The glamour (?) of touring, in some stats.
- One EP release (download!)
- Sixteen/seventeen gigs, five to ten live to airs, radio/online/print interviews, artist presentations and workshops.
- Fourteen cities, six states and two territories.
- Seventeen flights, nine airports. No excess baggage, thankfully.
- Two hire car companies, a friend’s Mum’s car, and a lot of greatly appreciated lifts.
- Buses, trains, and taxis.
- Nine hotels and motels. three lots of friends and family, and my own home.
- Two cricket museums.
- Minor celebrity spottings: three Aussie rules teams, a rugby league team, Alistair Lynch.
- SO MANY great people, bands, musicians, promoters, helpers, and hey… everyone! I really had such a wonderful time.
- (PS if you have any audio/video/photo/etc please send it through!)
Last leg of the tour! Four shows in four days, good way to end the trip.
Up first, Sydney. The travel was fine, as it tends to be. Hotel was a 15 minute walk (downhill) through Kings Cross from the venue. Nice to be back at The Silent Hour (a sound event at The General Store gallery), having played there before in 2011 as Anonymeye. Ben Gavin, the promoter, was away due to having a child (exciting!) but was left in the very capable hands of Frederico and Sarah. The show started with a beautiful two organ set from Julian Day, sonically inspiring drones and microtones. My performance was a bit patchy, some feedback issues but I enjoyed it overall. Finishing the night was Ion Pearce from the south coast and collaborators, performing a set varied between instrumentals and spoken word pieces. Nice to meet up with some old and new friends at the show too! Got to sleep in on Thursday before picking up my rental car (dubbed the maaaaaaaaaaaaate-mobile) for the rest of the trip! Highway driving in the maaaaaaaate-mobile was a breeze, nice to have some grunt, air-conditioning and new music to listen to.
After a nice leisurely drive, made it to Wollongong. Hadn’t been there since 2006 or so for a kind of weird gig with my old band Molliger, where we arrived late and left early – so had no context. This time around, much more pleasant. Hotel by the beach, got to have a nap. Gig was presented by 1/4 Inch at Yours and Owls, which I believe has just had a change of management? Nice venue, good times, anyway! Great to meet promoter Aaron Hull at the show, put me instantly at ease. Tech issues during soundcheck, until everyone figured out some little things which saved the day – thanks heaps in particular to Greg Hughes! Great gig too, one of my favourites of the tour. Evening started with some interesting interstitial sounds from AKA (which continued throughout the night), followed by the first ‘live’ set, by me. I was super happy with my set – definitely in the top three of the trip. Up next was Peter Blamey, performing with lo-fi electronics and conductors – not entirely sure of what was going on, but it sounded so good and so controlled! Finishing up the night was HU, a new collaboration between Aaron and Greg, mix between electronics and acoustics. Keen to hear more if that was the debut! Nice chats, an early night, a comfy bed and a good rest – pretty amazing, really.
The good sleep gave me a head start on Friday too, which worked well for my tourist aspirations. Drove in the maaaaaaate-mobile down to Bowral, and checked out the International Cricket Hall Of Fame/Bradman Museum. Really interesting, if cricket is your thing, and well worth a visit. Back on the highway via the excellent Bernie’s Diner in Moss Vale (thanks Kirsty for the tip!) and on to Canberra. Missed the giant merino statue on the drive,
but caught it on the way back. Before checking into the Canberra hotel I had enough time to drive around Canberra a bit, checked out some embassies, department buildings, and (new) Parliament House before getting the urge to check in and zone out. Hotel was directly across the street from the venue, a total bonus in cold weather! Wandered across to Smiths for soundcheck, a great little space which has been diversified and
improved with new ownership – the bookstore now being a venue/bookstore/cafe/bar – perfect! Nice to catch up with old and new friends too. Evening proceeded with a beautiful guitar/vocals/computer set from promoter Reuben Ingall – wonderful way to start the night. Following on from this was Raus, performing beautiful ambient pop tracks. Next from there were Shisd, a young Canberran duo combining pop melodies, fractured beats, and house jams. I concluded the evening, performed a nice mellow set for everyone able to stick around. Another enjoyable night! Super quick walk back to the hotel to get ready for the drive the next day.
