Tour Diary: College Fall in Europe

College Fall Diary Entry
European Tour
Wednesday 12 July 2006 – Tuesday 18 July
TWO PEOPLE, ONE CAR, FIVE COUNTRIES, TWELVE HOURS… NO PROBLEMS!

Wednesday is the worst day of the entire week to have a pole-driving hangover. Particularly when you have to drive six hours from Plymouth to Dover… Then the next day from France to Belgium, Holland, Germany up to Denmark. Oh my god I feel hideous! “That is it” I kept telling myself “I’m never drinking again”. What is so weird about that comment is that at the time I truly mean it.

The drive to Dover was okay, considering the dilemma facing my body and mind. Jodie and I shared the duties before the ferry captain took the wheel for the trip to Calais. It was then that everything went a little pear-shaped. I’m sure I would have got the hang of driving a right-sided vehicle on the right side of the road… If only my mind wasn’t already on vacation in Venus at the same time. Two near accidents at the first round-a-bout after the ferry port. I can still hear Jodie’s cackles of laughter resonating inside my brain as I write this. The worst thing is, I am so pig-headed that I wholeheartedly believe that both the near accidents were the fault of the accomplished right-side French drivers that I nearly side swiped! My confidence shattered, my fear escalating by the second, we ended up pulling over fifty kilometres up the road in Dunkerque to retire for the night. I’ll try driving in this weird new world after a good eight hours sleep.

Thursday morning. Then twelve hours and five countries later we had finally reached our destination: Odder, Denmark. Our wonderful little Peugeot handled the trip exceptionally easily. What a buy that was. But our late night arrival in Denmark did pose a few problems:

Problem one: We are in a very foreign part of the world, a place neither of us have ever been to, nor could imagine what it would be like.

Problem two: we are extremely tired and eager to catch up with our Danish contact Stewart to get a night of rest before tomorrow’s big debut show in Denmark.

Problem three: We can’t get through to Stewart on his mobile phone.

Problem four: somehow we find his house without a map and only half a clue we were even in the right town! But we knock on the door and low and behold… he doesn’t live there anymore!!!

Oh shit.

For a fleeting moment Jodie and I panicked. I had spoken to Stewart many times about the tour and all of the happenings. Everything had been brilliant and above-board so far… But then you start to think, “well we have never actually met the guy before, perhaps this is all a big joke that the earth is playing on us!!” It’s weird how those types of thoughts can sneak into your mind when your tired. As you will no doubt find out when you keep reading this diary, these thoughts could not have been further from the truth!

As an angel appeared and things turned for the better like you would not believe – We knocked on the door of what was indeed not Stewart’s house. A lady answered which, of-course took both Jodie and I aback a little. A little concerned about having our first Danish conversation, I informed her (in English) that we were looking for an Australian guy called Stewart. As luck would have it, she had just been doing courses learning English and understood what we were saying. She mentioned that Stewart doesn’t live here anymore, but she invited us in for coffee and said that she would be able to get on the internet and find Stewarts phone number and new address for us.

It is quite amazing how a tour can hinge on such a pivotal moment like this… We were just so happy to have found him.

The next morning, exhausted from the drive and staying in the lounge room of the family home, all Jodie and I needed was a few weeks sleep. But, hey that is not what life on tour is all about!!! Tonight; our first gig in Denmark! At the Underhuset in Odder. Underhuset, basically means “under the house” or basement. It is a fantastic little venue with a real traditional Danish feel about it. We were scheduled to play at 10pm for a two hour set. It appeared that we were the talk of the town as-well! When we arrived we met with a bunch of really nice people that were very eager to hear our music. It was a great night. The strong crowd responded to us very well indeed and it was good to get our first Denmark show off the ground after such an eventful last few days!

Now, Jodie and I need a few days sleep…

For more of the College Fall european tour diary go to:
http://www.collegefall.com

Cd Review – Snowman – Snowman

Snowman – ‘Snowman’ Album
Review by Leo Abbs

It’s hard to know how to describe a band like Snowman. A cynic may say it’s just surf rock with weird vocals, but alas, there’s so much more going on than that. This album works together as one package, while still covering much musical territory, and there are no annoying interludes like the previous mini-album.

Stand out tracks include’ You Are A Casino’ (which would make a great choice for a single), ‘Bloodmoney’ (which was on the 2006 wami compilation) and ’Last Train Outta Town’ (check out the intro!). It’s on tracks like these, where the band is starting to sing more, without compromising their sound. So, yes to answer those questions like ‘Do they actually sing now?’. Yes, they do. Sometimes, anyway…

Weak points on the disc are more because ideas start off brilliantly, but don’t quite reach the mark. These include ‘Black Tide’ which is more of an introduction to the album. It sounds cool the first time, but after a few listens it could leave the listener reaching for the skip button, and ‘Shake Your Brains’, brilliant but disappointing because it is frustratingly short.

