AXXON tour blog, part 3

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The third and final part of Tom Hall from AXXON’s tour blog from a very hot Perth.

24 February: Manhattan’s Bar, Perth

I get up early and pack my gear. Touring solidly now throughout the world for more than three years I can pack my suitcase and grab the gear I need to play live in less than half. It’s reassuring that you have it down to precision amounts of underwear, metals shirts, hoodie and jeans, you know you won’t run out and you know how long you have before having to spend a moment in the coin laundry. It’s a weird feeling, I’m in the countryside of the east coast playing with my dogs at lunchtime and that night I’m going to play to a room full of people on the other side of the country; I still marvel at time difference and plane travel.

I head to the airport and catch my ride to Perth, a nice little kanga jet to Melbourne and then a connecting onto Perth. I have some dude who’s jumped into the seat before me and laid claim to half of my seat; he doesn’t seem too happy that I’m going to jump in there with him, he’s covered in tattoos and a bit overweight. He makes a comment at me trying to get my (heavily overweight) carry-on bag into the very small compartment: “That’s why I travel with NO hand luggage” he says, smiling at me. I think to myself “Fuck off” but then smile and say “I don’t have an option!” It’s true, I travel with exactly 23.5kg of luggage, it’s a fine art and allows enough clothes, synth, merch and pedals. I then need to carry the rest in my backpack which is always at least 10kg plus.

So I finally get to Melbourne off this small-ass plane and onto a nice big 737 to Perth; I have exit row and a nice TV screen with a surprising amount of recent films, a nice treat. Usually I sit and fiddle and work up new AXXONN tracks. It’s true, half of Let’s Get It Straight was written on a plane flight to Japan.

I arrive in Perth and meet up with Stuart Buchanan, director of NEW WEIRD AUSTRALIA, the guy that’s making this whole AXXONN roadshow possible. It’s actually really nice to have him around ‘cause touring on your own can be a pretty lonesome affair, not quite to the stage where you’re paying for $2 peep shows for company, but close. I have an interview on local radio almost immediately upon arriving, so Stu and I grab a taxi and get headed towards our hotel. I take the interview over the phone, it’s pretty funny and the usual chit-chat; they spin a bunch of AXXONN and I get off the phone. OK, it’s important to mention that it’s VERY VERY HOT but I still haven’t quite realised how hot. We arrive at our hotel, the Royal Hotel ‘quality budget’, it says on the side. We have a room right at the top, we open the door and it’s hotter than a sauna with one very small window-based air conditioner. With little regard to carbon emissions I set the thing on 16C; it tells me the room is 32C and I would say that’s about right. Stu and I head out for an hour or so and come back to hear the AC working overtime, it’s flickering somewhere between 29 and 30.

We head off to the first of two gigs in Perth, this one at Manhattan’s Bar, just out of the city, a place I’d played at before and a place I’m unlikely ever to play again for the reasons to follow. We became aware very last minute of a 10am curfew, ridiculously early for a Thursday but also OK for me ‘cause it kinda felt more like 1am anyway as my body was still on EST. We arrive at the venue and despite Stu sending through a bunch of posters there’s none on display, kinda weird. I do notice though that there are posters as old as two weeks still around, I mention this to Stu later and he mentions that the only poster he sees is in the bin in the toilet, super weird. The other supports arrive on time.

Gilbert Fawn is brilliant, Craig McElhinney‘s ambience is epic but he loses me with time and Erasers are short and sweet. Somewhere we get side-tracked by the time and I’m left with a little more than 20 minutes to do a half-hour set. Shit! The sound guy then informs me he can’t turn me too loud because the venue manager is there and that he might need to cut me at 10. I’m kinda delirious and just nod, pretty sure normally I wouldn’t have accepted it so easily. I start off and the sound isn’t too bad but soon enough I see the manager walking across the room and my volume dissipates. When you’re one man and making the kind thick nutritious sonic slabs that AXXONN makes, it’s like having your throat cut, there’s nothing you can do but hold your throat to coax every last second out of life. I always have a bit up my sleeve and usually save that for the end so consequently the mid-section of the set sucks balls, volume-wise. I finish it off and start packing up. The venue manager brings the sound guys his cash and me a point of Bulmers, a very very small consolation. We pack up and get out of there, a grand total of nine payers and $30 once we pay the door girl, a real solid kick in the ass.

We head back to the Quality Budget hotel where our AC has successfully got the room down to 26C (in the next 12 hours it doesn’t go down anymore). It’s 1am and 31C outside; brutal.

Manhattan’s Bar 4/10

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