1st Day Jan. 20th- Travelling
I stayed up all night so that I may get some sleep on the plane, (of course that doesn’t happen cause lord knows that there may be snakes on a plane but ain’t no sleepin for me). Foggy, foggy day. I knew once i walked outside that the plane was probably going to be delayed. Sure enough we get to the Lambert airport there in St. Louis and find out the plane is going to be delayed for an hour. Then they say the plane has been re-routed to Springfield. then they say to Kansas City. Then they can’t tell us when the plane is going to be there. We finally get to board and find out that one of Ryan’s suitcases is too big. When we checked in however the ladies said “aw, na gohead sugga. you good”. So Ryan had to pay $50 on the spot to get his damn suitcase, (which later got lost in D.C). If you ask me some of these folks here at Lambert Airport are completely incompetent. I think i’d rather swim to the UK next time before i fly out of that heap.
Now on to more positive things such as everything else besides St. Louis Airport…..
Overnight Flight brings us to
2nd Day Jan 21st-Day Off
We get to London early in the morning. Gerrald or tour manager is there waiting for us. This man by the way is a legend. Comes from a family of tour managers. They actually take pride in it. He’s been doing it for 30 years. Best man in the business if you ask me. We than commence to driving to our bed and breakfast over in Wimbeldon part of London. We have the night off. We’re all delirious from, at this point, three days no sleep which led to a lot of confusion. Such as the cars on the other side of the road along with driver on the wrong side as well. I mean i’ve seen all this before but when you’re feel like you appear instantly into this other world it takes you a second to adjust. For me it took a couple days. but the overstimulation; slightly different culture, different roads, signs, and many other subtleties never really goes away. it leaves you exhuasted at night.
Anway so we’re in London. Never been there before. So Adam and I try and figure out how to get down to the city centre to see all the “touristy stuff”. We hopped on a bus and preyed for to show up there. Eventually we did with the help of a lovely Lebonese gal. That night Hoskins and walked around in the freezing cold enjoying the sites, i.e Big Ben, Parliament building and all the weird, winding streets. We get back completely out of our minds beat from walking and not sleeping. I passed out around midnight and slept for 14 straight hours. i can’t remember the last time i did that.
3rd Day Jan. 22nd-London, England-Brooks Blues Bar:
Wonderful venue accomodations. Got to the venue and got a huge burger with chips(fries) and a real English Ale. Let’s get on the record right now that people over there think Americans don’t know a damn thing about beer but here i’ll say that we have the best beer in the world. i mean in the states you can get pretty much any kind of beer you want and these days it could have even been made right down the road no matter where you’re at. In the UK there beers are all warm and kind of flat. i mean like there style of beer just i think they talk to much stereo-typical shite on Americans taste.
So we end up playing to a packed house. The boys got there introduction to the UK crowds which are very mellow. So mellow that you think that you are not playing well or atleast not grasping there attention which of course is a more important than actually playing well most of the time. I told the boys this and that you just have to ride it out and eventually they get into it. But if they don’t it doesn’t mean that they didn’t enjoy it, it’s just that they’re mellow man. I mean our kind of music doesn’t make it over there very often plus they’re just genuinely interested and attentive. So the first show was a hit.
4th Day Jan. 23rd-Topsham, County of Devon, England-Globe Hotel SOLD OUT
Freezing cold. Trying to drive the van in this little village. wow, what a pleasant nightmare. This really got to show off Gerrald’s driving skills. We were doing 9 point turns around corners, holding up local traffic, trying to get to the venue. So we end up making it to the venue. Realize there is no food or booze so we haul ass down to the Tesco(chain of awesomes convenient stores with the best pears, ready to eat right off the shelf) if only to get booze but also grab some bread and hummus. Play to another sold out crowd. Fantastically nice folks there. Drank a lot of ‘real’ English Ale. People again were very mellow but ‘got into it’ towards the second half when we played unplugged in front of the stage standing on chairs and e’rything.
5th Day Jan. 24th-Brighton, England-Prince Albert SOLD OUT
This was a breath of fresh air. Even though it was cold and rainy, (just like all of the other days), this towns personality shone through. Beautiful seaport town on the English channel or as the French call it La-Manche. Only 21 miles away is France from here and man was i choppin at the bit to get to those shores. i really want to go to France. someday i say. I walked around trying to find a pay phone that worked. Finally after a half an hour search i got to one and called my gal back in the states. Went to the venue around 5pm. (all load-ins, sound checks, start times and end times are all early so you’re back at your lodging by 1am at the very latest usually. Also, the longest set the venues ever call for are two 45 minute sets. so the longest you ever play in a night is a hour and a half plus encore. Happy to say the show was sold out but saw what appeared to be a lot of cool people outside who couldn’t get in. The show was great. No one made any noise until the song was over and then erupted. Sort of the opposite of a lot of places here in the states; a lot of noise during the songs and then crickets afterwards. We played two sets here and at the end of the second one we played unplugged. Ryan sang ‘St. James Infirmary’ to great success and i got a request for ‘Josephine’ which i haven’t played in a real long time. I guess i did allright. Hung out afterwards with some of the first young people we encountered at one of our shows. when you play folks clubs you play to a lot of older people but hey atleast theres folks there, know what i mean?
