U.S.A. Tour Diary – Double Bill!

TTMTOUR DIARY18 Comments

Today you get not one, but two tour diaries for your reading pleasure. Myself (Nick) and Luke have both documented the events of the last few days in breathtaking detail so make yourselves a nice cup of tea and get comfortable. First up, Mr Luke Potashnick…

Denver and Lincoln and a day off in Omaha…

26 Feb 2015
Hey All,
How’s tricks?
Well, the Denver show was great – Colorado is a cool state and sort of a little out of place where its at geographically.  Grass is legal in this state and everyone is very open and proud about it.  Seems to work fine.
In fact, it has been fun playing with the front row honking every night so far – people are having a good time and reminds me of when people could smoke in venues in the UK.  A far sweeter smell than the B.O. thats floods Uk theatres now!
Anyway, we played a Fillmore venue that sounded just great from where we were standing.  Pictures of Bill Graham (the famous / infamous concert promoter) and other great acts to have played here crowd the walls.  And Chandeliers line the ceiling all the way back… Very similar in look to the Fillmore in San Fran.  Hopefully we’ll get to play there too sometime.
Load out was another freezing and snowy affair but we had an amazing and friendly local crew to help us.  People are really nice here.
The next morning we were taken out for a great brunch by our american label Concorde.  Brunch is taken seriously here.  This was a fancy Italian joint (listen to me!) with bottomless coffee, OJ and an awesome slightly over-zealous waiter who took us through the fine menu and his love of green.  It was a good chance to stock up on some quality food and celebrate our efforts so far.  Thanks Matt!
We then had a slow afternoon catching up on some sleep and reading – just enjoying being in one town for more than a few hours… Was still bitterly cold so there was little enthusiasm to search too far a-field.
A few hours later we were ready to eat again and were lucky enough to be taken out by our radio plugger here, who we’re already very fond of down to her brilliant work so far and moreover her wicked sense of humour.  She sure put us lot in our place.  Brilliant and terrifying in a good way.  Nice one Jill….
The meal was really good, Korean fried Chicken and Chinese Seaweed style Brussell Sprouts anyone?  It had been a good-food-day.
The next morning we got to perform in a studio full pelt for the Clear Channel radio network who are giving us so much support nationwide here (thank you!)…  We threw down some exciting versions of “Ain’t no telling”, “Only Friend” and “Take it Back”….  Fun interviews with Willy and Brad there too.
The drive to Lincoln was long (9hrs?) and dark for the most part – we had dinner at a roadside diner and got our first dose of the Nebraskan hospitality courtesy of Margot our waitress, and an sweet older couple on the neighbouring table.  Just really friendly and warm.  Though it was still bloody freezing outside.
Lincoln was one of the smaller places we’ve been too so far.  A slightly more rock’n’roll sounding room and the crowd were just gagging for it.  BMB, TTM and BBS all got a great reception – the place was charged.  A great gig and one of our first performances of “Modern Massacre” – a real smack in the chest.
We had a post gig evening of pizza slices, local ales and some friendly / semi-competitive table tennis in a great bar by the venue.  I’ve never seen our Tour manager Iain so alive.  Chinese style grip and everything… Misspent youth.
The next day we visited a music shop called Roots Music.  We hung there, Damon smacked snare drums in his endless search for downbeat utopia, Paul and I blasted various guitars and Phil played the theme from the Exorcist on some 80’s keyboard – every time round you could hear more detail.
I bought a little 70’s practice amp – it sounds great and will be the bane of every neighbouring motel room we stay in from now on.
Lastly, we had a day off in Omaha which was only an hour away.  Very cool place with a great Old Market part of town and some cool architecture – few beers, several old fashioned’s and a piece of “Cow” that they’re famous for here.  A truly great meal at the Boiler Room in case any of you end up here.  Oh and it was -16 with some wind chill on top.  Thought my ears were gonna drop off.  Aaaaabsolutely brutal.
Now driving towards our show tonight in Des Moins – can’t wait – we’re having too much fun up on stage at the moment!
Best to you all,
Luke

