Monday, May 2, 2011

ANCIENT SUMMER TOUR BLOG NOVEL (read if you have 10 years)


So this is a heck of a long time coming... I don't expect anyone to actually read this whole novel but I guess it'll be quite cool to document it and look back on it in the years to come. Well PD Reid & Mike & maybe Crispy will read it :)

Ohakune seems a long time ago now, so shit is haaazy!

After a wicked couple of days in Auckland @ Justin & Jo’s following our pumping Khuja Lounge show we headed south again toward my Uncle & Auntie’s place in Ohakune. They put us up again at their motel ‘Ossies’ which is a booming place during the ski season but dead in the summer. We’d also managed to kidnap Jacqui after the Aucks show so it was wicked to have her with us for a few days till we got back to Wellys.

Our first assignment for the week was ‘Rock 2 Ruapehu’. This was a private party originally planned for the front lawn at my Uncle’s house but due to some unseasonable patchy weather we decided to do it on the verandah of the house just to be safe. It was a choice night playing a set of largely covers (due to Kieran having a bunch of tech diff) to all the locals and my family. We even managed to get noise control called out around 10:30pm – as it was a Tuesday night. The locals were in hysterics as they’d never heard of or seen noise control in Kune in 40 years. The dude had had to drive an hour from Taumarunui to follow up on the complaint. Good times had by all. The rest of the night was spent spinning records on the verandah, an attempt at some night cricket with Lahgahn’s blinders (before tripping the circuit) and watching cricket on Sky.

After a massive game of backyard the next day we departed for Wellys as we had the ferry to catch the following morning. We stopped for dinner in Bulls – an absolute ripper town. We are gonna do a gig there at some point at a venue called ‘The Rat Hole’. We crossed on the ferry on Thurs morn – the classic 7.25am crossing. I can never understand why they put bands on this ferry. First of all, musos are terrible morning people and if we’ve played a show the night before, have usually finished at 2am and packed out the gear by 4am. Secondly, it seems most passengers just wanna chill out at that time of morning and not deal with a bunch of smelly musos attempting to make some form of noise on the instruments they have rattled together. However we can't complain because Interislander hook up the passage - chur!

The show that night was at ‘The Playhouse’ in Mapua. This is a classic theatric venue that has been recently been taken over by Nic ‘Rolly’ Roland (of Taliband and Inverts fame) and his partner. We kidnapped our good friend ‘Boof’ from Nelson on the way through to the gig. He is part of the ‘Phat’ family so was obviously still reeling from the selling of the Phat Club in the days leading up. As a result our Phat show scheduled for the following night was cancelled so we lined up an extra show over on the West Coast in Hokitika. After a lengthy set up and soundcheck due to some particularly nasty humming coming from one of the FOH we had a wicked munch with the Playhouse staff. Rolly had also lined up a Canadian singer songwriter, solo artist - Cole Martin, to play support. The night wasn’t particularly busy but we had a great bunch of regular friends and supporters who had made the trip out to see us which was awesome. My only gripe with this venue was that all music had to be finished by 11pm sharp so we were on stage by 9pm which always feels a touch too early for a rawkin gig! However the 18 pack of Ranfurly 440ml cans provided by Rolly as the rider certainly moved things along. Overall a wicked night in Tasman spent with good friends and company. We even recruited Cole and his partner Jos to climb in with us to come over to the West Coast for the following night. Metz and Lahgahn stayed up most of the night doing a wasgij with some of the backpacker staff.

We hit the road the following morning and made it to the coast by early arvo. I for one was excited as it was the start of our West Coast run which is always a highlight of any tour. It was pissing down in Hokitika/Woodstock. Colin and Leanne at Woodstock Hotel are awesome people and it was choice of them to give us a replacement show at such short notice. The annual biker rally was on nearby so there were plenty of bikers getting stuck into jugs of lion brown and tucker. We went about our business and set up. After a choice munch we even had time to nip round to our great mate Scott Mills’ place to catch up and drop stuff off as we’d be staying there. I managed to beat him in a game of 501 darts - no mean feat The gig was pretty quiet again but was a wicked chance for us to have a bit of a selfish jam! Cole also played an acoustic set to kick off the evening which was very well received by the locals. We got stuck into a bottle of Colin’s finest single malt after the gig – always great yarns after shows here. He was telling us about how he got kicked out of a ‘Who’ gig in London and missed the encores because he climbed up the FOH rigging and dived into the crowd - classic stuff.