All in all, it’s a superb debut album, but definitely one for those who are adventurous about what they choose to listen to, rather than those who like their music safe and predictable.

Tour Diary: Heads We’re Dancing – Jul/Aug

TOUR DIARY – 26 Jul, 2006

Thursday, July 20
There’s 2 ways to look at it. 1. The negative – The night before we’re due to leave the sound module dies. 2. The positive – it happened the night before we leave and not at the first show. The amazing Alan Dawson spent a sleepless night changing his whole set-up.

Flash planesw with a movie screen each (thanks Royal Brunai). There’s a Richard Gere movie on – now we know why they give you sick bags!

Friday, July 21
We get picked up at the airport (by our camper van, not customs). A quick stop at a music shop to buy some stands for keyboards and guitars (cheaper than paying for excess baggage) and off to the east coast. We finally managed a brain restoring swim in the channel (NOT the ocean, as one of us called it. “We don’ ‘ave no bleedin’ ocean. This is bleedin’ England!”

Several wiggly roads later and we stumbled onto Eastern Haze Festival. Haven’t seen that many dreadlocks since the great comb famine of 1652. Dreadlocks and piercings. More piercing than the fight scene in Sparticus. And tattoos. We felt right at home! Fremantle, mark 2. One woman described it as a flashback to the 60’s. Great Festival! About 10,000 people all having a great time listening to a wide variety of music.

Saturday, July 22
Gig went well. Great response from the crowd (and the crew)and a big thumbs up from the organiser (the outset of that is that we’ve been offered a gig at next year’s festival)

Sunday July 23
Went from Eastern Haze to spend a night at a camping ground at Great Yarmouth. The complex had everything – pool, gym, spa, sauna, kids jungle gym, food outlets and… cabaret lounges. In an hour we went from dreadlocked, tattooed hippies to middle aged people doing kareoke and having talent contests (complete with a smiling compere straight out of a Monty Python sketch), all rounded up with a stand-up comedian/magician/singer, having a microphone shoved in our faces and being forced to sing along to Buddy Holly and Elvis songs. That, my friends, is culture shock.<!– D([“mb”,” \nMonday July 24 \nHeadad back to London (still wondering if the cabaret actually happened\nor was some crazy dream) and booked into the camp site. Alan\’s ankle has\nbeen swollen and started getting bigger, so he took a trip to the nearest\nhospital to do something about it. The nearest hospital happened to be\nthe one he was born in (The journey of life, from light to light).\nWe started drafting an ad… Bass player wanted, but he returned alive\n(just as well). His ankle was due to an insect bite and possibly a\nsprain. Anti-biotics and rest.

Tuesday July 25

Headed into London to check out the venue, find internet cafe, get phones\nsorted, etc. I went to the Austrade office at Australia House to sort out\nsome business stuff. Did manage to sit at Trafalga Square for a while\n(playing tourist). The venue looked great and the manager (Sammy) was\nreally nice.

Thursday July 27

Left extra early for the gig, expecting to hit traffic problems. Didn\’t\nreally hit any traffic problems, but definitely hit direction problems.\nWe took the kind of route they use in spy films to make sure they\’re not\nbeing tailed. Left, right, right, right, left, backwards, sideways, back\naround the corner, turn left, do the Hokey Pokey and turn right around\n(that\’s what it\’s all about), do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars,\nask half the population of London for directions and get 763,201\ndifferent answers. Rather dizzy, we find the venue. The news awaiting our\narrival is that one of the bands has ddouble-booked (the 2 d\’s in double\nwas a typo, but I like it so I left it in there) and had to pull out. A\nsecond band was their friends and were going to borrow their instruments,\nso they had to pull out too.

The Lark in the Park is a small pub on the edge of a park. Well, small by\nAustralian standards anyway. The good side of the bands pulling out was\nthat we had time to set up and sound check. A friend of the band who\’s\ndoing modelling in London brought a friend of hers and they cut loose\nfrom the first song. This got the people who came with the other band (a\n2 piece hip-hop crew) onto the floor and dancing. The hip-hop band was on\nthe floor too (during the start of "Tunnel Vision" I heard them\nsaying they wanted to "talk" (as in rap over our music) (I\nhope). Not a huge crowd, but a huge gig. We headed north straight after\nthe show.”,1] ); //–>

Monday July 24
Headad back to London (still wondering if the cabaret actually happened or was some crazy dream) and booked into the camp site. Alan’s ankle has been swollen and started getting bigger, so he took a trip to the nearest hospital to do something about it. The nearest hospital happened to be the one he was born in (The journey of life, from light to light). We started drafting an ad… Bass player wanted, but he returned alive (just as well). His ankle was due to an insect bite and possibly a sprain. Anti-biotics and rest.