Woke up a bit early on the Saturday, so headed out a bit early. Probably a good way in the end to beat the traffic for a 5-6 hour drive to Newcastle! Took the leisurely route up, sticking to the highway road stops for food/drink/breaks, with the first stop being the giant merino sheep in Goulburn. The carpark view is of a giant sheep rear, complete with dag/ball/tail/whateveritwasitwastoomuchat9am. Drove up, checked in, worked on some things, went to early soundcheck for an early show. Nice to finally get to the Terrace Bar in Newcastle, hadn’t been to Newy since it opened! I was lucky to share the show with two great local acts. LA County Morgue opened, with a short but sweet set of electronics, tape loops, and effects. The evening concluded with Collector (Jason Campbell formerly of Stitched Vision) with a brutal sampler/electronics/modular set. Two great performances! I performed in the middle, turned out much better than the soundcheck which is always a bonus. Caught up with some old friends from my Sound Summit days, bade my farewells, then a quick walk back to the hotel. Ordered room service, started to comprehend the tour being over, watched TV, and intermittently heard the King Street carnage in Newcastle. Slept in, drove to the airport (it doesn’t seem so far when you are driving, and not watching the taxi meter tick over!), then onto home!
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A lot of travel, and a really enjoyable time. Flew up the night before the show in Cairns to spend a bit of time with my Grandad and other members of
my extended family up there. Nice to be able to have a nice sleep in, and then wandered around the Botanic Gardens and Tanks Arts Centre for a few
hours before going to soundcheck. The night, In/Off Club, is held at Arthouse, a delightful artist run space in the suburbs of Cairns. Arrived to a warm reception and a cold beer from Nick Mills, the promoter for the show. Soundchecked, relaxed, caught up with my Aunt and Uncle for dinner, then back to the show. Enjoyed my set, a bit of a banjo focus this time around. Thoroughly enjoyed watching the other acts too: Cape York, a fantastic power-pop band of mates who have been around forever but only perform when they’re in the same city; Grim Tilla, a young Brisbane ex-pat now living in Cairns and channelling some classy pre-war blues; and energetic pop/rock locals Kickback. A cold night in Cairns (!), so sat around the campfire having some drinks and shooting the shit until way too late, considering the 5am start to get to Hobart.
After that 5am start, and two flights/five hours flying time/an hour transit, arrived in Hobart. Picked up the rental car, drove around a while, arrived at the hotel, and although a delayed check in was torturous with a long day and an early show coming up, it allowed me a chance to walk around the Hobart CBD for a while. Went back, had a nap, went to the venue. Met the promoters Josh Santospiro and Matt Warren at The Grand Poobah – a fantastic venue with multiple spaces – I wish more cities had something like this! Early show this one (6pm start), which was actually perfect. A nice attentive crowd came along to see the three acts. Supports were Hobart Improv Collective, this time around with Matt Warren leading five sound creators, all swapping instruments at set time intervals – really interesting to get a feel for each individual’s approach. Following HIC were Kovacs, a young duo performing their first show – there were obviously some nerves there (not that nerves are a bad thing!) – but I really enjoyed their mix between pop and lo-fi aesthetics. Keen to hear more from both acts! I was really happy with my set – probably the most I’ve enjoyed performing (and listening) the whole tour – the stars seemed to align and some really interesting/pleasant surprises happened too. A drink or two more, a short walk back to the hotel, and a great sleep. Before I left the next day I was fortunate to spend some time at MONA – if only I got to spend longer there! Then the ol’ return hire car / check in / wait / wait / fly / get home.
Oh Darwin, I wish I never had to leave! Actually made a bit of a holiday of this one, went up to Darwin with my girlfriend for a few days and nights in the sun. Total re-invigoration. Checked into a nice hotel around 2am, got a room upgrade to a massive room, always a nice start. Ate breakfast, had a swim, a wander and a great coffee, then off to a super early midday soundcheck. It was necessitated due to some venue stuff, but it actually ruled having an early soundcheck. Set up, forget. Was great to catch up with Kris Keogh, had been way too long since I’d seen him. Soundcheck sounded good, killed some gremlins in my set up, and Kris set up a concert harp for a harp/computer set. Massive! Lunch with Frith and Kris (amazing laksa), then Frith and I wandered some more. Sunburn, some good bars, thawing out. Had a nap, ate some fish, went to the show. A good crowd came along for a really lovely show. Kris’ performance was outstanding – such control over the computer and the harp. Despite a severely out of tune banjo, I really enjoyed my set. Kris and I decided to do a last minute duo set which was a thrill, with Kris on computer processing my banjo. Two days and two nights off after that, hanging out in the sun. Went to museums, galleries, Aussie Rules football, road trips, and some wonderful swimming. So sad to go home to the coldest Brisbane morning of winter.
