Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The wash-up at the end of the day...

So, the carnival is over. To have played 22 dates in 28 days, in five states/territories, I think, is no small achievement.
High points include the Cowell, Woomera, Oodnadatta, Leigh Creek, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne shows.We met great people every single place we played. Making new friends is always good. The local publicity in most places was encouraging. The Thai meal in Cobar came not a moment too soon. Maintaining/augmenting our genuine friendship throughout the tour was expected, but still reaffirming. The fact that the time flew by indicates we enjoyed a great life experience. The hospitality offered by strangers was nothing short of magnificent. To have mates drive 100 miles to see us, especially when some can't be arsed travelling three miles, was also strangely encouraging. Gary, the loon from the Rakeba, was an unexpected treasure. Ollie, our mate in Coober Pedy and Melbourne also proved to be a top-notch geezer. Pale Ale is now national.

Town & Country singlets, Gordo's werewolf dance, Japanese sci-fi DVDs, bacon-filled "vegetarian" pasta, a deer with a death wish, sleeping in a storage container, visiting Mount Gambier and not seeing the Blue Lake, guitar-case sticker quests, Chinese French bread sellers, playing naked on the balcony to the whole town at sunset ... it will all be in the book. (I made that last one up)

Lesser moments include enduring the mad Melbourne traffic, both in and out of that place. Entertaining six people at the Grace Emily, in my home town, wasn't the greatest feeling. We had even less in Broken Hill. The Melbourne accommodation made our evening more difficult than it should have been. We were too long away from home, but I guess that was down to me.

All up, the pros outweigh the cons, so let's do it again!  Perhaps after a lie down and a cup of tea.

The last leg.

After two great nights in Sydney and Canberra respectively, we were in high spirits as we headed towards the Victorian border.
The drive in to Melbourne put paid to any enduring joy - it wasn't much fun at all. The last hour and a half was especially nerve-wracking. I honestly don't know how people can commute like that each day without their hair turning white and their blood pressure going through the roof.
We got to our hotel about an hour before we were due at the venue; just long enough to see that they'd given us a double bed. They said they'd fix it while we were out but they didn't. We had to move our stuff into another room at 11.30 PM.
The Melbourne show, at The Drunken Poet, was quite a lot of fun and helped restore the good vibes of the previous two nights. I've wanted to play there for ages (following in Andy White's footsteps, again) so it was great to be able to finally tick that one off. There were a few there to see us, including a new friend of ours named Ollie, whom we'd met in Coober Pedy. He'd arrived back in Melbourne and bought a few mates out for a listen and a drink. Good man.
Mount Gambier was a pretty easygoing evening; I think the punters enjoyed us but it was a typical Friday night front bar crowd. Footy, racing, bar snacks and, erm, a live band in the corner...
Port Elliot was a similar affair. A few came in, close to 11.00, when we were three songs from finishing and asked us to play more.
"Where were you at 8.00?"
"Having dinner and stuff."
"Bad luck then; we're done. Goodnight"
Far too late in the tour to be overly generous. I was tired.
I woke up on Sunday after too little sleep and too much whisky. Despite these maladies I was still in a good mood; we were headed home. Breakfast at the Port Elliot Bakery and a coffee in Strathalbyn helped enormously. We arrived back in town around Noon and enjoyed a couple of hours of normality before heading to the Whitmore for the final gig. What fun we had! I managed to record most of it so there's another artifact for the archive.
Job done!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Flight of the KenChords...

Only four shows left. It's hard to believe that the bulk of the tour is now behind us; part of the vast canon of memories that will support us forevermore.
We are about to depart Canberra, after enjoying its favours, playing a decent show, and accepting the hospitality of our new friend Nigel and his partner, Beth. A (yours) truly wonderful visit.
Our shows keep finding a way of working, despite us playing to a different sort of crowd each night. You couldn't really have two more different audiences than those we entertained in Oodnadatta and Canberra. Both were brilliant.
Our gigs in Port Augusta, Leigh Creek, Broken Hill, Dubbo and Sydney have all provided much in the way of memorable moments.
After nearly four weeks of being somewhere else, I am almost ready to come home. Having said that, I want the next few days to continue to deliver the rocking and rolling highlights that have thus far comprised this crazy life on the road.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Northern Exposure

We've reached the half-way point of the tour and we've been as far north as we are going. Tonight's show, in Oodnadatta, will be number 12. Every gig has been different; every day has been an adventure. As we have headed further and further north, the distances have lengthened but, so far, the travelling has been OK. My heart sinks a little whenever I see a dead animal but I guess that's just how it is. The immense skies and plains are an incredible sight. We have plenty of music onboard, and dodgy roadhouse food offers new and exciting health risks every time an overpriced culinary delight is selected.
The gigs have gone pretty well. Some audiences have been more engaged than others but we've played to decent numbers in just about all towns. Woomera was the standout. It was a great night in the pub; we all had a rollicking time. Every aspect of our stay in Woomera: the gig, the venue, the manager, the staff, the accommodation and the punters summed up why we are doing this. Roxby Downs, Coober Pedy and Alice Springs also had their high points.
Having a day off and getting to see Uluru was a bonus!
The inside of the van looks and smells like a teenager's bedroom; we'll empty it out today as we are hiring a 4WD for the off-road trip. It will be a clean machine as we head back to Port Augusta tomorrow afternoon.