Archive for April, 2011

Beijing, Subway Mayhem, Dalian Show Tonight.

We had a great night with John from Aloft hotels on Wed. He took us out to a lavish buffet dinner at 4 Points Hotel next door to our hotel (Aloft). We’ve been staying in a very nice part of Beijing, in a hotel precinct with manicured gardens & great restaurants.

Thoughts started racing during the night, so I didn’t sleep so well. Got up at 4am & started working with Max on the final plans for this year’s European tour in August. By 11am we were mentally spent & checked out of the hotel. Kent was doing well – still working through yesterday’s jet-lag (he flew in a couple of days later than we did).

We all caught a cab to Tom’s place (the China tour manager). Lugged all our gear up 12 flights of stairs (6 floors) & left it there to go sight-seeing for the afternoon.


Above and below: Somewhere in old part of Beijing.

Got back to the hotel, lugged the gear down the stairs, met Steven and Jane at the nearest subway & caught a series of trains with all our gear to Beijing Station. It was a harrowing experience, to say the least – trying not to injure ourselves or someone else, with thousands of people packed in all around rushing to get home.

At Beijing station we caught on overnight train, like a moving scout camp completed with rows and rows of triple bunks and hundreds of people, to Dalian for tonight’s show.

Right now we’re in a hotel waiting for sound-check in about an hour’s time at Hertz Bar.

Checkya later,
Fires out.


Aloft Beijing – Kent Lands

Caught a cab to Beijing Capitol Airport this afternoon & met a weary looking Kent Aberle (he’d flown in from Atlanta, via Toronto – some 18 hours in the air). So now, the whole band is here & ready to roll. The tour starts Friday night in Dalian at Hertz Bar – we’ll be leaving this great hotel tomorrow.

We’ve had a great time staying at Aloft. Yesterday, we met the General Manager & PR staff, including Zhang (John) Newson who’s taking us to dinner tonight.


The Aloft General Management and PR Staff, Beijing.

That’s John in the pic below comparing American Spirit tobacco…

Hi Mum – American Spirit is additive-free tobacco (almost the same as not smoking?).

Right now, Kent’s probably asleep in his room, upstairs. Better give him a bell shortly & wake the man for dinner.

Checkya tomorrow.
Fires out.


Fires In Beijing

We flew in last night. Tom, our tour manager, picked us up at Beijing airport & took us, by cab, to the hotel. We’d been up for 2 days, sleep on the flight not happening (even though it was pretty smooth). We crashed pretty hard last night which was great. Woke early this morning & it feels like the jet-lag has gone. The hotel is awesome – Aloft in Beijing.


Pouting in the lobby at Aloft, Beijing.

Last night we went out to eat something before going to bed. It wasn’t easy, had to ply myself out of the room, eye’s half shut – and walk down the street 10 minutes to a huge monolythical shopping mall (apparently the biggest in Asia). We found a place that looked OK to eat at – but we’d forgotten the phrase-book. So ordering food was an episode of pointing at pictures, nodding or shaking our heads. We ended up with a great wok full of stir fry, loaded with a mass of hot chilies. Perhaps shaking one’s head & pointing at pictures of hot peppers is another way of saying “hell yeah – give me 400 of those red looking hot things…”. That said, heat aside, it was great food.

Right now, it’s morning in China & we’re sitting in the lobby, lap-tops out etc. The air here is hazy. Really hazy. When you’re flying into Beijing, you can barely see the city for the thick pollution fog that blankets the city & surrounding area. The city air smells a bit like riding Puffing Billy (famous old Melbourne steam-train), with a few more chemicals thrown in. While it’s not oppressive or majorly unpleasant, it’s definitely something you first notice when you arrive here.

Kent arrives tomorrow morning – he’ll be in the air as I write, en-route from Atlanta. The tour starts Friday.

Checkya tomorrow,
Fires out.


Pledge Live USA Tour EP Released

Our wonderful Pledgers (to this US Tour) can now download the Live Tour EP – you’ll have an email waiting for you with the link. We were up late last night, putting the final touches on the 10 track ‘EP’, recorded throughout the tour – featuring recordings from Connecticut, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey & Georgia.

Today is our last day in Altanta & the US. We fly out to China tomorrow morning. Going out tonight to see Kent play with one of his local bands. When the show’s done, we’re headed to the airport, where we’ll try & get some sleep before the 7am check-in.

Checkya in transit (or on the other side).
Fires out.


