So here we sit, on the hard shoulder of the M5 northbound with a flat tyre and no spare. It’s a cold, wet, dreary day and we may be here for some time. The Temperance Movement and rental vehicles do not appear to be good friends. This, however, has failed to dampen our spirits as last night we played the first show of our end of year tour in Bristol and were, once again, reminded of the reason why we endure flat tyres and broken down splitter buses to get to gigs. We continue to be overwhelmed by the turnout at our shows. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that we were wondering if anyone would turn up at all and yet last night I was looking out at over 1100 people. Thanks to all of you who were there last night. You made five boys very happy!
There was a feeling of mild anxiety yesterday after soundcheck as it had been a while since our last gig and we would be airing new, unheard material. Would the crowd like it? Would we remember everything? Would Paul’s pedalboard behave itself? Well, two out of three ain’t bad…the new tunes appeared to go down well and our memories served us correctly. We’re getting pretty excited about album two now as its starting to really shape up. The litmus test was always going to be how a crowd react to it at a gig and last night I don’t think I was alone in feeling a sense of relief when the new material was played and it felt really good. We look forward to you hearing it all next year.
We’re now in Gloucester. We were collected by a friendly AA recovery man and the car’s in the tyre centre receiving some new rubber. As we’ve been discussing our bad luck with vehicles and tyres in particular, we thought we’d compile a list in chronological order of our misfortunes on route to shows. Here it is…
1. Flat tyre – (Pauls old BMW) resulting in scrapping of vehicle in Glasgow and hiring a car to get home.
2. Tyre blowout as a result of entanglement with Swedish petrol pump. After emptying out entire backline to access spare tyre, we were soon on our way. The petrol pump unfortunately didn’t fare so well.
3. The worst splitter van hire company in Great Britain – Should really name and shame these guys or at least give them some kind of Award for having some of the shittiest vehicles in the country. A Splitter van hire company (name withheld) provided us first with a van with a sliding side door that wouldn’t close properly so we had to buy a padlock and chain to secure it whilst parked and physically hold it shut whilst moving. Then they supplied a second vehicle with the opposite problem. We couldn’t actually unlock the rear doors to get our gear in or out. This, coupled with the fact that you couldn’t wind the passenger window up once it was down and the unsettling clunking noise coming from the axle forced us to give the van back and look elsewhere at which point they refused to refund our deposit. Thanks guys!
4. Double breakdown on route to Hamburg – broke down not once but twice. Ended up arriving at the venue in two separate hire vehicles at the exact time we were due to walk on stage. Loaded in, did a gig and loaded out in 2 1/2 hours!
5. Transmission failure. Managed to drive for 2 1/2 hours without changing gear before breaking down 3 miles from the venue in Upsalla, Sweden. Arrived at the gig with the splitter on the back of a recovery vehicle. The breakdown vehicle driver stayed for the show!
6. Flat tyre – Italy. Limped into a tyre centre in a small town outside of Padua. Was closed for lunch but by communicating via sign language (we didn’t speak Italian, they spoke no english) they kindly agreed to fix our tyre in exchange for a CD and a T-Shirt.
7. Blown tyre – Damon on his way to the BT Sport TV appearance, run off the road by an impatient motorist. Tyre burst on contact with curb.
8. Yet another flat tyre – Luke’s slightly deflating end to our UK spring tour. (Apologies for the terrible pun)
9. Today. Flat tyre in rental vehicle on M5. No spare or repair kit. Fear not Manchester, we’re now on route!
Stay tuned for more inevitable tour mishaps!