Welcome to the third installement of the Axis Of tour diary, just in time for their return home supporting Therapy? at Mandela Hall tomorrow night!:
Sorry for the late addition of this update. We had a fairly substantial WiFi famine which, aside from not keeping up top date with Business, created major problems in my Dexter schedule. So we had just finished two, somewhat contrasting gigs in London and Huddersfield, and then onto an opener in Bristol, which was surprising as it was the first gig of the tour playing to a more punk crowd. We also got one of the weirdest responses to a song ever: with a crowd of, say, 30 people, it had that atmosphere where the band can talk to members of the crowd individually and everyone can hear, so we were pretty surprised to hear the somewhat anti-heckle, "You are actually really good". With our tails in the air, we moved onto Newport for a lovely stay with our good friend Kaskie from our Welsh brothers The Death Of Her Money, great venue, great people, and a late night beer session in a jazz lounge to top it off. Lovely
Portsmouth and Chichester followed and both were great gigs dragged down by the fact that we knew the dates were coming to an end. I think if our tour was a living entity,I would definitely say it would be a pregnant woman; the mood swing's are just so spectacular. It would be foolish to write off all our tours as a walks in the park, as would it be to say our shows are awful. What we/you have to remember is that we are a band playing their first/second gig's in most of these cities, and if anyone can remember our first gig in Belfast (thought not) you'll have a better understanding of the level of expectation we're dealing with here. I'm rambling here, but I'll give you a good example of my point..
After the technical hitches, and sound problems we had at our first London gig, we had what is least appropriate in that situation: a day off. Although we used it wisely, tasting the finest local (and European) ales, scoping out London's finest sights and watching Ewen get swallowed up in the monster that is the London underground, what you need after any difficult stage is another show to put the bad one behind you.
So after a day off, we made our way to the 2nd London gig (Stockwell), a modest but appreciative looking crowd and some great support bands got us in the mood. Unfortunately a few bars into the set, the bass amp blew, we tried our best to salvage the situation, but we had to stop. For a band who prides themselves as being intense from start to finish, having to stop in the first song really breaks momentum. So we finished the gig best we could, and although no-one could be blamed, we were all extremely bummed out.
The bad vibes continued into the next day, with petty squabbles and awkward silences setting the tone. We made our way to Huddersfield, which on paper had the makings of another shocker. Fortunately we were made a very tasty dinner and ended up playing to a good crowd with some really good feedback, alongside fellow countrymen The Continuous Battle of Order, which added to the good times. After this the good vibes were back and we all realised how lucky we are to be in a band that are in the position of bringing their music all around the UK, when so many don't get the opportunity. It's really about taking the good with bad, but more taking the good from the band, I think that's the key to being in a DIY band.
If this tour has taught me anything, it's that no matter how low things get, the feeling of being down on tour just can't compete with the absolutely crushing disappointment of getting home from tour. And that's no disrespect to my home (I think I could live in a Spanish Villa and still get the horrible feeling when you return). But on the bright side, we have always been lucky enough to have a good gigs to come home to - the Button Factory in Dublin was probably the biggest venue we've played - and playing the Mandela Hall has always been a dream of mine.
Thanks guys and we'll see you all on Friday throwing down harder than an Olympic shot putter with a broken arm.
Photos by: Tom McGeehan
Axis Of return tomorrow nght, supporting Therapy? at the Mandela Hall as part of the Belfast Festival at Queens.