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Grievous Acoustic Behaviour – January ’04

By Kris | January 30, 2004

Ginger, Jon Poole and Hot Steve – Acoustic Tour – Jan 2004 · Words by Hot Steve

Monday 26 January – Wolverhampton Civic Bar

Well it don’t really get any crazier for the first day back in the office after the Xmas break! There are certain things that can and actually will happen to just us. The lucky ones, I guess you could call us, as there is a payoff at the end of the day where we get to do something out of the ordinary – i.e. play in front of you lot – the huddled masses. Sod’s law dictates that if something can happen, it will happen to us.

Take our first day back! It began easy enough. A well planned early morning departure from Kettering to collect the guitar from the West End of London, so as not to violate a new year resolution by Ginger not to drive in the aforementioned West End. Rendezvous with Jonny Poole and Ginger and travel the few hours to Wolverhampton and run through the set before the ‘normal’ thing that we do entertains you all.

This is where Sod’s law comes out to play.

It could only happen to us that just after leaving London we survive our first ‘drive by’!

Driving along and the side window just explodes, covering a hapless Jon in broken glass and extreme cold! A quick clean up at the side of the road couldn’t locate the magic bullet, so we had to quickly move on to the services where the sniper couldn’t get a second shot.

In true road crew style, an improvised ‘window’ was crafted from the finest cardboard and gaffa tape and held in place for a while until it got too wet and just flew out. The second window was a masterpiece! Until that too succumbed to wear and tear, but after several attempts by the valiant Ginger to gaffa tape the cardboard ‘window’ back to the door while traveling at speed down the M6 we finally made it to Wolvo.

The Civic Hall complex in Wolverhampton houses several gigs and we were in the next but smallest one so we must be getting better I guess. Interesting fact! The last time I was here, the dressing room we were afforded was home to the lovely Ms Amy lee from Evanescence. Which made our dressing room the Jacuzzi stacked luxury accommodation we come to expect these days.

My recollections of the gig are strange. It all flew by so fast I can’t actually remember much but it was all good fun. With heckling duly provided from an imported Doncaster renta crowd I ended up really enjoying myself!

I haven’t played a proper acoustic geetar for a while and the sensation that got me the most was losing most of the skin from my strumming finger! Claret everywhere! Playing an acoustic guitar in this stylee is almost akin to strumming a cheese grater!

It doesn’t look much but boy can i bleed a lot from just one little hole!

Finally, while I was undertaking important tour managing duties (counting the money) I missed out on the ‘filling the Jacuzzi with shower gel gag’ Oh well. Can’t be in 8 places at once.

All I can say after day one is that I don’t think there’s anything out of the ordinary that can’t happen to us!

Roll on day 2!!!

Tuesday 27 January – Oxford Zodiac

Joy after joy after sweet joy! The day started with trying to find the car, then trying to find the hotel with the car. If the traffic warden was really trying to cheer me up by giving me a ticket then she made my day! The plan to fix the offending window was to blast up to Donny and get the hire place to fix it.

The thing with actually going home while on tour is that you are ‘passing through’ and hence don’t actually feel that you are in your own high street, even though there you are passing your mates in the street. After a lengthy visit to the tobacco shop I was re-united with one of Doncaster’s favourite ‘strange people’. The guy in question is Earl. I have seen this bloke around for years and he has always been in town. He used to hide behind lampposts and wheelie bins and ‘shoot’ people with his loaded finger. I haven’t seen him for years so I can only assume he has been receiving mental health treatment as he did get quite violent at times when he was asking for 30p so he could get to Rotherham for his ‘operation’. So the first person that Ginger and Jon met in this fair town was the local nutter!

Albeit a more polite and friendlier Earl than before. So after the purchase of a quantity chewing tobacco by the name of ‘black pig’ and ‘great bogey’ we set off and tried to get to Oxford before the day ran out. Apparently Ginger’s new found pipe-smoking activities have been called the most ‘unrock ‘n’ roll thing ever seen’. I don’t get it! The pipe smoker monthly will be contacted forthwith! Never mind banning cigarette smoking I think pipe smoking should be encouraged! It smells so good!

Ginger & Jon @ Oxford - Photo © Gwen Ladd-PhillipsOnce re-glazed, the 2-hour journey to 3rd division rivals Oxford commenced.

One of the best things about these acoustic shows for us is that we can spend the day in a different place and just turn up at the last minute as it were, chuck the gear in, do a quick sound check and then bang! You’re on! With the band thing you have to be there all day setting up. This is a dream! And loads of fun obviously. After the support band (the Moneyshots) warmed up the crowd we took to the stage once again for another night of un-scripted

After the first few songs I looked down to notice a large amount of blood on my guitar hmmm… The wound from the first night had opened up and I had bled all over the strings but hopefully not the front row.

I can’t remember the set list but I can remember a few howlers coming from my general area! Try it girls and boys! Drive 300 miles, sort the gig out and go on to play with freezing cold fingers and go straight into Sky Babies! Ouch!

