High Rise Tour - Folkestone - 20/5/17

As I got to Tom’s house the next day I was informed that the van was having more trouble when they were getting home from Maidenhead (immobilizer stuff) which meant it’d be safer not to take it to Folkesone. Instead the plan was to use cars instead. We had three in total - Dan’s, Sam’s and Ricky’s. Everyone else set off and it was just me, Ricky and Tom left in the house waiting on Tom’s clothes to be washed and dried! Eventually we set off in Ricky’s car and everything was going to plan. That was until we literally reached Folkestone and were 6 minutes away from the venue - car problems again! We had just come off a round-a-bout and had to pull over to the side of the road. Ricky had called for the RAC but it didn’t look like they’d be getting there for a while so Sam came in his car to pick up the gear in Ricky’s car as well as Tom and I. It was a good thing Folkestone isn’t too far away and we made it in time for loading in and soundcheck. We had our fingers crossed that Ricky would also make it to the venue in time for the set later on. Plan B was to have Dan on guitar and Ryan back on bass. He wasn’t able to make the whole tour due to work but he was able to come to this date. In the meantime Tom, Dan and I headed out into town to get some well earned fish and chips because that’s what you do when you’re by the coast! 

Defences were first on this time round then Callous Calligula and High Rise. The venue was fairly busy as it was a saturday so it was nice to have a good turn out. Fortunately Ricky made it in time to play as his dad waited by his car for the RAC and he drove his dad’s car to the venue. This date was also when I got some of my favourite photos on the whole tour, there was plenty of white light and a nice selection colours in rotation. The only real down side was that there wasn’t any space to take photos from the front so I had to go behind the sound desk at the side then jump on stage.

Afterwards we packed up into our cars and headed on home via a service station for a late night meal at our favourite fast food place on tour - McDonalds. (We might as well have been sponsored by them at this point.) Sam dropped us all off home and we tried to get as much rest as we could before the drive up to Norwich.

High Rise Tour - Edinburgh and Maidenhead - 18/5/17 & 19/5/17

Day 3 - Edinburgh! It was an early start but we managed to fit in a lovely hot buffet breakfast at our hotel before we had to set off for Scotland. We spent most of the drive just catching up on sleep till we got to the Scottish boarder to all jump out the van for a photo. The Polaroid camera I also brought came in handy for this! 

When we got to the hotel in Edinburgh we were in for a nice surprise, as although we had stayed in other branches of this hotel chain, this one was massive! It was big in terms of the building structure with huge windows and a tall ceiling. Arriving in our rooms it turns out we all had more beds than we really needed - a double and two singles. Apart from Jovic’s room where there was three of them, yet only a double and one single. But before we realized we mixed up the room keys he had already complained and gotten another bed so we all had three beds! The only thing that wasn’t up to scale with the rest of our room was the TV funnily enough. All the space was nice but we soon realized when you placed anything down then got into bed it was way too far away!

After sorting out our rooms we all gathered downstairs in the cafe to get food. It was like a ghost town down there and we had to get someone from the front desk to come downstairs to take orders. He also served their food and I’m pretty sure he cooked it too! I decided to wait till we got to the venue to get food but of course I had a couple of Jovic’s cheesy chips. (Okay… maybe a few.) When everyone was finished we gathered up our stuff, got in the van and headed off to Bannerman’s bar. The venue was right in the centre of Edinburgh, and from my experience it was similar to Glasgow in terms of how many one way streets there are. This made it a pain to find somewhere to park and load in but we managed eventually. Bannerman’s bar definitely fitted into Edinburgh well with a stoney wall aesthetic which carried through to the stage area. To get to the stage area you had to enter a room via a door in the corridor next to the bar area. It reminded me of the Vans off the wall gig room in London as it had rounded arched roofing. 

As the guys were loading in I took the chance to go find food and explore on my own. I followed my phones mapping system to find a Frankie and Benny’s just down the road by the main high street. Little did I know this would mean walking up a very steep cobbled road! Edinburgh is quite a touristy historic city I found, especially compared to Glasgow. 

Shooting this venue was actually quite nice, the lighting was decent, even photos with red light came out good with distinguishable facial features surprisingly. After shooting High Rise I also got a few videos and photos of the outside of the venue. There also a cool red neon quote above one of the streets reading “Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost” which I thought would make for a good photo op. 

