So, finishing as the first leg started, I was awoken by my buzzing phone and a seedy plane flight home.
“Hey man, it's Keelan, we're just out the front.”
Little did I know, as I hopped into the Tarago bleary-eyed and bags in hand, that waking up to the sound of your buzzing phone had unknowingly set the tone for the first leg of our first headline tour around Australia. For it was to be repeated several times over the next four days.
We were bound for the airport, with Melbourne in our sights. As usual, Keelan's father Remko chauffeured Sam, Keelan, Cesira, Jeff (our tour manager and sound guy) and I for our first flights. Spirits were high and nerves were higher. Recently becoming Virgin Gold Velocity members, we were able to calm our nerves and alleviate some exhaustion with unlimited amounts of coffee and basic breakfast meals; this would become a lifesaver over the next couple of days.
After a flight delay, an anxious canter to our gate, some absurd conversations and inflight crosswords, we were finally greeted in Melbourne by a bludgeoning of hail. Running slightly behind schedule, we dumped our bags at our accommodation, picked up gear and raced to the Northcote Social Club for sound check; the formal start of the She's A Riot Tour.
It wasn't an easy start for me, within minutes of setting my gear up for sound check, I successfully managed to blow not one, but two fuses in the bass head we had hired. Luckily a replacement was not too far away and the rest of the night went quickly. It was hard to believe watching our support acts that we were headlining, both Them Swoops and Toucan did themselves, and us as headliners, proud.
After the butterflies of the first gig of the tour had settled what remained was a tremendous feeling of excitement for the rest of the tour, particularly the sold out show that followed.
The next day was spent enjoying the fruits of the cultural hub that is Melbourne: great food and drink, specifically coffee and not to mention, cheap clothes. It was a big day for us, as we had an earlier all ages gig at The Universal store in Melbourne Central quickly followed by a dash to the Northcote again. It's always exciting playing to sweaty, over-enthusiastic teenagers, so we had a lot of fun at the Universal store. It was a surreal experience to hear people chanting to every word of our songs.
Although, it probably tired us physically, mentally I think it boosted our confidence, so we were brimming walking into the Northcote for a rushed sound check. After a serving of Vietnamese and Chinese, we headed back to our gig and before you could say “Can I get more vocal in my foldback?”, we were on stage and having the time of our lives.
After the show, Jeff and I grudgingly packed down all the gear and loaded into the car as quick as possible while the others socialised. I was exhausted and knowing that we had a 5am wake-up after a 1.30am load out was enough to deter me from hanging out, however the others were adamant on getting up to some mischief.
So, as we boarded our 6am flight to Adelaide the next morning among our possessions were our bags, guitars, bodies, but definitely not our sanities. I had acquired the most sleep out of our lot at an even hour, and I probably felt the worst for it. We all made it our mission to rid the Virgin Lounge of as much breakfast and coffee as we could before getting onto this flight.
In Adelaide, we were blessed with free trolleys, a free day for sleep and one of Australia's finest gyro (the Greek equivalent of a kebab) stores, making the best of an otherwise desolate and mind-altering situation. We all gingerly made our way to sound check, joining up with Toucan and The Universal (the support act for the rest of the tour).
After all logistics had been covered, there was a great split made for dinner; Cesira and I opted for pancakes and the others for Thai.
Coming back to the gig, we managed to catch the majority of Toucan's set and the Jive Bar was going mental. People in Adelaide like to have a good time, this was very clear through our set, as the buzzed audience were vocal and eager to move. During our last song, the crowd became terraced with one layer of standing patrons and a second layer of patrons hovering above them crowd surfing. It was such a spectacle for us that onstage we were all struggling to keep in giggles of shock and excitement.
The gig ended and we hung out in the crowd for a split second before departing to Ed Castle for a DJ set, to which my contribution was burning the discs and sipping beer and boogying as Keelan did a Hail Mary miracle by valiantly attempting for the second time DJing. Not without his self-admitted grey spots, but nonetheless, he did us proud.
By the time we got home, we had just enough time for an hour's rest before another 6am flight home. So, finishing as the first leg started, I was awoken by my buzzing phone and a seedy plane flight home.