Sorry guys the delays with the blog – it sure hasn´t been much of an up-to-date tour diary since because of technical problems (first four days) and general lazyness (second four days) we haven´t been able to write anything here. To compensate for this, here´s a mega-update on what has been going on with Omnium Gatherum for the last few days in the UK!
We left stormy Helsinki around 1½h late because our flight was delayed due to terrible weather. This extra time we spent consuming a couple of beers at Helsinki Vantaa airport in a quite excited mood about how our tour is going to go. Apart from the delay our flight was pretty okay with a some minor turbulence here and there. We landed to cold and breezy London around one hour behind the original schedule and then it was time for finding our way to our hostel. Our original plan was to leave most of our stuff to Heathrow airport since Dark Tranquillity & co was about to pick us up at the airport next morning. However, we found out that airport luggage safekeeping is as expensive as hell (six pounds for one piece of luggage!) so we left only the biggest and heaviest stuff there and headed to our hostel with rest of the stuff.
Here´s a good advice for you kids: transporting the equipment of a band with the underground is not cool! After we arrived at the hostel (the interior of which looked pretty much like a spacecraft from a 60´s sci-fi movie), we headed out to the London nightlife in the attempt of finding some fish & chips. Got what we wanted and headed back to the hostel for some sleep- which was a luxury we didn´t really get to enjoy since a couple of gay guys were fighting in a L O U D voice in the room next door. A brilliant start for our tour, eh?
Saturday morning we had some toast & coffee -oriented breakfast at the hostel, packed our stuff and headed for Heathrow airport with our stuff – only this time we also had a 20kg parcel of merch with us for the tour. It took a little creative logistic imagination from us to drag this heavy piece of sh*t to the airport but we managed to do it – victory!
Dark Tranquillity guys along with the tour crew were waiting for us at the airport with the bus. We loaded our stuff to the bus and so the we got the whole caravan rollin´! Our first gig was in Cardiff, Wales, and we while driving there we made first contact with Hans the tour manager, Jimmy the backliner and some of the DT -guys.
In Cardiff we had a couple of hours time before the soundcheck so we spent it doing some sight seeing around Cardiff and we also made a short interview along with some cool band pictures taken in front a castle! During the sound check we had a minor set back as Markus noticed that the circuit in his Tube Screamer was somehow broken and not even good ´ol duct tape magic could give it life. He managed to get a decent distortion out of the Peavy 6505 DT guys had brought with them. The sound on the stage in Cardiff was somewhat shitty but hey, we as professionals don´t care about these minor details!
The venue in Cardiff was pretty small but by our gig it was really packed and there was a good heavy metal spirit going on! We played a 35min set and at least observing from the stage, the crowd seemed to like it so you could say we had a good start! It was a kickass show! No major problems during the concert except that Markus lost almost half of his hair when it got stucked the headstock of my bass.
After the concert there was a nice party going on with the rest of the guys and DT guys, I myself went to sleep pretty quick because I was feeling like shit. Another good advice for you kids out there: drink enough water before and after the concert, dehydration sucks!
On Sunday we played our gig in Liverpool. During the drive from Cardiff to Liverpool we enjoyed ourselves by spending time in our ”nests” (the beds of our nightliner, that is), playing Fifa Street and talking general bullshit – the three of which have formed out to be our favourite pastime so far.
The Barfly in Liverpool was situated in a rather shabby looking neighbourhood in Liverpool which got at least me thinking that the reason behind Beatles´ success must have had something to do with getting away from the place as soon as possible... Okay, just kidding! Again we spent the extra hours we had before our show doing some general sightseeing and we also enjoyed a nutritious meal in Chinese restaurant with all the guys except Jukka who was sleeping. After this we had a coffee in a local pub and headed out to make our soundcheck!
