It`s been no secret that things in Japan have been dramatic to say the least.
With my tour already lined up I was unsure of weather of not I would be returning to the land of the rising sun to carry out my 4th stint there. All the newspapers have been saying different things and so it`s been down to talking to friends in Tokyo to try and reach a conclusion on what course of action to take.
Eventually I have just decided to go for it.
This tour started in Japan 9 months back and so it feels right that it should finish there.
Here`s to hoping I can return to the UK in May.
Please have a look at my shows page to see the full itinerary. Many shows have been cancelled but a few more have come in.
With 70 shows over 5 months in New Zealand coming to an end my next tour could only really be slightly less epic. However this tour ended up through one means or another to be the polar opposite to NZ.
I had originally scheduled my flight to land in Brisbane with the hope of touring south possibly as far as Melbourne and then possibly even touring my way back up to Brisbane. This plan faltered with the Queensland floods wiping out a couple of the venues and wiping out the likely hood of getting any bookings confirmed with the almighty unknown of when would everything be up and running again, I wasn`t even sure if the roads out of Brisbane would be open.
So plan B was the hope to go through a booking agent. Something I still 5 years into my career have never successfully done. Over the 1000+ shows I`ve played since going full time in early 2006 the only shows that I haven`t booked myself have support spots or they have been through friends. And I thank them truly. They know who they are. Plan B ended in the way I expected it to. With a series of non-replies and knock backs. I would love to have been able to told you they were beating down my door. But frankly. That would be a lie.
Plan C was more realistic which was to aim to get a handful of shows between Brisbane and Sydney. A circuit I have trodden on a couple of previous tours in 2007 and 2009 with a good friend and great performer in the name of Paul Greene. Paul himself was off the road but my memory served me to get in touch with spots I had frequented previously in the hope of picking up a few last min spots and vacant nights.
However, Then the earthquake in Christchurch hit. Luckily for myself I wasn`t in Christchurch and none of the wonderful people I know from there were hurt.
But with my exit flight from New Zealand scheduled to exit through there the following day it was safe to say the schedule was once again gonna face some changes. The vehicle hire and the bookings were all cancelled and instead of playing any shows I took the time to be a full time tourist for a while. I got to meet the locals (Kangaroos and Koalas) as well as hang out with some really friendly folks from Brisbane.
My thanks must be extended to the Bulow family especially Dorothy and Laura who gave us a roof and a ride many nights around the city. I even had some time to pen some new tunes. Sometimes stopping from the chaos can be a very wise move. Especially as things were about to become considerably more chaotic.
So my uber tour outside of the UK is slowly wrapping up. I`m Currently on the island of Koh Tao. I will shortly head to Bangkok to play a week residency of shows in the tourist hubbub of Khao San Road area.
I will also be playing additional evening shows. One of which will a charity night for the Tsunami Appeal in Japan.
I arrived in Bangkok last night in preperation for my first show in Thailand Tomorrow night. From the brief time I’ve spent here I can safely say this is possibly one of the craziest places I have ever seen. I thought Tokyo was mental but at least that was organised chaos. Here it’s a free for all.
Can’t wait to play. I will be opening up for a great band called that standards tomorrow at a venue called Popscene near the Khao San area of bangkok.
Thanks must go out to Laura and Dorothy for housing me in Australia. Awesome people and awesome times.
To have toured through Christchurch twice playing a total of 9 shows in the area. 4 of them in the Epicentre town of Lyttleton. One can only feel blessed to have missed out on the crazyness by the little time I did.
My thoughts are with the people I met who are effected by the Earthquake.
By the time I returned to the South Island to play my final month of shows in NZ I was pretty exhausted. Broken down equipment, vehicles and (on some counts communications) had taken it`s toll. However truth be told I was always reminded of the the good things by the simple fact that I was surrounded by beautiful sky, sun and people.
Two of those beautiful people were a great couple in the form of a muso called Midge Mcleary http://www.myspace.com/midgeman and his awesome Mrs Annabelle. They helped to introduce me to many other great folks who mearly added to the joy of the place. One of those folks was a fellow called Jersey Bob. http://www.myspace.com/bobvincent He joined me for a run of shows lasting about a week and a half. How refreshing it was to have another muso with me to share tour stories, geeky band obsessions and all things from alternate tunings to the roots of our own songs. His music is wonderfully honest and refreshingly direct.
After parting ways with Bob I ventured back down the west coast of the South Island, Stopping to check out the Able Tasman. Yet another of New Zealands breathtaking locations of unspoilt serene nature. I hate to sound like I work for the NZ tourism bunch but it is just one of those places. I also played a couple of shows in the aforementioned Christchurch. Very fortunately I had no run ins with natural disasters. I had one show from that run that really stuck in my head as the locals at the venue were not really too interested in the noises I had to make. However a collection of people who had seen me in various locations around NZ randomly converged that night to turn the gig into a real epic. I was so blown away by the support shown. I even got impromptu drums in the mix.
The west coast shows were very much a mixed bag but there was always something to lift my spirits be it strangers who seemed to know my material or even people shouting out requests. One of which being a shout for the song `Spun`from my `The Distance From Here` record. I hadn`t played the song in over 2 years and could even specifically remember the last time the song was aired was in a Duo show with Double Bass player Riad Abji back in Bournemouth in 2008. So from Bournemouth to Fox Glacier the tune makes it`s unrehearsed return to the fray. I didn`t fuck it up (Too much).
The final stint was shows in Wanaka, Te Anau, Milford Sound and Invercargill. The Invercargill show was a last min addition to the run after the disaster in Christchurch halted me in the area for longer than planned. These additional two shows proved to be the perfect way to end the tour. Playing shows to music students outside on a sunny day. This also proved to be useful as I was invited into the studio to lay down a new song. Which (when mixed) I hope will make it`s way on here.
My thanks once again must go out to all the folks who helped me. Especially Sandy Dee who helped me more than I could ever expect. Thank you Sandy. With out your help the 70 date nationwide tour would simply not have happened. Thanks must also go to Naomi Hirata and last but not least thank you Aotearoa.