6th Day was OFF spent in Glasgow, Scotland in preperation for Celtic Connections Festival
Show up in Glasgow the night of the 25th to the hotel the will house us (and a lot of other festival musicians) for the next four days. We’re not in the hotel but 5 minutes when the fire alarm goes off. however i was in the shower and didn’t know so when i came out the room everyone was gone. Then i went into the hall and knocked on Joey and Hoskins’ room but no answer. Then i decided to go to the elevator and go down into the lobby but the elevator didn’t work. So i went to the stairs but it said ‘only open in case of fire’ but i said to myself ‘there ain’t a fire’ but then i went by the fire exit and it was wide open. so i walked it downstairs. just as i opened the door downstairs i about got tackled by a fireman. Him and a bunch of his cronies were asking me all kinds of questions like ‘where were you’? and ‘didn’t you hear the fire alarm’? what was funny was everyone from the hotel was standing outside in the freezing cold there listening to these fireman acost me. Friends of mine like The Wiyos and Dom Flemons from the Carolina Chocolate Drops were there laughing at the scene. When that got through i went over to the Wiyos and said hello. They apparently had just got to the hotel as well but had just been through a worse fate then myself. Delta Airlines lost Parrish’s guitars and smashed all of Michael’s harmonicas and junk percussion and here they get to the hotel to settle down after jet lag and there’s a fire alarm. they soon got in good spirits though the next day when Michael got new equipment and Parrish’s guitars came in.
7th Day was OFF spent in Glasgow, Scotland in preperation for Celtic Connections Festival
Pretty uneventful. just stayed around the hotel. the weather outside was cold and rainy.
8th Day Glasgow, Scotland-Celtic Connections Festival w/ the Wiyos @ Royal Concert Hall
Our first of two shows at Celtic Connections. This one we opened up for the Wiyos was nearly a sold out show of 500 people. Good amount of young folks in the audience which helped add to good energy coming from the crowd. We played very well that night and of course so did the Wiyos. Then we all did an encore together of 3 tunes which led to a standing ovation. The big crowd response was overwhelimingly gratifying. Great times and very nice people. That night went into the wee hours of the morning with us and the Wiyos playing music in the hotel. We damn near got kicked out of that hotel when it was all said and done. Big Times.
9th Day Glasgow, Scotland-Celtic Connections Festival @ City Hall SOLD OUT
This was a more intimate gig. we played in the Recital Room of City Hall. It was like a small cathedral in that the the roof was pitched and the windeows were stained glass. Also the room was just a big box. it looked like a little churchouse. The room was painted all white with pink and yellow christmas lights from the ceiling and bright blue lights from along the trim of the floor. It was a beautiful little room with a big sound. we didn’t need to plug anything in which was great. we just used mics. hell, people were really mellow anyway then they got into it 3/4 the way throught then we played unplugged for the last few tunes which drew it’s usual positive response. The show was over by 11 or so. Then we got shuttled over to the Royal Concert Hall to see if we could play a light night set for festival staff and musicians. but it was so packed with musicians waiting to play and drunks stumbling all over the crowd so we just sat int he lobby and drank Carlsberg beer. It’s slogan is ‘probably the best lager in the world’ which i would say ‘probably’ couldn’t be farther from the truth. It didn’t stop Churchmouse who proceeded to get tight as hell sitting there. He was getting a wee bit belligerent. Almost had to carry him out on a log. While we sat there though a lot folks were coming up to us with positive feedback about our Celtic Connections Festival. A couple of which were festival promoters and bookers. One of which we just got backed for next year: the Tonder Festival in Denmark.
10th Day Newcastle, England Jumpin Hot Club SOLD OUT
Back to England in the town of Newcastle. the home of Newcastle beer (which aparrently is only served on draft in the states. There it’s all in bottles and they re-use the bottles) and the Geordies which are the girls there. They don’t wear any damn clothes. A very, very mellow crowd until we got in the audience and played acoustic in front of the stage. After the show we found out that the van broke down. It took two hours to finally realize the damn thing was better off left on the side of the road. Then we waited for a cab to come and take us to the hotel. We got back there at around 1am or so so Adam and i though we’d go out and find a drink somewhere which is hard to do anywhere in the UK at that time since everything closes early. Then it started snowing the biggest snowflakes i’ve ever seen and it was piling up. But this didn’t stop the Geordies. I literally saw no one with a coat on; girls runnin around barefoot. We barely made last call at some dumpy “spanish” bar up the biggest hill in a metropolitan area i’ve ever seen. We walked up in this place and of course stuck out like a sore American thumb. I tell you it’s like people over there have never seen a hat before. Whether fedora, hamburg newsboy or what have you. It’s like a target for drunks. So i got one too many drunk English dude grabbing for it to were i almost got into a fight at this bar.
11th West Sussex, England Blue Coconut Club SOLD OUT
Perhaps the best show of the tour. Everything about this gig was perfect. It was like playing in big cozy living room with fireplace, couches and everything. The sound was extraordinary. We played very, very well i must say. Folks were so kind there we stayed there talking with them for hours. We look forward to returning there for next summer/fall.