Former Monarchs UK Tour Diary: Days 9, 10 & 11
In advance of their gig tonight at the Crane Lane Theatre, the FoMos give us the rundown on their last few days on tour in the UK!
Derby was a strange gig to say the least. Actually, Derby as a place in general is quite strange. We arrived in the afternoon to a horribly rainy day, and wandered around for a bit. The town itself is nice enough I suppose, but it looked drab and dreary because of the day. I got a coffee in a café and waited for load in. When we did eventually load, we set up and sound-checked with all our gear because we were told that Shapes and &U&I would be using our gear. It turns out they had brought all of their own stuff themselves, so we had to change the backline after our set.
It was the quietest gig of the tour by far. The small crowd that did turn up consisted of the Bear Makes Ninja guys with a few of their buddies, and a few eager locals. They seemed to like us in any case. My kick pedal was odd with my throughout the set, but I hope we’ll make up soon. The night really was horrendous weather-wise, which definitely had an impact on the crowd. It was excellent to see our friends &U&I again. They are the nicest guys of all time and it was as if we had seen them yesterday when we got chatting. They are just fantastic guys, excellent fun to be around, and extremely good. Themselves and Shapes tore it up even though there was barely any crowd, total pros. They’ll both be playing the Crane Lane in mid November. GO TO IT! (November 12th, in fact – Ed.)
After the gig, we went back to Carrie’s home in Nottingham, which is about a half hour’s drive from Derby. Carrie runs a great blog called One Beat and she has been saying extremely lovely things about Former Monarchs for the last few months, so it was great to finally meet her and her lovely boyfriend Neil (even though he’s a hardcore Liverpool fan). They have a beautiful home and two cats so once again I was delighted. We had beers and got a great night sleep.
Nottingham tomorrow, where Carrie is putting on the show. Looking forward to it, but don’t know what to expect as of yet.
Nottingham was probably the best show in our little band’s short history. It’s nights like that that make all the driving and eating out of tesco hot counters worth it. We played the Jam Café, which was similar to Glasgow (a café during the day and an intimate, sweaty venue at night). We played with a great local band called Liberation Pact and then Bear Makes Ninja went on. We finished the night off, and although I still had kick-drum problems, it didn’t even matter. The vibe was unbelievable. It was packed because the Arctic Monkeys show had just finished which brought a big spill-over. We played really well I thought, and the crowd participation in our song Sparks and Fires was incredible. We sold LOADS of merch, and met excellent humans once again. Ah jaysis, it was something else. Carrie One Beat knows how to run a show. She is something else.
There is no doubt that this will be the first gig we’ll be booking on our next tour. It’s a gorgeous town and that show was just amazing. Amazing.
We went back to Carrie’s again and had the laughs until the wee hours. It ended with the band playing Fifa ’12 in their front room in our boxers. Get a good mental image of that now. Go on.
And so comes the last date of the tour – Chichester tomorrow. It is flippin’ ages away down by the coast so it will be a long drive. After the show, we are then loading up and driving through the night to North Wales. It is going to be completely miserable. But sure, you’re only young once.
And that’s that. Chichester went well. It was a long but enjoyable drive. We spent most of the journey constructing crude and inappropriate sentences in Irish. I would actually love to say a few here, but it definitely isn’t suitable. It was VERY crude. Blame Dave Murph (+4, Ondryland, foul-mouthed young fella) for that.
One memorable thing about the drive is that we passed this sleepy town that had 2 pubs, a restaurant and 11 (by my count) antique stores. What is up with that? How can one town sustain so many antiques? I don’t get it at all. How are they in business? The mind boggles. There’s only so many ornate candle-holders a man can have.
Chichester is a picturesque little city, with a big huge cathedral and old cobbled streets. I did my ritual wander on my own with choonz blaring in my ears. This night it was Tall Ships. If you haven’t heard of them, hear them! They’re dirty mucky good. Fiddly guitars, colourful synths and shouty harmonious vocals. Right down my alley.
The venue was lovely, if a little old man pub-like. We were on third of a four band bill, with Bear Makes Ninja opening, and two local acts (Traams and Them The Sky) in between. Barry had some amp difficulties before sound check so he spent a good half hour or so fixing that. The benefits of having an electrical engineer in the band is that he can deal with stuff that I wouldn’t have a clue about. The gig was good though. I bust up my finger and got blood all over my trusty gigging shorts. Ah well. My snare stand was also too low so I was giving myself digs into the leg every time I hit the snare. You should see my thigh now, it looks like an ordnance survey map. I don’t even know why, that’s just what it looks like.
After the show, we had to say goodbye to Bear Makes Ninja. Although we only played 4 of our shows with them, we saw them on many of the nights, as they came to our gigs and put us up in their home. The three of them (Karina, Ben and Fish) and their manager Dan are just the nicest people. At the risk of sounding sappy, I’m upset to have said goodbye, because I’ve gained lots of new friends that I know will stay in touch. Not only did we get to know the band, but we made friends with their entire group of pals too. By the end of it, it felt as if we were always around them! The whole lot of them treated us so well and one of the things I’m looking forward to most about going back is seeing all of them again. You could do a lot worse than to check out their tunes. ‘The Man Who Can’t Say No’ in particular has been in my head for over a week.
So, 11 days ago we headed off and now I’m sitting on the ferry writing this. We haven’t really slept in over 24 hours, other than bursts here and there. Barry had a mammoth drive to Wales, and I’m doing the Dublin to Cork trip. Thanks to Drop-D for encouraging us to do this diary thingamayoke, and I hope ye enjoyed reading my posts. I know it’s not particularly riveting reading, but it was a fun thing to do!
So, ya. We’re playing the Crane (tonight) with Slugbait (and Time is a Thief – Ed.) for the launch of Cork Rock City Vol. II. It will be nice to be back, I suppose.