SOOK ALERT. There’s always a point on tour, whether it is one of these in/out tours like mine, or one where you plow through without going home at any point, where you get sick of some of the more “commuter-y” parts of traveling. That was this leg of the trip. The 61 bus from home to Roma Street bus terminal, Roma Street station itself (the Joh Bjelke-Petersen era cesspool public transport hub of South-East Queensland), the Airtrain, checking in, going to the other counter to drop off instruments, security screening, airports, boarding, flying, disembarking, waiting for bags, car hire, local public transport – and then in reverse. Then again, and again. I’m even sick of the airport lounge – appreciate the snacks and the quiet, but when even free meals and wi-fi on tour even wear thin…. I’m completely aware of how fortunate I am to receive funding to tour, to be invited to perform in great towns with great hosts and great musicians, and for everything else… but it can still be draining sometimes. I haven’t seen much of my friends in Brisbane lately, I miss my house and I miss my girlfriend. It isn’t often that you’ll see/hear/read me being contemplative like this, but this part of a tour diary needs to be added for honesty I guess.
Anyway! With all of that in mind, it was GREAT to be able to pick up a car at Melbourne Airport for the hour or two drive up to Bendigo. Nice to get out on the highway and listen to some music. Great to get back to Bendigo too, the only other time I’d been as an adult was as the promoter for Frank Fairfield in 2011 – Bendigo was obviously such a beautiful city, but after two Melbourne daytime shows it was a rush to get up there/ soundcheck/play/leave. I ended up getting a last minute motel around the corner from the venue, a 4-5 minute walk even with my gear. Really
refreshing. Met promoter Jacques Soddell of Undue Noise at the venue, the Bendigo Old Fire Gallery; A pre-Federation building in the beautiful historic downtown. Coming from Brisbane, a city where most of the classic architecture is long gone, in favour of dubiously contracted, dubious quality, dubious aesthetic buildings, it is always a relief to see some beauty in architecture. After a really positive soundcheck, I had a wander around town and some great Malaysian for dinner with Jacques and his wife Fran. The show was a lovely intimate affair, with two local acts. The first was forcefedsmile, a voice/computer/beats project from local musician Tim, and the second was a trio with Jacques on computer, Rex on prepared guitar and Jude on piano. Both acts were really top quality. Pretty happy with my set too! After a night cap with Jacques, Fran, and Tim; was time to hit the hay before hitting the road for a very busy 24 hours in Melbourne.
After another highway drive (complete with fog! ahh winter), I arrived in Melbourne’s northern suburbs to catch up with Ross Bencina and Sean Healy for an Audiomulch video session. Heaps of fun, going through my live set up, giving a couple of examples, and a reason to explore my creative working methodology. Quite enjoyable. Great to share a lineup with Brain Drain and Automating, I’m a fan of them both as people and as sound makers. Had some pizza, drank some beer, caught up with some friends. A bit of a quiet show, but the Brain Drain and Automating sets were great to hear and watch. After a good couple of sets over the previous couple of days, I naively thought I would just set up and play without any soundcheck. Terrible, terrible idea. Not the greatest set from me, sorry. Not the worst, but still. Melbourne, I owe you a good show! The last few Anonymeye sets there weren’t my best either, but when it clicks… it will click wonderfully well. Next time!
Monday was a day which involved a mild hangover, a nice catch up with my hosts Ben and Miyuki, breakfast with Adam/Brain Drain, accidentally shelved plans (either catching up with some work friends in Richmond or lunch at the MCG; I accidentally multiple and then completely un-booked myself). Check in, wait at the lounge, freelance work, flight, 30 minute wait for Airtrain, home at dark. Washing clothes, watching TV, sleep.
Adelaide was an absolute blast. Promoter/good guy Mike Radz (aka Glamour Lakes aka Big Dawg) picked me up from Adelaide’s space age airport and took me to lunch at the markets, and I had a great bento box. Yeah that’s right, blogging really vaguely about food. Not that anyone is reading this anyway. So good. Checked into my hotel, had a nap, watched the Suns lose on the TV, had another nap. Mike took me out to a house show before soundcheck, with Sparkspitter and some other great local bands. Fortunately Brisbane’s cold snap earlier that week had prepared me for the
Adelaide cold, somehow a bit better than the locals even? Weird. The show was at Ghost Ships, an ace little bar upstairs at the Crown and Anchor on
Grenfell Street. A nice steady crowd saw some great sets from Adelaide mainstay Wolfpanther (debuting some new music on an Omnichord), talented fresh face Count Citrus, and a mega fun/long party/mix set from Cyst Impaled. My set went well, happy with how it sounded, a tight squeeze space wise but it seemed to go fine. Too many drinks and a quick stumble back to the hotel, was well rested before the flight home (via Sydney). Adelaide, a pleasure as always!
