chrisg's Tour Diary

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October 16, 2006
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October 11, 2006

October 14, 2006 - Le Pub - Newport, Wales

One thing's for sure the weather this time around is much more "typically English" than when we were here in May. The past several days have been overcast and gloomy, muting all of the colors of buildings and landscape. It wasn't until I moved to San Francisco that I realized how dependent I was on the sunshine. Growing up in Southern California, I cursed the hot summer weather and the fact that my mom's car had no air conditioning. Now, I live for the few days of the year when it's hot enough to wear just a tshirt at night. We've seen several tanning salons here. If I lived in the UK, would I feel compelled to visit one of them for an occasional vitamin D dose? We had the day off yesterday, and once we'd enjoyed a great breakfast with Gareth, the promoter of our show in Bath, we got on the road and headed to Cardiff. We tooled around town a little bit, checked email and stuff, then made our way to an inn that Dan had found online for a good price. The picture on the website was of this nice old country manor, but the price was so low that I was sure we'd arrive to find a dilapidated barn with some straw cots. Instead, we arrived to find a very ritzy-looking place and well-dressed people filing into a reception. The room for me and CW was decorated in a kind of jungle theme, complete with elephant wallpaper and pictures of wild animals. Outside, a tent with balloons and multi-colored lights was playing a techno version of "Axel F" for partygoers. Friday the 13th indeed. At our show in Bath, I realized that I hadn't thought to bring an electrical converter for my keyboard. Last year, I was using a battery-powered Casio, so it hadn't occurred to me that I'd need a new piece of technology. CW visited a music store in Cardiff, and someone there was nice enough to point us to an electronics store just outside of town. Arriving at Le Pub in Newport, we are greeted outside by Sam, the manager of the bar. She points me to the ginormous 8-speaker bass cabinet that I'll be using for the evening. Unfortunately, it's still at the bottom of the stairs, and needs to be carried up, which I can accomplish only with the brawn of our drummer. Once that's upstairs, and I've stopped sweating, I look around to see that the entire club has been turned around. The stage, which was once a small triangle in an area of the room with very little headroom, has now been moved to a much larger area previously inhabited by the bar. We can only think that this was the work of the soundguy from last year, who is very tall and must have lobbied heavily for a working area that wouldn't give him a permanent hunchback. But it's his night off, so we aren't able to confirm our suspicions. Instead, David (Sam's husband, and the owner of the aforementioned speaker cabinet) has kindly stepped in to do sound, even though it's the day after his birthday. Slowdance are the first band up. I'm surprised to hear that it's only their second show. They play enthusiastically and earnestly, the singer's voice somehow reminding me a little of Neil Young, even though the music is more emo-esque. After them is Halflight. They are very tight, and keep the crowd engaged through the quiet moments. You know, when a song drops in volume, maybe some instruments drop out, tempo slows down. I bring it up because those are the hardest moments for me on stage. When things are loud and fast, you can't think too much. Time moves differently on stage. For those 30 or 40 minutes, you travel faster than normal. Consequently, my mind starts to wander during slower/quieter songs, ultimately leading me complete distraction and flubbing a note. But back to Halflight. Their singer had a really nice voice. She played a lot with the break between her head and chest voice, which I'm a total sucker for. Also, their cellist made very skilled use of her instrument. Strings and brass are tricky instruments to incorporate in rock music, and more often than not they are used for the powers of evil rather than good. This was good. Our set started off a little shaky. Dan's guitar amp was being sent to my monitor, consequently causing him to feedback everytime he moved an inch, and causing me some nice tinnitus. But by the third song, things had settled. Later, we were packing up the van and talking to Owain, the promoter of the show. We hadn't seen CW in awhile. When he arrived, he explained that he had been distracted by a human pyramid inside. I said "bullshit", to which he replied with a photo on his phone of people toppled over one another in the bar. We all went back inside to find a couple dozen indie kids screaming their heads off to Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody". Guys with long hair and communist caps were onstage singing and dancing, as girls with wide belts and skinny jeans watched. I thought that was the pinnacle, until the DJ started playing Kelly Clarkson's "Since You've Been Gone", at which point everyone went completely crazy. Including me. I mean come on, who can resist that song?
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adrienne has a diary entry for this date as well
This entry is part of the US/UK 2006 tour
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October 16, 2006
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October 11, 2006
© 2005 Citizens Here and Abroad ·  · Photography by Jason Koxvold