So finally now i'm back in Leeds after the tour and Green Man festival being so close to one another. I now actually feel like i can take a deep breath and tell you a bit about what happened over in the grand ol' US of A.
What a wonderful city.
I arrived and had a couple of days to myself before the gig. I visited to Goose Island brew pub which was certainly a highlight.
The first 'Lone Wolf' thing i had to do was drive to Rock Island for a daytrotter session. I'd never driven in the states before this so notably i was shitting my pants a bit, especially considering it wasn't exactly just 'down the road'. It's a drive equivalent to Leeds to London and back so a round trip of about 7-8 hours.
The daytrotter studio was littered with all manner of vintage gear style delights. I was expecting to just be going in there with my acoustic and bashing a couple of tunes out, but i got to do a weird version of 'This Is War' on a rather odd electric piano, then did 'Keep your Eyes On The Road' on a flat wound arch top whilst one of the daytrotter crew (his name escapes me at this time!! Sorry!) provided some kick drum accompaniment. I also did a purely acoustic version of both '15 Letters' and 'We Could Use Your Blood'. Im sure this will be online soon.
On my journey home i got to flip the middle finger at a truck driver on interstate 88, to which he replied with a double handed attempt. I had no more hands to reply with and so therefore felt beaten by a worthy opponent. Once safe in my hotel room after that incident, which to be fair, could have ended up like the movie 'Duel' i was happy to hear that Wild Beasts had finally arrived in town and so after 3 days of Chicago solitude i literally flew out of my hotel across town to meet up with them only to find a table full of what i can only describe as 'shells' of the people i know due to thier lenghty day of travel. Obviously i felt wonderful after my 7 hour drive but thats besides the point. So we had an early night.
The next day was all about the show in Chicago really. The Empty Bottle was quite a small place (250 cap i think) but by no means without it's charm. I spent most of the afternoon admiring the graffiti on the walls of the dressing room and seeing a sticker for a band called 'Turgid Member'.
The Kissaway Trail were the victims of a storm over Atlanta which meant that they were unable to make the gig. In fact i think they arrived just after they were supposed to go on which meant i was bumped up to main support and the 11pm slot.
The crowd were obviously half up for it and half not. It was the beginning of Lollapalooza weekend and so there were about 100 people watching and 100 not, but i still had a wonderful time. I felt very welcome and enjoyed being on stage. It was the first time since the tour with WB in March that i had played solo.
Although the highlight of the evening came in the unlikely form of a slagging off! I was standing outside after the show talking to a few people who were being really nice about the show when i overheard someone standing right next to me saying how upset he was that he had missed me play, and was really jealous of the fact i am touring with Phil Selway from Radiohead later in the year. So naturally i thought "aww that's nice" until i heard his friend say "Yeah well you didn't miss anything, he was SHIT!". I let the conversation continue for a while wondering whether i should say anything and was on the verge of letting it go until i heard how much the original guy was fighting my corner and refusing to believe that i could have been THAT bad.
Now i'm a kind of hard face to forget due to this rather awesome moustache i have, and it does help the recognition process in the USA when you not only see the moustache but hear a broad British accent. So i turned around and looked at the guy straight in the face and said "i'm sorry, who did you say was shit?" to which he quite freely replied "Lone Wolf man, he was shit dude". He clearly did not recognise me which kind of made me feel better anyway because it showed the lack of attention he must have paid in such a small venue to not notice the two size able recognisable features i mentioned earlier. So i asked him again and moved a bit closer "sorry who was shit?" to which he once again said "that guy Lone Wolf, he wasn't very good at all". I moved in for the final kill, and was practically close enough to kiss him before i said "you don't even know who you are talking to do you?" with a big smile on my face.
The most beautiful moment of the evening was watching him suddenly realise he had basically told me to my face i was shit and then practically collapse to the ground in a colossal void of guilt and apologies before hanging his head and walking away.
His friend immediately went and purchased my album! :)
I then spent the next day at Lollapalooza with the Beasts. I did a bit of promo in the afternoon in the form of a couple of interviews and a radio performance but mainly enjoyed getting sunburned and hanging out.
The highlight of this day you ask? When i was on my way back to the hotel, im hoping this was once again because of my moustache, and the fact that i was wearing a tight white vest, sun burnt shoulders, sunglasses and carrying a little tote bag as you can see in the image above, i was approached by a preacher who with a Cheshire cat grin told me, "Son, Heaven has no room for homosexuals". Needless to say i frowned at him and continued my journey home wondering how people like this still exist! And also considering the fact that if Heaven does exist, do i really want to go there if that guy is going to be there!?