SUNDAY 20th September
Hey guys, I thought I'd write a little something from my trips on this UK tour. I dont know how much Ill end up writing but since I brought my laptop I might as well do something with it right. Ryanair only allows me to bring 15kg checked in and 10kg handluggage. So I had a serious problem fitting everything. For the lugagge it was 5kg clothes, 5kg merch and 5kg instruments! Thats not much I tell you. Today we play at Cafe Oto in London. Chris and Bram had a gig yesterday, hope it went well. And hope I see you in Oto tonight!!
I arrived a little late at the Cafe Oto cause my host Derek had some pretty awesome sausages cooking on the backyard grill and I wasn't about to miss them! We also went to see a really nice view of the whole of London from a local church roof in Walthamstow. Amazing! You could see absolutely everything, people said it's better then the view from London Eye. I train'd my way to Cafe Oto and we shook hands with Chris Forsyth whom I'd never met before. He plays electric guitar in a really psych, controlled droney way. Later we were talking with Bram that theres a distinct New York sound to him. He even wears sunglasses that are identical to the ones Lou Reed used to wear. For my show I decided at the last minute to use the grand piano Oto has. After taking way too long soundchecking and leaving absolutely no time for Chris and Bram to do theirs I got my act down and it went pretty well for a first show of a tour. We went out to eat turkish meze and mixed kebab. Really really tasty stuff, not so good for my sleep though! I couldn't sleep all night, I was half kept awake because of the food in my stomach, the 50cm too short sofa, the bed that had steel wires poking on my back and a blanket that was made out of plastic it seemed (yes, I tried sleeping in two places cause I thought it was the bed keeping me awake - more likely Bram's snoring though).
We bolted away from London and headed for Sheffield after finding our rental car, just so you know Avis St. Pancras is not at St. Pancras but a ten minute walk from there. I brought my dad's navigator that we christened Nancy. She's been very helpful, only time she gets a bit confused is when there's new roads and Nancy thinks we're offroading. Thats alright though shell just be quiet and stay confused in her own world. If theres a construction though and the roads blocked she gets really upset and keeps on insisting on a u-turn. She expects us to just go her way no matter what. We have to divert her attention by driving a mile the wrong way until she stops asking us to ram the roadblocks and takes us via an alternate route.
We arrived in Sheffield at a venue called Shakespeare. It said Shakes Speare on the window as well, I don't know which was correct. To our luck we found a pool table! We had a few games with Chris. He beat my ass three times in a row, I did win the last game though, thats what counts right? Jon and Fiona, our hosts and the promoters of the night arrived and we got fed and soundchecked pretty quick. It was a very quiet night, only about 10 people or so arrived. But we had a good time and the gigs went well. I played a really mellow set. Chris went bonkers on his guitar and made these really high pitched roaring Vin Diesel sounds (of course I mean Yngvie Malmsteen!) So good! Bonkers! He uses a lot of whammy bar, a turbo rat and a fulltone octafuzz. There's lots of similarities to mine and Chris' music in my opinion, but performed from totally different viewpoints. We have similar melodies and droney bits. A bit of a anthem feel in it. It's the country thing, I bet you that! Sometimes I'm afraid if we'll play back to back it's gonna sound like were playing the same song twice in a row, just with different instruments!
After the show we drove of to Jon and Fiona's house. We got served wine and music. I went to bed early, blasted Dead Moon from my headphones and finally fell asleep.
Edinbourg here we come! The drive was amazing, crossing the border to Scotland was some of the most breathtaking scenerys I've seen. Unique and grand. Beautiful! Edinbourg was full of road works and construction so it took us a while before Nancy could get us to the venue. We played at Henry's Cellar Bar which was under a Chinese restaurant. A scruffy punky place with a good atmosphere. Nick who organised the gig had made us some home made pasta. He talked it down quite a bit but I thought it was good!
