#15 The Trades, Hebden Bridge

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“They said that they loved you, but they used you as a playground when they were young”
Love Letter To London – Luke Haines

Where do all those people go who loved growing up in London but ‘don’t think it’s right to raise kids there’? I bet a fair few emigrate to Hebden Bridge, and I can’t say I blame them.… Read the rest

#14 Puzzle Hall, Sowerby Bridge

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Looking back on these blogs it’s rare for me to be short of words. Does anyone actually read these things to the end? I think they’re mostly for my own benefit – a channel to spew out random thoughts instead of them rattling around my brain. My career might last another 50 years or 5 minutes so I might as well document it while it lasts.

When I was younger record deals were mystical treasure controlled by cigar-smoking demi-gods in stripey suits. Wooing them wasn’t me, so I just decided to work my ass off instead.… Read the rest

#13 Independent, Sunderland

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Somewhere between too many free whiskies at 4am and me thrashing her repeatedly at pool, Lisa had lost her purse. We turned the hotel upside down but with no joy. Initial grief makes way for self-flagelation. I’m SUCH an idiot… it’s a feeling I know well after years of practice.

John and Lisa pointed the van in the direction of Sunderland. I bet they wonder how I ever managed without them tour managing. I seem to have developed a reputation as someone who couldn’t find his way out of a crisp packet without
P!… Read the rest

#12 Great Western Hotel, Hartlepool

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Going on stage after a giant novelty cheque for £30,000 has been handed to someone always presents its own unique set of challenges.

Rule one is to remember the time-honoured charity / wedding gig mantra which should always be tattooed in temporary reverse mirror writing on your forehead so you can read it whenever you catch a passing glance of yourself in the bathroom mirror…… Read the rest

#11 Marrs Bar, Worcester

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By 1am I’d done nothing. Not the TV, film, book, tidy the flat kind of nothing, but nothing. Nothing except look at Facebook and feel bored out of my brains cos I wasn’t doing a gig. My night off at home was a let down, so thank God for Worcester the next day.

I’d been quite worried about this gig actually. Well… as worried as I get about these things – it takes a lot to rattle me. We’d done one support set there for Ed Sheeran a few months back (wow if I’d been writing blogs back then I’d have a tale to tell…), but not a lot else. Would anyone show up? The full band hadn’t played together for ages either – was this going to work?… Read the rest

#10 Berit’s & Brown, Eurocentral

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“Everybody’s got a story to tell, tell me yours” Tom McQ.

The Scottish dates have come to a close, so I thought I’d jot down some creeping conclusions…

Artists and fans alike exist because we think music has intense value. It can make us feel emotional highs and lows, sometimes it understands us better than anyone. Is good music the goal in itself?

Recently I’ve been thinking maybe not. Music feels like just a vehicle through which we try to understand ourselves and each other. A key to enter each others worlds, but what do those worlds look like? What happens there? There the real work begins.… Read the rest

#9 ABC2, Glasgow

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I wanna share a little lesson I learned about 13 years too late. The main ingredients for looking after your singing voice are:
– lots of good, uninterupted sleep
– not drinking too much alcohol
– plenty of water (at room temperature if possible)
– regular days off

I woke up in Dunfermline after 4 hours of sleep, feeling hungover and dehydraded having done a gig every night for 8 nights. At the point where I’d let go a little John was there to pick up the slack. I fell into the van and we rolled into Glasgow, and the biggest gig of the tour.… Read the rest

#8 PJ Molloy’s, Dunfermline

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“I promise it’s not normally like this” she said as the entire pub erupted in a mass violent brawl. Women spat venomous words at each other whilst slapping and shoving each other. Brutal, drunken hulks (and one suited businessman) knocked lumps out of each other over some irrelevancy. It had been hands down the weirdest gig of the tour.

I made my first mistake as we knocked on the venue to load in. A young man opened the door and after he introduced himself as Lee, I quite accidentally opted for perhaps my worst ever conversational opening gambit “ah I was hanging out with your sister last night”…
Actually a girl at the Dundee gig the night before had just mentioned that her brother Lee ran the next venue we were playing and said to say hello. I got it totally innocently wrong, and it wasn’t a good start.… Read the rest

#7 Dexter’s, Dundee

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Whether its the high of a great gig or the low of a rubbish travelodge moment, nothing stays still on tour, and nothing lasts. Another nice life lesson maybe – everything is always changing whether we like it or not.

The morning passed by in intense debate with John about the food industry, employment, music, politics, law, science and religion – the usual. We moved on, as we always do.

Dundee is a great little city, and we were playing in the best little venue around. Whilst not a gig high on drama (certainly not compared to the next night…), it demonstrated exactly what we do best. Go somewhere and play our guts off with fire in our bellies and passion in our hearts.… Read the rest

#6 Cafe Drummond, Aberdeen

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What a perfect day, what a crappy end to the night.

Everything had started well. Try and imagine what kind of festival this guy would put on:


Yep meet Walter Micklethwaite, creator of The Insider Festival and a gem of a man who showed us around the gorgeous 200-acre grounds of his scottish manor.… Read the rest