Europe Invasion 2011 – Day 25 London, UK – Half Moon

I’m in London. The tour is over. I don’t think that this has actually sunk in yet. In a way it’s a bit sad, but after a day like yesterday, maybe it’s a good thing. So far the tour had been going pretty well. I mean there were definitely one or two hiccups along the way. Our van packed out in Belgium, we lost a bit of money in Dessau and pretty much lost our minds in Amsterdam, but it was all relatively smooth sailing until yesterday. We woke up after hardly any sleep and far too many tequilas on the hard floor of the club in Ulm (for some reason there was a miscommunication about the accommodation and by the time we found this out we were all too drunk to be able to do anything about it). The nice people from the club had very kindly given us an address to the shower facilities, but unfortunately we didn’t have time to make use of them because we had to catch the plane to London. So off to the airport we went, feeling like death and probably smelling a whole lot worse. We made it on time thanks to our driver Freddy. We unfortunately had to say goodbye to him at the airport which was kinda sad – Freddy you’re a legend! When trying to check our luggage in, things got a tad stressful; in fact, we very nearly all missed the flight and in the end our road manager, Ian had to stay behind and bring some of the equipment on the next flight. Ok, the whole thing cost us an extra R1K but at least the entire band was en route to England. Once we arrived we were feeling quite proud of ourselves that we had miraculously all managed to make it onto the flight by a ball hair. We went through customs and it was only when we met up with the shuttle driver who was to take us to the venue that we noticed that Matt Willis wasn’t with us. After waiting around for him for about 2 hours (The shuttle driver was highly unimpressed) we finally found out from immigration that Matt Willis was being held for interrogation. At first we thought he was just getting a cavity search or something cool, but we had no way of getting hold of him so Lee stayed at the airport to wait for him and Ian who was still coming on the later flight and the rest of us went on to the venue so long. On the drive, we got a call from our booking agency who had apparently spoken to immigration and they told us that Matt Willis had been deported, not only that, but they felt it was probably a good idea if we canceled the show altogether because it was likely that the immigration department would raid the London show and deport the lot of us. Luckily our absolutely legendary buddies from Spindle Sect had our backs and not only did they supply us with all the equipment, backline and sound, they also offered to help us out with all the legal grey areas that we might have been involved in with customs. I’m not 100% sure why Matt was deported, in fact as far as I know, no one has actually spoken with him yet. We don’t know if he has been sent back to SA or if he was sent to Germany – which would entail him sitting at the airport without any money or means of communication until Friday. I imagine he could have always busked on the side of the road for food, but unfortunately his trombone is with us in London. Anyway so we decided to go ahead with the show without him. We got to the venue and discovered the first bit of good news for the day – The backstage had a shower! I can’t tell you how happy that made us, especially Sean Snout who could finally wash his hair, in fact for a moment the whole losing a band member debacle didn’t seem that bad. Lee and Ian rocked up just before our set. We were still without a trombone player, but we had a full house at the Halfmoon in Putney and a lot of people had come a long way to see us, so we just had to go on with a member short. Of course it didn’t sound as cool as it could have, but luckily the majority of the audience were all South Africans and knew all the songs so there was still an awesome vibe at the show. It was really great to see all of our old friends again and it really was a perfect show to end off the tour with. It would have been a lot cooler if Matt Willis was with us, but after everything that happened, it was nothing short of a miracle that the show actually went on at all. In the end it was a great tour. It was only 25 days, but it feels like a lifetime’s worth of experiences. We met a lot of really cool people, made lots of great new friends and probably drank enough European beer to get the whole of Cape Town drunk. We want to give a big shout out to Matt Willis and Devon Martindale for helping us out on this tour – it was a pleasure having you guys along. Another big thank you to Timmy and Ian. Without you guys watching out for us… I hate to even think of what would have happened. Thanks to our driver Freddy, Andrej and all our buddies in Slovenia, Leon and the Southern Pulse crew, Ifor and the villa massive in Holland, Amy, Fabio and the E-town crew, Spindle Sect and co – you guys are life savers! Lastly but most importantly a big thanks to YOU guys for coming to the shows, rocking out and making our 2011 European tour such a great party! I’m off to go do some sight-seeing in London now. Hopefully see you all again soon! Matt Willis, I hope you’re alright buddy, drop us a mail and let us know what’s up.