Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band news

TOUR DIARY: CRACKED, GUNNED, AND TAILED: MYSTIC VALLEY BAND STORM THROUGH EUROPE

Photos & text by NIK FREITAS

After crossing the U.S. for a few weeks it was time to skip across the Atlantic to the U.K. and Ireland for 5 club dates and 4 outdoor Festivals……

EURO-BUS:

Sweet.  Covered in Red-ish-orange paint and boldly titled,”Jumbo Cruiser”, we loaded the double decker bus in London and set off to bring the sounds of an American band to the people with British accents.

LEEDS FESTIVAL:

First on the bill was the Leeds Festival.  This is my first time across the Atlantic and being from California i was struck by one looming thing right from the start — Lack of sunlight,  And lack of sunlight of coarse can only be caused by one thing, clouds, which of coarse bring rain.  I took one step off the bus and found myself standing in some serious mud.  I soon found out this is common? i was introduced to a new word – “Wellies” – these are basically boots made for walking in the mud and sold at all U.K. music festivals.

We were playing at the festival the day Metallica was playing…..no comment.  We were also playing after some gnarly Dance type bands and we began to worry if the crowd was going to be into our gig after jumping up and down for the previous four hours.  We stomped our way onto the wooden stage and played to a bunch of people under a huge tent.  I think it went over pretty good.

BIRMINGHAM:

There are two in our crew who are from Alabama, Macey Taylor and Taylor Hollingsworth. They are from Birmingham, Alabama.  The Birmingham we rolled into in England was obviously not the same Birmingham, but this, of coarse, became a running theme through our day as we woke up in the bus in some dark parking garage.  The show was a good one and we were introduced to the band that would be opening the shows in the U.K., Euros Childs, who was the lead singer of the band Gorky’s Zygotic Myncy.  Both are very cool bands and you should check them out.

READING FESTIVAL:

This was where the phrase “Cracked, Gunned and Tailed” first came into play and has become our hidden slogan as the tour has progressed—- I’ll explain…..

A.  ‘Cracked’– This is simply a reference to opening your first beer.  It is self explanatory I think, it’s simply the sound a beer can makes when you open it.  “Cracked” can also be used with a wide range of alcoholic beverages- Beer bottle, wine bottle, whiskey bottle, etc.

B.  ‘Gunned’ – This term can only be used with beer in a can.  It is actually short for ‘”shotgun”.  Basically, if you are ‘”Gunned'” then you have shotgunned at least one beer.  The number of beers you want to shotgun is completely up to you.  This may also accompany going “sleeveless”, i.e.- cutting off the sleeves of your t-shirt to make a ghetto tank top.

C.  ‘Tailed’ – This is a somewhat rare occasion,  but connects the before mentioned things into a perfect trio.  The reason that this is a rare occasion is that “Tailed” is short for “Ponytail”, and obviously you must have long hair to be apart of this somewhat elete group C.  Macey is the only one in our group with hair long enough to be put into a ponytail, but when it happens, it is a glorious occasion.

When we hit the stage at Reading we were all a Perfect trio of A,B, and C.  It was a smash.

PORTSMOUTH:

After delivering Reading a beating,  we found ourselves in the quiet streets of Portsmouth.  A beautiful town right on the water.  The cold, wet weather was starting to effect some of us and most of the band was coughing or blowing their noses from time to time.  As the tour went on, i began to realize that this is again common and we would begin to get used to it and march on.  Our feeling of being “under the weather”, quite literally, didn’t stop us from putting on a fine show.

LONDON:

Yeah, this was a dope one.  I’m pretty sure is was sold out.  The place was so packed.  After some noodles at Waggamama, we hit the stage for, what i thought, was the best show of all the shows in the U.K.  Thank you London!

MANCHESTER:

Manchester is a really cool city.  Like I said earlier, this is my first time over here so every city has been pretty amazing to walk around in.  I was confronted by an extremely Drunk man walking down the street who fell over right in front of me and spilled whatever he had left all over the side walk.  He looked at me pointing his finger and told me not to worry.  It was probably One in the afternoon.  That was another good show.  Johnny Marr was there with his son, so i was pretty nervous before hand. I think we pulled it off well.

YORK:

This show was put together pretty last minute due to scheduling and i don’t think Conor had ever played here, but a lot of people came out. York is a really cool town, Maybe this was the Orignal ‘York’,  like old York?  probably not. i had a hamburger from a stand that was delicious.  The whole city is surrounded by this big old Stone wall. The Stage at the club was a little weird too, like we were playing in a cave.   I think it went with the whole vibe of the town, it was a pretty Mid-evil city.  I felt like if i walked down the street carrying a sword it probably wouldn’t be that big of a deal.

HYDRO CONNECT FESTIVAL- Inverary, Scotland.

Scotland is the greenest, most beautiful country i had seen.   Pretty much just straight out of a Harry Potter movie.  We played at this festival pretty early on in the day, which was a little weird.  It got even weirder when we had to take a van from where our bus was parked down a sketchy, muddy road through, basically, a small forest.  I felt like our driver might be kidnapping us at one point, but I was relieved when i saw a crowd of people standing around a huge stage.  I almost lost it again when we took the stage and i looked out and saw this giant castle like 100 yards away, but at this point i have gotten used to the fact that nothing is really making any sense.  We played a good set and headed off to Ireland.

ELECTRIC PICNIC FESTIVAL- Stradbally, Ireland.

The Last of our shows in Europe was a festival and getting there involved a ferry ride.  It was pretty cool floating across the sea and I opted for an english breakfast they were serving up.  I sat down and looked over to see ?uest Love enjoying an English breakfast too.  I thought that was a pretty cool way to start my day. The Roots were playing at the same festival we were.  Dope.  When we arrived at the festival the sun finally poked its head out and I couldn’t have been more happier.  It was fantastic.  The festival itself was borderline Renaissance Fair, but whatever, having the sun and a cold beer in my hand was enough to the make it a blast.  We headlined the stage we were on and got pretty damn close to forming a perfect trio of being cracked, gunned, and tailed again, but fell short in one or two areas.  Janet Weiss was in the mix and she jumped up on stage to sing during our set, She also signed Taylor’s tit. It was fantastic, and a perfect way to end our little U.K. run before we set off for Amsterdam to start the The European part of the tour.

more to come……………….