Sunday, 27 September 2009

And So I Watch You From Afar: September Tour Diary

Early on Wednesday 16th September the band, myself (Graham) and Brian met up in Belfast, fresh faced, bags full of crisp clean clothes, and a sparkling new tour bus. A rather sexy red bus with bunks to comfortably sleep 7 people (or 11 people in cramped conditions), two tvs, xbox, dvd player and, the ultimate, mirrors on the roof. We are incredibly proud of our new investment.

We have a problem though. The van does not yet have a name. I think you will agree a band van without a name is almost as horrific as never giving your child a name. In fact some may say it is worse. This is where you, our lovely lovely friends, can help us out.

Name our van for us please. We will go through all your suggestions and whichever name we choose will get guestlist to any gig you choose, a free t-shirt and maybe even a beer from our rider (depending on how many beers we have on the night / how many Johnny decides to drink).

So, after making a short detour to pick up a huge order of new shirts we drove to the Ferry and headed over to England. We then should have an uneventful journey to Exeter but our Sat Nav decided that it would be a good idea to take us through the middle of the Snowdonia Mountains. In the pitch black. In a new and quite large van. I am sure the scenery is stunning during daylight, but at night it just made for a rather horrible trip with several cases of travel sickness (no puking in the new bus, fear not). Eventually we arrived at our destination and bedded down into our fresh smelling bunks for the night.

Our first date of the tour was The Cavern in Exeter. The first show of a tour is often riddled with problems but this did not seem evident at all and the band and crowd seemed to enjoy the show.

The day after the Exeter show was a day off. That's right people, we did one show and then decided we needed a little holiday. This consisted of a short drive to sunny Bournemouth where we went to the house of the Uncle and Aunt of Chris the powerhouse of a drummer in ASIWYFA. To say we were well looked after would be a gross understatement. Steaks, BBQ, wine, Jack Daniels, beers, cigars, comfortable beds…followed by a fine breakfast in their beautiful back garden. We could get used to this. But we are on tour for a reason and that reason is not to be pampered. On no no no. That reason is to ROCK / RAWK.

So, we left our lovely hosts behind and headed to Portsmouth for the Southsea Festival. As we were headlining one of the stages it meant a long day of waiting around but luckily the sun was out and their were plenty of good bands to see. Showtime arrived and we entered what is possibly the warmest venue this side of hell. It was a great show but the heat did leave us all feeling incredibly drained.

And then, we had another day off. Because we are lazy.

Monday was the Barfly in London and boy it was a good one! A large appreciative crowd left laden with new t-shirts and CDs. Tuesday was Norwich where we played to a smaller crowd but we all enjoyed the show a lot... most importantly we resisted the urge to quote Alan Partridge. It was incredibly difficult to resist this, due to the fact Partridge DVDs have been playing in the bus constantly since we left Belfast.

Touring is a series of ups and downs, swings and roundabouts. A few good shows, a few not so good shows - not necessarily terrible but not the best either. This was the case for our gig the following night in Oxford. The band played an average show. Not terrible but not great either and for a band like ASIWYFA, perfectionists, average is just not good enough. Their were various small reasons behind this (guitar problems being one of them) but the main reason was that we have discovered a fault in our otherwise perfect new van; the damn petrol gauge is hugely inaccurate.

We ran out of fuel in the middle of a motorway. What followed was an almost 4 hour break, the details of which are incredibly dull so I will not bore you too much. The point is we arrived too late to soundcheck.

A soundcheck is just as the name suggests - it is a period of time several hours before the doors open to the public where the sound is checked to see that all instruments can be heard clearly by audience and band members alike. Even the best soundman and most professional band will struggle to play a good show without a soundcheck. This was the case in Oxford. So, what followed was an average show.

The Barfly in Cardiff on Thursday was where we really picked up again. It was agreed that it was up there with one of the finest ASIWYFA shows ever. The band and the crowd were firing on full cylinders and after a lengthy encore the band spent a long time at the merch table meeting the fans, old and new.

At the beginning of next week we will be putting up a short video from the tour so far and by the middle of next week their will be the first of the band blog entries, written by Mr Tony Wright. We will also post a blog soon with answers to your many questions to the band - email us with any other questions you may have.

Keep any youtube clips, photos, questions for the band or blog suggestions coming in.


No comments: