When we heard that Australian grunge rockers Tired Lion were making the long trip across continents, from their homeland to the shores of the UK and Europe, we knew we had to grab some time with them. By chance, we locked in an exclusive back-seat ride on their gigantic tour, with highlights starting at Glastonbury festival and ranging all the way to debut headline shows. It was a hectic but fun-filled four weeks, and we have it all detailed for you in our three-part feature. So what are you waiting for? Dig in.
WEEK 1: SOPHIE’S PERSPECTIVE
June 23rd – Paris
One thing we have noticed is that people in Paris are great at English, but refuse to speak it if you don’t appear as though you are trying. Here are a list of things I learnt how to say in order to survive our few days there.
– A jug of water, please: “Une carafe doo. Si vou plait.”
– Whisky and Coke: “Whisky et Coke”
– I’m sorry: “Je Sui des olé”
– The bill, please: “L’addition. Si vou plait”
– Have a good night – “Bone nuit”
– We are from Australia: “Nous Somme de l’australie”
Like all tourists we made our way to the Eiffel Tower and many of the tourist attractions. Matt and Ethan shared a romantic kiss under the Eiffel Tower which made me forget we were so far away from home and how weird I was feeling. This strange out of place feeling wouldn’t stick around for long as soon as we loaded into our very first European show supporting Anti-Flag. The bands were accommodating, the venues hospitality was exceptional and we were greeted with an assortment of antipasto delicacies. We loaded on to the stage and took part in our first sound check. It was very cute watching the sound guy speak his best English saying things like ‘Mon-it-Tores.’ As in monitors.
We smashed out a set, met a rad bunch of people from The Kenneth‘s (the band playing before us) and our first ever French fan bought our vinyl. We then loaded into the van for the long journey to Germany. The van, oh the little van – We were all excited it actually had a TV in it and a power station for when we needed to charge laptops, for long drives over 8 hours. We chucked on a ‘Curb’ episode and drifted to dream land.
We checked in at some accommodation extremely late and woke up bright and early for the trek to Hurricane festival.
June 24th/25th on route to Hurricane & Southside.
The drive didn’t go as smoothly as we intended, as what appeared to be a newish style van started making scathing/ rattling noises. It was our instinct to pull over immediately but our driver kept up the pace until we found a service station. Fuck. We jumped out of the van and the whole exhaust pipe had fallen off hanging by a thread scratching along the ground. To top it off the TV and power stopped working in the van too. Naturally I was a little stressed but found the humour in what we had to do.
Luckily Ethan’s dad was a mechanic so he had learnt a few things about cars…He ripped off the exhaust which was about 2 metres long and sorted things for us. We continued the drive to Germany – staying on schedule so we could still get to play. Maybe this was an omen. Maybe in fact we were never supposed to make it to this show…You’ll find out why shortly.
Okay so.. This show looked promising. After a 4 hour drive or so we made it to the festival – the weather was a little bit stormy and the ground very muddy. We got redirected about 10 times until we made it to the stage we were playing. It was huge, man. Way bigger than I had envisioned that’s for sure.
We slogged it over the mud trying not to dirty the only pair of shoes we bought for the tour.. Attempting to wipe off our shoes so mud wouldn’t fall into the circuitry of our pedals, we set up for sound check. It sounded as huge as the stage was. We hadn’t received a rider as of yet so we sent our reliable manager Jake for a 2km mission to our artist room to bring back our pre-gig rituals of jacks and cokes and beers. Time was ticking and having our bottles of confidence were becoming more and more of a fantasy then a reality. We had been told the stage wasn’t in the best condition due to the storm but we weren’t expecting the news we were told next.
A very kind stage manager approached us and said due to the storm and health and safety, our show had been cancelled. Sheesh. Maybe we weren’t supposed to make it to the festival after all. Spirits were low. I was disheartened. We had travelled all this way and couldn’t play the show. We even had a sound check – which I had found to be a massive tease. Oh well! We packed up our gear and hung around the festival indulging in the huge buffet and our rider. I remember feeling so strange like I didn’t want to leave our green room. I was bummed. I had half a Valium and a Jameson and began to feel even more down, just laying on the floor.