Highlight of the night for me was the pop idol reject getting up and doing ‘Shut Your Fucking Mouth…’! Sheer class!

In the car on the way home it started to snow heavily and our thoughts turned to getting dug out of our tour bus on the M11 the following day! Can’t fucking wait! See ya

Wednesday 28 January – Cambridge Boatrace

One of the weird things about the acoustic touring schedule is that we have enough time in the day to get on with things as normal and then go to the show in the evening. Today’s ‘normal’ excursion was for myself and the mighty Jon Poole to venture into the West End again to get some strings for my geetar. Jumping on the tube we headed direct for Soho and a quick scan round the adult shops (purely for research purposes mind!) A feeling of deja vu came over me when I realized this was exactly what we did on the last tour before trying to get up the M11 to the Colchester show last year.

We set off in time to drive the 50 or so miles to Cambridge, leaving early to allow for the bad weather that was on its way. As I said, the last time we used the M25 to get to the M11 to get to the Colchester night of the living dead show it rained a bit and the great British driving public went to shit and started crashing!

As if to repeat history, as soon as the little white flakes became big white flakes and you couldn’t see where you were going, the Brits did what they are best at! Panic like mad and start crashing. I’m in a great privileged position as I have driven all over the world and in much more severe weather than this and I can safely say this sceptered isle’s drivers are the worst in the world. There was little old me in the car trying to keep up with the rear lights of the car in front when Joe white van man came hurling past threw up a great wash of slush into my path and I ended up nearly going off the road! To conclude my little rant-ette I won’t go on about how unprepared this country is for bad weather but I was scared at times last night on the road and I’ve never felt like that before. Alright, I nearly had the car doing Torvil and Dean impressions in the outside lane but come on Britain! Get your self sorted out! Learn how to drive properly and for heaven’s sake let’s use some of our road tax to actually make the roads better eh! Now there’s an idea.

It was a stressed, cold Steve that got to the boat race late to be greeted with a pleasant enough promoter but no dressing room. Letting us use the top of the stairs rectified this. Luxury eh! It always gets me how everyone wants to get backstage at gigs. It’s always the smallest, most horrible room in the building, cramped and smelly and never has its own toilet!. I know the venue was closing down and most people just seemed to have accepted the fact but come on venues! Let’s see a bit of enthusiasm towards the people who are making you money behind the bar eh! I remember the gig being great actually and I think we even played a version of ‘The Boys Of Summer’. Bizarre.

Bonus points go to the blond metaller who remained drunken most of the night, gave us a picture of a cat with a crash-helmet on and then proceeded to knock out the promoter while shutting the bar. I don’t live in Cambridge obviously and I can sympathize with the good folks for losing a venue of such a high caliber.

Thursday 29 January – High Wycombe White Horse

As last days go, Thursday was a bit of a weird one. With the weather still affecting the good people of England’s decisions to travel more than 30 yards from their doorstep, I wasn’t really expecting a record-breaking attendance at High Wycombe. A morning of sliding round the side roads of West Hampstead trying to find a parking space every 2 hours had put me in reflective mood on how much fun this actually is! Imagine my situation – I’m the guitar tech for the wildhearts and that’s my job. Before I was a geetar tech I played in bands and stuff and it’s a side of me that has been neglected over the years. I love playing live and to have the chance to play acoustic guitar (albeit not very well at times) for what is basically a relaxed wildhearts is a dream ticket. It really is a laugh at all times. To be on the same stage with Jon and Ginger whom I have massive respect for as musicians is just stunning. Not wanting to go on too much but I’m playing with one of the countries best songwriters in Ginger and possibly the greatest musician I have ever met in Jon Poole and we are all there giving it out in pubs round the UK! You lucky lucky people!

Jon, Purple Claire, Ginger & Hot Steve @ High Wycombe - Photo © Purple ClaireAs soon as we entered the White Horse we were met with the sort of welcome that we will remember for a long time. It was so nice to be treated with a welcoming handshake a cup of tea and a relaxed informative introduction to the place. Full marks to the staff of the white horse for making us feel welcome and wanted. My only upset was that my super sexy black Gibson Everly Bros guitar had run out of batteries and was making a better distorted sound than the Strat. I ended up having to borrow lovely support person Purple Claire’s axe for our set. Thanks a lot Claire!

It’s always the same though; as soon as you get into your stride gig-wise, it’s time to stop. I had just got the hang of singing as well as playing and was really enjoying playing TV Tan when it was time to stop and go back to looking after the guys in the band!

The gig was marvelous! Top quality entertainment I think you will agree! So after driving over a thousand miles, surviving drive-by shootings, dicing with death on Britain’s worst motorway in the snow and not drinking much, it’s all over for a while!

There are more of these shows planned and I for one can’t wait! Bring it on! Time to go back to Doncaster have a weekend with my mates and get ready for the month to come.

See you at the UK shows and on the Darkness tour! Oh yeah!