Tour Stories: Such Gold World Tour

To kick of the blog I figured I would post an excerpt from the Such Gold road blog I wrote for PropertyOfZack.com. The entry highlights our last day in the US before embarking on our world tour, the flight to Australia, the first few days of our Australian tour with No Trigger, and features pictures I took throughout the trip, never before published alongside the story. This excerpt is re-published with permission from PropertyOfZack.com; the full road blog can be read here: http://propertyofzack.com/tagged/SGRoadBlog.

Devon driving Such Bus

Sunday, January 23rd – our final day in the United States until mid-March. Devan [Such Gold drums] and I headed to a local laundry spot with Felicia [Epitaph Records] to get a few things washed before we head overseas; while the washers were spinning we walked across the street, where I got my first California burrito. Carne asada, french fries, sour cream and nacho cheese wrapped in a homemade flour tortilla. Mexican perfection. The rest of the group spent portion of the day relaxing at Jeremy’s [Ben's cousin], getting our bags together, formulating a plan, and counting down the hours until it was finally time to head to the airport. At Jeremy’s we printed out itineraries, and discovered that we were flying Air Pacific to connect with a flight in Nadi, Fiji, and then finally on to Sydney.

Naturally as soon as we got to LAX it became a cluster fuck. We quickly parked and unloaded everything we needed for the trip; pedals and cables were crammed into what crevices we had left in our already bloated suitcases. Thankfully we showed up to LAX early enough – the place was completely packed. We waited in line for baggage check for at least an hour; when we finally got up to the desk we ended up having to pay $200+ in excess baggage weight charges, and Ben was having visa issues due to two numbers on his passport being switched. We made it through okay after discovering the problem. Security check ended up taking at least another hour, and it was somewhat of a close call as the plane was beginning to board right as we dragged our sorry selves to the gate. Things got a little stressful at the gate – we were able to check two guitars at the baggage check, but the other two had to come with us and were checked at the gate, and were provided with an unclear answer as to where we would be picking up our guitars, in Fiji or our final destination in Sydney.

Air Pacific hangar and mountains at Nadi Airport, Fiji.

The plane itself was of a good size – a double-decker Boeing 747, with decent accommodations for coach…with the exception of the seats we were given. Our row was 15 – right in the front of the second floor, providing us zero leg room as we were facing the wall, and in the direct path of bathroom traffic. The only advantage was being first for meal and drink services throughout the flight. After a brutal 9 hour flight from LAX to Fiji, we exited the plane to find ourselves in another cluster fuck. We waited in two more huge lines for around 1.5 hours for a second security screening. I lost a pocket knife at the second security check – not sure how I made it through the first one at LAX with it, but that should tell you something about the true nature of security at our airports.

While walking to our gate O-Rock [Such Gold merch] spotted some giant bottles of duty-free liquor and absolutely had to have one. He got the biggest bottle of Johnny Walker that is legally allowed to be sold. Since we got to our gate around 6:30AM we were given the luxury of watching the sun rise on a mountain range facing the gate, something which I don’t think any of us expected to see. For our flight to Sydney we had business class seats, allowing us to bypass the huge boarding line, getting us settled in before most of the passengers had boarded. The Australian businessmen were definitely confused by the presence of haggard punk kids invading their seating area. We were each given full first-class treatment - mimosas, hot towels, reclining seats, and 5-course meal. Pretty unreal.

After a 4-5 hour flight we finally arrived in Sydney around 11:30AM, on Tuesday, January 25th. By heading West across the Pacific we managed to lose an entire day. We exited the plane, regrouped and then found ourselves waiting in 3 more huge lines…immigration, baggage claim, and finally another line just to get out of the building. We picked up the guitars from the “fragile” baggage claim area…only to find the headstock-neck joint on my prized 1970 Gibson SG Standard completely busted. I was in total shock and devastation. I eventually learned it was due to the joint already being broken and then repaired. Looks like I won’t be bringing that guitar on any more world tours, and I’m sure to incur a fat bill for the repair once we get back home.

Once we got through the final gauntlet we saw a man holding our tour poster; we knew it had to be Brock, who did much of the organization of this whole tour. Outside the airport we met Tully, who unbeknownst to us also had a large part in putting the tour together. We crammed our gear, baggage and bodies in to their tiny Toyota’s and took a short jaunt to Tully’s. After unloading and settling in we walked over to a local shopping center for some supplies for the next few days, which naturally included a couple of large cases of the some local brew: VB, essentially a cheaper Australian Red Stripe, and Coopers Pale Ale, which would soon become the tour’s drink of choice. When we got back to Tully’s we saw a group of raucous guys running down the sidewalk with a shopping cart; we knew instantly that it was No Trigger. We made our introductions and I managed to flub my own introduction to Jon [Strader], somehow pronouncing my name as “Knight” spoken in an Australian accent…so it came out something like “Noight”, which instantly stuck as my nickname for this tour.

