DAY 11 - WOOL ON BONGS
The final leg of our tour started with a very early flight. I think I ended up waking up at 5:15am or something just to make it. I'm pretty bad in the morning too, I can wake up and get things done no worries. But, just don't talk to me or confuse me because I'm more than likely going to pop. Luckily it's not a bad drive from Ballarat to the airport early in the morning, so we all had something to look at whilst we weren't talking to each other. We only had one momentary near murdering each other experience from there on for the rest of the day, which is pretty standard week 4 stuff.
The other positive is that that morning we were announced on the Splendour line up, alongside killer bands At The Drive In, Explosions in the Sky and our mates DZ, Bleeding Knees & Last Dinosaurs.
At the airport our manager's computer decided it was done with his rough email styling and blew up! Apparently it had seen too many email-based beast handshakes and a wire came loose. I saw a look in his eye that I've only ever seen when he's about to choke me for doing something stupid.
The moral of the story is "Sydney traffic is shit". Weird I hear you say, but what you have to understand is that Shaun had meetings all day and it was up to the A-team of Brendan and I to go and rescue said laptop from the Apple store in the CBD. Because we are awesome we decided the time to do this was peak hour. This resulted in me having a rather colourful argument with a Sydney traffic conductor, or whatever they are called. She told me to get in the right lane three lanes over and I needed to turn left, which would have meant navigating three lanes of traffic and 14 or so buses. Use your imagination and translate "I'm sorry but I have to turn left in 300 metres and those buses won't let me back through in time" to pirate hooker language and you'll have a fair idea of what I said to her, and before you write me off as the bad guy, she said worse.
By the time we got to Wool on Bongs (aka Wollongong) I felt like I needed to go for a run to work out all the tension I'd built up from the traffic. We got some comic relief when I decided to go the wrong way down a one-way street in a car park. Resulting in a hilarious road rage moment with a girl in a Laser eating a burrito. I was smiling at her and giving her the thumbs up as she yelled at me, to which she hoofed a big bit of burrito in her mouth got out of the car and flipped me off in a rather posed fashion. Then she sped around the corner blocked the road off and did it again, I wasn't sure if she was angry or I was watching an audition for a Pussycat Dolls film clip.
The opening act for the show got me boogying with his sampler based dub step grooves though so I eased into the night ok. He made a really cool remix of "Everything in its Right Place" by Radiohead. So cool and he had some wicked grooves of his own. He certainly washed the dogs out of the small opening crowd. Hunting Grounds did their usual awesome set. I stood in the crowd with a lighter in the air for no reason and somehow that sparked a guy into wanting to crowd surf and he got kicked out. That was pretty weird. Mickey Beats through up some sweet grunge moves, Moz did his Nick Cave with epilepsy routine that I've become pretty fond of, another great show and the exact point when I realized how long I've been walking around with their new song 'Liquid Air' buzzing around my head. Amazing song!
The crowd was a slow one, but by the time we got on we had a fair party happening. Plenty of hands in the air and boogying down, always heart warming in a town you've never performed in. Definite highlights were the one guy that refused to stop crowd surfing even though the rest of the people there had decided they wanted to dance like it was a Blue Light Disco. The guy had more pest in him then I've seen since the Black Hill Buggerer. After the show we spent time outside getting the few people who stuck around to sing happy birthday to Lachy Morrish whilst we poured beer all over him. This one 50-year-old female Maori bouncer even offered to get her "tah tahs" out because it was his 21st. Hilarious. We listened to a lot of classic rock on the way back to Sydney. I wish someone had told me not to go out drinking when we got back as well, I met up with DJ MIT, Velociraptor and DZ Deathrays at World Bar and stank the place up till 6am, which ruined my head for the next day.
DAY 12 - CANBERRA
Cobwebs with dust on them, doesn't even come close to describing the way my brain felt when we arrived at FBI. We were there to do the midday DJ set. It actually went off surprising well, adding to my well established theory that being incredibly hung over makes me DJ better. The interview however, lets just say if I had a dirty sock in my mouth, I would have spoken better. From there we went to what I understand to be the studio of the Kyle and Jackie O show to do an interview for Radar Radio. I took a photo of Guy asleep on a 2day FM logo. I acted pretty hung over but tried to channel some of Mickey Beats Grunge to get me through. That guy is so grunge. Afterwards we entertained Bre, our publicist by making Brendan constantly search the radio for classic rock and screaming every song we liked at the top of our voices. I managed to meow the whole guitar solo from “Sultans of Swing”. My dad would have loved it.
Guy lost his wallet on the way to Canberra that night. For some reason it was just one of those doomed trips. We also realized halfway between a rock and nowhere that we were running out of petrol. The car was essentially filled with three silent people staring at a fuel gauge for the next hour, as it performed animations describing our impending doom. I couldn't think of anything worse than being stuck on that highway, luckily we found a servo in the middle of nowhere and had our day saved. I had a Snickers, it was great.