After loading out the gear we all went around to the main street to get some late night asian food, which turned out to be quite expensive. We had a bit of a laugh whilst waiting for our food as Tom was a bit drunk and on the way out he handed me some cutlery he stole from the tables! I thought this was actually quite smart and useful until we got back to our hotel room and realized there was plastic cutlery inside! Even though we had a really long journey to Maidenhead the next day for some reason Tom and I stayed up till 3/4am just eating our food, talking and listening to music. Eventually we went to bed!


Now we come to the 4th day… aka the day of an early morning and a long drive back down south! We actually set off later than planned from Edinburgh and as Tom is such a deep sleeper I actually had to whack him with a pillow to wake him up. He definitely wasn’t expecting it and he woke up in such a shock!  Eventually we set off but only to be stopped again once we pass Manchester as the van broke down. Just our luck. And this was only the start of things going wrong. The accelerator stopped working so we pulled into what seemed to be some sort of farm/zoo area as there were chickens running around and a dog. I guess we could’ve been stuck somewhere way worse, at least we had the scenery and the sun shinning down on us. We did manage to get the van working again before the RAC arrived but thought it’d be best to stay put to find out what the problem was in case it happens again. Turns out that it needed replacing but would be fine for now. We were told if it happened again all we would need to do is turn it off and on again - typical!

By the time we got to the venue we didn’t have time to soundcheck and the band only used their breakables then used the rest of Callous Caligula’s gear. Defences joined us from this date onwards and it was great to be able to welcome them onto this tour. I have seen/shot Defences a few times before and have known them since 2014 so it was nice to have some familiar faces on board for the last stretch.

Unfortunately for this date I was feeling quite under the weather and essentially unable to shoot the gig up to standard. Not only was it in a difficult venue to shoot in but the tiredness had taken its toll on my body from the past few days. It was mostly my eyes that weren’t functioning properly and carrying a camera with a heavy lens as well as a speedlight certainly made my wrists ache.  All this left me feeling very lethargic and unable to focus my eyes. I stuck around to watch the other two bands and High Rise weren’t on stage till very late so I spoke to Jovic about having that night off to rest up for the rest of tour. He was fine with this and very understanding. After Defences I got my stuff from the van then got a taxi to my boyfriend’s house as it is nearby Tom’s and that was the meeting point for the next day. 

High Rise Tour - Newcastle - 17/5/17

The second day of tour was Newcastle - a city I had always been through but never been able to stop and visit! That’s another major benefit of going on tour, being able to visit all sorts of new cities and towns all over the UK. About 99% of the dates on this tour were in places I had never visited before.

Driving from Leicester wasn’t too bad. We kept ourselves entertained with some old school games like naughts and crosses, hang man and the name game. The venue for that night was Trillian’s rock bar, I heard from people from Newcastle that Trillian’s was a great bar to visit and that their cocktails are really good so I was definitely looking forward to this venue! As soon as we got to the venue and the bands started loading in I found a spot next to the stage behind the merch desk where I could set up my own little work station. The venue was clearly a rock bar with lots of vintage vinyl decor and old posters plastered everywhere which gave it a nice homely vibe. Since they had no backstage area so this was the best spot there was and the venue even gave me an extension lead so I could plug in and work away. So while all the bands were doing their thing soundchecking and restringing guitars I started editing photos from the night before. 

After that Ricky and I went out to explore the town centre and see what there was for food. We went into the shopping centre to find out that everything aside from restaurants were closed. Ricky bought chips and I said I’d go back round to get a burrito but alas, that had closed too by the time we got there! With no luck we headed back to the venue and we gathered Tom and Dan who had finished restringing their guitars by then. Attempt two at finding food was underway and we decided to settle on a Nandos we found in the other side of the shopping centre. Finally - food!

We sat inside the venue to eat our food so we could watch the other bands play. That’s when I noticed how awful the lighting was - tons of red light. Before High Rise’s set I made sure to have a chat with the sound guy to request minimal red lighting. After the boys had finished their food they then realized they were up next and they had just absolutely stuffed themselves! Fortunately no one threw up during their set and they managed to keep jumps to a minimum.

After that it was loading out time again. Luckily there was somewhere we could park the van that day near the venue overnight and it was a short walk to our city centre hotel. Some of the band wanted to get food before we headed back and guess what was the only place open… McDonalds! Although the Newcastle McDonalds was rather oddly mapped out as it had a massive walkway before you even get to the till. As Dan put it “you could claim air miles on that”. Then after Jovic ordered one of everything we walked back to the hotel. Tom and I joined Ricky and Dan in their room for some late night drinking. We probably went to bed around 3am nearly every night on this tour! Well… at least Tom and I did!

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