Sunday, August 2, 2009

Art Versus Science's Eiffel Tour... Launceston and Hobart shows!

Well, back in Melbourne now, but we just finished our first leg of the Art Vs Science tour. AVS are lovely chaps; met them on the Groovin the Moo Tour in May and we were pretty blown away when they offered us a national tour supporting them.

Anyway, in honor of such stuff, I hope I can commit to actually finishing a blog about a tour, unlike that one solitary Groovin the Moo entry above.

Leaving Melbourne on the Friday around lunchtime, we landed in Launceston at 2:30 and with an overloaded hire van, made our way to the aptly named Hotel New York, where we were to be both playing and sleeping that night. Launceston is a lovely townish, not-yet-a-city kind of place with an impressive array of 24 hour car-parks that cost $12 to park all day at, whilst the fine for parking on the street is $20.

We met up with Dan, Dan and Jim from AVS and loaded into the venue. Whilst they soundchecked, we did a quick reconnoiter of the town finding a Coles Supermarket which catered poorly to ethnic dietary requirements, like Dolmades, Pickled vegetables and Vienna Loaf. We headed back to the Hotel New York with our swag in tow and proceeded to feast on our vittles as AVS played a best-of medley for soundcheck. Lovely stuff.

Time for our soundcheck and it all went smashing. Sandwiched between the fat synth sounds on my foldback and the piercing Marshall amp that Mark strums away with, I cursed myself for forgetting my earplugs. Anyway, it all sounded rather large and impressive, so we headed to our rooms for some pre-match r&r.

Coopers Lager is an impressive beer I must say, and quickly becoming the go-to beer for band riders it seems. Anyway, it is a terribly easy beer to enjoy and sheer exertion of will had to be enforced to prevent me from r&r-ing too much before it was out time to go on.

We decided to check out the opening act and meet some of the locals. They were all lovely folk and already the offers were spewing forth to come back to so-and-so's place after for this, that or the other. Needless to say, we were already a bit too tired for "this"; mark and I steer clear of "that" and "the other" is almost always strictly out of the question.

So we get onstage and the crowd appears out of nowhere for our dancey intro, Hercules Force. They get into it and special kudos goes to the poncho-wearing Mike for his consistently furious dancing and the mid-song accolades he afforded us. (He also later invited us back to his place for a spell of "the other", but like I said, we really can't do that, especially as the tour has only just begun and we have a whole month to make such mistakes.)

So we play the set we planned and by the time we've finished, the crowd seems well and truly primed for AVS. I think it was Mark who said it best when he described us as the crowd's "fluffer"; gearing things up for the hot dance sex that would ultimately occur between AVS and Launceston, just 20 minutes later. Needless to say, they went off, and the singles "Flippers" and "Parlez Vouz Francais?" caused the whole building to fit spasmodically, most notably the latter of the two. i've got to say my personal highlight of the whole night was their impromptu cover of DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's "Shake the Room"... it was revelatory. These Art Vs Science boys are talented boys indeed... wise beyond their years.

As etiquette dictates, the goings on after a gig are best left undescribed; and I assure you that if i continue with this blog, anything absolutely amazing will be recounted in due course; but the rest will just have to be left to your imagination... the only useful information I can proffer is that opposite the Hotel New York is an all night Indian Take Away that I would insist everyone in Launceston should eat at religiously. The butter chicken was the very picture of perfection and were I still in Launcestion I would just forget about the naan, the rice, and the rogan josh and simply buy a tub full of that lovely sweet buttery goodness and devour it anon.


So we are awoken by our manager around 10am and start gearing up for the drive down to Hobart. Locked and loaded we make our way but split up from AVS' van upon the discovery of Campbell Town and the immensely large log that was awarded to the town in recognition of its Foresting during the 1800s. The gift itself seems absurdly redundant; "Hey, Campbell Town, we hear you've been logging. Great work. Keep it up. In recognition of that, here's a log. Enjoy"... anyway I took particular fascination with this dead carcass of a thing if no one else did. Eventually I was dragged away from it and we continued heading to Hobart.

We arrived just as AVS was starting their soundcheck; we hung about in the Republic Cafe/Bar and geared up for our own soundcheck... the soundie was a peaceful old soul, Neil, who pottered about at his own pace but could definitely make the room sing. Anyway the guys all left the bar to go to the accommodation, whilst I stayed behind watching the gear and japanese cartoons simultaneously. (NB if anyone reading this was involved in the creation of Naruto Shippuuden eps 119-120 then you have earnt my absolute respect. I cried like a baby at the end of 120).

Back to the gig, it was obvious that this venue had sold out well and truly by the sheer number of lads and ladies trumpeting through the place whilst the opening act did his thing. By the time we got on stage, the front of the crowd was squeezed so hard up against the stage they kept falling forward and knocking the monitors over. One ever-enthusiastic little filly even raised her arms so quickly and energetically above her head, that her breasts popped out the top of her strapless dress and out for all and sundry to notice... to mark's extreme displeasure, his attention was focused elsewhere at this time but I must admit the view did impair my concentration for a few moments and almost made up for the same girl accidentally disconnecting the power supply to my keyboard during the next song.

We finished up with this responsive and irrefutably awesome crowd and careened off stage just waiting to see how Art Versus Science would fare with this kind of energy. Needless to say, they rocked it. Several people were escorted out of Hobart's Republic Bar that night, for what seemed generally to be a case of enjoying the festivities a little too vigorously. We finished the night off by hanging out with the bar staff (including the charmingly charitable "Frenchie") after the bar staff had left, and making our way back to the accommodation for a reluctant drive back to Launceston airport the next day.

In hindsight we should have brought cameras to help convince you that what happened above was not a lie. Unfortunately none of us did so, but here are a couple of shots of myself getting acquainted with the rather imposing log in Campbell Town. Enjoy.

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