Saturday night was our show at Franks Café in Greymouth. This venue is wicked. Nell runs a really tight ship and is open from Thurs-Sat. We’d played there before with the LOR Soundsystem and Alizarin went through in October on the 42 date clacka tour. The food here is unreal – Lobsan the Tibetan chef makes the meeeanest dumplings. We heard he isn’t going to be there next time, which is gutting. The load in was a bit nuggety – a couple of flights of stairs is always a prick. We decided to bring up the record decks for the night also as we had no support act and we hadn’t used them a heck of lot yet on tour. I’ve noticed the locals at shows at Franks are always respectful and enthusiastic of a performance without getting overly excited before really cutting loose toward the end. I guess that is the way it happens a lot of the time. Bands need to start later when people are more pissed (we learnt that in the covers band days). It was a choice show with a good turn out and we had some crazy moments amongst some buzzy jams. We had a brilliant time spinning records after the show. This was a time to thank the locals, have a boogie and play all the staff’s favourite vinyl. Nell was also happy for us to pack up and load out the next day – BONUS! We stayed that night at our good mate Parrot’s place in Camerons which is about 10km south of Greymouth. She is a legend on the coast and other Dunedin and touring bands will know she is the contact for Barrytown Hall shows. We had a few nightcaps there and got lost in her amazing music collection. We were particularly blown away by ‘Inangafunga’. She also had a wicked collection of early early Sal Dub records. The next morning/afternoon Parrot provided a hearty breakfast of fruity porridge before we headed back to Greymouth to load out our gear and head to Barrytown for the next show.

This must have been my 5th or 6th time playing at the Barrytown Hall. We were pretty late getting to the hall for load in and set up – especially after picking up ‘supplies’ for the evening in Greymouth. Upon arrival we saw a big bus parked in the pub carpark – stoked! This meant a busload of tourists were in the area on the piss and hopefully keen to check out a buzzy band in the buzzy hall across the road. As we were setting up the bus driver came over and introduced himself as ‘Trouble’. He said he’d make it his mission to bring over as many of the tourists as possible – total GC. We flicked him a CD which he promised to thrash on the bus. I think there was about 20 payers in the end and overall about 30-40 people in the hall throughout the night. Our fisherman friend ‘Shorty’ turned up pretty late – he was pretty smashed. After a particularly crazy set we busted records on the decks for the rest of the evening. The Logan & Shorty Soundsystem took us into the wee hours of the morning. It pissed down all night which was pretty cool as we were bunked up in the hall. Next day after pack up and load out we headed down the road to Shorty’s house bus where he cooked us chicken burgers for lunch. We also met his 3 cats: C4, Jackass & Lentil. Good times. Next stop Granity…

Alizarin Lizard, Rackets & Porpoise played the Lyric Theatre on the massive tour last year. I remember them all raving about the place. They weren’t wrong. I love playing big old theatres/halls. Again we were pretty late arriving and setting up for the show. With it being a Monday night we weren’t to sure how things were going to pan out. As the locals started rolling in there was talk that it hadn’t been advertised properly (this seems to happen a bit on the coast) but we met plenty of people who told us to get in touch the next time we were coming through so they could spread the word. I was on door duty again and had a classic time bartering and bantering with the locals. One particular local walked up to the ticket booth – threw his $10 at me and said “Right, there’s my $10 you long haired c**t, now play us some fucking good music!”. Absolutely classic stuff haha. He was the cat rawking out the hardest, making the most noise, taking photos and generally digging the show. We finished up the show and cranked some records for the remaining locals. It was then decided to turn everything off and head down to the beach for a bonfire. The guitar was passed round the fire and good times were had as the staff from Drifters café (down the road) brought out a swappa crate. We skulked off back to the hall for some Mi Gorengs and then bed about 4am. I got up for a piss about 6am and could still hear Metz down on the beach singing ‘Collie Herb Man’ or ‘Could you be loved’. He is one of those lithium batteries.

