Music, Guinness and Dinosaurs
Yesterday, I got home from a week long tour with Audiokicks and I think I speak for all four of us when I say that, although our bodies are glad to get back to normality, we'd have loved to keep going. Returning the rental van, which we named Betty for reasons unknown, and unpacking made me very aware of how good last week was and how lucky I am to be in a band that gets on as well as we do.
On Monday, we set off from Aberdeen to Manchester in a van loaded with drums, amps, guitars, merch and sweets and the closer we got to Glasgow, the more it started to rain. Ready to blame this weather on Western Scotland, we would come to learn that it would follow us for the full seven days. Regardless of how sunny it was when we looked out the window in the morning, it would be sure to rain once we stepped outside.
On a six hour car journey, conversation goes to a strange place. How many sheep are there in the UK? What's your favourite dinosaur? What's your favourite biscuit? What beauty standards are highland cows judged by? We learned a lot about each other and googled some things none of us had googled before. In Manchester we stayed in a hotel called Ram Lodge, which can only be described as prison like, with a shower I felt cleaner avoiding. We played in a vegetarian café called Fuel that night, where we also enjoyed the best food of the tour. Recommendations include the halloumi fish and chips and the breakfast fajita (I could not stop talking about how good that fajita was and quickly learned I was the biggest eater of the group). Manchester provided the most questionable accommodation and the smallest crowd. It provided the best food, and the first of many pints and late night conversations.
There's something to be said about playing to a tiny crowd (read the sound guy, the other band and two other people). We listened to bands and met musicians we would never meet otherwise and we got to do what we love every night. We got to create something. There's a quote from the film "Fighting with My Family" that goes something like "If millions of people aren't watching, it doesn't mean it's not important." Playing to a small crowd made me aware of how much I love just playing, regardless of who's listening. I love that atmosphere and the sharing experience of a bigger crowd, but there was a moment of contentment in Manchester where I realised how much I love simply playing.
Tuesday took us to Leeds, and we had the most fun playing there. None of us are sure why, although the local porter "Taddy" might have something to do with it. There was dancing, banter, great bands and many more pints to be had, rounded off by the most amazing late night take away pizza. I think Leeds was where we discovered none of us like going home before closing time. We also had the greatest bagels and an impressive game of Jenga in a café called The Doghouse. Turns out we all rule at Jenga.
Next up was Glasgow and the lack of sleep started to take hold. It didn't stop us from playing our third night of tour and enjoying another few rounds of beer and excellent company. Conversation brought us to morning time and we also had our third and forth days of rain. I learned my lesson not to point out when the sun comes out. It scares it away and brings out the grey clouds as it turns out. I also learned I have terrible taste in pizza toppings and cannot eat a meal without spilling on myself.
Edinburgh, Dunfirmline and Inverness followed with more delicious food, many more pints of Guinness and many more favourites to be discussed in the van. Loading, unloading, sound checks, check ins and check outs, miles and miles of road and lots of sheep along the way, I didn't grow tired of it. I mean, I was tired, but that was more due to copious amounts of alcohol, and not such copious amounts of sleep. Late night conversations, carrying amps through cobbled streets, the desperate search for the next cup of coffee. At the end of this tour, I feel I've found my place. I feel I'm part of something special. And with Guinness, dinosaurs and first class dancing in mind, what can I say but let's do it again.