5.3.2014 Bristol, UK 11:20
It’s been a surreal 48 hours. It’s Saturday morning, I woke up and didn’t know where I was, I expected to wake up in my bed at home. The room was strange and it slowly dawned on me that I had flown to the UK to play Temples Fest.
Our flight left JFK at 07:15 so we had to be at the airport terminal at 05:15. Everyone crashed at my place to avoid any kind of jackassery that may happen on one of these early morning departures. No risk of the subway not running, the buses being behind schedule; we wake up and roll. We were on the road at 04:00 and, of course hit traffic on the Van Wyck. Only in New York City do you get heavy traffic before 05:00. Nonetheless, we were at the terminal pretty much on time.
The line was pretty short; this dude with a Pelican case was in line in front of us. Andrew noticed that “The Knife” was stenciled on the guy’s case. Apparently he’s a crew guy for them; they played at Terminal 5 the night before. Everything moved along pretty smoothly.
When we boarded the flight, I noticed that I had the middle seat, which bummed me out. The flight was packed, it was tight and the travel time was close to 7 hours. I was in that not-really-asleep / not-really-awake consciousness for most of the flight. The fact that any of this was happening is miraculous. I discovered earlier in the week that the Work Permits were never filed. I got this information on Monday. At the moment we don’t have a booking agent. Our former agent who typically takes care of this, who we parted with during the planning phase of this trip, didn’t file the appropriate paperwork. Francis and Kam knuckled down and made it all happen; the permits arrived at the last possible moment.
Oh yeah, my passport had expired in the midst of all of this. Has it been 10 years? Time flies on broken wings. Amidst all of this intensity, I had to get an expedited, last minute passport renewal.
This guy named Ben met us at the terminal and drove us down to Bristol. After being trapped on the plane all day, stepping out into the cool, fresh air seemed like being caressed by the embrace of angels. I felt my body unclench. We still had about two hours travel down to Bristol. On the way down, we stopped at a rest stop to get some chow. I bought some coffee and was soon reminded how wretched English coffee is.
Everyone was wide awake. We hung out at the bar late into the evening. The bartender was this cool Swedish guy named Linus. He was a punk and metal fan and was stoked that some “normal” people were hanging out in the bar. The hotel was a really high quality establishment so I imagine that he doesn’t get a lot of bands coming through.
I feel pretty good. I smashed down some Onnit 180 last night before I went to sleep and I’m drinking another on right now. It’s supposed to help with jetlag; it seems to be working.
I’m going to check in with the other guys and get ready to head down to the venue, set up the merch and check out the bands. I have press at 16:30, but hopefully I can hang out for a while. Mike Gallagher’s band MGR is on the bill today. Storm of Light is playing and the mighty Neurosis is the headliner.
We’re back on the plane. It feels like the last two days didn’t happen and that I exist as a perpetual airline traveler. The flight is pretty empty. The nice lady at the check in counter hooked us up and gave us all aisle seats with two empty seats between us. We’re in the air and I’m not exactly sure where we are. The movie “Grudge Match” is on the in-flight movie setup. Sylvester Stallone and Robert Deniro play these old boxers that have had an unresolved issue and are finally getting a chance to settle the score. Joey Coco Diaz has a small part in it. At some point today, I’m sure I will be watching it.
The fest was killer. There was a small transportation issue with getting from the hotel to the venue due to a van breakdown. As a result, I got there late for press at 16:30. I ended up getting it all in but then it was pretty much time to play. I watched Storm of Light’s set. It was the best I’ve seen them play; their new material is a little more intense sounding. We had about 40 minutes to get ourselves setup on stage. We used pretty much their entire backline so it was a relatively low-stress situation. They had great gear so it was easy.
We played well. I was blown away at how cool everyone was. I’ve been to the UK many times over the years but this was the best. I feel fortunate that the English crowd was receptive to us.
Of course, even though everyone was so cool, I’m meditating on the negative stuff. I normally don’t work the merch table because I have extremely bad interpersonal skills. Ben has a way better temperament for that stuff than I do. I was “watching the table” while Ben went to get some drinks. A young lady asked me why we were selling the Decibel flexi while it was free with the subscription. I asked if she got the issue that featured our flexi. She replied “Yes” and I told her not to worry about what we’re selling. We’re only selling the flexi for a couple of pounds so what’s the issue? We were given those for the express purpose of selling them to people who weren’t subscribers.
Ben told me about a German punker that was complaining that our shirts were 15 pounds while Storm of Light was selling theirs for 12 pounds, He also indicated that Doom were selling theirs for 6 pounds. I wish I was there to deal on this guy. Ben described him as one of those European “punkers” with patches of American bands all over his jacket. I’ve grown weary of these dudes arguing over 2 or 3 pounds. It’s not the 80’s where shows were only 5 bucks and gas was 70 cents a gallon. In general people complain about ticket prices to shows. Honestly, shows can be more expensive and we still lose money because everything else is inflated.
I caught most of Amen Ra’s set. I’ve been a fan of theirs for a while, I enjoy their live thing. They have great visuals. There are a lot of bands that sound like them, but I’ve selected them as the band that I’m going to support.
When Neurosis played, it was impossibly packed, so packed that I couldn’t make it into the room. I tried to get to our green room, which overlooked the stage but security had it locked down for some reason. I ended up wandering around the merch area which was pretty much empty at that point and listened. They sounded great.
The van picked us up at 00:30 and drove us back to the hotel. We had to meet the van to the airport at 03:30. We got back close to 02:00 so I didn’t really see much reason to go to sleep.
The song “Black Out in the Red Room” by Love Hate is for some reason running through my head. I suppose that’s what happens with sever sleep deprivation.