I don’t even know where to begin with this blog post. In October, I ventured out on my first “tour,” following IDLES and Heavy Lungs around the UK as much as I could. I saw them in Bristol, London, Manchester, Brighton, Nottingham, Birmingham and Oxford. I stayed in hotels, B&Bs, hostels and with friends and it was lots of fun (read about it here). For that tour, I had been saving up money for months so that I could afford to stay in proper places as I get very anxious when I don’t know exactly what’s happening (I like planning and don’t handle change or spontaneity very well). When Heavy Lungs announced a 10-day UK tour, I was determined to go to every gig.
Update: I went to every gig.
Financially, I knew it was not possible to get hotels or anything as paying for petrol, food, merchandise and tickets was already a stretch. For weeks leading up to the tour, I struggled to get excited. I was, quite frankly, terrified. I didn’t think that I was actually going to manage to do it.
Stood in the crowd of gig number 1 in Southampton, watching Heavy Lungs onstage, I suddenly had an overwhelming sense of determination and excitement. This is why I’m doing this. Every long drive, every uncertain moment, where I wasn’t sure where I was sleeping that night and every night sleeping in my car all became worth it when I was stood in the crowd watching my favourite band smash it.
Throughout the whole tour, HL drummer George and tour manager Jordan looked after me, checking I was okay after each gig and ensuring that I safe, which was unbelievably heart-warming. When I do these things, I do it for me. I don’t ever expect anything in return. I don’t expect the band to even acknowledge that I’m there but every message, every “hello” and every shout-out onstage fills my heart with absolute joy. It’s really lovely to feel appreciated and to feel like what I’m doing is not just beneficial to me.
Trying to pick a favourite night of tour is absolutely impossible as every night had different moments that made them so special.
Southampton was the first night I got to see two “brand, brand new” songs performed live, one of which (Motorhead) is probably my new favourite HL song; after the Margate gig, where JOHN supported, I got to stay at lovely Louise’s house, which was such a treat; the phenomenal DITZ supported in Brighton; I got a HL tattoo in Tunbridge Wells; I got to spend the day with my aunty in London before the gig and the London crowd was amazing, I saw lots of friends and stayed with lovely Senay; I stayed with some of my best friends in Nottingham and was able to go out and party afterwards, which was fun; in Newcastle, lovely Vulgarians, who supported for 4 of the tour dates, recognised me from London and Nottingham and we had a nice chat; I got to catch-up with my lovely friend Ella in Manchester and I got a squad photo with HL and Vulgarians, after I became a drum tech for the night; Cardiff was special just because I got there in one piece (thanks snow…) and then obviously, ending the night in Bristol was just perfect.
With JOHN supporting, surrounded by friends, a raffle halfway through the set, JOHN joining HL onstage and an absolute mega-sesh afterwards, it was the best end to the tour.
Being back at work and getting back into my day-to-day routine has been hard. I feel more lonely in an office of 25, on a packed bus and in a house with 8 housemates than when driving around the UK by myself, following HL on tour. However, this tour has taught me a lot about myself and how I’m a lot stronger than I thought.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is, stop doubting yourself. If something makes you happy, do it. I know that 99% of people think I’m a crazy fan who needs to get a hobby instead of bugging bands on tour but being in that crowd is my happy place. I feel like me. I’ve seen Heavy Lungs a whopping 30 times now and I don’t plan to stop soon. You’d think their set would get boring after a while but honestly, each gig makes me more excited.
I hope you realise, I’m not for Christmas – I’m for life.
P.s. I took some disposable cameras with me on the tour and some of the photos have turned out amazing so I’m working on a zine with them all in, which I’ll hopefully upload online at some point, as well as print a few physical copies. Stay tuned for that.
Also, Heavy Lungs have just released their “Straight to CD” EP which you can get here.
SHOUT OUT TIME: thank you to George, Danny, James, Oli, Jordan, Mark, Dev, Connor, Jodie, John, Johnny, Louise, Nick, Senay, Ella, Nick, Danny, Tom, Sam, Dan, Tamlin, Laura, Catriona, Melissa, Jez, Emma, Kevin, Jack, Fee, Jeff, Simon, Ivan, Noah, Vaiva, Jules, Chris, Owain, Jimi and every other wonderful person I met/encountered for making it such a wonderful experience – you rock!