Tour Diary: Curse Of Lono - Day Three
Day three of Curse Of Lono giving us an exclusive look at their life on the road. Over the next couple of weeks drummer Neil Findlay is shining a light into the dark recesses of the reality of a touring band. Supporting country rockers Uncle Lucius, they're taking in Europe and the UK. Join us for their trials, tribulations, and highs. You can find the dates of the rest of their tour, as well as music and videos on their website.
Today's diary entry is subtitled: Poor Ramone...
We find ourselves bouncing down the autobahn in the back of the bus with spirits high from a great night in Germany. Last night was a fun show. Meeting the Uncle Lucius crew for the first time, it was immediately clear from our stolen excited conversations and mutual head-nodding acknowledgements of favorite bands and musicians that things were going to gel nicely as a traveling army. Getting on with those around you is important on the road. I think Lucius were as excited as us to be in Germany and that the dull ache from the back of my head tells me that the delicious beer we consumed in the bar after the show and in the Zappa Suite at the motel may have slipped down a little too easily. The last thing I recall from a hazy night is sitting in the driver’s seat of an American police car with an open container, but I'm sure there's no need for me to worry because there were no actual policemen to be seen and the last time I looked, we weren't actually in America.
Today our destination is Warmond in the Netherlands. It's about six hours in the bus, which gives the band plenty of time to catch up on some sleep, watch a movie and gaze out of the window at the scenery that’s rolling past. Except for Joe that is, who has just been asked to step in at the last minute for Lucius's bass player Johann, who has unfortunately run into some visa problems and has been denied entry into the UK for the remainder of the tour. Bureaucratic bastards. Joe now finds himself in the unenviable position of having to learn Uncle Lucius’ extensive 1 hour 45 minute set before the first UK gig in Sheffield in 3 days’ time. He looks a little stressed plucking away on Charis’s bass with his headphones on. I leave him to it.
With Mark at the helm, we're speeding over borders towards the first of two shows in Holland and before long we're outside tonight’s venue, which is a large arts space with a well stocked bar and working wifi. Musicians and crew can be found silently gazing into screens as laptops and phones are unearthed and the pings of connectivity finally confirm a return to the online digital civilisation.
Whilst the PA is rigged by the local hire crew, the band takes full advantage of a bit of online downtime. Pics and videos are uploaded and digital contact is made with loved ones back home. Touching base with home is important to keep sane within the insular bubble of the tour as it helps to keep your feet soberingly on terra firma, providing a healthy reminder that, whilst you are busy being the most badass musician on the planet, the electricity bill stuck to the fridge still hasn't paid itself.
After enjoying a delicious Chinese buffet organised by the attentive venue staff it's not long before the audience start to file into the venue and the stage is set for another evening. The tour managers and bands seem happy. Everyone is positive and we try to relax and enjoy each others backstage company before it's suddenly show time and we're up on stage again.
We play really well tonight despite having a fraction of the sonic resources we enjoyed the previous night in Germany. Traveling from country to country, it can be very disorienting when a venue doesn’t have the usual abundance of speakers and equipment to acquire the depth of onstage sound you are used to but there can be no excuses. In many ways, that’s what this tour is all about. It’s important to perform at 110% every single night, no matter what the circumstances and that is something you can’t practice in the studio. There simply is no substitute for going out and playing a different venue every night for a couple of weeks. It’s the only way to get ‘tour tight’.
Tonight’s Dutch audience is a more relaxed bunch than last night in Germany. I catch myself considering the idea that some of them may be feeling the sedatory effects from those suspiciously long and unbranded cigarettes I often smell people consuming by the metric ton in Holland. We carve our way through an extremely solid performance, except for a comic interruption when Felix unusually forgets the opening words to 'He Takes My Place'. Although he does start sweating profusely at that moment, at least he doesn't have to worry about being electrocuted on stage tonight.
Increasingly the audience warm to us as we progress through the tunes to the climax of the show. We go off to loud cheers and are soon treated to another ringside seat for Uncle Lucius's set and they don't disappoint. Great musicianship and a cool, dry Texan onstage demeanor make for another stellar show. They're all top gents and forever welcome to come stay in London anytime. Did someone say we're all going back to the hotel bar for a drink? Count me in..
Poor Ramone. I always feel for the person unlucky enough to find themselves working the graveyard shift in hotel receptions and bars. I'd imagine the possibility of a reasonably quiet shift spent booking generic and disinterested, suited business travellers into their rooms would be a preferable way to spend a Friday night shift in Warmond. Ramone is working the reception desk when we arrive in the hotel and inquire about opening the bar for a drink. Looking over my shoulder and past me to the advancing army of hairy and extremely thirsty musicians and crew, I can already see the fear in his eyes.
It's a beautiful thing to behold. Two bands fuelled on copious by Jagermeister and cold beer setting the world to rights or, in our case, keeping poor Ramone from his usual duties. I try to offer Ramone a shot of Jager during my first round of drinks, but he politely refuses. Plenty more rounds ensue as the evening wears on. During what must be round three or four, Ramone's resolve to avoid being part of the fun on his Friday shift begins to falter and he reluctantly agrees to join us for a shot Jager. And another. Oh, go on then and another. A few shots more, the Jager has reached its target and Ramone is in full swing. The responsibilities of work discarded and with a fresh bottle opened, the reception responsibilities are put on hold. Another cold beer anyone? It's been a fun night and with a little help from Ramone, we've done a commendable job of knocking a dent in the hotel bar. As musicians and crew slowly start to drift off into the night, the party starts to fizzle.
As I begin to make my way to the room around 7am, I see Ramone wearing a very contented smile whilst smoking a suspicious looking pipe in the hotel beer garden. As the Dutch police turn up in reception (real police this time), I make my excuses and head to bed. It's been a very long day, a great night and our new friend Ramone has done himself proud. I hope he calls in sick tomorrow, the poor guy definitely deserves to..