Canberrations always hook us up with a good time. We stayed at a hotel that can only be described as pimp, white boy crimes I know, but it was awesome. They gave us a sound proof green room that had one-way mirrors for walls into the middle of the club, so we could watch the myriad of disco pasha atrocities that were happening, and we had a private bar. It was awesome. The crowd were kind of cold though. There were heaps of them, but I just got the feeling they were there for some kind of hype reason and not to see a Yacht Club show. It was purely out of stubbornness and dedication to the set we had worked so hard on, that stopped us from giving in and just playing crowd pleasing bangers, but in the end it payed off. Apart from a few notable exceptions the crowd looked to be having a good time and even sat down on the floor like a normal show, except for one guy who announced to the room at full volume that I was a (insert incredibly rude term here) and refused.
DAY 13 - SYDNEY
The next day we slept in way too long and basically had to go straight to the venue. I spent a lot of time climbing up ladders vainly trying to hang our ghetto projection sheets. I was up a six metre ladder, three storeys up and looking straight out of a window that looked 300 metres down onto Oxford Street. Stress levels were high. My hard work and dare devil climbing skills were ultimately paid off when we decided it looked shit and we'd just project onto the walls. I was sweating gravy I was so terrified up there, but a job's a job.
Thank God for Mickey Beats, who decided to pick up a random glass of water and drink it only to find it was metho which was pretty grunge of him. I was worried and laughing at the same time. He complained of feeling very drunk having a sore throat and blurry vision, but claimed that he was ok. Hilarious, grunge and terrifying all wrapped into one, 10 out of 10.
The opening band, The Fabergettes are pretty much the best shit ever. I have a crush on that band and I don't care who knows. I got a bit fan boy afterwards. Embarrassing, but they were absolutely lovely and awesome. How they are not massive I have no idea. Go and see them, well maybe after their guitarist is not pregnant anymore, I think they said something about taking a break for that. Hunting Grounds and Yacht Club both received an amazing reception. Sydney is a funny place for us, we've never sold tickets as fast as other states. And when your manager is freaking you out telling you it's going to be a hard one and you're preparing mentally for the worst, it's always great to play to a huge and up-for-it bunch of people. The crowd was so responsive and wicked. I had an ocean of sweat running out of my face, even Guy looked a bit sweaty, and he doesn't sweat apparently. Mickey Beats didn't die from the meth either which is great, and incredibly grunge.
Afterwards we went to World Bar again, washed the dogs and drank all the beers. Mickey Beats gave himself alcohol poisoning because he drank tequila and forgot he had accidentally drunk the supposed glass of water. Pretty scary in retrospect, but at the time we definitely were in party gear. I think we could all agree it was one of the best nights ever though. Moz watched an Irish guy have a pretty serious fistfight with a wall which sounded worthy of a mention to.
DAY 14 - NEWCASTLE
Even the ground is trying to rob you. Quote of the day came via Facebook from Tim Street of Hunting Grounds. John had dropped his wallet and Tim pointed out that: "Even the ground was trying to rob him in Newcastle". I'm sure this wasn't the case, I like Newcastle, but it's hysterical regardless. The Hunting Grounds guys had to get up at ridiculous o'clock to leave Sydney because they had no parking and I had no problem rubbing the fact that we had slept until 2pm. In fact a cleaning lady walked in on me sleeping naked in some kind of drunken sleep yoga position at about midday, she gave me funny looks for the rest of the day when I kept running into her in the hallway and it took a long time to work out why, what can I say, I'm a man of luxury. It was officially the last day of the tour!
When we arrived in Newcastle I introduced myself to the sound guy who quickly informed me that: "tonight is going to be shit" and "I play your mixture between bands and everyone hates it" and "I've never seen bands support DJs before and I think you are a pack of idiots". Needless to say I wanted to leave.
After a brief liaison with Hunting Grounds and their tour manager I found out that he'd given them a similar story, with the added bonus of hinting that he'd sue them if the PA went down because of a bad mix. Classic old school mixer. When the support band The Guppies was sound checking he proceeded to retune their drum kit a good couple of semitones up without asking, and tell the shy 16 year old bass player that his tone was shit and jump straight into changing his pedals without asking. These kids weren't a bad band either, they had a really sorted out intricate sound, and we were all stunned by what an arrogant jaded man this guy was. Funny now; horrifying at the time.
Luckily everyone's shows were great and the crowd loved every moment of the show, and despite the sound guy's prediction we got a really decent number of people in who were done to ruin their working lives on the Monday. Both shows worked themselves together neatly, with Guy playing drums on a couple of Hunting Grounds tracls and those guys dancing around on stage with us at the end of our set. It was exactly the kind of end of tour party we wanted, and it all ended too fast.
There is just nothing more special than touring the country with a bunch of awesome bands that are all mates. I'm starting to get a bit sad writing this, because it hasn't sunk in that it's over yet. So much fun and the best way to break our hiatus that we've been on. You've all been too good to us, and it has been a really humbling and surreal experience all at once. We cued up the classic rock stations and headed home, woke up at stupid o'clock and flew home for the last time. To add a bit more salt to the end of tour blues we ran into old tour buddies Bleeding Knees Club at the airport and talked a bunch of guff about everything that had happened past and present. Best tour ever.
Veterans lead this week's releases with new albums from Tim Rogers & The Bamboos (Album Of The Week) and Daniel Johns plus albums from Ella Thompson, The Vaccines and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.