(In late October, Becoming the Archetype and Bloodguard embarked on an NCS co-sponsored mini-tour of England called BEARDING THE UK. Bloodguard’s Andy Synn recorded portions of the tour for posterity, and we’ve got his tour video after the jump, along with this diary of the experience.)
Well, the short tour with Becoming The Archetype (plus one extra date with Abgott, just for some drastic contrast) was both remarkably eventful and extremely good fun.
We knew it would be a good time when, having collected our awesome van (christened the Guard-Van for the duration of the tour) from Cambridge we realised, approximately 20 minutes down the road, that we had in fact accepted the keys and driven away with the vehicle without actually… paying for it. It’s always good to start a tour with a bit of accidental automotive theft!
Anyway, we did eventually organise leaving the necessary hire fee for the van, precluding the involvement of the police, and Ed and I set out to collect BTA from Liverpool airport. Simple enough right?
Well after almost an hour of waiting after their flight had landed and disembarked there was still no sign of the band. But then I received a phone call… from the immigration authorities. Who were refusing to let the band enter the country in the fear that they’d be taking hard-earned cash from the pockets of good British metal bands. However, some quick talking by yours truly, coupled with a very pleasant and helpful representative on the other end of the line, saw the band released and allowed to enter their ancestral homeland.
The gig at The Actress & Bishop was a good start to the tour, with both the promoters and bands breaking even and selling some extra merch to boot! However, the next day I received a phone call while at work. BTA were staying around my place, and the ever-charitable Tim (of Bloodguard infamy) had gone round to keep them company and take care of their needs. Now, two things had then happened – 1. Tim put his knee through my window, 2. – he then found Chris (singer for BTA) curled up in a foetal ball in my bathroom in exquisite agony.
Chris was taken to hospital and kept company by Ed (Bloodguard drummer) for the duration of the day. Thank all that is holy, however, for the NHS, who provided Chris with the necessary antibiotics and painkillers he needed and had him up and at least walking by 5pm. What followed was a thrilling journey from the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham to The Roadhouse in Manchester, completed in just under 3 hours. We arrived at the venue just before 8 (hideously late, yet still ready to rock) and managed to have the gear loaded in and the first band onstage by 8:15!
The problems with the show were further confounded by difficulties parking the van, as I had to keep running out to move it around the nearby area to avoid parking charges and/or the ire of the local council refuse collectors!
Thankfully, the next show was back in Nottingham, meaning we could all relax a bit more. We stayed up drinking that night, sharing stories and anecdotes until the wee hours, although I had to be back in work (again) early in the morning. Thankfully, BTA were able to catch some good sleep, and we even dragged Seth in to add some keyboard and synth textures to one of the songs from our upcoming album. We took BTA to England’s oldest pub (or at least one of the few that have a reasonable claim to that title) – The Olde Trip To Jerusalem – for a few pre-gig drinks and British culture, jamming some old-school P.O.D. in the van to get us all in the rock and roll mood.
The gig was a definite success, successfully making money on the door for the promoter (moi) and allowing each of the four bands to flog some merch to their adoring fans. Even better, I got a chance to jump onstage with Becoming The Archetype for a rendition of the night’s closing song “Dichotomy”. Brilliant.
After the short drive back to Synn Manor, we spent the evening working through a variety of food and beer and banter, some of which appears on the associated video (at least, all the not totally offensive and/or unfortunately geeky moments).
After a remarkably short amount of sleep on my part (work again) we set off down to London in the ever-ready Guard-Van, playing Metalocalypse to death in the back, while the driver (me, again) kept himself fuelled and awake with a concoction of nachos and energy drinks. Health food for the damned.
If you’ve never driven through London… don’t! It’s a horrible experience. Both the pedestrians and other road users are all suicidal and appear to have no peripheral vision or spatial awareness. Thankfully we finally reached the venue without incident. Many thanks to the organisers at the Koko across the road, who let us park outside their venue to unload. And we give further thanks to whatever dark forces allowed us to move the van just before a parking attendant arrived and ticketed the band who moved in to take our space!
The Purple Turtle is a great venue, it sounds great and has a good stage and a good lay-out. All the bands on the evening played blinding sets, including the openers who, in the absence of their singer, recruited the event’s promoter to handle improvised vocals! After loading out gear and getting the obligatory end of tour photo (coming soon, hopefully!) Ed and I took Becoming The Archetype on a short (1am) tour of London, driving around various landmarks, stopping off for a bite to eat and a bit of touristy wandering.
By 5am we were at Stansted airport wishing our new brethren in Becoming The Archetype an emotional goodbye. Though they would go on to lay waste to mainland Europe our time with them was unfortunately over. It was a great experience though and we couldn’t have asked for better companions on our short, inaugural UK tour.
Dedicated to Seth, Daniel, Chris, Abishai, and Bradley.
“Which one’s Andy, then?”
I love tour diaries.
That’s the problem with being the cameraman — not many shots of him. But, for example, he’s the shirtless dude up front with the mic when Bloodguard is playing and can also be glimpsed singing with BTA on stage at one point.
Actually I’m in the very first scene after the logos, since I was driving the van.