Well I started writing this tour diary entry after the Berlin show and for one reason or another, didn’t quite get it finished so now you get a marathon diary entry stretching all the way from Berlin to Glasgow via Zurich, Vienna and Munich So make yourself a nice cup of tea and get comfortable, this could take some time!…
“Berlin is not a Rock and Roll town” we were told a while back. “Berlin is mainly House and Techno music”. Unfortunately the person who told us that wasn’t at our show at the Lido for if he had of been, we would have enjoyed watching him eat his own words. It was a raging fireball of a show and one that I think we’ll look back on as a turning point for us in Germany. The reason it was so good? We had a room packed full of people who wanted a good Rock’n’roll show and weren’t prepared to go home without one! A great show needs two key ingredients, a band and a crowd of people, and these two elements feed off each other. I think last night us and the good people of Berlin created a perfect storm. You know it’s a good show when you see not only hands in the air but feet too!
So after a sweaty hour and a half of escapism, it was back to the reality of getting ourselves to Zurich for a show the next night. Geography was working against us. We looked at various options of how to do this and get some sleep and none of them quite seemed to work without a splitter van capable of travelling at 540mph so we trundled off to Leipzig to catch a few hours of shuteye with the intention of hammering the rest of the way to Zurich the next day. This in theory would have worked fine but what we hadn’t foreseen was first getting pulled by the German Polizei and then held at the Swiss border by customs officers keen to know how many t-shirts we were bringing into their country so they could calculate how much to tax us. These obstacles meant that we arrived at Komplex an hour or so before we were due to play but in true TTM style, the gear was hauled into the venue and set up onstage before you could say “Edelweiss”. Pepper embraced the situation like a true pro as did Mr Iain Graham. We’re lucky to have these guys with us on the road. As much as we like to torment and take the piss out of each other, there’s also a level of respect as we know that when it comes down to it, everyone is capable of doing their job and doing it well. So, stand up and take a bow Iain Graham and James Pepper for making Zurich happen!
Another great night was had by all and it was off to bed with ringing ears for some well deserved sleep.
The next morning we found ourselves back in the splitter bus for another 9 hour drive to Vienna. A couple of Tarantino movies, a schnitzel stop and long periods of staring out of windows and we were pulling into Vienna just in time to grab some food and get to bed.
I would be sharing a room with Mr Paul Sayer. We had a pretty large room with a sliding screen that you could pull across for privacy. There was a king size double bed on one side and a single obviously intended for a small child on the other. Neither of us was going to volunteer for this one so we flipped a coin – I lost! Once we had settled ourselves in our respective beds. Paul in his palace of slumber, me in my tiny cot, Paul got up to go to the bathroom. I took this golden opportunity to hop out of my bed, stuff a large cushion under the duvet to make it appear as though I was still in it, and go and get in his bed and hide. Paul comes ambling out of the bathroom, chatting away to the large cushion under my duvet and pulls the dividing screen across behind him at which point I leapt out of his bed at him. Paul left the ground as though propelled by unseen springs in his feet whilst at the same time emitting a comedy “Aaaaarrrggh!” – being in his birthday suit made it even funnier! Over the next 24 hours we became like Clouseau and Kato, jumping out of wardrobes and from behind doors at any opportunity trying to scare the shit out of each other – This is what touring does to you!
The day of the Vienna gig we actually had some time to go and explore. Whilst wandering through the chilly backstreets of Vienna with Pepper, our directionally challenged guide, we were lured into an interactive photographic exhibition by a girl promising warmth and a free SD card. We didn’t need much persuading. The idea, cleverly dreamt up by Olympus, was that you take one of their cameras around the exhibition, photograph each other being idiots and take the results home on the SD card. This is exactly what we did and will post some of the pictures up for you in good time.
The rest of the day was spent eating sausages and searching for apple strudel before it was time to make our way to the venue.
We’d played the Chelsea in Vienna before. On our previous visit there were maybe 27 people in the room. This time however, there were considerably more – It had sold out!
We had some issues setting up for this show. Damon had his kit set up in an arched stone alcove alongside my bass amp which resulted in an excessive amount of bone shaking lower frequencies and not a lot else for him. We then moved the amp out of the alcove and behind Paul so he got all the bass whilst I, standing to the side of the amp, got none! However we tried, we couldn’t arrange the stage in any way to allow everyone to hear themselves properly. There was inadequate monitoring for vocals, the lights made everything buzz and hum. In short, it was fairly hopeless. Mr G did the best he could with the hand he was dealt and we went on stage with the attitude of “we can’t hear shit but let’s enjoy this one for what it is”. And what a show it was. Possibly one of my favourites. Hot, sweaty and loud! By the second song, Luke had jumped off the stage onto the bar for his guitar solo. As Damon said afterwards, “It was like Coyote Ugly in there!”
Back to the hotel, and after another night of checking in wardrobes and behind doors for Paul Sayer, we departed for Munich.
Our last show at Backstage sold out, as did this one and we’d been moved up to the larger room. We were quite excited about this one. It would be our biggest German show to date and we weren’t disappointed. The good people of Munich gave us an awesome night.
It was certainly hot in there. Kind of like Bikram Yoga but with a lot more noise, flashing lights, a crowd of people…and no yoga.
The morning after the morning after Glasgow…
I’m now at home. Life has returned to normal – or is normal life being on the road? I don’t even know anymore! What i do know is that despite the ridiculous amount of hours spent in a splitter van and the late nights and early morning departures leaving us all dazed and confused, this has been one of the best tours yet. The shows have been awesome and it’s been both encouraging and rewarding to see the crowds grow not only here but in Europe too. Glasgow was the perfect end to this small run of shows. A great, vibey venue with the biggest glitter ball in Europe and a packed house of beautiful Glaswegians happy to spend their tuesday night celebrating with us. Not much can be said of this show that hasn’t been said before of other shows but it rocked! Not being able to reach the bar this time, Luke scaled the p.a. for a guitar solo and Sally the Sunflower managed to hold herself together just long enough for what could have been her last appearance – who knows?
A big thank you to Pepper and Iain for being such stoic and capable companions on the road. Thanks to all the other cogs and wheels that make up this ambitious machine we’re building and most of all, thanks to you for giving us a platform. Without you, there would be no us!
We’ll be back soon…