THE AUDREYS TOUR DIARY
June 12, 2008 | Author: Tristan, guitarist and banjo picker – The Audreys
The First Week….
Hey folks it’s Tristan here, guitarist and banjo picker with The Audreys, and I’m pleased as punch to invite you to share the triumphant highs and the truckstop food lows as you join us for the first week of our “When The Flood Comes” national tour. Fix yourself a coffee (preferably of the watered down roadhouse variety), season it generously with Irish whiskey and slam that sticky old door behind you as you enter the ’92 Toyota Tarago that we lovingly refer to as The Audreys’ Fun Bus!
It’s day one of our seven week Aussie tour and we’ve made it from Adelaide to Warrnambool in Victoria. It’s late. Really late. To be fair though our first gig is not until tomorrow and we did stop in Port Fairy to celebrate our production manager Brett’s birthday. It probably didn’t help that it had been my birthday the day before and that needed a little bit of celebrating too. When you’re on tour there’s lots to celebrate it seems, although the last time I rolled into Warrnambool in the Tarago I was not quite so happy I recall. ‘Twas the very end of our last tour and my lovely bandmates were flying home to Adelaide whilst I (by choice it must be said) steered the weary Tarago home by road. To cut a long story short the clutch gave out and I pushed our mobile home many kilometres through the wee small hours (discovering new combinations of swear words as I went) until I reached the sweet sanctuary of the ‘bool.
First up for The Audreys is a local radio spot during which we learn that Smoky Dawson came from Warrnambool and was one of only a few Aussies to play the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. It gets better though, because apparently the release of his last album in 2005 made him the oldest recording artist in the world. Now that’s some local inspiration! We spend most of the afternoon setting up our stage at the Loft and working out how to fit all of our stuff on the little stage, but the first gig goes really well. An enthusiastic and attentive crowd here ushered us through any first gig jitters we might have have had and reminded us why we set out on tour – to show the folks our new songs! A week locked in our Adelaide hills rehearsal studio re-constructing songs from “When The Flood Comes” has paid off and the new material is making the right kind of impact on the audience. Quite like the impact we made on our drinks rider I have to confess. It’s opening night though so I think a few excesses are permissible.
After an uneventful few hours drive from the shipwreck coast to the mountains we’re in Belgrave in the Dandenongs for the second gig of the tour. The venue is Ruby’s Lounge, a self proclaimed ‘oasis in a desert of bogans’. It’s a great little club in Melbourne’s outskirts that we’ve had memorable gigs at in the past and tonight adds another to that list. Some fantastic Indian from the restaurant next door after soundcheck cancels out the mornings roadhouse breakfast (and the previous evenings late night enthusiastic drinking) and fires us up for the show. It’s only the second airing for many of the new songs and again were chuffed at the packed room’s response to the new tracks. Tomorrow, we’re off to Meeniyan…
“Meeniyan?” I hear you cry incredulously. It’s a town in South Gippsland and it may well be the best kept secret on the Australian roots music touring circuit. Our hosts Ian and Susanne really know how to put on a show and hundreds of folks have come from near and far with picnic hampers and bottles of wine to this gorgeous old town hall. The Green Room is laid out with wine and sushi (with a fabulous home-cooked meal to follow) and there’s an open fire roaring. What a welcome! Two hours later we had to be coaxed out of the big comfy sofas and onto the stage, and the gig was a cracker. They’d booked us a couple of beautiful cottages for us to stay in nearby, so after meeting all the lovely punters and signing CDs, our singer Taasha is grinning from ear to ear and ensconced in the deep spa that once soothed one of her idols, Nashville’s Gillian Welch.
Some bad coffee fuels the two-hour drive back to Melbourne. After hotel check-in and a little nanna-nap for some of the wearier Audreys, we’re on our way to the historic Corner Hotel in Richmond. Not quite as historic as it once was it turns out – there’s brand new carpet. Sure, the non-stickiness of said carpet shaves a good three minutes off a journey to the bar but what have we lost? Decades of Aussie rock history that’s what! We forge on under these new improved conditions and stretch out our soundcheck. After some dinner we get a chance to enjoy a short set from our support act for the tour, J Walker (of Machine Translations) from side of stage. And then it’s all over almost too soon. The Corner is packed. The folks are hushed for the intimate moments in the set and obligingly boisterous when Taasha calls upon them for the rowdier moments. It’s a rollicking ride that brings our first week back on the road to a mighty end. A heartfelt and huge thanks to all of you punters who shut-up and then shouted-out at these shows.
Day off today. Tomorrow it’s back in the van and up to the Blue Mountains. “What did The Audreys do with a free day on tour?” you ask. Well we found a great little Melbourne pub, let our thoughts and our Guinness’ settle and listened to some kick-arse live roots music. What else? After the show the band’s frontman Snowy Towsend shared some pretty wild stories from his days touring with AC/DC in the seventies. I think he got a little wistful when we told him we’d just started a big lap of the country, but then he came to his senses, finished his beer and took off for home sweet home.
OK friends, we gotta let you out here. Take some advice from me and go home and enjoy a real coffee with the ones you love. Oh, and don’t forget the whiskey.
“When The Flood Comes” is out now.
Live photos by Marty Williams, others by The Audreys