Hello. My name is Owen. I play bass in Black Kids. Over the next couple weeks we’re touring the UK in support of Kaiser Chiefs, a band that seems to be getting along pretty well in these parts. Barring impossible promo schedule, online inaccessibility or relentless hangover, I’ll be writing here every couple days about the ins and outs of the tour, from the remarkable to the rote. Hope you enjoy.
Day 1, Kaiser Chiefs Support Tour: Dublin, February 19
Got in trouble already. Not ten minutes into the first day of the tour. Following a one-off headlining show at London’s Koko last night, we hit the road (and later, the sea), arriving at Dublin’s O2 Arena at 3 this afternoon.
Dinner is served at 5:30PM, we were told. Yes, please. No harm in grabbing a coffee beforehand, right? I found catering, spotted the coffee machine in the self-service area, but was lured away by a juicer and a cornucopia of glowing carrots, leafy celery and beets with their ends neatly lopped off.
I flipped the switch and got started. A bit of apple, a knob or two of ginger: last night’s aches and pains were fading with every spin of the blade. My glass nearly full, a staff member approached. “Pardon, are you in the support band?”
“That’s right. Oh dear, I must be using the juicer incorrectly.”
“We’ll see you at dinner at 5:30.”
“I can’t — ?”
“We’ll just see you at 5:30, OK?”
S for support? Or S for Second-Class Citizen?
Coincidence the letter is scarlet?
Owen / BK
Day 3, Kaiser Chiefs Support Tour: Nottingham, February 21
There’s a very specific anxiety to spending the night inside a bus that’s inside a ferry — in this case on the trip from Belfast, where we played with Kaiser Chiefs last night, to Nottingham, where we play tomorrow. Chances are the sailing’s going to be smooth — just keep sleeping through the ride over the Irish Sea and wake up in England.
But maybe the ferry has some mechanical trouble. It’s taking on water; an alarm sounds. You’re trying to get out of your bunk, get out of the bus, get out of the hold. Trying to swim up to the surface of the ocean.
Or say you were the one who couldn’t sleep. You were on deck when the captain got on the loudspeaker and ordered all passengers to STRAP ON LIFE VESTS and PREPARE TO BOARD LIFEBOATS. Do you head down the flights of stairs, try to find the big blue tour bus, try to remember the code to the door (C3486Z?), try to wake everyone and get them out before the whole thing goes under? Or do you realize it’s useless and decide to save at least your own life, only to lose the best friends you’ve ever had?
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Last night Ali, Kevin and I had a chance to catch Danananakroyd, a punkish group from Glasgow that’s opened these first couple shows of the tour. Watching them scream and shake and jump and laugh took me back to earlier days — back before the cynicism, before the beer guts. Before the circles under the eyes.
Growing older feels like being stuck inside a bus that’s stuck inside a boat that’s sinking.
Owen / BK