This is a tour diary from the other side of the fences. SLAB’s Jake wrote this with a heavy headache and considerable memory strain, so it’s worth a read. Enjoy! Looking forward to Friday’s set at Rookies.
The Dark Design Tour 2009 feat. SLAB and LOATHE finished a week ago now. Heads are starting to clear, aches and pains are disappearing and before my brain wipes my short term memory of the tours glory, i’m gonna attempt to do a diary retrospective..
Sat 24th Oct:
First day of tour. Meet up with the other SLAB boys (Kimbo and Jim) and load the Vanowar. She’s pretty much at maximum load, but she’s used to it and steams us up to Leicester without a problem.
Meet up with the LOATHE boys! It’s great to see them, it’s been a good 6 months or so since we left Malta and we spend some time catching up, eating and drinking.
Great gig tonight, LOATHE start and hit the stage running. Straight off the plane they may be, but, as for the rest of the week, they are such a tough act to follow! The Leicester crowd love them, with windmilling hair and even a girls arse being bared to The Beast!
We’re up next and have a good show (i think?!) playing a nice mix of old and new songs.
After Spirytus bring the night to a very drunken (!) end, we head home. The LOATHE lads are knackered so it’s pretty much straight to bed..
Sun 25th Oct:
Everyone is staying round my house in Birmingham where i live with my ever-patient girlfriend Zoe and my ever-insane dog Benji. It’s not ’til everyone gets up that we realise our house is far too small and our dog is far too manic to handle this! Anyway we press on and Zoe starts as she continues for the rest of the week, by making enough food to feed ‘a nation’!
We head off to our favourite pub in the world. The Duke in Neath. Now, we’d warned the LOATHE guys that Wales is crazy, apparently some peolpe in Leicester had warned them too. But nothing prepares you for The Duke!
Tony, the landlord, greets us by opening up the doors and saying ‘Welcome Home!’ It just doesn’t get much better than that does it?
For a Sunday night the turn-out is okay, and LOATHE play a great set to a noisy crowd. we play to our local fans, and then get on with the real business at hand.. Drinking!
Got to say a massive thankyou to Tony, Nightmare and all at The Duke for a fantastic night. Tony even supplied us with 2 bottles of bubbly to finish the tour with! Awesome.
Mon 26th Oct:
Woke up on a stage. Everyone was snoring. My head hurts even thinking about it.
Shaky drive home to brum. Food.
Tonights gig is at Katie Fitzgeralds in Stourbridge. A great venue and one we really wanted to take the LOATHE boys to. GODSIZE are playing tonight as well and we hadn’t seen them for a while so it was cool to catch up. We open up and the sound as ever is deafening and exceptionally clear. GODSIZE then tear it up in a draw-dropping gut-rumbling fashion. LOATHE headline tonight and do their best to literally shake the place to its foundations.
A great gig with a great turnout.
We head home happy and hungry. Eat. Beer. Sleep.
Tues 27th Oct:
Today is a day off essentially, but we lined up a couple of press things for us and LOATHE. First up is an interview from Chopmusic. He interviews both bands and takes a few photos. Great job. Next, we fly across town to Kerrang! Radio HQ for our interview with Johnny Doom. Really looking forward to this, and it’s fun to see everyone visually excited. Mr Doom interviews myself and Mark, he is very professional, puts you at ease and is also about the nicest guy you’re gonna meet.
Job done, we head home where Zoe has cooked for another nation. We feast and have a good laugh doing fuck all!
Wed 28th Oct:
Get up and fuck off to Wakefield via Sheffield to pick up Kimbo. Jim is meeting us at the gig later. Testament to the hard-working nature of this band, Jim and Kimbo are both working most days this week and still travelling on the nights to the gigs. Now THAT is dedication!
We get to The Snooty Fox in Wakefield and Kimbo realises he’s played here before with (legendary UK punks) Drongos for Europe. There isn’t many places he hasn’t to be honest! Great venue, cool stage, sound and lights, whatsmore the whole show is being streamed live over the internet.
LOATHE have had a nightmare journey from brum via Keighley to pick up their mate Dodo, so they unfortunately miss soundcheck. We go on first and really enjoy ourselves. I think the added pressure of the internet streaming pulled something extra from us! KO Kaine are up next and are great. Really original sound and nice guys to boot!
This is Loathe’s 4th show at The Snooty Fox and they have a great following here. They go down a storm with moshpits and headbanging all the way! The manager and sound engineer Malc, is a great guy with a great vision for his venue. Check out the link at the bottom of the blog.
I’m stopping at Kimbos in Sheffield tonight and after some awesome cottage pie hit the hay!
Thurs 29th Oct:
The drive from Sheffield to Manchester across the Snake Pass is awesome and really made me think that there is nowhere else in the world i’d rather be, and nothing else in the world i’d rather be doing! Sad? True!
All set to be great night tonight, playing with MWP from Manchester who we know through our best friend Lewis Atkinson. It’s all about the family y’know!
The Star and Garter is a great venue right in the centre of Manchester at the heart of the red-light district. Home from home haha! Hassan from MWP made a huge vat of soup for everyone to eat after soundcheck, it’s things like this that really lift your spirits and make nights go well.
It’s MWP’s first gig tonight, but you would not know it as they tear through a hardcore-metal set of extraordinary ferocity and precision. Paddy the bassist nearly broke his hand hitting his bass..Now that’s passion!!
