LONDON TOUR DIARY 4/5/2017
It was clear before we had even left the rehearsal room that this would be an eventful trip. Andrew had already picked up a bottle of Port and was half way through before we'd even finished running the set for one last time.
We jumped on the train to Edinburgh and lugged our guitars and pedalboards up to St Andrews Sqaure where our Megabus Chariot awaited us. True to form , Andrew was a source of entertainment. As a self described ' existential Nihilist ' every time he tried to engage in a conversation with a fellow traveller, he was sent away within 5 minutes, fear and terror left on the passengers face. Good luck sleeping tonight .
Thankfully this only lasted for about an hour before he settled down for the night in the centre of the aisle , on the floor. The rest of us prepared ourselves for the 10 hour journey ahead of us . Colin and Allan slept rather uncomfortably, catching fly's. And I emerged myself into Supersonic, I'd been waiting on the right time to watch this, and our first gig in London seemed to be it.
We arrived at 7am. Tired and hungover, we headed straight for Kings Cross Station and the famous Water Rats venue. Thankfully it opened at 8, and the kind woman working inside agreed to let us leave our equipment in the storage room. After a cooncil shower in the bathrooms and a full fry up at the bar we met up with Mikey ( keyboardist ) and adventured into the city.
First stop, Denmark Street aka Tin Pin alley. We stopped off here so Andrew could get a new guitar bag and bumped into a familiar face from the west Lothian scene working behind the desk at Hank's. Cheers for showing us around and letting us play with all the vintage guitars Adam !
Off again and we mistakenly took the stairs up from Covent Gardens Tube Station, exhausted, we made our way along to Soho. Whilst exploring we came across Soho Radio . A station we'd listened to before and see on our Instagram daily. We decided to check it out and once in I chanced my luck and asked if they'd spin one of our tunes. The receptionist wasn't much help, but a voice from the back asked the name of the band , and said if he liked what he heard he'd play us. It wasn't until we walked back out to the street I realised it was the radio1 legend and Bestival organiser Rob da Bank ! Of course we tweeted him a link to LOST, and he gave us a spin, as well as a plug to the gig we were playing. We swaggered off towards trafalgar Square, Soho Radio playing on our phone . A brief pint in a speakeasy that Michael insisted we get a drink ( totally worth the tenner ) and we began the walk, down to Westminster , past Big Ben and down Southbank in the shadows of the London eye . A quick scran and watch of the skateboarders and we were back off to get ready for the gig .
Colin and I had decided to book ourselves into a hostel. Andrew and Allan where getting the night bus home straight from the gig so we took all the boys back to the room so they could get changed and have a shower for the first time in more than 24 hours. Last time I played London I was seriously nervous and forgot the bass riff to Revolution , nerves where still here but mixed with excitement . Paves had pulled it out the bag and delivered a sell out show so we knew we'd have a big crowd to try and win over.
At the venue , all the bands had arrived. Soundcheck came, nobody was buzzing about the sound but we had to make do. Nerves really kicking in now.
Arcades were first up, pure energy. The frontman had the moves of Bobby Gillespie and a voice that reminded me of placebo. Mega nice guys too.
The Surrenders next , pure unadulterated psychedelic funky rock n roll. They had the whole crowd grooving their whole set. They are a hard act to follow but at least they had helped me chill out a bit, loosen up and get the right frame of mind to put on a show.
Then it was our time. Id like to say we swaggered on stage , JD in hand and not a trouble in the world . But truth be told I was terrified . The level of acts that had already played, the massive crowd in front of us, none of them a clue who we are. Really puts the fear in you. Normally I'd have a few drinks for some Dutch courage but I'd made a point of staying sober for this.
Michael started the intro , throbbing bass with the Pulp Fiction speech spliced in. The crowd had gathered , still unsure what to make of our sound . We launched into our new track ' SHADOWS ' , a wall of noise laying Into the onlookers and we seen the heads start to bob and feet start to move. With that injection of confidence the whole band came into their own. We blasted through our set, energised and frantic , determined to win over the Londoners . With the last song Chorus of revolution, we had the whole crowd singing along and we knew the job was done . After the show we were approached by loads of people we had only ever talked to online, lots of supporters and bloggers. It was nice to finally put a face to the names. A few celebratory shots and we settled in to watch Paves cause absolute mayhem to a hometown show, those guys are born rock stars. Afterwards Tikz ( paves guitarist ) took us to Joe's bar in Camden to drink the night away, and meet all of Londons eccentric characters . Allan and Andrew were probably a few hours into their bus journey back home while Colin and I were sinking pints and reflecting on the day's goings on. It was our first show away from Scotland with this new line up, we toasted to many more and headed to bed.
Check out our video for 'Shadows'!
About this time last year we had finished writing 'LOST'. Remember doing the demo a week before we went and recorded the final take. If you ever are lucky enough to hear that demo you'll agree it wasn't the song we recorded. It was the first time we had recorded a demo but it changed my perspective of production.
Working with Nathan Campbell on that demo helped him but also help me. So I owe him for that. When you write songs its always a nervous time for me because its an anxious wait to hear the final product. LOST i couldn't be more happy with. The song ticks all the boxes for me and i think thats because i put so much into that song. I remember re-writing all the lyrics again and again at 2am before we went into the studio with Mark. Only one or two people have I ever told what the lyrics are about and i bet they are totally different to what everyone thinks there about.
Either way i love how the song means something different to everyone and they have there own perspective of it. For me that is what song writing is about.
Anyway its getting near that time of recording again. Its an exciting but nervous period while being in a band.
Love this photo and i will never it let it go. Truly did capture a moment in the phantoms and something that made me realise what all the hard works about.
Sometimes its good to sit back and reflect. Most recently I've had time to do this. Looking back at all the memories and what we have achieved as a band is incredible. Sometimes in the moment you don't realize how special moments can become. Some of these memories have come to live with me forever.
Take for example the video for wasting time. Everything changed in the band after that. It was a massive song but we probably didn't enjoy the hype and everything that went for us.
I guess it was a pressured time for the band as Zach came in for a show at King Tuts. We had to get the set tight on a time scale. Nobody in the band knew what the future would hold. Now looking back its what made the phantoms what they are today. We played some crazy gigs in a short period. I think at that point we realized we could attract people to our gigs.
It was a game changer.
I love the phantoms and the way gigs, festivals and the music is exploding. It means the world to me.
I want to welcome you all to The Phantoms first official website. Sign up on the mailing list to keep up to date with gigs, new music and the blogs.
Special mention to Euan Livingstone for the website.