat on my own. I do this because I know I am more efficient alone and want to catch Citizen Death's set. It's Easter Monday and the only place I can find open is McDonald's around the corner. A friend of mine used to say about these places, "you go in there hungry..." *finishes burger* "and ye come out shtarvin". He's not that wrong. Make it back to the venue before anyone else (they're even using the van like) and get in a few beers which are cold and mega delicious. Citizen Death are great, very interesting with a lot of unique shit, they even do a changeover between drummer and singer. Amok are on and from the start I think their sound was shit. I don't know what the fuck the soundman was at. It was WAY too fucking loud. After a while I literally had to stand outside til they were done. The guitarist looked as if he was in pain during the songs haha. The soundman was old enough so maybe he was like some fuckin knarly 60's hippie guy who listened to music too loud all his life. Either way I doubt he could hear shit up at the front beside the band. It's a shame because Amok are a good band and I can see they play very tight, they deserve a better sound. We're on so I immediately go the sound guy and tell him to turn everything down. EVERYTHING. I should have done this before I know but I really didn't think at the time. The set goes well yeah, it's a confined space which I hate but hey, it's better than a stage.
This is usually how photos of us turn out. The blurred black silhouette is me.
Sums up the entire night.
I ring my girlfriend and tell her I miss her 133%, I call Adams girlfriend by the wrong name, and call her friends brother her girlfriend. Fuck I'm cool hi. I guess we said goodbye somewhere along the line, but the staff and people at The Bay were amazing and it was a great night. I fall over a lot and sleep on Tom's shoulder on the way to the flat we're staying in. I'm too drunk to consider dreading tomorrow. Probably carried to bed. Take it sleazy. And I'm out.
DAY 5 - EÍRE
Well that's it. We wake up ridiculously early to get the ferry. I'm hungover as fuck. I recommend that anyone arranging such ferry times, especially when on a tour, wise the fuck up, and book it at an evening time. Everything on a ferry is riciculously expensive. "Tea? Coffee?" they ask with a smile. Tea would be great thanks. Oh, guess what, £1.65. Ye BASTARD. DIDN'T YE?!?
All in all it was a great learning experience, and as I said before it taught us who we will deal with and who we won't. At the end of the day, you are at the mercy of the promoter as a touring band and have no choice but to trust their word lest they sign a contract or some shit... actually.. might not be a bad idea haha. Well that's all, hope you enjoyed reading this whoever you are, and hopefully it was some form of insight into touring. It's not all about partying, especially when you have no manager etc, there is a lot of responsibility and hard work that I think unless you have experienced it before you don't fully appreciate. There is also a lot of partying. Haha. I you have any issues with anything I have said, take it up with me personally, not the band, and I will explain whatever it is. Also, for the photos of the gig in Aberdeen, all copyrights go to Andrew Kelly. Thanks for reading. Peace.
For added gayness.