U.S.A. Tour Diary – Springfield to Grand Rapids

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We’re en route to Grand Rapids, Michigan to play our first headline show in the U.S. The show is tomorrow night (tuesday). We don’t have the security of borrowing another bands crowd for this one so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that some people will actually show up – I’ll let you know. We’re now two weeks into our tour of the U.S. We’ve covered well over 3,000 miles already in our cosy splitter van but there’s many, many more to cover.

Since my last diary entry we played Boondocks in Springfield, Illinois. It started to snow as we pulled into town and would continue to do so the entire time we were there.
“You boys hungry?” Was our welcome as we slid open the side door of the van. “We got BBQ inside” we needed no more prompting and were soon tucking into beef brisket, pulled pork, beans and sweet potato until moving became difficult and a heavy, sleepy feeling came over me. All I wanted to do was lie down and fall into a blissful food coma but there was work to be done and so we dragged ourselves towards the stage for soundcheck weighing considerably more than when we walked in. Boondocks was a smaller, no frills venue compared to most of the others we’ve played so far but what it did have was a real sense of community. Everyone was very warm and welcoming, we had a great gig and we really enjoyed hanging out and chatting with the locals afterwards. So much so that we were amongst the last to leave the venue. We bid a fond farewell and exited into the snowy night.
When I opened the curtains the next morning, it looked like someone had painted the window white. There was literally nothing out there but snow. The scene was more Fargo than Narnia and rather than racing out to meet Mr Tumnus, I visited the fitness room along with Paul Sayer and Iain Graham to try to iron out our creaky van ridden bodies.
Next stop, via an absolutely titanic sized Walmart to buy essential supplies, was Peoria, an hours drive north of Springfield. Here we found a great coffee establishment near to the hotel that ticked all the right boxes – Moustachioed men in beanies, girls with tattoos, exposed brickwork, industrial lighting, a giant stuffed bear and serious coffee.  All our caffeine needs were fulfilled and we would revisit the next morning for fuelling up before our journey. Later we went out to gorge ourselves on 16oz Ribeye Steaks in Alexander’s Famous Steakhouse before returning to the hotel for some bedtime episodes of “House of Cards” and some lovely, lovely sleep. See you in Grand Rapids