Tag Archives: timetravel

Australia week one

Adelaide to Perth. All electronic devices should now be switched off. Keep your tray tables in their upright and locked position. Push the metal ends together until they click. There’s a light and a whistle for attracting attention.

On the surface, being a flight attendant may seem like a glamorous job: you get paid to fly all over the world. If you dig a little deeper, it seems a lot more boring: you fly around the world and stand up in front of a few hundred people and say exactly the same thing you said yesterday to a few hundred different people. Read that last sentence back: it also serves as a pretty accurate description of what it’s like to be on tour in a band. We have a lot in common with the flyboys, but we have slightly cooler jargon. Gig. Soundcheck. Backstage. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Ollie is one row back and across the aisle from me, describing to Steph (the merch girl (or “merchant” if you prefer) on this tour, not to be confused with Stéph, the lighting guy on this tour) the various schools of thought on causality in relation to time travel. That is, whether doing stuff in the past should effect the future. Ollie assures us time travel is possible, though he always seems to skirt around the issues of what machinery is required to do it, and where one can get this machinery. Nevertheless, he gets nerd kudos for being able to explain it all without relating anything to events in Back to the Future or Back to the Future II. Also, his right arm is currently in a cast. It’s a futuristic gunmetal-grey cast. Last night I said it made him look like a professional ten-pin bowler, but now, in light of all his time travel discussion, he looks a lot more like a piano-playing android from the future. This may sound a bit far-fetched, but it has a lot more in common with the truth than my professional ten-pin bowler theory.

By now you might be wondering why Ollie’s arm is in a cast. If so, you obviously haven’t yet heard what happened on the day of the Canberra gig. If so, you obviously haven’t read about it on Twitter. Congratulations: you’re a credit to your species. In short…

Actually, bugger that. Twitter, with its 150-byte limit, is clearly the forum for “in short” accounts of things that took hours or days to unfold. This is not Twitter, so I’m going to give this story the elbow room it deserves. Let’s take it from the top.

Day one. And two. The Palace Theatre, Melbourne. The sign out the front says “Established 1912″. This is confusing for anybody who knows that
a) the place was called the Metro for a long, long, long time, and
b) there was another venue in St Kilda called The Palace until very, very, very recently.
If you can ignore both of these, you’ll feel the nostalgia settling on your shoulders as you walk in the front door of the building. Honestly though, this place is very far removed from the Metro. If you don’t like the idea of going to see your favourite band at the Metro, you really should give the Palace a chance. They’ve stripped out all the shiny Metro 90s nightclub decor, removed that bar downstairs that takes up the whole dancefloor, and best of all, that weird second balcony with the glass in front of it no longer has glass in front of it. It’s beautiful in there. With three balconies dripping with old-world charm, it’s a cavernous-yet-inviting room with a enormous PA.

Day three: fly to Canberra, drive for two-and-a-half hours to Jindabyne, check in to the accommodation that sleeps five-to-a-room. It’s freezing outside but you haven’t seen an ounce of snow. If you’re already thinking, “That sounds shithouse so far, I hope the gig was fun,” well you’ll be glad to hear that it was. The whole experience felt like being on school camp, but none of my school camps involved playing a gig to 1000 people, or smuggling the bottle of Jameson back to the room for a pre-gig Election Party. Come to think of it, school camp also never had a rider.

Day four: the Canberra gig. It turns out Ollie got up early and went snowboarding. Yes, there was snow up there somewhere, but clearly you had to know where to find it. Nobody thought snowboarding on the day of a show was a bad idea, except Harry, who urged Ollie to be careful. But you can only urge so much. It’s easy to say, “Be careful man, we’ve got a gig tonight,” but most people feel like they’re crossing a line if they say, “We’ve got a gig, don’t go snowboarding, this is going to end in tears.” Sure enough, we got a phone call somewhere between Jindabyne and Canberra. We could only hear Harry’s side of the conversation, but it didn’t sound good.
“Guys, Ollie fractured his right wrist. He’s still in the hospital.”
A few of us jumped to conclusions about cancelling that night’s gig and even some of the following week’s gigs, training up stunt keyboard players, or writing a less keyboard-intensive setlist. I wasn’t worried though: Ollie can do a lot of things with a keyboard. I always thought he could still play the whole set with one hand tied behind his back, and tonight we would get to find out for sure. Harry soon spoke to Ollie on the phone when he got out of the hospital, and he sounded similarly optimistic:
“Ollie said he’s really excited about the gig, and that he’s been thinking about this scenario for YEARS.”
Sure enough, at soundcheck we were pleasantly surprised. With a microphone stand holding up the cast to top-keyboard level and four fingers poking out of the cast, Ollie seemed to be able to do a pretty convincing job. The gig that night upgraded his status to “not just convincing, but playing stuff nobody’s ever heard before”. Also, it looked pretty bad-ass to walk on stage with an arm in a cast and then shred the hell out of two keyboards. Ollie proved true the old adage that “whatever doesn’t kill you can only make you play faster”.

