Road Blog: Wednesday October 10, 2018 - Northamton, UK
October 10, 2018
It was another beautiful morning in London as we left our AirBnB and headed north. Patrick seemed to be feeling a little better, our new van is a little nicer than the last one, and we were coming off a decent weeknight show, so spirits were high. We drove about 2 ½ hours north, past Northampton by about 45 minutes to our hotel, and went into the lobby to check in. The hostess looked at me like I’d asked her for her second born child or something, said it was a quarter past one, and in a non-verbal way, wanted to know just what the hell was I thinking? After a little bartering, we settled on “come back in 20 minutes” and she’d even wave the £10 early check in fee. I asked her if they had an outgoing mailbox, to which she replied no, and by now I was a bit agitated, so I sorta barked back that they must have one, and what kind of hotel doesn’t? Do they never send or receive mail? A few minutes later, with a little help from Patrick, I realized it came off a lot more dickish that I’d wanted, and I felt bad.
We had 20 minutes to kill, our luggage was unloaded from the back of the van into the back seat, so we couldn’t really go anywhere, and there was almost nothing around, so we walked over to the hospital, doing the Frogger bit between speeding Audis and Mercedes Benz in the roundabout. They had a fruit market set up out front and Patty got a banana. It was around then that I realized my love affair with pre-packaged, exotic—flavored, service plaza chicken skewers had to come to an immediate end as my insides rebelled and I had a make a mad dash to the loo in the lobby of the hospital as some sort of karma/payback to snapping at the hotel lady. We Froggered back to the hotel, I told the lady I was sorry for barking at her, we had a laugh, she checked us in and gave us a smile, and we went to our rooms. Patty and I watched some Lost in Space, where Dr. Smith befriended this hot, green alien woman, but then her agro man got jealous and turned Will green, to the entire crew’s dismay. We realized then that Gabriel is the robot to our Lost in Space crew – throwing out quick, dry, perfectly placed sarcastic comments as we weave in and out of various situations, predicaments, and debacles.
We drove back into Northampton and parked in a lot around what appears to be the city center, in search of a record store called Vinyl Underground. Our phones said we were right on top of it but it was nowhere to be seen. We soon learned that it was in a room above a furniture store, so there we were, weaving our way through recliners and kitchen sets, eventually finding the small, top story space with stacks of records. It was more of an electronic/techno place but they did have a little rock and Gabriel picked up a Ghost 7”. We talked to the owner who has a long history with Detroit music, was at the first DEMF, and knew all about some of our history, local record stores, and geography. From there we went to a nearby vintage store where I picked up a couple Adam and The Ants 7” for my buddy Brooks who is a fan. We went back to the van through a promenade that looked like a nice place to spend an afternoon, but most of the shops were closed and we had to get to the venue.
We pulled in front of The King Billy Rock bar and loaded in. Gabe and I ordered a pint of the Iron Maiden Trooper Ale while Patty parked the van. The sound engineer wasn’t there yet so we went to an adjacent pub to try something different, and worked our way back to The King Billy where we met our contact Andy and set up for soundcheck. One dude came up and was asking about my Telecaster and told us about how he was in Robert Plant’s pre-Led Zeppelin band after Robert Plant left, and how he knew Peter Green from the original Fleetwood Mac, and how Ian Hunter from Mott The Hoople lives near there. There was a big scooter rally going on there, so tons of bikes outside, including one completely decked out in mirrors similar to the one from the movie Quadrophenia. If you know me, you know that I love that movie and the album by The Who, so it was cool to see. We passed on the beans, chips, and sausage buffet (though we were grateful for the offer) and went to a kebob joint for some food. I don’t think the boys had any interest in me getting acquainted with that vat of baked beans. We gulped down some pitas, headed back towards the venue, and stopped into a brew pub where we tried a couple locally made pints and watched an intense game of skittle, sort of a cross between bowling and softball, unique to this county where they throw wooden pucks at pins set up on a shelf.
When we got back to The King Billy, the support band Roofus Goodlove was on, basically a dude singing with a nice, classic rock voice, and a younger dude accompanying on guitar. It’s a big pub, in more of the traditional sense compared to most of the venues we’ve been playing. A big square room with a drum riser in the back corner, a big bar in the middle, and a patio out back. We went on around 10. By then most of the scooter crowd had dissipated but there were enough people there to make it fun, and they were watching intently. We played a good set and sold a little merch, then had one last pint out back with a couple of our new friends before we loaded out and headed back to our hotel. We stopped at a gas station for some food, I thought a tuppence was a two-quid, and the attendant asked Gabe why I didn’t know what a tuppence was (I just saw the “2” and assumed…), to which Gabe explained that we were from the states, Detroit, and he lightened up “That’s where Alice Cooper was born!” A few miles up the highway the engine light came on in the van, which could be a cause for concern.
Back in the room we watched a little TV and crashed out. Not bad for a Wednesday. Thanks to Andy and everyone at The King Billy for a fun night!
Tonight were heading to Wakefield where we’ll play at The Black Mass Bar & Club. The show will be webcast on youtube at 9pm GMT+1, which would be 4pm in Detroit, or 3pm in the CST. Keep an eye on the facebook/twitter pages as it gets closer for webcast details.