Tour Diary

My tour was due to start at the Green Room in Perth on Friday but actually
started on the Saturday in Edinburgh.  The Perth gig had been booked for about
7 weeks after a few emails back and forth to the promoter.
I messaged him a week before the night to confirm everything was still ok, but
didn’t hear anything back until the day before the gig, where I was told that, due
to the night now being split between 2 promoters (him and another local guy), he
didn’t have any say in the matter so I was no longer able to play.  If there are 2
promoters, one being the main booker for the venue, surely both of them have a
50% say?  Seems like a bad excuse to me.

Anyway, we arrived in Edinburgh early for the gig and got parked up and headed
off for something to eat.  Brian Curran had introduced us to a vegan baked tattie
place the last time we were here back in July, so we went there as it wasn’t too
far away.  There is a pub next door and, as we were passing the fire exit, there
was a huge BANG! And the door came flying open.  It sounded like the bouncers
were kicking someone out but some poor sod had (I assumed) fallen down the
stairs at a fair rate of knots and smacked into the door, hard.  He was out cold,
and a few other people ran down the stairs to help him and make him
comfortable.  A couple of minutes later, an ambulance arrived and they carted
him off.

When it came time for me to play, I had a quick line check to get the levels
sorted and away I went.  My guitar sounded awful and, after I finished my first
song (Warzone), there was a wall of feedback but not of the good variety!  This
seemed to take ages to sort out which can be distracting when playing.  After I
played, the sound man came up and blamed my guitar for the feedback as it has
an active pick up.  Yeah, ok, it’s a lovely sounding Yamaha guitar with a
Fishmann Blender pick-up/mic fitted and sounds great at every other venue I
play at without any EQ or other twiddling.  My set went down well with the
people that stayed to watch me and most of them seemed to be listening.  I’m
not sure where the rest of the crowd went to, but they didn’t come back for the
headline band either so I won’t take it too personally.

“I’ve found the best way to clear a room full of punks is to pick up an acoustic

Worthy of note here is the drummer from Dog Eggs/Famine.  He was limping
when he arrived at the venue and, on closer inspection, had a broken ankle
which he sustained earlier that day in a skateboarding accident.  He managed to
drive the van from Leeds, helped load gear into the venue and played not one
but two hard and fast sets on the drums without missing a beat.
Now THAT'S rock 'n' roll!!!!

After the gig we headed back to Colin’s flat.  He was staying out late and, seeing
as we had the van, we said we’d just sleep in there so he gave us directions and
told us to park up in his parking space.  He also said that he would leave the
front door unlocked if our van was there when he got home so we could use the
toilet in the night and make ourselves a cuppa in the morning.  I think he got
home late and was so drunk that he didn’t even notice the van in his space so
the door was well and truly locked (as Rags found out at 7am when she
desperately needed to use the toilet!).  We knocked at about 9 and he opened
up and made us tea and we got to meet his cats and rabbits.  We then watched
a couple of episodes of Sonic Highway which kept us amused while Colin
cleaned out the bunnies.  We watched the Chicago and Washington shows and,
though very interesting hearing about the musical history of the areas, it was too
much about Dave Grohl (I know it’s ‘his’ series etc but still…) and I really didn’t
like the bit where one of the band started swearing at the producer as there was
too much guitar in his headphones.  They just came across as spoiled rich kids
with loads of money and time on their hands to be able to go off and play at all
these studios.  Not one of the songs sounded any different to the next one so
they may as well have recorded them in one place.  We left Colin at around 2pm
but not before he kindly cooked us breakfast.

Sunday’s gig was at the New Hellfire Club Music Hub on Hidden Lane, just off
Argyle Street and was due to start at around 5pm.  My friend Brian Curran was
also playing so I was looking forward to meeting up with him and catching up.  
We arrived just after 3 and managed to get parked in Hidden Lane (which is just
a small road behind the shops) and went in to the Hub where Jamie was behind
the counter.  We had been in contact for nearly a year so it’s always nice to
actually meet face to face.  The shop is very cool, I highly recommend you visit if
you’re in the area.  They sell local band (as well as more popular bands) CD’s/T
shirts/vinyl etc alongside books and DVDs.  All the money goes back into the
venture and all the money made from CDs and merch goes straight to the bands.

Brian turned up not long after we arrived and, after finding something to eat and
catching up, we were ready to go.  We set up a mic but probably didn’t need to
(Brian certainly doesn’t need any form of amplification on his voice!)  Brian
played first and I enjoyed listening to his new songs as well as the old favourites
(it always takes me back to our European tour).  He got a good reception from
the crowd that had come along to see us.  I was up next and played a mixture of
loud songs and quieter ones, as well as some new ones from my latest album as
this was a kind of ‘unofficial’ album launch.  The crowd was very quiet through
both of our sets, which is very much appreciated as there is nothing worse than
trying to compete with 20 people shouting at each other.

Both mine and Brian’s albums & EPs are now available alongside the other local
(and not so local) bands.

The NHC also reviewed both of our sets and took some excellent photos, this
can be found

After the gig, we headed home and back to work and family commitments, so
the rest of the tour starts again the following weekend…….
After a long wait, we headed round to
Opium and met Colin (from House Of
Crust) who was putting the gig on and
waited for the other bands to arrive.  
One band was coming up from Leeds
and were running late as they had been
driving round Leeds all afternoon to get
the backline sorted out.  They eventually
arrived and we got their gear loaded in,
set up, and they had a quick sound
check.  I asked if the sound man wanted
to sound check me and he said he was
used to putting on open mic nights so
wouldn’t have a problem with my
acoustic sound.
Copyright Mark Ayling 2018