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#TravelingBandJournal: 2010 UK Tour Diary - Weathering the Storm

Gloomy weather and tense soundcheck at our show in Central London - but we played our hearts out! And the lowdown of our morning breakfast ritual.

Part 3 of a series of Tour Diaries of a Bass Player with a Folk rock band. Not likely to be a major motion picture anytime soon.

The people of London regarded us with a jaundiced eye the first couple of days. We were harshly accused of bringing Bangalore weather with us. Indeed, until hours before the fateful plane carrying the Ghodi and her boys landed, London was sunny, happy and vibrant. But the second we landed, an inexplicable change in weather pattern caused the Meteorological department to flip through textbooks and browse Wikipedia in search of an explanation. It turned cloudy, gloomy and rained off and on. They finally pinned it on us, and we ran like fugitives from nook to corner until the weekend arrived and proved everyone wrong.

[Photo] We were accused of bringing this weather with us, wrongly of course.

It is not easy to keep your spirits up under the circs, especially if you’re playing the most important show of the tour and the sound engineer considers you the canine turd that stuck to his shoes that morning. For reasons unknown to us, he had his head so far up his ass that he was staring at us from behind his tonsils (I borrow the expression from TAAQ, apologies). To use lingo that techies like Sanjeev will follow, God had filled his head with thousands of lines of code, and then commented it out. It took ages to soundcheck, nerves were taut and tempers nearly flew but we got some semblance of order by the time we stepped off. We really missed Pete and Mark, our Tour crew from last year who took our mind off the hassle. Alas, budget constraints meant that we had to go with the flow this time around.

Things were tense in the green-room behind the venue in Central London where we were hosting the showcase for industry professionals in London, a list of really cool people put together by Sanj and Ash, good friends from London and of course our own Nair-saab. But then, quite like magic, mood lifted like a happy hot air balloon in flight when we heard Susheela Raman herself was going to be at the show. We were truly elated, to have one of your heroes in the crowd gave us that much needed fillip to forget our troubles and do our thing on stage. There were a few hiccups but I’m glad to say we really got it going in the end. Miraculously the sound guy got everything going and had decent sound in the end. Talvin Singh made it to the show too, which was another bonus, he really liked it too, we were told. But the proverbial icing on the cake was high praise coming from Susheela, and the epic picture we took of Susheelathma.

Thank you so much for coming Susheela, we sang and played our hearts out for you!

Allow me to paint a picture of a typical Swarathma morning in London. Breakfast was the only elaborate meal we had every day. We would have it in waves. A round of chai, followed by cereal for the early risers. Then when the first lot are doing the dishes the second wave of band walleh come tottering in, rubbing sleepy eyes and bumping into the frig in their quest for a sandwich crafted out of cold cuts. An adventurous chap attempts frying eggs while the late riser makes an appearance getting in everyone’s way with step 1 when the rest are in step 4… matters are made no simpler by the fact that there is ONE loo for the six of us. Needless to say the last guy in got the raw deal.

But there is something really really awesome about lounging around nursing an after breakfast cup of tea with a gig at a festival in the offing. Nothing can take away from that.

Text: Jishnu Dasgupta

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