VINE TIME: https://t.co/muf17roe7D / https://t.co/cHRfW42wZS / https://t.co/1ag2cauPT1 / https://t.co/JvnSL5PhtG / https://t.co/LBUskp695q / https://t.co/hzCZuFtXLc / https://t.co/xKyMkM9Aeh PRESS: The Thousands
BRISBANE – PART TWO
Another show with my good friend Brain Drain/Adam McFillin, at the Room-Sixty bar in Kelvin Grove. A nice little bar with a good atmosphere, some tasty specialty beers and , however on a rainy night, with a lot of other things on… sometimes you can’t win them all. At all. Whoops. A good chance to play with a slightly re-configured setup though (it was the mixer that was making everything hiss, it seems – seeya later, mixer!) One of those shows where you can thank the audience members on one hand, with a spare digit to give a thumbs up… thanks to Amelia, Ash, Laura, and Rosie! Snark alert: Also an amazingly confused thumbs up as well to the two people who sat right up the front, pretty much a metre in front of me. Your dedication to continuing your conversation was something to behold, and it was a pleasure to be able to hear about your employment and your sex life or whatever the fuck it was from up on stage. Secksyyyyy. A bit of a TMI moment, but thanks to the lovely Leila from Room Sixty, those who made it along, to the friendly bar staff, and to Adam for another great set.
VINE TIME: https://t.co/CuSvuCVWkO
BUNDABERG/NAMBOUR (aka #funderground)
What a great weekend! Two shows, a whole lot of fun. Was able to make an enjoyable weekend road trip out of it, making the trip up and back with
Adam/Brain Drain, and our mate Amelia. Drive up to Bundaberg on Saturday was enjoyable, lots of tourist stops and the like. Once in Bundaberg, I checked into Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery, where thanks to Creative Regions I facilitated a presentation on grant writing for artists. An enjoyable session with some great minds, thanks to Shelley Pisani for sorting out all of the logistics. After that it was time for Bunderground! Bunderground was a one-night festival of local music, video, and art (with the odd out of towner interloper playing too!). My friends Brad and Jess Marsellos organised the event, and it was such a great night. I had been looking forward to it for a while, and in the lead up to the day I had a chat with Wayne from ABC Local Radio as well. Seriously, have to give a massive thumbs up to Brad and Jess Marsellos, Christine Turner (who runs/owns the magnificent Dirty Linen Art Space where Bunderground was held) and all of the artists. So much to talk about, some of the many highlights included sets from Julia Anderson and These Guy (two talented young Bundaberg musicians), Joe Saxby’s film, and Clinton Cross’ artworks – but to name a few! My set had some severe tech gremlins (which I very belatedly, over a week later, realised were due to my soundcard) so I found it hard to keep the attention of everyone… but I think/hope I salvaged the set by unplugging everything and playing some banjo music. After a great night of art and new friends, it was back home – via a stop in Nambour!
After a leisurely drive down the Bruce, with more stops aplenty (including at the Peanut Van at Childers – love that place!) we ended up in Nambour
for the show at The Time Machine. A Sunshine Coast institution from all reports, it was taken over recently by a really rad crew of people, who as well as selling so many amazing pop culture collectibles of yore are now also selling new records and organising shows in a ground level space/former basement. After soundcheck, we had a chance to duck over to the Big Pineapple for some happy snaps and to Thrill Hill for some extreme (and expected) disappointment before the show! Nice crowd, lots of people there and some really great music. Opening were Datson + Hughes, a
songwriter/storyteller duo who eased everyone into the afternoon with some dark and delightful tales, performed on an array of acoustic instruments. Following them were Scissor + Emesis, who performed a short pummelling A/V noise set – some great modded and modular stuff going on! My set turned out great as well – I think my favourite of the tour by far to this point. Everything worked, it flowed, and I was really happy with it. After a lot of goodbyes (it was hard to leave!) it was time to head back home… Two days that I’ll remember for a while.
