Welcome back readers! This is the second part of William France’s sojourn in the wildlands of Australia (right? The entire place is just wildlands, right?), on tour with After the Burial and Born of Osiris! If you haven’t yet, check out the first part, right here. If you have, hold on to your socks but things are going to get a bit bumpy. Head on over the jump for your second taste of this rollercoaster. And remember: DEFEND SUMERIANCORE.
Defending Sumeriancore: How My Troubles Ceased and Fortune Smiled Upon Me – Part II
With the venue empty and the vans packed, we set off for Sydney. The plan was to drive through the night, arriving sometime around mid-day. Even before the drive, everyone started getting a bit more acquainted and comfortable with each other but shared experience is the best social glue; before we set off, we stopped for fuel and the majority of us stood near the busses. While we waited, we were approached by two older women, one much older than the other, who were extremely drunk. One of the ladies (who I appropriately dubbed Sméagol) asked if she could share the joint that was being passed around. Everyone looked at the ground and there was an awkward silence until someone refused her request. It was at this point that the younger of the two chimed in, and before we knew it they were both trying to fight us for the joint. The older woman moved to put down her plastic cup of goon (cask wine) which she had quite obviously borrowed from a bar, and motioned towards one of the group as if she were going to throw a punch while passing out at the same time. At this point most of us had grown too uncomfortable and had started to slowly move towards the vans. As we left the fuel station, the BoO guys, driving ahead of us, yelled something from the van window. Without a moment’s hesitation the two foul creatures had lifted up their shirts, their weathered chests on display to anyone unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity. Trent Hafdal (Guitar for AtB) remarked the experience made him feel ‘debreast’ (depressed + breast).
After a comfortable ten hour drive to Sydney, we arrived at the venue. It was not until I had the opportunity to take a shower that I realised how poorly I had prepared for this tour. I noticed when I got to the AA venue the night before that everyone had suit cases full of their things. Things you would generally bring if you were travelling and staying somewhere other than your own house. With me I brought a handful of shirts, two pairs of trousers, socks enough for the week, my toothbrush and my iPod. When I say I failed to prepare for this tour I mean my iPod was completely out of battery, I forgot to bring a towel, and I had about twenty dollars. It wasn’t until I was forced to walk up and down the entirety of Paramatta road with my equally-as-determined friend Rick, in search of a towel, that I began to realise how many things I had taken for granted. Anyone would think that within a huge strip filled with hundreds of shops, at least one place would sell towels for less than $40 a piece. Hours of frustrated power-walking passed and we eventually found a golf store that sold XL hand towels, but at $15 each they were better than anything else we had found since starting on our tiresome quest.
That much-needed shower had escalated to something of life-or-death importance by the time we got back to the venue. A couple of the BoO guys and I walked up a flight of stairs to a dingy narrow hallway, where a couple of middle-aged men pointed us in the direction of the shower. It was almost as if the upper floor of the venue was an afterthought, and someone had simply picked up the top half and placed it atop the bottom. I had never been on tour before this, so when I was told that I didn’t have to worry about accommodation or anything my first guess was that we were going to be staying in hotels. I am in no way intending for this to sound ungrateful or whiny, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. In retrospect, the fact that The Bald Faced Stag (where both Sydney shows took place) was part-hotel was incredibly convenient. Band members could practically walk off stage and into a shower. Every other place that we stayed at belonged to a friend of someone on the tour, so we weren’t presented with the luxury of showering each night. This is the sort thing I should have, but did not take into account, when packing.
During the sound check I was asked to help out at the merch desk. I underestimated the time that goes into not only constructing the merch area, but also the way in which it is presented. The plan was that Nathan and I would be in charge of the desk while the band were occupied, either on stage or elsewhere. The vocalist from After the Burial would make a point of inviting the audience back to the merch desk after the set, even just to chat and hang out, which would mean that a crowd of sweaty fans would be packed into the merch space, excited just to be breathing the same air as the band member(s). It was by selling merch, that I met Dan Carle, After the Burial’s drummer. He had the entire merch process down to a T: from setting up the table and presenting the items to folding the shirts in the correct way in order to make it easier to find particular things (when you’re rummaging through boxes underneath a desk in the corner of a dark venue).
The Sydney shows were fantastic, despite a 20 minute intermission in Born of Osiris’ set due to problems with the hardware in Dave Darocha’s bass. And with the exception of nearly getting helplessly lost while I taxied the BoO guys to and from a Karnivool show, I thoroughly enjoyed the city as well. The night following the 18+ show, we were very graciously taken in by a friend of the group who lived about an hour out of the city. They owned a large property, on which stood a giant house, easily accommodating After the Burial, myself and the family comfortably. The morning of the AA show, we woke to several enormous plates of breakfast food; eggs, bacon, sausages, mushrooms, all prepared for us by the lovely people in whose home we had stayed. The second day in Sydney was a little more relaxed. I got to catch up with my friends in The Schoenberg Automaton and watch both bands play a tighter show than the day before.
Well, that was certainly…edifying. From here on out, things get a little more personal. Next time we’ll have bromance, adventure and jam packed shows! Tune in tomorrow for the third chapter of this riveting tale.
Until then, stay frosty!