Lincoln and a day off in Omaha
Six road weary travellers rolled into Lincoln late on Monday night and crawled up to their rooms in the Downtown Hilton. Tuesday morning saw bright sunshine and temperatures that were almost springlike compared to the Siberian weather we’d been experiencing before. The morning off gave us a chance to take advantage of the hotel(s health facilities. Iain Graham and myself eagerly grabbed our swimming shorts and went to investigate the pool. Upon peering into the cloudy depths of the chlorine bath that confronted us, we decided the gym might be a better option. Spending countless hours in the van can take its toll on your energy levels and your posture so after 40 minutes of (frankly unimpressive) weight lifting we strode back to our room like a pair of self proclaimed gladiators. Our next stop was not a roman amphitheatre to fight lions, but local radio station KIBZ for a chat and a sing-song with a guy called Animal. I’m not sure if this was his actual name but he was a lovely guy and seemed genuinely enthusiastic about the band. It’s still blowing our minds that we’re over here doing gigs and getting played on the radio so thanks to Animal and all the other DJ’s who’ve been kind enough to invite us onto their shows.

So, onto the venue. By the time we’d loaded in, hung around for a while then soundchecked, i was suffering from a serious case of hanger. If you’ve not heard this expression before, it’s a combination of hunger and anger. The anger is just a symptom of not having eaten in a while and my slender body not having the reserves to maintain any kind of equilibrium. When i feel the symptoms (hunger, agitation, weakness and mild rage) begin to take hold, i have to find food as fast as possible for the safety of all those around me and any barrier encountered between me and food is met with snarling, disagreeable bad temperedness. It’s not a trait i’m proud of and i can empathise with Dr David Banner when he starts to feel a little moody, turns green and smashes up everything in sight. Thankfully, we found a Ramen restaurant two doors down and within seconds of the delicious hot noodle broth touching my lips i was restored back to my jovial, happy self and everyone could breathe a sigh of relief. Luckily, unlike Dr Banner, I don’t have to buy a new set of clothes after each hanger episode!
Paul and myself killed some time sampling tasty American ales next door before it was time to get our gear in place and make some noise. All our energies are focused into the forty minutes we have on stage and we truly unleashed the beast in Lincoln. Even if nobody had showed up, we would have had a great time. The fact there was a big room full of people sharing our enthusiasm made it pretty special.
Back in the bar next door and after a slice of Pizza we all got involved in a table tennis showdown. Luke Potashnick showed notable skill as did Paul Sayer but the surprise of the evening was Mr Iain Graham who dominated the table with his peculiar Glaswegian style of extreme combat ping-pong.
The next day was a day of leisure. We drove an hour to Omaha and pulled up outside a rather plush looking hotel. Surely there’d been a mistake. This didn’t look like the budget “Make your own waffles in the morning” kind of establishment we’d become accustomed to but Mr Iain Graham had performed some kind of tour manager voodoo to bag us a hotel that ordinarily would be outside our meagre budget. Nice one Mr G!
Myself and Mr G found a little Irish bar in a basement down the road where we drank Guinness, ate popcorn and chewed the fat before meeting the rest of the boys in a slightly trendier looking bar for a tasty “Old fashioned”, and from there, a restaurant that served us a fantastic Nebraska steak. It was a great evening.
Back in our room, Damon demonstrated his unique talent of watching cricket and a film at the same time on two laptops. I guess the left and right brain independence needed to play drums also enables him to concentrate on “American Sniper” and the Cricket World Cup simultaneously but my sleepy head struggled and I fell into glorious sleep.
What’s that I hear coming through the walls of Luke and Paul’s room in my semi-conscious state? It’s a guitar through a Fender Vibro Champ. Could it be..? No…surely not…Yes! that’s definitely “Sweet Child O’Mine”.
Luke’s had a good night then!
– Nick