So many days, so little web access...It all kind of builds up on you. Nonetheless, its time to sit back, make a cup of tea and join me in another venture into the Stormcellar as we go
Ahem. Now where were we before I stuffed up my mobile broadband drivers? Ah yes. Packing for Tamworth!
No, Dear Reader, you wont have to suffer through another OCD induced, fully illustrated. discussion of the benefits of packing....although I am tempted to mention how we organised it but my fellow band mates will merely add another to my list of rules. Ok, fine.
The boys, will, with luck, add their own Blogs with some of the sights and sounds they captured, but as I appear to be first to post, here's my take on this years experience.
The Group Consensus was that we should drive up to Tamworth on the day of the first gig at the Wests, and as we had a start time of 5pm, that seemed logical....except for the whole 6am departure thing, which necessitates being up at 5am.
As far as musicians are concerned, the only things that get up at 5am are Marines and those seeking a worm.
And maybe milk delivery guys....And those people who have to be at work early and...
So, in short, a lot of people get up at that hour and so did we, for another glorious summer drive out of Sydney, bound for the heart of the country thing bits out there with Cows and such. Man, its early.
Did I mention also Sunny?
There's something to be said for the Road Trip, especially on a Wednesday morning, when you have this feeling that really you should be at work :-)
Instead you;re driving through New South Wales countryside in Summer and its all getting a bit dry again.
Ah, the journey, that's the thing :-)
We travelled in convoy the 5 and a half hours to Tamworth, under a blue sky with those happy white fluffy clouds. It's enough to put you in a good mood.
Except for the occasional stoppage due to road work...
At last we reached Tamworth, with Rosie driving and clutching at my ipod when the occasional Rap song appeared on the randomiser (apparently I am the only band member who likes Dr Dre...)
We arrived our our luxurious Accom (thanks to Pete H) and had enough time to unpack the huge load of groceries we had acquired for the week (the key to successful touring is Low GI and lots of fibre...more on that shortly).
Jo F had driven up from Cumnock to join us for the first five gigs, courtesy of a gentle (but forceful) prodding from her husband.
Our first gig was at the Legends Bar that afternoon, so, having rendezvous'd, off we went.
The view from the side of the stage at the Legends Lounge. Some great singing!
That's one thing I will definitely say of the country scene, they value good singers and I heard some terrific vocalists during the visit.
As this was our first time at Legends, we had mild trepidation. Ok, maybe that's just me, but we got up and did our thing, and with the lovely Jo f there, suddenly everything seemed to work very nicely. I took a few shots of the boys onstage.
Here's Mr Wizard doing his thing. He was in such awe of the local Slide Players that he requested we refrain from using his nickname, but I declined, as that appellation stems from his choice of notes, not his slide playing :-)
Rosie and Rixie....but hang on, where are the Hats??? Hmm...
Theo? No Hat??
Mr Rix? No hat either?
Ok, so that was a no hat gig, but a good introduction to the venue and an audience that were very receptive to the material from Carl's Chair.
Now I may have mentioned that for this run, we structured our sets so that we played all the 'nice' stuff for the daylight shows and reserved the 'other' stuff for the evening shows, and with Jo F there to do the harmonies on the songs from Carl;'s Chair, it was quite a hoot. We don't often do Company of A Friend live (for example), as folks in Pubs at Night want dancier stuff, but it seemed appropriate for these shows and was remarkably well received by the audience.
So, with the first gig ticked off, we headed back to our accom, I went back onto Kitchen Patrol (cutting up stuff on a chopping board is very therapeutic) and we had a well deserved rest until our next gig the following day at the Diggers Courtyard.
The Diggers Courtyard does have some sun protection, but this was definitely Hat time.
Rosie is always so friendly!
Theo looked like he had just come off set from the Blues Brothers. Aha! I see a hat!