The venue in Liverpool was bigger than in Cardiff – apparently some kind of old industrial building or something – and the stage was also a lot bigger there. We managed to get a pretty good sound on stage during soundcheck and had a couple of beers on the bus before our show. Me and Markus got a little frustrated for not having a shower in for a couple of days so we used a little bit of our improvisational skills and created a ”shower” by using a sink, a tea water boiler and a wet towel – isn´t the life of a rocker on the road luxurious? It was not very difficult to draw some kind of parallel here with Spinal Tap... Anyway we got our hair washed so that was something at least... The traditional Omnium Gatherum -luck with our equipment continued as right before the soundcheck Jarmo noticed that he had lost an important part of his pedal. However, he managed to fight the concert though like the true heavy metal warrior he is!
The concert was great and the audience seemed to enjoy our show! After the show Markus run into a sleazy old guy and his pal in a dark corner of the venue who shouted something in the style ”What are you looking at?!” to him. This guy turned out to be Jeff from Carcass his friend being Jamie from Anathema. The guys joined us for some backstage drinking action and also came to the bus with us to have a couple of beers. Jeff explained us of his visions on future Carcass gigs and told in detail how his bass was going to be out of tune on the gigs... Weird, huh?
Birmingham was the next stop after Liverpool. Heading towards the home town of Black Sabbath and Judas Priest we had the best possible start for our Monday as the bus driver pulled to a service station and told us we would have a chance to take a shower there! There was no need for extra contemplation on that, we just grabbed our towels, soap, conditioner (of course) and ran into the shower! The Liverpool – Birmingham way was pretty much of the basic bus stuff – Fifa, nesting and bullshit. We also tried to watch Caligula but never finished it.
The venue in Birmingham was probably (at least to my eye) biggest so far. While waiting for the soundcheck, Jukka, Markus, Harri and Jarmo headed out for an instrument shop to find a replacement part for Jarmo´s pedal and a new Tube Screamer for Markus. A couple of hours, a couple of taxi journeys and +200€ later the guys had got what they wanted! This time I stayed in the bus with Aapo concentrating on some extreme Fifa action.
Before the concert in Birmingham we had a pasta + Swedish meatballs dinner at a B&B place nearby which was a really nice change after all the beer + chips -diet that had been going on for three days.
On the concert, we rocked the hell out the place as usually and again the audience seemed to be pretty into it! The couple of first shows the band may have been a little lost on stage but now I think we really started to look good as there was actually room to move and manouver around the stage!
As far as the afterparty goes I can´t really say much ´cos I ran almost immediately to bed along with Jarmo but I presume the rest of the guys had a good run of beer and general heavy metal ´til the early hours of Tuesday morning!
For Tuesday´s concert we had to make a hell of a long way from Birmingham to the far North of the UK, to Aberdeen that is. The night was as cold as anything on the bus as there was a lot of draft going on all time and I think most of the guys in our band and DT caught some kind of cold on the way. Anyway, a little cold is not enough to bring down a group of Scandinavian vikings like us so with the aid of some painkillers here and there, we continued our journey!
The bus had some kind of a problem with electricities so we had to pull in to a Mercedes Benz garage in Aberdeen. We spent this time trying find something to eat (the result was actually pretty tasty chicken burger from a shitty looking burger van) and after this it was again more Fifa, nesting and bullshit.
The venue in Aberdeen was pretty much in the center of the town so we had a nice sightseeing trip around there waiting for our turn in soundcheck. Here´s another good tip again for you kids out there: if there are two bars next to each other, it is a good idea to find out which the venue you will be playing at is. We found this the hard way with Markus after we had dragged a fucking heavy bass cabinet up a very long set of stairs and the place turned out to be a pool hall... It was the door on the left then!
There could have been more people at the concert but we stilled rocked hard and heavy as usual! We also got some very positive feedback after the concert so it is not just me who thinks that we´ve played good shows on this tour! A little personal setback for this concert was that because of my cold I was feeling like shit and was nearly vomiting a couple of times during the concert but I just took a little more of an John Entwhistle -type of approach to playing this show and everything went well without any unnecessary onstage vomiting.
More info and interesting stories on such characters as Michael Caine and Beowulf coming up soon so check back here during the next few days!