19th september 2007 – Aberdeen Tunnels
Or “Who let a dead clown in?”
We woke and showered, ate some breakfast and got on the road. The journey to Aberdeen was a long one: six hours of travelling through beautiful, super-dramatic Highlands. We stopped in a little village somewhere for hot food in a pub, and once again attracted puzzled looks from bemused locals. Somewhere else we stopped outside a castle for a short while, and spent some time hanging around in the grounds; entry to those was free but the castle itself was beyond our budget. This was a good day.
We arrived at the venue early, so while SohoDolls soundchecked, Deborah and I went off to find a wireless internet connection so we could pick up and answer some emailed questions for a magazine interview that I’m fairly sure was never published. The rest of the band, inspired by the muffin-sharing fanzine writers, snuck into SohoDolls’ dressing room to leave a cupcake and an anonymous letter of love for Weston. When he found it, we all played dumb and laughed at him for having stalkers.
When Deb and I got back to the venue, the cute, purple-haired singer of the support band asked if they could borrow our amps. I’m normally paranoid about letting other people use my equipment as it has, over the years, cost me a fortune to accumulate my perfect set-up. Simon didn’t own a guitar amp, so I let him use my spare, but I refused to let anyone else use them. On the minor league crappy indie band ‘scene’, this is not cool behaviour. We’re all supposed to help each other out by sharing equipment, not just for hippy-dippy all-in-this-together bullshit reasons, but because it’s also more practical when you’ve got three or four bands sharing a bill and 15 minutes change-around time between them. The less gear coming on and off the stage, the quicker it is to get the next band on, plus it’s easier from the sound engineer’s perspective as he only needs to set the levels once. I didn’t care about this – I’d once lent my pride and joy, my Vox AC30, to some scrote in some poxy bloody awful fashionable post-punk band when we shared a bill a year or so previously and the fucker had not only broken my amp, but he didn’t chip in towards the (fucking expensive) repair costs. The wanker. His band were fucking terrible too. In this instance, however, two thoughts clouded my judgement: 1. Simon fancied the blonde lead guitarist, so I had to help my mate out and 2. I felt mean saying no, and she was quite cute, and she seemed really nice, so I gave in. They could borrow both my amps. Halfway through their set, Simon’s amp blew up.
For fuck’s sake.
Thankfully, Simon had with him a nifty little device called a Line 6 Pod – a guitar amp simulator used mainly for recording – so when it came to showtime for us he plugged straight into the PA via the Pod. The onstage sound was – surprise! – absolutely terrible, but we actually had a lot of fun. This was great! People danced the whole way through and we played pretty well, considering. It wasn’t just us that suffered from a more ragged sound – even SohoDolls were rawer-sounding than normal, but actually this suited them well. The backing track was almost inaudible, so guitarist Tony’s playing dominated and it turned out he was a bit nifty with a riff. They weren’t happy, but we were impressed.
After the show, everyone was in high spirits. We ripped into the beer and crisps and all three bands bonded in the backstage area. Tony shared his rum out and this kicked off the second part of the night rather nicely. Despite having somewhere to stay tonight (Sam had a friend in Aberdeen), Simon, SohoDolls drummer Paul and I decided to risk a night in the van and pushed on for a spot of dancing. Paul bagged off with a young lady fairly quickly and the music in Tunnels wasn’t that great, so the purple-haired singer from the first band, the soundman and one of the promoters took Simon and me on a crawl of Aberdeen’s nightlife. We got hammered. In every bar Simon and I would march to the DJ booth and demand some Prince. Simon and I were utterly obsessed with Prince. None of the DJs were having any of it, so in the end we sent our purple-haired friend instead. We got some Prince. Huzzah. The next thing I knew we were all part of a larger crowd heading back to someone’s flat and I was stopping to urinate from off a bridge onto the street below while singing the mid-nineties Menswe@r hit Daydreamer.
When we arrived at the flat, we had more booze, some biscuits and acoustic guitars. Someone produced poppers and some idiot decided to play us a bunch of his bloody awful songs. Simon and I carried on talking pissed-up shit over the top of this until the serious singer-songwriter silenced us. We had to listen to the lyrics of this one. It was serious. I laughed out loud. The pompous twat. Everyone else listened to his song. The sheer volume of alcohol I had consumed killed any chance of realising how rude I was being. I didn’t care. I was drunk and this was fun. Acoustic songs were not.
By 5am, the party died and most of our new friends had left. Simon and I grabbed a sofa each and passed out.