tour diary

Gig One – Patient Tour – The Globe Venue, Sydney… by ben fletcher

First gig of the big tour for our album ‘Patient’. If you were to bottle us at that moment you would get an eighteenth century scotch malt whisky. Loaded in after a quick acoustic show at Festival Records for the reps. Who sat and applauded politely to the songs that Jamie and I played. Half you could tell were forced to go to this ‘Meet (I met no one) and Greet (no one greeted them selves to me)’and the other half … kinda wanted to be there. Then in a late rush from the record company we sped to the Globe for sound check, and food. I had this feeling tonight was gonna’ be big. I munched away at my dinner whilst watching the ‘special lighting’ guys set their stuff up. We’d never had our own special lighting team before. These guys (who ranged from ten to fifty) all wore black heavy metal T-shirts, and, yes some of the older ones had the famous ‘MULLET’ style hair cuts, all in all these guys were a treat to watch.

The smoke machine was quickly and quietly assassinated early in the sound check, which left our lighting boys a bit ‘piffed’ to say the least. 'No smoke machine’ they snickered to one another.

I don’t know what it is, but the smoke machine is just not on. It never has been as far as I’m concerned. Take the Cure for example, I saw those guys twice back in, I think it was ’90. Now I’m not sure if the button was pushed down heavily and broken or if someone had died, collapsing on the switch but the smoke didn’t stop through the whole damn gig. Shortly after the third song the band had disappeared behind a thick vale of smoke and they were not seen again for the duration of the show. The smoke machine to the Bluies’ is much like a cucumber and banana sandwich: a bit silly.

Nevertheless I’m told the light show was excellent. Flat Stanley strutted their stuff in front of an already quite large crowd. They played well but much of it I missed due to my nerves screaming at me over and over again ‘…red wine, drink red wine, or you might collapse on stage and urinate yourself in public’; tonight we were all rather nervous but by the time they had finished their set we were all in high spirits.

Art of Fighting started and my head was spinning with all the people in the room. It seems that I talked to everyone I’ve ever known. Art of Fighting were excellent tonight, I saw them years ago in some cold Uni. But tonight they defiantly shone (check them out if you can) they're the quietest band I’ve ever seen. We had to be on stage at 10:30 and by 10:25 Richo (who had left to find some missing band gear) was still not to be seen. But after much nail biting he stuck his head in the band room, and on we went.

The set was:

Sydney Globe
Smother it in Honey
Six wheels
Tap Dancing on the Titanic
Give up the Ghost
Return to the City of Folded Arms
Maps to help you lose your Way
Outside are the Dogs
Girl Genius
Running around the White Picket Fence
Homeless Blueless

Paddock Blues
Boredom your Breaking my Heart
Requiem for the Holden

The room was packed — like a scene from ‘Titanic’ when people saw us come on they rushed to be saved by the last sail boat outa here: HMAS Bluebottle… Well that’s how I saw it after a bottle of red. There was much screaming and loud ‘YEAH’S’ going on. I said ‘this song’s called Smother it in Honey and you're all beautiful’ and BOOM off we shot, like a bullet train. Song two ‘Six Wheels’, Jamie’s distortion pedal broke at the start. Richo and I tried to keep the damaged ‘bullet train’ on the rails but slowly she pulled to a halt just out side of Yass, it was cold in Yass. All I was thinking whilst Jamie ran back stage to find a replacement was ‘this is gonna happen all night’ but it didn’t, Jamie found a distortion pedal in the band room and them off we went again, the train being replaced with an ol’ steamer, just right for Bluebottle.

Halfway through the set we encountered what is commonly known as ‘A Heckler’. We often seem to attract some strange people to our gigs and they always converge over my side of the stage for some reason??? I quickly shattered this particular psycho with my old famous ‘try to come back to this one’ ‘HUSH PUPPY’ saying that angered the young upstarter, but due to his obvious lack of self control he was quietly shown the door. Thanx for your seven bucks, buddy.

The suit jackets were off by the 5th song and the rock jumps were plentiful.

"Bass solo, Bass solo" they screamed, even Wesley our guitar tech extraordinaire got a cheer. By the time we finished the blurry set, I was dizzy with the heat, looking over to Jamie in the last song and all I could see was a watery mess. The crowd, sweat and red were mixing quiet well in to an Molotov Cocktail of unrememberable sensations. Talked to every living soul (it felt like it) after the show. A thousand pats on the back and a hundred drinks mixed in with hugs and kisses from strangers. So by the time I closed my eyes for the night how ever many hours after the show (don’t quiet remember all the details of the post show partying) my head was a thousand miles away in some deserted truck stop trying to call home on a broken pay phone.



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