Tuesday July 25
Headed into London to check out the venue, find internet cafe, get phones sorted, etc. I went to the Austrade office at Australia House to sort out some business stuff. Did manage to sit at Trafalga Square for a while (playing tourist). The venue looked great and the manager (Sammy) was really nice.

Thursday July 27
Left extra early for the gig, expecting to hit traffic problems. Didn’t really hit any traffic problems, but definitely hit direction problems. We took the kind of route they use in spy films to make sure they’re not being tailed. Left, right, right, right, left, backwards, sideways, back around the corner, turn left, do the Hokey Pokey and turn right around (that’s what it’s all about), do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars, ask half the population of London for directions and get 763,201 different answers. Rather dizzy, we find the venue. The news awaiting our arrival is that one of the bands has ddouble-booked (the 2 d’s in double was a typo, but I like it so I left it in there) and had to pull out. A second band was their friends and were going to borrow their instruments, so they had to pull out too.

The Lark in the Park is a small pub on the edge of a park. Well, small by Australian standards anyway. The good side of the bands pulling out was that we had time to set up and sound check. A friend of the band who’s doing modelling in London brought a friend of hers and they cut loose from the first song. This got the people who came with the other band (a 2 piece hip-hop crew) onto the floor and dancing. The hip-hop band was on the floor too (during the start of “Tunnel Vision” I heard them saying they wanted to “talk” (as in rap over our music) (I hope). Not a huge crowd, but a huge gig. We headed north straight after the show.

Saturday, July 29
Bradford – The Gasworks. We found the bar (again eventually). Black walls. Black ceiling. Black shirts worn by the staff. Then I took my sunglasses off. Still all black! Doubt started creeping into our tiny, under-utilised brains about the appropriateness of the venue. Then we discovered we were the support for a GreenDay cover band. Alan’s already trying to remember all his old Led Zeppelin covers and we’re looking for scissors so we can all have mullets. Our fears were, of course, unfounded. Bradford is near Leeds, and Leeds has a huge dance scene. The gig went well (even after the lights died during the first song and the smoke machine decided to intermittantly (sorry, no spell check) turn it self on). The response from the crowd was great. The people who liked dance music came to the front when we played, and the Greenday lovers came to the front when they played. Now we tell people we supported Greenday, making sure to mumble the “tribute band” bit.

Scotland – lost track of dates (early August)

We cruised across the Scottish border with a big “Och! Da Noo!!” (Don’t ask what it means, or is meant to mean). Well, that was the plan. The reality was that Alan and I were in the front and couldn’t hear the plan hatched in the back of the campervan, so we missed the whole thing. It’s okay though, because we videoed the same thing a minute later and we’ll cut and paste the results. No one will know the difference.

Found our campsite, got settled and cruised into the beautiful city of Edinburgh. The Sweet staff welcomed us like the prodigal son (when I say Sweet staff, that’s the name of the venue) (they are sweet, though). We found venues, got our bearings, found a great pie shop, ate great pies, looked around some more, had another pie, rested, had a pie, had a pie and had a pie. Went to catch the bus home, but couldn’t use our ticket. There are two rival companies in Edinburgh… you learn something new every day. Luckily we were already told that you need exact change to get on. The next day we found out that they charge different amounts… more in the next installment, coming soon to a computer near you.

August 3
First gig in Edinburgh. Technically, it was a preview gig, because the festival doesn’t officially start until Sunday, but it was a first for us. Not a huge crowd, but definitely an energetic one. They were up on the dancefloor early and stayed there. Lots of fun for us (and them).

Getting to find our way around Edinburgh, both by foot and in the car. Bus, on the other hand, we’re getting used to. Different companies mean different prices (I think one works in zones and one a flat rate) Very confusing – the “It only cost one pound to get here” argument doesn’t work.

