Tour 2018 - Cardiff (Day 6) / by Mark Messerly


SoTD: Cheesy Wiggles from ASDA - These are standard cheese doodles. Nothing notable once you put it in your mouth. The reason I’m reviewing at all is the smell. If someone made fists with their feet in a vat of blue cheese, put on thick wool socks and then walked a fortnight through the desert you’d be there. The flavor is so disappointing after the smell emanating from the bag. Shaun hated the stench and banned it from the van.
Britishism: It’s a bit blowy out there - i.e. windy

I don’t remember much from the drive into Cardiff. I saw a Vespa with Mod stickers. Honestly we were all in pretty pissy moods for one reason or another.

Well actually one of them was obvious. When we played Edinborough on the last tour the six of us were booked into a single room of a youth hostel across the street from the club. The useless lift, the communal bathrooms, the partying eurotrashpackers, bunk beds, a night of snoring soaring farting sleeplessness. We said never again. We are truly not a fussy band. Our rider is water and a few beers if you can spare them. But we’re also too damn old for that shit. It takes days to come back from a night like that. So when we pulled up to a place I think was called Nomads, with a picture of a backpack on the sign, we were dubious. When we walked in Lisa looked around, asked the desk clerk if the bathrooms were shared. He replied, “Yes.” Lisa shook her head and said, “Fuck this, I’m out.” We trudged back to the van and set about finding pretty much any place else to sleep.

So it was grey and pissing rain when we got there, but we were able to pull right up to the club. We were to be playing the Moon, where we played our previous visit. If you’ll recall there was an enormous rugby match happening at the nearby stadium last time, necessitating us to carry/drag our equipment for half a mile because they had closed all the surrounding roads. Not this time mister. Other things had changed as well. This time we went down stairs to a different room and stage. The Moon is a rock club, all stickers on the walls and a drawing of Lemmy behind the bar admonishing us all to not be dicks. The stage was contained by a wooden railing creating a bandfold as it were. The ceiling was maybe 6.5 ft high, which is why my guitar has several new dings in it. While the soundman was working Joe and I went in search of a nearby beer. The place next door, a blues/jazzy type whiskey bar was open and we climbed the stairs to realize that was where we had played last time. The owner took us on a tour, “Remember the bathrooms? (legendary for their piquancy) No more!” and flung the ladies door open. They smelled like Hera’s morning breathe. It was a miracle. Everything was different and practically posh.

Back at the Moon we loaded our gear onto the stage. It was clearly Whovian in that I didn’t see how we could fit us all on it, but somehow not only did we fit but it was quite comfortable. After soundcheck I had very little time to eat and explore. I ate a veggie burger with a disc of honey-glazed goat cheese, which needs to happen again in this life, and tried to find an area that was maybe a little more where people lived and less big fuck-off buildings. I walked by what seemed to be a university area, the theater district, and wound up back by the castle. I went into the park and spied the keeper of the keys standing resolutely by the gate, giving me a dispassionate glance as if to say, “Yar, I’ve locked you in once and I’ll do it again.” Each park bench contained a pair of entwined young people snogging as if life giving proteins could be extracted from each others uvulas. Tired and still somewhat dispirited I made my way back to the club. And then the tour miracle happened. The crowd was magnificent and we finally played in a way that felt like we were getting our legs back. It’s really important that that happens on a tour. If you feel like you’re never quite getting it then the frustrations grow and you don’t get that release of “Oh right, that’s why we do this!”

And the hotel we ended up in felt luxurious in its amenities. By which I mean it was the first hotel we’d been in with air conditioning. We’ll discuss air conditioning in the UK at a later date. We may have to agree to disagree.

Tomorrow is Leicester