Glasgow was only an hour or so drive away so we got there early. We went to visit Volcanic Tongue and after hang out in a place called The 78 (I think...). Good tea and Chris and Bram tried a few locally brewed ales. We got to CCA and started soundchecking, CCA is a pleasure to play in, sound is always good and the soundguys are excellent and friendly. The promoters arrived and we decided to take the car to a parking lot for the night. We were just a block away from it and suddenly a police car blocked me and there was a very angry looking police woman with a pointing finger! She signaled me to stop and we rolled our windows down. "Wis thare a reason ye ran th' rid light?", she cried. "Sorry???", I was baffled, finally after a few repeated sorrys I understood that I had ran a red light. I asked if I should park the car (meaning just to pull over so we wouldn't block the traffic and they could ticket me), "A dinnae think ye kin fit thare", the male cop uttered. We were blocking the traffic and I think they got tired of repeating everything they said three times to me and they just left with an unintelligable "Be a bawherr mair canny whin youre driving a'richt". Whew, close call!
We walked back to the venue, had a nice salad and bread the promoters had made. There was a pretty interesting opening band as well. Lucy Duncombe and Kenny Wilson. They had built instruments from old grandfather clocks innards. They sounded really nice and looked amazing too. Chris played with his friend Fritz. Fritz was playing a saw and they got into a pretty dreamy territory. By this time I was sotthing my throat with a little more whisky so I was in my own dream world as well. I freaked out Bram a bit by telling him that a song he plays was better when he used a loop pedal to record the basic riff as opposed to using a sampler to play it from. I felt bad and I tried to make it up by saying it's not that bad you know, hahaha, pointless! But it turned out great cause he did a little neat trick at the beginning of the song, playing the basic riff a little before playing the sample so it flowed into the song really nicely and made it sound much more organic and lively. So my faux pas turned out not that major I trust.
After the show we took a taxi to our hosts Andreas house. Overlooking Glasgow roofs and situated at the middle of a semicircle street filled with five storie old builgings I was quite taken a back by the view. I told him but he said, "You're just drunk". Hehehe, it did look amazing in the morning as well! We listened to Bo Hansson and had a little more whisky and ate caramellized onion and vinegar chips. When do they start bringing this good stuff to Finland! We slept really well. Andreas provided me with the best sleeping bag I've used so far in my life. It was warm without being stuffy and no unpleasant zippers poking at you inside nor outside.
Now were up to date actually, Im writing this from CCA and we just had a little brunch, I got roasted vine tomato and basil soup and a hummus sandwich. We're off to Newcastle! See you there!!
We arrived absolutely on time in Newcastle. I’d been there before on the AIU tour and we managed to stumble on the same Vietnamese restaurant I ate in the last time. Little Saigon it was called. Very nice place, I tried to order us some starters but I don’t know my spring from summer so we ended up with the deep fried spring rolls instead of the fresh healthy summer rolls I actually wanted! I had lemon grass squid and it was so good! We really need a good Vietnamese in Finland too! Anyone!
The Bridge Hotel was our venue. I wonder why it’s called the Bridge Hotel? Cause it’s next to a bridge! It’s not really a hotel though, whats up with that, no consistency! Richard our host brought us some trash to snack on, he meant to bring us samosas but two plastic bags next to each other, big hurry… you know the story!
We had a really easy soundcheck. The sound was great and the sound guy very friendly and able. Later we found out that they had lugged the whole huge PA with them and took it all down after the show and lugged it right back down the big stairs. That’s such a hard job. The audience turnout wasn’t big but very enthusiastic . I think for me it was my best show so far, and Bram said the same. Chris is skyping opposite me, otherwise I’d ask him about his show too, but I’ll just go ahead and announce it was really good! After the gig we drove to Richards place for a few of those samosas that were really tasty, also had a beer and then it was time to crash. We had our first early morning to make it in time for soundchecks in Bristol.
