Fark! It has been a long time since getting a chance to sit down at a computer to hack out another blog of the tour so far. We have been pretty streamlined in terms of the touring party. Just the 3 of us and Logan - this is the same crew as the first big tour we did back in the summer of 07/08.
Friday 7 January – Te Anau, Red Cliff Café
I remember we left Dunedin in a blaze of hail and wind and showers. We were muttering all the way out of town how shit the weather is and that it was going to be better the further away we got from the place. We weren't disappointed upon arrival in Te Anau for the first LOR show of 2011 (after PHAT 11 on new years day). Callum's trumpet had also been couriered from Nelson after he left it @ Phat - hacka!
We had a brilliant game of drive back after line check which Logan and I won.
Red Cliff to me is one of the most enjoyable venues in NZ to play at. This time was no different. Amazing staff and bands are always looked after. There are always sexy new bar chix too. It held special significance also as it is was Metz 25th. We played 2 sets and enjoyed a packed house - heaps of great cats there. Its fair to say we were very sick men the next day.
Saturday 8 January - Revolver 2.0, Queenstown
The less said about this show the better. PA was terrible. Ghetto Blaster (support act) were choice. We played pretty sweet considering the shocking onstage sound but stayed in some wicked accom. I think we were all feeling the effects of the night before also. Thanks to the cats that came to the gig :)
Sunday 9 January - Hawea, Lake Hawea Motor Inn
A wicked afternoon show in brutal central otago sun. We arrived at Hawea after lunch and decided we were going to set the gears up on the lawn. A 6pm start and a 9pm finish. Metz warmed up the sunday arvo crowd with an acoustic set whilst Kieran, Lagahn and I enjoyed some hoprocker on tap in the bar. We played two sets - at half time some of the locals came up and let us know that we'd managed to clear the outdoor bar area as our music was shit. This wasn't 100% true as we had pretty good crew of cobs supporting!
A handful of excellent games of cricket on the lawn before, during and after the gig. Jesse Ryder was there and had a bat too - he hadn't recovered from his latest hammy injury.
Special mention to Tusk and his fam, the mighty Fraser brothers (who bunked down at our accommodation) and various other good cats who stopped in for a sunday sesh.
Monday 10 January – Fox Glacier, Cooks Saddle
Cook Saddle is another fantastic venue. Shelley (owner/manager) is brilliant. She knows how to look after the bands (all the staff do for that matter). We arrived mid arvo and began the set up. Was great to chat with various people whilst setting up and spread the word for the show later on. We went back to Shelley's before the show to get in the zone (a couple of Hotty Tottys - grouse, stones, honey & hot water). Her dogs (Zah Zah & Poppy) are fukn crack up - tiny wee grommits.
We hooked back down to the venue and kicked off the show about 10.40pm. Shelley had me on the Cointreu/ciders - fukn amazing combo! Will be doing more of that back in Dunz this year ;) We played a couple of sets and finished about 1am. Such an appreciative crowd and a good buzz all round.
Jason Statham (of Transporter & Crank fame)
It was then time to pedal the merch to the locals and tourists - $280 worth in the end!
We were then convinced into playing another set at 2am - this was a bit of a blur and ended up with Logan on hot cake bass and me on top of the PA speakers screaming out Shortland st character names. Was bloody great fun. I love fox and want to play there on every NZ tour for the rest of my touring days. We were also allowed to leave our gear set up and pack out the next day, which is a luxury! Metz and I sat up singing and chatting with some of the locals till about 7am, good times.
Tues 11 - Fri 14 (Fox/Auckland/Napier)
The next few days would see us cover lots of ks to get up to Auckland for a private wedding on the Thursday before boosting back down to Napier for the show with Mountaineater on the Fri. On the tuesday we left fox and got as far as Nelson at about midnight. We had a bit of scare when we reached Murchison with just under 1/4 of a tank and realised it wasn't 24 hour gas. With 130km till Nelson we were buzzing but managed to get to Richmond and top up - just. Whilst halted in Murchison, Logan saw the biggest crayfish any of us had ever seen in the pub across the road - so we all had a look.
Stayed at Boof's (head of security @ PHAT) place in Nelson and had a good catch up before getting zzzs before the ferry and big drive the following day. We made the ferry around lunch time and did the traditional on board set to pay our way.
The plan was to get as far as Rotorua to spend the night with Metz family who were staying with friends up there. We made it to Roto around midnight after several stops and briefly catching up with Dan Cox, Ana & wee Ty who were on the main road heading south for wellys after their xmas holiday.
The wedding the following night was classic stuff - plenty of Aussie/Kiwi banter as the groom was from across the ditch. Logan played keys and we smacked it out for a couple hours. Great to catch up with Lyndy and Gerry also. Stayed in some sweet accommodation and made the most of hot showers. The next two nights that were to follow, we'd been looking forward to for a long time - jamming with Mountaineater away from Dunz - what an occasion!
Friday 14 January – Napier, Cabana w/ Mountaineater
We got out of the ratrace the following morning and made our way to the Cox residence to drop off Justin's amp and check out our back tyre which was looking suspect. A further inspection confirmed we were going to need a new tyre. Justin got us to the nearest tyre shop in Takanini and after a brief stop we ensured we wouldn't have a repeat of the last tour in September (3 tyres fuk out).