It was a long drive through to Motueka on the Tuesday night. We had a few people to catch up with on the coast in the afternoon including the Keoghan's (old friends of Callum & Logan) who put on a wicked spread for dinner (bbq & beers). They'd been at the granity show the night before. We made it to our good mate Doug's in Mot around 1am and had a couple of night caps. We set off for the Takaka hill in blistering 30degree heat and made it to Roots bar by mid arvo. Roots bar is choice wee venue run by Craig who plays in the well known west coast band 'Horse'. Our backline, PA & lights pretty much took up half the room so it was always going to be a rockin night up close with the crowd. All the beers and ciders at this venue are locally brewed and are off the chain - Craig certainly looked after us. We had a seriously wicked weds night crowd show up and it was an energetic performance from us. Logan did a good job on the door bartering with the locals earlier in the night. We loaded out on the night as there was a big drive ahead of me getting us to Kaikoura the following day. Metz and I pulled the short straw of sleeping in the van.

We got away from Roots bar around 10am and began the long mish to Kaikoura. I pulled off the whole drive and got us there around 4pm. A good cob of ours, Willie Mills is based in Kaik with his job at the mo and he was there to help with the load in and set up at the Strawberry Tree. After a pretty lengthy set up we settled in to watch the second innings of the NZ v Paki ODI. The caps lost again. A few of the locals were getting flighty as they were waiting for the band to start and we were just blatantly watching the cricket. After the match we cracked into the show - there was pretty good crowd in and we played a good 90 minute set. We got asked to play a couple more tracks from a bunch of particularly stoked locals. We also kept up our great merchandise hustling which had become a feature of this tour. After the show Shayne (the venue manager - top cat) drove our van back to where we were staying for us - as we'd been on the piss for the evening. We spent the rest of the night sipping Jamesons around the brazier @ Willies.

We got away from Kaikoura mid arvo and made it to Al's for a dinner time load in. Great to meet up with Joe Veale (doing sound for the night) and the support act 'The Laon'. These guys were super friendly and didn't hesitate to help with the load in - we got it done in no time. After a fairly long set up we had a decent soundcheck with Joe - giving Al a bit of a fright in the process as he came into the building just as we were checking the levels of some 'dirty' stuff. All that aside a pretty relaxed arvo. 'The Laon' got things underway after 10 and were really impressive. A tight unit that played some kick arse psychedelic rock. Their Keytarist had flown in from Hong Kong literally and hour or so before their set. He was shredding it up on this buzzy Keytar - it was fuckn awesome! They also did a sick Deep Purple cover. We played a decent 90 minute set to a hearty CHCH crowd. Logan had a great time messing with the inhouse lasers. Some ideas for Feastock perhaps.. We decided to be heroes and drive back to Dunedin after the gig and arrived around 7am.

We've played at the Waitangi day festival in Riverton every year since 2008. Always a choice day in the deep south at this event run by Kaz & Andy Bickley (Morgz folks). Each year a line-up of local bands jam out under the southern sun at the Taramea Bay soundshell in Riverton. Unfortunately this years outdoor event was ruined by rain. Fortunately a alternative venue was found at short notice and it was moved to the Riverton Racecourse. The organisors and the sound team rallied to get things underway on time and kept it running to schedule throughout the day. We were last on after Rhythmonyx around 6pm. Having spent the afternoon catching up with friends and family and drinking Steinys, its fair to say we had a bit of a shine on! We played a pretty crazy set and finished with a complete drum kit meltdown (similar to Auckland, Gisborne and various other towns on the tour). A great afternoon had by all and everyone really made the most of grim situation. Typically the next day turned out to be an absolute pearler and we spent the afternoon drinking VBs in the sun with Kaz & Andy at their pad before heading back into town for a cooked meal at the Hampton residence followed by some backyard cricket.