It’s been a rare tour in the sense that we’ve arrived everywhere on time. We haven’t been late for soundchecks once. That’s quite abnormal actually. Ten points and a parrot badge for us as they say in Finland. The Colston Hall in Bristol is a huge place with loads of different venues inside the building. We were playing as a part of a festival called Dreamstates. The night was set up by Qu Junktions who also set up the whole UK tour for us. A big thank you to Mark for all the great work and to Rasha at who’s place we were gonna be sleeping. We had dinner at a place called Boerdeaux Quay that was pretty posh. The food was good and we shared a bottle of red wine.
Chris played a really good set. Bram and I were a bit disappointed. I for myself just didn’t find the mood I need to get into to find the right dramatic curve for the performance. I managed to recreate some of the moods from previous nights I played and managed it somehow. As a whole though it was slightly bland and scattered. It’s always kind of embarrassing when you feel like you’ve played not such a great show but get compliments from the audience. But like Bram said there’s a par that I’ve set and even if I go below that it’s still alright. Well, at least it comforted me at the time to know that some people did enjoy it.
The night was coming to an end and we realized we’d lost Chris. I looked from the foyer dance floor and backstage while Bram combed the dark venue. He found Chris sleeping on the cushy carpeted floor among the audience. We took a taxi to Rasha’s and stopped for some late night snacks at Rita’s, a very popular place judging by the fact that although it was a 5 minute drive from the Colston Hall we bumbed into quite a few people who’d been at the gigs as well. Rita’s was run by big old dirty men - of course. The amount of mayo they put on my chips was around the same amount I normally eat in one year. Luckily it had dripped to the bottom by the time we got home so I managed to eat a few chips with my mayo. Chris and Bram decided to visit the local pub Star & Gardner for one pint in hopes they’d see a bar fight or some other interesting national pastime activity. I wasn’t there as I was too knackered. But apparently even at 5am when they returned the bar was still going strong.
Our first free day! We took off from Bristol towards the “old country”. Everyone who’s heard we’re going to Cornwall has been outright shouting at us how amazing it is. It is the King Arthur area after all! We set up Nancy and she had no clue where we wanted to go, she did recognize our destination village Penryn but none of the streets we tried to hit her with. We decided to just let her guide us close by and figure it out later.
Tiff and Matt who organize the show housed us at Tiff’s parents place. An amazing house built in 1850’s or so. Like a combination between something in what a Hobbit would live and a summer cottage in Finland. It used to be an old mill and there’s still a huge rotating wheel on the side of the house. We got a very friendly welcome from everyone, including Cromerty - The Dog. An amazingly sweet Labrador who gave me a dog fever, that’s how cute she was. Tiff and Matt took us to the shore and it was a jaw dropping view. Huge pillars of stone rising from the Atlantic sea. Hundred meter high cliffs that you can walk one meter from the edge and get your vertigo high if you’re into that. A hundred seagulls flying overhead in front of the sun creating winged silhouettes. Matt and Tiff also told me that they actually jump of some of the cliffs into the ocean and swim there often with their wet suits. I really wanted to try that but my guts only barely grasped the idea so it has to be left for another time. We went to have lunch at a local pub restaurant and that I must say was the best meal of the tour. I had salmon with potatoes and it was amazing. Very tasty. A few beers at the local pub and off to bed.
Tiff’s mom made us a proper full English breakfast, bacon, tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms and eggs sunny side up. I tell you this place started to feel and smell of food heaven! We took a long walk at the seaside and had a little Guinness at the local pub. A little nap and off to the soundcheck. The venue was called Ms. Peapod’s a cool little café by the sea. The staff was extremely friendly and we were quite excited to be there. Usually when I talk with people about Finland I tell them about the nature and how nice it is. But this time I think the Cornwall nature is par to Finland’s. So if any of you Cornwall people want to visit Finland you must do it in the winter to get a little nature kick out of it!
We played pretty good gigs at Ms Peapods. Especially Ignatz really felt like one of the best shows. I managed to improve from the night before and Chris played a more mellow but a very intense gig.
A huge big thank you to everyone who made this tour possible. Hopefully we will see you all soon again!!!