LOATHE are up next and play a blinder to a rabid crowd. There are plenty of people who have turned out to see LOATHE, for they have played Manchester in the past and obviously gone down a storm. We headline tonight and go down well, a great onstage sound meaning we can really enjoy it. The gig was very well attended and there was a real sense of family and community. I stop at Lewis’ that night in the company of the MWP boys our friend Tracey and Mr J Daniels. LOATHE had to head back over the snake pass to drop Dodo home as did Kimbo, while Big Jim made another treacherous late-night trip home!
Fri 30th Oct:
Get woke up at some ungodly hour by a plumber. And thats all i’m going to say about that.
Drive back to brum with Tracey, get to spend a couple of hours at home with Zoe and the hound before heading out to The Giffard Arms in Wolverhampton for the gig. The Giffard is a great rock pub that hosts metal gigs every other Friday in it’s upstairs venue room.
It’s just ourselves and LOATHE tonight so no surprises and everything runs smoothly. The gig is strangely sparsely attended for the friday before Halloween but we make the best of it and have a good night. That is the thing with the LOATHE, they know how to turn even the most desperate of situations into a good laugh! The audience is small but noisy and both bands play out of their skins. ‘Every gig is Wembley’ as the old adage goes..
Pizza and 300 finishes the night off nicely. AWOO AWOO AWOO!!
Sat 31st Oct:
Halloween. Playing at the Unicorn in London. Wake up and hastily organise a Travelodge for the night. The LOATHE guys head off early to take a look around Camden before the gig. We set off around 1 and circle Camden for half an hour much to Big Jim’s amusement before finding the venue.
What can only be described as a ‘Chav pub’ during the day, inexplicably turns into a rock pub on the night, and initial worries about the crowd are soon forgotten as troops of Halloween attired rockers turn up to thrash out..
Nebukadezza kick the night off and are great. A three-piece (always wins with us!) playing Napalm vs Nailbomb-esque metal got the old blood pumping and a lively mosh-pit started. We’re on next, and because of time constraints we only get 20mins, equalling five songs. It’s quite fun just playing a short set, because you can’t fuck about, it’s just ’1,2,3,4 – meet you at the end’ as Kimbo says!
During our last song, Animal Faced God, a bizarre spectacle unfolded. The mosh pit was in full flow, but as the song changed, right on cue, we were treated to the sight of ‘Metal Rowing’!! Yep, as it was Halloween we had a dragon, a vampire, Mr Staypuft and others, sat on the flow in front of us, rowing as if there lives depended on it!! Only in Camden..
LOATHE were on next, their first gig in London. To say they played well is an understatement. Short set again, so they went straight for the throat and it was jaw-dropping. Mosh-pits and metal ball-room dancing erupted, while the rest of the place stood gaping at the fury emanating from the stage.
Great night after the show. Various cousins and old friends showed up, as did lots of LOATHE’s extended london family. Infact at one point more people were speaking Maltese than English! People split up towards the end of the night, Mark with his girlfriend, some back to the hotel for beer and sleep. Myself, Kimbo and Alan, LOATHE’s drum-monster, ended up at a great party in Hackney, attended by ghouls, dancing to drum n bass at extreme volume. Thanks Rachel!!
Sun 1st Nov:
Despite security’s lacklustre efforts we awoke in the hotel and had a horrible, wet drive back to Birmingham. It’s Scruffys tonight, where LOATHE have played several times before, and where we’re hooking up with our mates MORGUE ORGY.
Despite the fact that everyone in the place looks to have a huge Halloween hangover it’s a great last show. MORGUE ORGY kill it, and really impress the LOATHE boys, and why wouldn’t they? AWESOME! LOATHE end the tour on a high with a great set, and i realise i’m gonna miss hearing their songs every night! We finish, and despite hangovers and fatigue setting in we muddle through it, have a great laugh and finish strongly. Kris from GODSIZE made his third appearance of the week and sang his balls off on Yi Zi Er Shi!! Crowd seemed to have a good time so we’re all happy.
After loading our gear back to Hellfire Studios we head back to mine for a few beers, mugs of Tony’s champagne and farewells. LOATHE have to leave at the sickening time of 4.30am and amazingly they get up after literally no sleep and head down to Heathrow. Only Big Jim is alive to say goodbye but i think we’d said all that had to be said (and quite a bit more!) in the hours before. Sad to have them leave. It’s been a great week or so.
One thing became abundantly clear as the week went on: Music, and especially touring, is completely about people. So huge heartfelt thankyou’s go out too:
LOATHE – Mark, Alan, Kurt, Beast, Karl – Our brothers in rock. We salute you!! See ya soon!
The SLAB WAG’s: Zoe, Sarah, Anna. Much love.
Tony, Nightmare and The Duke crew: Fantastic as always! See ya next time round!
GODSIZE: Brilliant to play with you bastards again! Kris: 3 SLAB gigs in a week is too much for any sane person!
MWP: Thanks for a great night in Manchester boys! See you again soon! Hassan: More soup please!!
Lewis, Deb and Richard: Hail the Atkinsons!!
Tracey: On holiday? On tour!!
MORGUE ORGY: Fucking class lads!!
KO KAINE: Great stuff, hope to play with you guys again.
Johnny Doom and Chop: Big thanks for the interviews guys!
Promoters, sound engineers: Steph – Redeemer, Eddy – Katie Fitzgeralds, Malc – The Snooty Fox, Dermot – The Star and Garter, Paul – The Giffard Arms, Jamie Elton – The Unicorn, Spud and all at Scruffys.
EVERYONE who came along to the shows to check the bands out and friends who supported us along the way.
Anyone we’ve missed.. SORRY!
Personal thanks from myself to my two big rock brothers Kimbo and Big Jim. What a fucking week!
Next stop: ALBUM.
Please check out:
http://www.myspace.com/newmemberlist – MWP