Hi, it's Benny Horowitz from The Gaslight Anthem, we'll be blogging throughout our UK tour.
The first night of the shows began with the usual drill. The boys and I, also Hollie (tour manager) left on the night of the 31st, met at Brian's apartment and took the van to JFK Airport in NYC.
Typical flight, nothing worth mentioning, other than at the last minute, the pilot got on the horn and told us that London is under a blanket of snow and Heathrow's runways are entirely shutdown.
Prompting them to turn north and take us to Glasgow/Preswick Airport in Scotland. Yes, fucking Scotland. I have no problem with that place, actually I rather like it, but, it was a long way away from our first show in Portsmouth.
We tried by air, bus and train. I even looked for a fat man with a Polka band, like in Home Alone. Sadly, there was nothing going in or out and we had to shack up and miss the first show.
After doing some filming on the sea, watching all 4 available channels and taking arguably the finest shower I've ever taken, we all met up for some dinner, drank a couple bottles of red, and dispersed for a 6:30 AM wake-up to meet the bus taking us back to the airport in the morning.
We thought a train to Birmingham would be the most direct and cheap, but they couldn't guarantee we'd get there. So we tried flying again. It was a mess, on every level from checking in, to taking off, to landing and getting our bags. We even sat parked in Heathrow for over 2 hours while a group of English teenagers coming back from their first trip to NYC bubbled over with ADD and irritated us terribly, making me think that Alex's duct tape approach to dealing with children is no longer harsh, but totally just.
But, we finally made it out and had a reunion with Ian and Gunnar in the parking lot, our favorite British and German tour partners, respectively.
It was a 100 mile drive to the Academy in Birmingham and we had another reunion, this time with Polar Bear Club, our good friends and great band from Upstate NY. Also met up with Frank Turner, whom we briefly met in San Antonio a few months ago. He made a lasting impression and we are more than thrilled to have him out with us. We wound up there a couple hours after the scheduled soundcheck, just handled the gear we could get to and the show kicked off. PBC and Frank both killed it.
We played about an hour set, with a 3 song encore that was Boomboxes and Dictionaries, Rivers Edge and Say I Won't. We were definitely a little rusty and it took a few songs to get into the swing. Typical first show of tour. But, the crowd was super energetic and made it infectious in the room. By the end, it was a blast. We finally got to play our cover of State of Love and Trust by Pearl Jam, great fun to jam that song. Looking forward to Manchester tomorrow, last time I was there a store clerk convinced me to favour Man City by throwing a shirt at me and demanding my loyalty.