PENGUIN CLUB, OAMARU w/ Made In China & Osmium
I really can’t recall heaps from this show now even though I was the sober driver that night… We opened things up as it was essentially MIC & Osmium’s tour show. Was a wicked night and nice to play first – we lent toward some of our heavier stuff (tough trying to keep up with the chuggy guggy machines that those other two mobs are!). MIC were next and followed by Osmium closing things out. All three bands were real tight as we’d all been on the road & Cammy J was in great touch paying out MIC at any chance he got. Awesome as always to catch up with Kathy Ramsay & Pat Trembeth. There were also some baby penguins hanging around the club which were bloody cute and kept everyone entertained – far more light hearted than the last time I was at the club when some got a bottle to the head! Can’t wait to go back to the club soon – on a sad note it may be one of the last times Kathy & Pat are hosting a show @ the club.

To cut a long story short – a wicked experience. We’ve wanted to play a show with Kora for aaaaages. It was good to finally get the opportunity. There were some problems with Kora’s flights due to the CHCH earthquake so we were required to sound check a lot earlier than scheduled. This meant we had heaps more time to chill before the gig, although I recall on the day we were doing a lot of running round for heaps of other cats which was a bit nuggety! Our pre-gig mood was also soured by the blackcaps getting fisted by Australia in the world cup pool match (7-80 at one point!). We played a pretty mean set and I'm sure we buzzed out some freshers. Managed to offload a vinyl to Laughton Kora but he cheekily got out of paying for it... claimed he'd left his wallet at the hotel haha. Was a classic end to the evening as we tried to convice Kora to take us to Japan: "we'll set up all your gear, we won't even play!". Good times, I hope its the first of many times we share the stage with Kora...

This was the 'return leg' of the LOR/MIC/Osmium shows. This time we hosted the other lads. Great to finally play a show together with MIC as we figured out it had never happened on the same stage in Invers (we've done a couple of Riverton Soundshell shows together). A pretty strong loyal turnout for the show - all the usual legends were out in force and treated to evening of chunky shiz. We all headed back to Deetsy Heath's after the show and celebrated good company, a good show and great touring. Deetsy and I drank in the sunrise, brilliant stuff. A packed van departed the next arvo - with us carrying 9 in the wagon. Collectively all 3 bands decided to give Invers a break in terms of gigging for a while..

SAMMYS, DUNEDIN, w/ Mountaineater & Alizarin Lizard
And so we reached the end of an epic summer tour on a special evening in Dunedin. Playing with two of our favourite Dunedin bands + good friends, always meant it was going to be a ripper of a night. We were pretty savagely hung over having been at a wedding in Queenstown the night prior. We arrived to find Iain Sweetman and Mikey had done a massive job installing the PA and getting the lighting & truss sorted, the venue was looking fantastic. I love nights @ Sammys and its even more exciting when putting on your own show. Sammy had put on a fuckn awesome rider backstage and we felt like kings - gotta love beer and ice put in unused sinks. Alizarin played a great set and sounded awesome through Iain's rig. I love it when I know the majority of the support bands music as it doubles up as a wicked vocal warm up (this happens whenever we play at a show that also involves Made In China). Infact I think MIC is my ultimate warm up soundtrack - damn those pricks for writing every song a hit. Mountaineater then proceeded to do what they do best - melt faces and blow minds. We rounded out the night with our most high energy and interactive set of the tour (in my opinion). It was just so great to be back playing for the cobs in Dunedin + we had massive rig to play through and heeeaps of room to go beserk on stage. Very very fun and plenty of Jaggy was consumed on stage during the set. Everyone involved was on such a massive high after the gig so it was always inevitable that we'd head back up to Fea St and have a full on vinyl/dance afterparty. This continued into the very small hours of the morning as all 3 bands and our friends enjoyed each others company and plenty more beverages. Deano and I did keep an eye on the clock as the following day was to be the inaugural DMC cricket match. Time did eventually get the better of us and at 8am we knew we were going to be a mess for the match. However we made it - unlike one Benjamin Bargeant! He did make it for the second innings to his credit. See link below for a full match report.

What a tour, what summer, what great people. Thank to all those that put us up along the way and drank a beer with us an bought a record and came to shows. Aussie is on the not to distant horizon I feel...

Cheers and churs


P.S ALL TOUR PHOTOS @:!/media/set/fbx/?set=a.10150566515700702.670842.154009705701

Dunedin, 25 over Tonkfest
Sunday 13 March 2011
Chingford Park, Dunedin


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