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

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
2015-03-03T15:38:02+00:00March 3rd, 2015|

U.S.A. Tour Diary – Des Moines and Minneapolis

I mentioned the other day that we’d had some warmer weather in Lincoln. The sun smiled down at us, birds began to sing and newborn lambs frolicked in the lush green meadows of Nebraska. Well that momentary glimpse of springlike fantasy has now been cruelly snatched from us and we are now back to eyeball freezing sub zero temperatures that no living creature in its right mind should attempt to go out in. My testicles have retreated north to warmer parts and are unlikely to reappear until late April and I’m currently scraping ice from the inside of our van window. Despite this, as we walked to Zombie Burger in minus 21 last night, I encountered a lunatic in a T-Shirt strolling along like he was on a beach in Maui. Crazy!

We’d just completed our load-out of the venue in Des Moines. Because of the size of the backstage area at Wooly’s, we had to get all our gear off-stage and outside into the tundra to get it all back in cases and into the van. James Pepper, if you are reading this, just know that it’s at times like this that we really, really miss you!
As space is at a premium, the pack needs to be carefully thought out and each night becomes more refined. It’s like a giant game of Flightcase Tetris. Last night we possibly reached van packing Nirvana. Never before have we fitted so much into so little space.
So, onto Zombie Burger we went. We’d been recommended this place by someone on twitter. I probably didn’t need to order that second burger but It was pretty damn good!
We all went out front to watch The Ben Miller Band last night. This trio of talented dudes play deep Americana roots blues music using guitar, banjo, one-string washtub bass, spoons, electric washboard, trombone and a drumkit. I suggest anyone who gets the chance to see them live should do so. They’re awesome. It’s totally mind blowing how Scott can play basslines using one string attached to a stick on an upturned washtub and be able to accurately pitch the notes by moving the stick backwards and forwards. Plus, the sound that comes out is a deep subsonic thump that the Prodigy would be proud of. It makes me feel like I’m cheating with all my frets and four strings!
Thanks to all the people of Des Moines who came to see us or didn’t come to see us but clapped and shouted in all the right places anyway. We have to namecheck Kenny Champ at this point. A young man with a winning name. He’s showed up at Kansas City, Lincoln and Des Moines, bringing his mates with him. Dude, you turned the vibe of the room up to 11 and we salute you. Nice one Kenny!
Next up, Minneapolis. We played at First Avenue, a legendary venue and the location for Prince’s “Purple Rain” performance in the movie. The show was amazing. The Minnesotans were a feisty bunch and brought out the best in us. A headline show for TTM at First avenue is now on my bucket list. We didn’t get to spend a lot of time in Minneapolis unfortunately but it will definitely stick in our minds as a highlight gig.
Many thanks to the lady who gave the postcards to Phil to pass onto me. Very kind and much appreciated.
It was a super fast load out and pack for as we had a three hour drive to get us part way to Springfield, IL for the next show. See you there!
2015-03-01T01:06:34+00:00March 1st, 2015|

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