Today was a full travel day – our first experience on the euro tunnel. The idea of being in a huge train with multiple cars underwater was a claustrophobic’s nightmare. I have to admit, I was a little uneasy but found comfort in the fact we would be playing the prestigious Glastonbury festival. The idea of playing this festival would make me question a lot of things. What reality am I living in…Is it even a reality?
Adrenalin pushed through our blood via Bourbon and Coke, it wasn’t too early to gain the confidence we needed. We were playing the John Peel Stage [at Glastonbury]. It was a big top tent that was far larger than I had imagined. The set ran smooth – the panels side of stage were distracting – seeing the camera man project images of the band mid set. The lights were blinding and in full swing. Sweaty shows always mean a good show. We all went our separate ways to see different bands. A few familiar faces were spotted, Jay Watson from Tame [Impala] watching ELO, Mac Demarco hanging near our tour van and I awkwardly bumped into the singer from Band of Horses after the set. To be completely honest I only checked out a few bands. Crowds freak me out – this festival was too huge and hectic. I hung out in the artist area, drank some tea and liquor and soaked in the atmosphere. The highlight of the show would be watching Mac’s gear being loaded into the stage area- things like Roland cube amps and tacky bass gear- I dig just how much he doesn’t give a fuck.
26th June – Glastonbury, United Kingdom
It’s the day before I turn 25 and I’m not sure if I’ve died on the plane coming over to the UK but shit is about to get very real for everyone. Glastonbury festival – Today is the day. I think we are still all struggling to come to terms with playing such a prestigious festival and trying to believe it. We woke up earlier than usual buzzing with expectations. I’d start to think too much, my mind running over time about how many people would be in the same place at the same time, and then I’d think ahhhh ‘Not a good day to start psyching yourself out Sophie’. We headed off on a winding road towards the festival grounds, making sure we stopped off at a servo, acquiring some cokes and paper cups for our makeshift bar we had prepared in the back of the van. Nick signalled the alarm tone and yelled – The bar is open – very formally. It was time to drink ourselves into a comfortable place before we arrived.
Load in was easier than I had imagined, totally organised and made us feel right at home. The backstage area was a complete Zen zone, and at one point in time here was a mother and child simultaneously playing vibraphone together. We headed to our backstage area and bumped into a few familiar aussie faces, the legends in Matt Corby. After hearing they had been on the road for 7 months, I toughened up and began to enjoy the nerves and adrenaline.
We hit the stage- it was huge, the crowd was responsive and the overload of cameras projecting our faces onto the side panels was semi distracting. We were so excited to play a show after the last 2 had fallen through and this was one we’d never forget.
Stumbling down the narrow metal path with my pedal board nano & 14 kg carry-on luggage – trying not to raise a sweat so the flight attendants wouldn’t notice I’ve exceeded the carry on limit…I patiently made it to the stairs to board the flight to Copenhagen. The Swedish rain began to slip down my face acting as some sort of fresh start. I immediately felt healed. I looked up to the white, greyish sky and believed that there was something good out there and that one day I’ll be able to do this touring without so much self doubt.
Today! I’m alright, I managed to eat something this morning which is a good start. After seeing stars whilst sitting on the toilet, my body kicked in survival mode. It’s strange you know, how everybody is so different. My mind seems like it goes from bursts of being stable and knowing who I am and what I want, and then the next minute I’m so weak and have no self recognition. So far we have played 3 shows. It’s been exhilarating, I’ve bargained with myself more than I feel comfortable admitting and now I’m sitting on a flight desperately seeking the stability of our shitty tour van.
Tired Lion’s new EP ‘Figurine’ is now available in the UK. Get your copy from iTunes here.