DAY 1… Leeds!
After the EU run we had 3 days off before the UK run started. It was nice to recharge the batteries, chill and do nothing, but in a way I kind of wish that we didn’t have those days off and the tour had just started straight away. I don’t find it easy to adjust when I get home. You get into such a routine while on the road that home life is a bit weird afterwards.
The first show was in Leeds at a venue called Key Club. The last time we played here a hole appeared in the floor when the crowd started jumping, not really what you want.
It was great walking into the venue and seeing everyone. Even though it had only been a few days, after spending three weeks with each other it felt like a lot longer!
Jimmy (Counterfeit Drummer) joined us on stage for sound check. He jumped on his kit, which was behind mine, and played along with us. Two drummers at once. Double trouble.
A girl in the crowd came up to the merch desk afterwards and showed us this poster / sheet of some kind (I don’t know what material it was made out of). It had a tiger pattern through the centre and ‘TIGRESS’ written through it. We never got a picture of it so if you happen to be reading this… please send us one; we would love to add it to the collection!
DAY 2… Manchester!
Manchester is usually always a fun one. We had some friends in that night that we’ve known for years now, having toured with them previously. It was great to see them and catch up. Thinking back to all the funny moments that we shared way back when.
After the show, everyone went into town and hit up Jimmy’s bar. Really cool place. The whole place has such a cool little vibe to it, very Rock n’ Roll. Signed cymbals hanging behind the bar upstairs, and then in the downstairs bar a pool table, sofas, bar and stage where they hold shows all the time. Awesome!
DAY 3… Newcastle!
We had a short drive to Newcastle from Manchester, although having just said that, every drive in the UK is pretty short. We were playing at the Academy that night in the second room. Now… we were given the big balcony of the main room in the venue as our dressing room. Sweet! Lots of space to do whatever we wanted… what we weren’t expecting was the show that went on that night in that room. Our dressing room effectively turned into one massive rave with a dude and his Trumpet! Jimmy Trumpet was his name, a house DJ from Australia who mixed live trumpet playing into the show.
I was having a great time listening to this, but Jack however… well he fell asleep. The first person I have EVER known and witnessed fall asleep in a rave.
DAY 4… Glasgow!
Shows up in Scotland are always a good laugh. It was the first time we were playing at Stereo. It’s a pretty cool venue. Very grungy, writing all over the wall and ready for a sweaty rock show.
DAY 5… Nottingham!
Day 5 of the UK run… show number 23 of the whole tour… the day things took an interesting turn. We were playing Rock City Basement that night. I’ve played in this venue maybe five times or so now, and one of the things I like about this venue is the dressing rooms… I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. After sound check I managed to catch the end of the Chelsea game with Jimmy and Tristan from Counterfeit. That win along with the show was the best thing about the day…
I remember telling Sean after the show that I felt pretty bad and that I thought I was going to pass out. I’m so dramatic I know… I thought it was just because we hadn’t eaten all day, which is really bad. I normally eat so much food at home, but with the early drive down from Glasgow food just didn’t really work out that day. We got some dinner and just forgot about it.
Later that night we got to Tom’s house in Birmingham; we were playing at the Academy there the next day. It was around 12AM, Jack, Terry and myself were checking into our hotel to save room at Tom’s, while the others stayed there. It was here that I felt the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. I couldn’t stand up properly; I was on my knees in agony. Jack and Terry took me to the hospital where we were until 6AM having tests and waiting around for what felt like ages. I was thinking in my head
“Please be muscle spasms…”
“You’ve got a kidney stone…” said the doctor.
“Oh fantastic.” I couldn’t help but think of Joey in ‘Friends’.
It’s funny when you watch it on TV, but in reality I knew this wasn’t going to be fun. There’s only one way out remember…
The doctor then asked Jack and I if we were best mates. This is when I knew he was going to do something personal and slightly traumatic. Imagine the picture above…
They told me they would need to do a CT Scan to see where and how big the stone is, but couldn’t do it the next day because it was a Sunday. Don’t remember hospitals being closed on Sundays but there you go. They gave me some strong painkillers and told me to come back on Monday morning.
DAY 6… Birmingham!
Now I had to tackle the Birmingham show. I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to be when it came time to play the show, but I knew that I didn’t care and just wanted to play. I wasn’t really worried, maybe it was because I was on a lot of painkillers and was slightly spaced out. When I say slightly, I mean completely out of it, lying on the sofa with my legs on Katy! The other side of it was I knew I had people watching my back. Craig (Counterfeit’s Tour Manager) is one of the best dudes I have ever met. First and foremost he worked with the Counterfeit boys; however, from day 1 back in Hamburg he looked out for us, and the whole touring party. An absolute legend, he always had our back.