August 4
I’m breaking all the diary rules and going semi-non-chronological. I’m using this date to copy a review we received for the August 4 gig from SKINNYFest (a street magazine). The review was published a week later… here we go

HEADS WE’RE DANCING (4 stars) (out of 5)

“The cozy surrounds of the Wee Red Bar were almost not enough to contain the energy of 4 piece Australian band Heads We’re Dancing. At the tail end of their UK tour the bright musicians full of character shared stories with their unique sound which combined melodies of folk and pop with heavy bass lines, up-tempo percussion and an array of electronic samples. Often described as world music, you can tell they have vast influences ranging from rock, folk, electronic and a hint of reggae and funk. It all comes together as quite an original package, one which could be among the surprise musical packages of this year’s festival. Although only drawing a modest crowd for their first festival show their openness and well-spirited performance effectively captured their tales of travel, love, and political leanings. Heads We’re Dancing played mostly tracks from their latest album ‘Tunnel Vision’ covered the like of Bob Dylan and revamped an earlier track of their own, where it was simply a little hard to not get up and dance away”

August 15 (all attempts at staying chronological are now gone)
WOW! How hectic are things in Edinburgh. Gigs, flyer runs, networking, checking out venues for potential future gigs, attending Fringe events, diary avoiding…well, not avoiding, more a case of so much to do. Honestly. We’ve only got 4 gigs left… time flies when you’re having fun. The gigs are going well. Most nights we have most of the venue up on the dance floor, and even when they’re not, the response has been great. The possibility of playing at the Adelaide Fringe has reared its head. We ended up playing an extra night at a large venue called The Jam House. The other acts were a lot more cabaret and cover-based than us, but variety is the spice of life. By the time we got on it was 2.30 in the morning, so there were a few bleary eyes the next day. The next day was the Fringe Sunday concert, with an estimated 200,000 people attending. Still had thousands, though. Not all watching us, unfortunately. The park has tents, buskers, rides, etc. The gig went well, even if it was a quick rush on, play for 15 minutes, and rush off kind of day. One woman was told by her doctor to keep off her feet… but she just couldn’t resist the Heads’ rhythms.

more soon…like I said. Things are hectic!

August 26
Well. Things got so hectic I didn’t get around to adding more diary entries. To deflect my sister’s suspicion that “something” happened on August 15 (my last entry) I thought I’d better do a quick update about the last leg of the tour.

Had a great last gig at Edinburgh – even an encore – on Sunday night. A bit of a party at the bar and then we hit the road. We drove until some ridiculous time in the morning, slept in the campervan for a while and then continued towards London. Our original plan of reaching London at 6a.m. on Tuesday was foiled by the recent terrorist scares, so we had to get there on Monday. Heathrow was TOTAL chaos. We slept (or didn’t sleep) the night in the arrivals lounge then joined the check-in queue at some stupid hour in the morning. Excess baggage is always a problem for us, even with the extra allowance the lovely people at Royal Brunei gave us. After much ranting, raving, and jumping up and down, our baggage was off and we were ready to sit in the departure lounge for more hours…then on the plane for hours…then Dubai Airport for hours…then the plane again…then Brunei Airport…then a different plane…then home (about 2 1/2 days after our last show)…EXHAUSTED.<!– D([“mb”,” \nSo we\’re currently recovering from what was a tiring, but fantastic\nadventure. Photos will be coming soon (about 1000 to sort through) and a\nlonger version of this diary. Just be patient. \nWe\’d love to say a big "Hi" to all the fantastic people we\’ve\nmet and the new friends we\’ve made. Make sure to pop onto our site every\nnow and then and say hello. The updated diary will be soon. \nHeads We\’re Tired Dancing
\n

\n\n\n”,0] ); D([“mi”,10,24,”10e1742af691e865″,0,”0″,”Alan”,”Alan”,”witzend@highway1.com.au”,[[] ,[[“me”,”leoabbs@gmail.com”,”10e1742af691e865″] ] ,[] ] ,”Oct 5″,[“Leo Abbs “] ,[] ,[] ,[] ,”Oct 5, 2006 2:56 PM”,”Re: Perth Sounds becomes perthsounds.com”,”Hi Leo, Have now settled back into freo after our tour, then supporting the D…”,[] ,1,,,”Thu Oct 5 2006_2:56 PM”,”On 10/5/06, Alan wrote:”,”On 10/5/06, Alan wrote:”,”highway1.com.au”,,,””,””,0,,””,0,,0,”In reply to \”Perth Sounds becomes perthsounds.com\””,0] ); //–>

So we’re currently recovering from what was a tiring, but fantastic adventure. Photos will be coming soon (about 1000 to sort through) and a longer version of this diary. Just be patient.

We’d love to say a big “Hi” to all the fantastic people we’ve met and the new friends we’ve made. Make sure to pop onto our site every now and then and say hello. The updated diary will be soon.

Heads We’re Tired Dancing

Visit their website at http://www.hwd.com.au