Now one of the wonders of the tour was that Rosie, who doesn't normally rush for the Microphone got some new Mojo Working and all of a sudden started getting on the mike and sharing his thoughts on the songs. After watching various acts do that strange thing called 'communicating' with the people at the gig, I found myself standing beside a most outgoing Mr Rosenthal.Way to go Rosie!
Thankfully, we had taken advantage of the sunscreen carried by Deanne and Jo and were all be-hatted, so despite the warmth of the Tamworth sun, we had a very cool afternoon, with the onstage fans blowing up a gale and causing Mr Wizard no end of concern over their effect on the strings :-)
A shout out to Glynn for sticking around, loved the hat mate.
After an afternoon in the sun, we were pretty dehydrated, so we high tailed it home for Yet More High Fibre Food and a well deserved beverage. I chose Tea.
Another glorious Tamworth morning.
Some visitors on the Clothes Line
As the morning blossomed into another day, the sound of a distant thunder began to play over the house. Was this a change in the weather?
Nope, it was the annual Tamworth Biker Run. The noise seemed to go on forever so i went to investigate and filmed the following : warning, only watch this if you like counting passing motorcyclists, it goes on for ages!
With the Thunder in retreat and he remainder of Friday to ourselves, it was time to wander around and see the sights.
LOL...heh, sorry, couldn't resist. Just proving that Tamworth is a Cosmopolitan town! (can you imagine the conversations as the Bushy walks in with a Return?). Ahem.
As Quartermaster, I was responsible for Finding The Veggies, so off I went to the local supermarket, where my eye for curious signage caught this one. Check out the 'Nail Polish' sign down the bottom of the frame:
Nail Plolsh! Love it.
The best thing about the Vegie Fetching Job? The nice air conditioned Mall. Ah, the joys of rural living.
Returning to the camp site, I found the boys roughing it.
It's a hard life on the road.
Mr Rix had rushed back to Sydney to attend to another gig, such is his frenzy for the Bass. Nonetheless, we were due to do a short set at the Atrium Shopping Centre (also Air Conditioned, nice) and found a good crowd assembled to see Paul Robert Burton and Friends.
Once again, thanks to Theo, I am seeing Dutch stuff everywhere. Its starting to freak me out.
We did a set at the shopping centre, with sound bouncing back from the flat, white surfaces of the atrium, making it a very lively room indeed. A shout out to Keith, Pat, Wayne, Val, Michael and those who took advantage of the cool climes of the centre while we were playing.
As Jo and I were headed back to the car afterwards we spotted a novel idea for public transport in Tamworth.
Wonder if it will catch on?
Legends Strikes Back!
With Mr Rix on his way back up for the gig, we found ourselves once more at the legends bar, where the Toombs Brothers and friends were holding court. Boy can Andy sing!
By this stage, I had got enough sense in me to start recording some video, check out their version of The Weight.
Meanwhile, beside the stage, in the entrance to the Even Bigger room, the boys were tuning up
Behind me was the monstrous room that the Big Acts pack out at the Wests.
Then it was time for us to do our stuff...which we did.
I should send a special shout out to Deanne, whose presence brought out the best in our Rosie, as this was one of the first times she had seem him perform - but I shall leave the details to Rosies Blog (hint hint Rosie).
Also, in a touching moment, Jo's beloved Stuart surprised her by driving up from Cumnock unannounced. Stuart had pressed Jo into joining us for the tour and was staying home to mind the kids, but in a Sneaky Romantic way, he organised to drive up with the lovely Chantelle and surprise the heck out of Jo. that was one of those 'Awwwww.....' moments, as he got to see her do her fabulous stuff on stage in front of a crowd. Well done Mr Fitzgerald, bravo.
Once again, with the gig done, we headed back to the Campsite (lol) for a group bonding dinner.
After which, as the evening bloomed, Stuart, Jo, Chantelle and a few of the lads headed into town for a nights gig visiting, before we started the new full week of gigs.
Ok, thats a lot of pics etc. I'll blog the rest tomorrow! Stay tuned!