U.S.A Tour Diary – Green Bay to Madison

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We continue our erratic exploration of the United States past thawing lakes, melting mounds of snow and sun-kissed cornfields. Spring has arrived! Yesterday, the temperature definitely qualified as warm. No longer are we shuffling about like frozen penguins and I’ve cast off the arctic survival parka that made me look like Kenny from SouthPark. Strolling around Green Bay after soundcheck yesterday and feeling the sun’s re-energising rays has filled me with vigour. Judging by Phil Campbell’s performance last night, spring has had the same effect on him. The Meyer is a beautiful old building that reminds me of the theatres I spent a lot of my childhood in when my Dad was musical director for summer variety shows and Pantomimes – a quaint old british theatre tradition probably not found in the U.S. Based on crazy fairy tales, Women generally play the lead character but dressed as a boy and men dress as matronly women with over-sized boobs. There’s usually a couple of people in a horse costume and always a villain lurking in the background. Kids seem to love it and are encouraged to scream “He’s behind you” whenever the villian enters the stage – Bonkers! Anyway, venues such as the Meyer are great for a bit of light hearted entertainment or a play where un-amplified voices need to be heard but when being built, the architects probably weren’t envisioning a future with Paul Sayer’s guitar amp throwing out face-melting volume or my bass amp shaking the buildings foundations. As a consequence, the sound on stage seemed odd as though, in protest, the room was acting as a big volume sponge. In some ways this was a good thing as hearing our own backing vocals suddenly became possible. In addition to this, for the first time on this tour, we experienced a seated venue. From where we stood at the side of the stage before going on, it looked as though the audience were making themselves nice and comfortable for a showing of “Driving Miss Daisy”. Phil Campbell was having none of this and as we tore into “Ain’t No Telling”, he became a demented blur of arms and legs bouncing around the stage like a Super Mario Bro™ collecting golden coins. My level of respect for Phil as a performer went up a level last night as I’ve never seen someone work a seated crowd quite like he did the Meyer theatre – needless to say, the majority of the audience didn’t remain seated for long. We were about to segue into our last tune when we noticed Iain at the back flashing his torch and waving his arms wildly. We’d run out of time, had to abort “Take it Back” and exit the stage. Sorry Green Bay, we’ll come back and play it another day.

This morning, we drove to Madison first to visit Radio 1055 Triple M. They’d kindly laid on a vast amount of pizza for us and in return we performed a few acoustic tunes in their boardroom. The goal, obviously wasn’t just free pizza though but to endear these lovely folk to five charming young men from the uk in the hope that they’ll get behind us in our campaign to dominate the American airwaves! Rome wasn’t built in a day and i think we laid a foundation this morning. Thanks guys, you were wonderful hosts.
As we’d arrived 15 minutes early for our appointment, we took the opportunity to throw a frisbee around in the lovely spring weather. Whilst we frolicked in the car park, the warm sun shone down on large piles of remaining snow, melting them into large puddles. Upon attempting an ariel catch from Luke, i fell sideways into one of these puddles much to the amusement of everyone watching. I entered the radio station a little soggy.
It’s now 8.00 pm and we’re in our dressing room at the Majestic Theatre in downtown Madison. Muddy Waters is providing our warm-up music, it’s a cool, vibey little venue and we’re eager to play. I’ll let you know how it went.