Tully enthusiastically buying a case of VB

The party got started as soon as introductions were over – we put the VB and Coopers on ice and cracked open the Johnny Walker for some shots. The drinkers in the group – all but 3 of us – were properly sloshed within a couple of hours, especially No Trigger, who had already hit the bars while waiting for us to arrive. It took only a few drinks, good vibes and perfect weather for us to bond with our tour-mates – I think both groups can agree it already felt like we had known each other forever.

Partying with No Trigger

O-rock's giant bottle of Johnny Walker Scotch

The next morning hit us like a brick wall. We had to be up at the crack of dawn to meet up with our driver, Wayne. He arrived in a beat-up Nissan Civilian, a 21-passenger shuttle bus with seating for 14…which happened to be the exact number of people in our group. We took one look inside and questioned how the hell we were going to fit all of the gear, our luggage, and ourselves into this confined space. Since we had no choice, we made it work. Once everyone and everything was settled in we headed off to our first show in Byron Bay, a mere 10 hours from Sydney. We quickly learned how uncomfortable we were going to be traveling from show to show – minimal leg room, seats pre-squashed by countless asses, and zero air-conditioning.

Both band's gear and luggage packed into Wayne's bus.

Halfway through our trek we helped celebrate Australia Day properly with some cricket players, one of whom helped O-Rock drink some Johnny Walker in celebration. We arrived in Byron Bay around 6PM and found ourselves at the YAC – the Byron Bay Youth Activities Center – the site of countless past Byron Bay shows. We were greeted by a free traditional Australian BBQ of sausages and grilled onions. We loaded in, killed time and watched the locals tear it up. Eventually we dragged our exhausted selves onto the stage and fumbled with the backlined gear we had never had to use:  a Marshall JCM 2000 head, an Orange head and cabinet, and a rack-mounted Ampeg SVT with a Sansamp Preamp. We found some decent tones and carried on with our first show in Australia. After a decent, acceptable set we watched No Trigger show us how punk is really played. After so many years it was great to finally see No Trigger take the stage again. The temperature in the YAC was unreal – all of us walked off stage dripping wet and worn down.

Byron Bay Beach at Sunset

Once the show was over and the bus packed up it was time to start another drive – this time to Brisbane, in anticipation of the show the next day at the Step Inn. We got into Brisbane around 2AM, just in time to register at a local hostel. Even after an excruciatingly long day, most of our crew was still ready to party. Those of us not in the mood crashed at the hotel while the rest continued on into the night. Apparently the partiers met a man named Nick in the streets, who proceeded to buy pitcher after pitcher for the group, making for a very interesting night.

Most of the next day was spent seeing the sights around Brisbane and enjoying the perfect weather. After a meal at a food court down the street from our hostel we took a walk across the Story Bridge, which crosses over the muddy and swollen Brisbane river, and provides an excellent view of the Brisbane skyline. We trekked across the huge bridge and found ourselves overheated and parched by the time we reached the other side. We stopped into a local pub, Derry’s, for a few pitchers of water and some billiards. The rest of the day was spent exploring the city, including the riverfront, the financial district, and a large outdoor shopping center. As the sun began to set we arrived at the Step Inn, but had to wait a good 30 minutes before someone inside could let us in. After loading gear and merch in we enjoyed some beer and Red Bull that the venue provided for us in the upstairs lounge.

The Brisbane skyline and swollen river as seen from the Story Bridge

SG and No Trigger hanging on the Story Bridge in Brisbane.

The show became packed pretty quickly, with over 100 paying attendees coming through the door. We had the privilege of playing with Skyway, a local pop-punk band, and The Quickening, who sounded like a solid mix of equal parts Coheed and Cambria, Iron Maiden, At The Drive-In and A Wilhelm Scream. We played a much better set than in Byron Bay, even after an entire day of traversing downtown Brisbane. Ben encouraged some stage dives, but unfortunately the only kid who took the challenge was drunk out of his mind, and had to be forced off after a solid minute of fucking around on stage. No Trigger once again showed us up, to our delight.

Waiting for doors to open at the Step Inn

A post-show after-party at a local bar was promised to us, but when we arrived it turned out that the party had already ended. We regrouped and decided it would be better to have a couple drinks at the nearest club, Xcalibur or something-or-other. The highlight of the night was making obscene puking noises at a kid that stumbled out of the club – O-Rock took it upon himself to dry heave right in the kid’s face. The kid nearly lost it, but managed to hold his stomach contents down. Once we were partied out we loaded into a few cabs and headed to the house we were staying at for the night. We had two hours to sleep – we had to be back in the bus and heading back down south by 6AM. Brisbane concludes our second week of touring. Next stop – Newcastle, New South Wales.

Thanks to Brock, Tully, Wayne, Brendan, No Trigger, Such Gold and RJ for making this tour a reality. It may have been real, but it all seemed pretty surreal to me. What a trip.

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