We’re on our way to Austin, Texas, 1,000 miles away from Orlando, Florida where we played last night. We’ll hit Austin tomorrow night around dinner time but tonight our beds will be somewhere in Mississippi. If you look at our tour map HERE, you can see the red markers indicating where we’ve been. What at first appeared as a few pimples in the mid-west, now resembles a fully blown case of measles, spreading slowly across the country. We’re planning on creating a Temperance Movement epidemic!
Four days ago, we were in Columbia, South Carolina. The margaritas and moonshine from the previous night seemed to have left us relatively unscathed and we rolled into town in high spirits. Amazing what a good night out can do for morale! The feel good factor continued into Charleston the following day. The first thing we did on arrival was to locate food. We’re living a pretty basic existence on this tour. We wake, shower, find a Starbucks or coffee twattery, drive, eat, drive, load-in, soundcheck, eat, do a show, load-out, sleep and so the cycle continues. The three things we place high value on are : comfortable beds, working stage monitors and probably most importantly, good food. It has a profound effect on our day and when we stumble across a fine eatery, it generally makes the world feel like a better place. Sticky Fingers in Charleston was one of these eateries. Admittedly, one or two of us suffered minor adverse effects after too many ribs, chicken wings, beans and coleslaw but as for as BBQ goes, it was pretty damn good and set us up for the rest of the day. We had a little time to kill in Charleston so i set off in search of some clothes more befitting the current climate. One pair of shorts later i was walking up King St towards the venue. Charleston is a pretty port city on the coast of South Carolina and quality of life appears to be high here. There are cobbled streets, historic buildings, well kept gardens and amongst the friendliest people we’ve met so far. It’s all very idyllic and if i was told i had to spend the rest of my days there i wouldn’t be too upset. We notched up another great gig and, after a good nights sleep, set off for Daytona Beach Shores. Our hotel was a pastel-coloured, fifties built resort right on the beach. It looks like it was probably the hotel of choice in a golden-era now past but still seems popular today probably due to it’s affordability and bags of retro character. I was sharing with Luke in a room overlooking the garden atrium – an area that looked like it could have been the location of Wham’s “Club Tropicana” video.
There was no show that evening so the perfect opportunity for an early night – of course, the sensible among us did exactly this – Myself, Paul and Iain Graham, didn’t. We decided instead that drinking margaritas at the beach bar would be a better way of spending the evening. Margaritas seem to have established themselves as the drink of the tour but after a few of these, we decided to dispense with the lime and tripe sec altogether and opt for shots. We ended up involving several hotel guests in our brilliant idea which, upon waking the next morning, didn’t seem such a brilliant idea after all. I took my sore head next door to see if a cup of tea (tour tip for tea drinkers – bring your own tea bags when travelling to the States) and an omelette might make things better – it didn’t.
What did improve things was a dip in the ocean. We’d all left the hotel and found the ubiquitous Starbucks who are useful not just for coffee and blueberry oatmeal but for their free internet. At times it is the only place we can rely on for contacting home and video chatting with our loved ones. Once this was done, we hit the beach for some frisbee and a hangover busting frolic in the surf. Phil entered the sea and challenged the waves like Lieutenant Dan whilst myself, Luke and Paul dove through them like ungraceful dolphins as pelicans swooped overhead in military formation. For an hour or so, we forgot we were on tour and enjoyed the break from routine. As we’ve driven south, the routine seems to have relaxed a little, this reflects the generally more laid-back feel in the southern states but the time soon came to hop in the van and head for Disney World, Orlando, location of another House of Blues.
Iain Graham usually has an interesting way to describe shows and as he appeared backstage after the Orlando show his response was “That was nothing short of breathtaking lads, peoples brains were exploding everywhere!” It was indeed a memorable show. The crowd were fantastic and it was nice to hang out and chat with a few of them at the end of the night.
So, with Orlando done, another red marker is added to the tour map and we begin to head west. See you in Austin!