During the show I could always glance over to stage left and he was standing there keeping an eye on me, making sure everything was as good as it could be. It was a tough show, but I got through it with thanks to everyone around me.
DAY 7… Day Off / Hospital
During our last day off we had an amazing time in Venice. Now I’m lying on my back, staring into a CT Scan machine with an automated voice telling me to hold my breathe and then breathe normally in a Birmingham hospital… #TOURLIFEGOALS… said no one ever!
If you know me, you will know that I would have to literally be unconscious not to walk on stage. I told the doctors this and they said that if I want to try and play the shows then I should probably have surgery. So that’s what I did!
DAY 8… Bristol / Surgery
I was woken up at about 6AM by a nurse so she could put a drip in my arm, not the best wake up ever but there you go!
I went down to have surgery later that morning. They would put a little plastic tube inside the tube that the stones were stuck in so that my kidney would work properly, but they would be leaving the stones in there for now because it was all swollen and they couldn’t risk making it worse.
When I woke up, I felt awful… the pain running through my back and now legs was horrendous. I still don’t really understand why this was happening and still don’t. I’ve been writing this whole tour blog for a week now and the pain is still there two weeks after the operation.
Apparently I said three things when I woke up…
Oh and I also told one the nurses she had beautiful eyes haha! I know… like father like son. I’m such a charmer in my almost unconscious state!
I really missed the rest of the guys. Katy called me on FaceTime from the dressing room in Bristol. They would be doing an acoustic set that night. I was so gutted I couldn’t be there and play, but I could barely stay awake / walk. I knew they would smash it though and they did!
My parents took me home that night and everyone came to stay round mine after the show. I don’t remember that night apart from toasting a bowl of cereal with Tom as if we were celebrating something… who are we? Who even does that!?
THESE GUYS!! THAT’S WHO!!
Sean said it was as if I was wasted. It’s a good look.
DAY 9… LONDON!
The biggest show on the UK run and the most important for many reasons. I was not going to miss this one, no matter how hard it was. I spent the morning at the doctors getting a referral for my next surgery while the guys went off into London to do our BBC Radio 1 interview. I really wish I could have gone.
I met everyone at the venue later that afternoon. I was on painkillers 24/7 and felt terrible. I could barely stay awake. I think it only hit me how hard this could be while we were playing a couple of songs in sound check.
Fast forward to the show. It was a sold out Camden Underworld show. Everyone was there including my parents, godfather and his family. We were standing behind the curtain on the side of the stage and I turned to Katy and told her that I felt really emotional… what a mess! In all honesty I felt really vulnerable, and not myself at all. Craig came up to me and told me he would be there again if I needed anything. He was going out of his way to make sure I was ok and that really meant a lot to me.
We walked on and I recognised some faces in the crowd from out in Europe. They travelled all that way to watch the show again and have some fun. It really is amazing. I heard some of them shout my name in encouragement saying I could do this, which was really lovely to hear.
The show was insane! I was never going to miss this one. It was way too important. I didn’t want to let anyone down and we got through it as a team.
DAY 10… Video Shoot!
This was a long cold day, but the outcome is great and we’re all really pleased with it. The guys we were working with on the video were all awesome and made things really easy for us. I won’t go into all the details on the video because I don’t want to give too much away just in case you’re reading this before it comes out!
DAY 11… Teddy Rocks Festival
We left the tour for a day, unfortunately missing the Southampton show because we were already booked to play Teddy Rocks. We were headlining the second stage that night. All profits made from the festival go towards helping the fight for children’s cancer big shout out to those guys. It’s really great what they are doing every year!
DAY 12… Brighton!
The last and final of the whole EU and UK tour and the most casual bottle flip of all time (please refer to jack_tigress on Instagram for video footage) has arrived! It felt very strange. For me personally, it was bitter sweet. I was gutted that it was coming to an end, but on the other hand I really needed to rest and try and recover.
The show was in Brighton, a place that I really like and have spent a lot of time there over the years. Before the show we met up with our Producer, Pete (Miles) who we worked with on our new EP ‘Like It Is’. He was in town already so we headed to the beach to say hello!
As we were waiting to go on stage we had a little huddle and fist pumps all round. No matter what… we were going to go on that stage and smash it! It was such a fun show and finish to the tour. Honestly? I could tour year round. I live for this and just never want tours to end.
At this point, it has taken me a couple of weeks to finish all of these blog entries and I’m still taking painkillers, waiting for my next op. I can’t wait to be back 100% and I’m excited for the next adventure with my best mates.
1 Adventure. 11 Countries. 28 Cities. 1 Surgery & 100s of stories to tell…