Zebra & Midi Festivals In China Next Week

Count-down to China: 3 days. Max bought a new back-pack today – one loose end tied before we leave.

We’re told our transport around China will be a mix of plane, train & boat – routing all over the country, including big cities & ‘smaller’ regional centres. The third show on Sunday 1st May will be in Beijing at Midi Festival, the day after in Chengdu at Zebra Festival.


Zebra Festival 2010, Chengdu, China.

The tour kicks off in Dalian, next Friday (29th April) at Hertz Bar. We’re getting excited here at our Atlanta HQ – ready to roll.

Checkya tomorrow.
Fires out.


Pledge EP Mixing

Mixing the live tour EP for our wonderful Pledge folks. The aim – to be ready by Friday.

Ran some errands today and got into some more prep-work for China. Just a couple of days & we’re touring there.

Checkya tomorrow.
Fires out.


US Tour Done At The Get Down, China Next Week

The final show of the tour went off with a bang at The Get Down in Asheville, North Carolina. The venue was fantastic, the staff & bar staff were friendly, laid back folk, & the crowd was great. After we played, a fantastic ska punk band from Richmond Virginia, Murphy’s Kids, cranked out an awesome set – they were so much fun & had the whole place singing and dancing along. A great way to round out a US tour.

We stayed back at the Down Town Inn – one of our favourite places on the tour (as opposed to Knights Inn in Fayetteville the night before – horrific).

On a high, we drove back to Atlanta, arriving here last night. Unpacked the trailer, returned the trailer, and went out to dinner with friends Brooke and Mick (great people). Too many Margaritas later & we were back at the ranch, Kent & Steph’s place, and collapsed into bed.


Kent & Steph’s back porch 10 minutes ago.

Today, we’re recording backing vocals in Atlanta on James Hall’s new album & running around doing a bunch of other stuff. China looms large – we leave on the weekend to begin a 5 week tour there. It’s our first time in China, so nobody knows what to expect – but to be blown away by it.

Checkya tomorrow.
Fires out.
PS: Mum, Dad – I’ll call you guys over the next couple of days.


Safe & Sound After North Carolina Tornado

Last night, after several hours in late-night-grid-locked traffic, we finally made it out of Fayetteville – and all the way to Asheville for tonight’s show. As posted yesterday, a tornado hit Fayetteville, devastating large sections of the town. The show was cancelled, the town was without power & people were out in force, wondering the streets. We left town in a massive traffic jam, evacuating like thousands of others.

Eventually we hit the open road, making it to Asheville at about 3am. It’s now mid afternoon & we’re sitting in a hotel room at the Down Town Inn. Sound-check is at 6pm for tonight’s show at The Get Down.

We dropped into the venue just before closing, on our way through last night. It’s a fantastic little club. Looking forward to the show tonight – the final show of this US tour (which feels like it’s come and gone in the blink of an eye). We’ll be back touring the US again in the Fall.


Marty on the roof-top at the Down Town Inn, Asheville, North Carolina.

The China tour begins in just over a week from now.

Checkya tomorrow.
Fires out.


TONIGHT’S SHOW CANCELLED AT BLACK CAT LOUNGE, FAYETTEVILLE NC.

A tornado just hit the Fayetteville area causing wide-spread damage. Tonight’s show has been cancelled. Our thoughts go out to the people of Fayetteville & surrounding areas – there will no doubt be a huge clean-up & repair bill.

Right now, we’re sitting in a long line of grid-locked traffic on our way out of town (with a few thousand other people).

When we get out of this traffic we’ll be heading for Asheville, North Carolina, for tomorrow night’s show at The Get Down club.

Checkya tomorrow.
Fires out.


D’Addario Rocks The On Fires

A huge thanks to D’Addario for supplying our guitar strings, leads and tuning pedals for this tour. I’ve been using their strings for as long as I can remember – so it’s fantastic to have their support. It’s a great feeling when you open a box that’s been shipped to you on tour, to find a bunch of things in there that you need right away – or that you’re about to run out of. It’s also heart-warming to be supported by a company who’s equipment you’ve been using all your life, all over the world.

Cheers and many thanks to Josh at the mighty D’Addario!

We’re on stage tonight at Black Cat Lounge – 2918 Fort Bragg Rd, Fayetteville, North Carolina. Come down for a wild show & say hello.

Checkya tomorrow with pics & show news from tonight.
Fires out.


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