Load in at Napier was agreed at 6pm. Mountaineater were running late so when we arrived just after 6 we got all the backline set up and good to go for their arrival. Mikey (who flew into Wellys the night before and mixed Mountaineater's first show) worked hard and had everything ready to go by the time doors opened. Always great to have Mikey on board when possible and especially in the North Island where everything is pretty foreign. The 3rd band on the bill was the Gisborne band 'Timespacer'. I didn't get to hear a lot of them as I was on the door most of the night but what I did hear was fukn cool. We played second and busted out a sharp 40min set as Cabana has to be all wrapped up by midnight due to noise issues. We played good and set it up for Mountaineater to blow everyone's mind - this they did (as always).
After party at Julia's place (local legend) she has one of the biggest collections of vinyl I've ever seen - so friggn awesome. Another daylight retirement.
P.S a trip to Napier isn't complete without a trip to 'Munchies' after the gig. Metz would concur..
Saturday 15 January - Gisbourne, PBC w/ Mountaineater
We left Napier in scorching sun about midday and set off for Gizzy. This was to be my first time in Gisborne. The Hampton brother's had been there a couple of months earlier on the Alizarin Lizard tour and raved about it. The road from Napier to Gizzy is pretty nuggety. We stopped in Wairoa on our way through and dropped off a couple of CDs to the venue we'd be playing on the Sunday night (Geoff's Saloon). Ali and Geoff are amazing people and the following night was to be one of the most enjoyable gigs we've ever played. Load in and sound checks in Gizzy took from around 4pm till doors opening before 9. The venue was the Poverty Bay Club and we were honored to be playing in the famous 'dome room' which is fuckn amazing.
Chris took us down to the Gisborne Gold brewery before sound checks and we stocked up on flagons for backstage piss. A fucken outstanding drop that I wish I could drink down here all the time. I guess that will be the lure to get back to Gizzy again soon. I was again hit with the door duties but it proved to be a pretty fun night as all the locals pulled out all the stops to try and get out of paying and all the guysh came and drank with me at various points.
Logan and I also struck up the mad deals whenever a bunch of babes came through the door scowling at the $10 charge. There was various amounts of flesh shown for half price entry.
There were four bands on the bill for this show and with us going on last it was always going to be a late one. One thing we've learnt over the years is if you have 3 or more bands on the bill - you have to get the first band on when you intend to and make sure the sets aren't too long. QTPI (from Dunz) were cool, I'd be keen to check them out in Dunz. Two piece (drummer and bass player). Heaps of buzzy noises and kept everyone guessing. Timespacer played again afterward and peeled out another phat set.
Mountaineater then took the stage in Anaru and Chris's hometown. It was a special set and we all had moments of 'wow'. Fuk these guys just continue to deliver gold.
We were on fairly late in the end (1.30am) and played a 45min set. We belted it out and had a pretty wicked ending including a full drum kit destroyor from Metz. Big mention to Wazza Stubbs who put up the lads after the gig. Mike and I headed out to the airport as he had a 6am flight in the morning. I crashed in the van and picked up the lads about lunch time. We set off for Wairoa...
Sunday 16 January – Wairoa, Geoff's Saloon w/ Too Much Cuz
Wairoa I think we can safely say was one of the highlights if not THE highlight of the tour so far. Crazy how the small town shows just continue to throw up the most gems. The first thing about Wairoa is the climate. We were nowhere near used to 30+ temperatures at 6 in the arvo! Ali and Geoff Hole run the Gaiety Theatre, Eastend Cafe and Geoff's Saloon complex.
They are amazing people. All the locals we met are awesome. The theatre is unbelievable. We hope to play there one day. We were fed like kings upon arrival and then set to work setting up out the back of the Saloon in the woodwork shop. It was soon transformed into a venue for the evening. Local band 'Too Much Cuz' were the support act and were brilliant - a 7 piece band of brothers and sisters. We got such a buzz off their vibe and they did ours also.
A great wee crowd for a sunday evening and just a magic night all round mixing with the locals and getting off on each others tunes. We played a couple of sets and hit some amazing musical points. One of the most appreciative crowds we've ever played for, they got everything we did.
We were put up out the back in the backpacker house and again were able to leave the gear set up until the next day. Metz cooked an epic breakfast of bacon,eggs, hashbrowns,tomatos, black pudding & toast. None of us really wanted to leave that arvo but we thought we'd get on the mish to Ohakune. I can't wait to go back with the boys soon. Keep up the hard work Geoff and Ali and see you in a year...
Mon 17 - Wed 19 (Ohakune)
And so we made it to Ohakune late on Monday night after an event filled day of driving. The main debacle, getting stuck at the side of the road in some loose sand after Metz had pulled over after a case of the dropsies. Thank god for Randall Symcox and his 4 wheel drive - he towed us to safety.
We had an epic swim in a river on the way back from Wairoa and had waterfall massages at Kings bridge.
We also met a real classic dog called 'Dad' - he was all over the fetch game.
We've been bunked down in Ohakune for the last few days as my Uncle and Aunty live here. We've got a ski lodge apartment to ourselves and the guysh are enjoying their own room each. We head to Wellys tomorrow and prepare for the show on Thurs night.