Thumbs up to Brad, Jess, Christine and everyone involved with Bunderground, Ben and the whole Time Machine crew, and everyone I played with and got to hang out with. Also to Adam and Amelia for the roadtrip fun! Of course Brain Drain’s sets were a total highlight of the weekend
too – such a pleasure to be sharing a few lineups with Adam! The new material is great, and the old material sounds wonderful too. Can’t wait
VINE TIME: https://t.co/9yKrN2XwTr / https://t.co/DK1lmsyf3A / https://t.co/57x5CLrr6z / https://t.co/NKM0uEekb4 / https://t.co/stLuO2nZdS / https://t.co/r2f6LtoGxB / https://t.co/Na6TDz9Qtf / https://t.co/HIyWrKbSv1 / https://t.co/FZwtqS6b3l / https://t.co/Ckq19DuJSz /
BRISBANE – PART ONE
Writing a “tour diary” when you are playing in your home city is a bit wack. Anyway… “Part one” of Brisbane was going to be just the one show. In the end, there were two! On Saturday 1 June I was lucky enough to play The Waiting Room, supporting Feet Teeth for their EP launch and Heinz Riegler, debuting some new material. I was drafted in as a late notice replacement for Scanner (who unfortunately had to dash back to the UK for family issues), and whilst coming in under those circumstances was saddening, it definitely made all of us want to make some great sounds and think of Robin/Scanner! My set was fine? Heinz’s set was fantastic, really loving his new sounds. So good to catch up with him too. Feet Teeth were launching their new album, which is a top quality work. Great live set from them too! Feet Teeth kindly had me guest on an improvisation at the end of their set, I joined them on synth which was enjoyable. Cheers to Lawrence/Room40, Heinz, and Joel/Kate/Paul for having me along!
Part two of part one of Brisbane (yep, confusing still) was the EP launch show I had announced, on Thursday 6 June at The End in West End. I was playing as part of the first edition of Campfire Tales, a new night by Sonic Masala, an excellent Brisbane-based blog and promoter. Brendan, who runs Sonic Masala, is such a warm and supportive guy, and it is always great to play his shows. I shared the bill with Cedie Janson, of Naked Maja, who was debuting (?) some new solo works. Wow! So good! Great mix between electronics, computer, tapes, and bowed xylophone, well worth listening to. A few technical difficulties during my set, as can happen, but I had a good time anyway. Caught up with friends, had some cocktails, good fun had by all.
SYDNEY – PART ONE
Next up was a lightning quick trip to Sydney. The main aim of this trip was to see Kraftwerk play two shows at the Sydney Opera House, and originally had no other plans. In the couple of days before the trip Mark/Thee Sonic Assassin, from 2SER FM’s excellent Sideways Through Sound radio show, got wind of my trip, and asked if I’d be keen to do a pre-record interview and live-to-air set. I’m not going to lie, it usually takes a bit of convincing to take all my gear (banjo, synth, computer, leads, MIDI controllers, etc) for an overnight trip where I’d be otherwise just taking an onboard bag… but no convincing at all in this case! Mark has been such a strong supporter of my music over the years, and is such a stand-up guy, that the extra bit of lugging was totally worth it! I even left the banjo at home and brought the guitar along, recognising all the great guitar music the show has introduced me to. The chat and set went well, and it was great to see Mark again! After that, I got to check into my hotel early, walk around Sydney, catch up with friends, and see Kraftwerk. Twice. Amazing!
Well, well, well! Tour starts in Perth, which is super exciting. After a (fairly big) warm up the week before, supporting OM (USA) and Ghost Notes, anyway. Had been looking forward to this trip for a while, even if it was only for the one night. I’d have loved to have stayed for more, but traveling alone on this leg of the trip I knew all I’d do with a second day/night is spend money I don’t have at Dada Records, and take the train down to Fremantle to spend more money I don’t have at the Little Creatures brewery. Enjoyed doing both on the two occasions I’d toured to Perth as Anonymeye, but not at the start of a lengthy trip this time… Flight was long but fine, and a last minute decision to hire a car was such a great idea. Got to take the easy route into town, going via the WACA museum and nerding out on cricket bats’n’stats. Checked in, had a sleep, and woke up in time to get in some insane traffic on the way to RTR FM for an interview and live-to-air with Sarah on the drivetime show. Wouldn’t have been such a long trip if the GPS was updated, but oh well. Interview was fun, and ended up playing a banjo only track, Brisbane. Drove to the venue, bumped in, dumped the car at the hotel – only a 15 minute walk from the venue. Perfect! Show was a great one, with four enjoyable local acts (The Tigers, Sacred Flower Union, Gulls, Nora Zion). Venue was friendly (music audience, bar staff), and pretty frontier wild (outside beer garden), and I had a good time. Strict curfew and a few other delays meant a very quick set from me, but those can be pretty enjoyable. Any nervousness and worries from rushing dissipated within a minute or so of starting, and it all seemed to go fine. Good to catch up with some old and new friends, and particularly lovely to meet in person Gavin Catling, my label boss at Twice Removed (from a couple of Anonymeye releases). Thanks heaps to Dan and Coel for a great show! Afterwards I had a delightful sleep, and a lengthy but easy flight home. Part one, done.