Oh. That seems like a good length for this post, but I’m still six gigs behind. I’d better save them for later.

Next: Perth. But I’ll also say what happened in Brisbane, Byron, Coolangatta, Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide.

On the Attack Week Five

Taking to the skies, blasting eight light-minutes into the sun and flying feet-first in reverse orbit a few times, stopping off for a bite at the nearest servo, and finally heading back down to Earth, the On the Attack Tour Diary once again catches up with our heroes in the land of Sydney.

Based on how little of our time in Sydney I covered last week, I figured the intro had to involve time travel of some sort. After the Yallah gig we headed north again, hopped past the airport, skipped through Maroubra, and jumped into Coogee Bay. The Coogee Bay Hotel (or CBH, for the abbreviati) was host to our pre-Europe Sydney gig in May, and we could all remember how ridiculously co-operative the crowd was back then. We started with Wandering, and even in the intro the crowd were going bananas. Those fancy bananas with the red wax on one end. Who would have thought a bar of 15/8 would entice people to dance so hard? Our first show at CBH had me wondering yet again why I spent so much time complaining about the heat at our other gigs. The sheen of moisture on the stage was mystifying; it could have been our own sweat dripping everywhere until it covered the entire surface area and mixed with whatever had previously been stuck to the stage, becoming gigmud. I like to think that the stage ITSELF was sweating. Either we gave it a serious detox that night or the air conditioning stepped up to the plate for the second night. Our footprints were a lot less muddy on the second night, but still bloody ridiculously hot. Walking directly off stage outside into 10-ish degrees was not at all good for our health. Sadly Julie O’Hara’s voice was not a happening thing for the CBH shows. Ben once again stepped in for a short-notice fill-in, this time singing all the Skaddabox vocals without Julie. The cross-band sit-ins were in full swing by the time we hit Sydney, with Ollie, Jumps, Ross and Carlo joining in for bits of Skaddabox, and Julie and Novak joining in for some of our set.

Riders. They are a funny thing. For the uninitiated, a rider is whatever the venue supplies for bands backstage. You’ve probably heard about Mick Jagger’s 80 metre running track and Britney’s Coca Cola (she actually has a Pepsi endorsement) and Wheatus’ 40 pairs of white socks. We ask for a pretty simple list: a few things to eat, a few things to drink. Riders often attract intruders, and ridersluts. There was an intruder at our Tasmania show who found her way backstage and started drinking tequila, which is the only thing we are MENTAL about. There is an adamant Cuervo Only policy. Anything less than that and it’s a waste of time. When asked what she was doing, she found it HILARIOUS and wastedly made her way back out to the crowd. Ten minutes later she was back. All this DURING our gig. The riderslut, however, is easily spotted as they start a get-to-know-you conversation while opening three beers and edging back out the door. Anyhow. At the CBH gigs we had so many sandwiches backstage that we seriously didn’t know what to do with them. During our last song, How to Explain, Harry passed them out into the crowd. For the record, the sandwich goodwill was my brilliant, sexy, witty (she’s watching over my shoulder) girlfriend’s idea. It was good for the soul to look out into a crowd that was really getting into the music and see happy, enthusiastic, appreciatively chewing faces. The plate made it all the way back to Rhodesy at the mixing desk – truly an indication of how big this plate of sangers was.

Next week, I might finish telling you what happened in Sydney.