|Matt Holland - Man Must Die - July 2010 Tour Blog|
|Monday, 23 August 2010 10:08|
Matt Holland - Man Must Die - July 2010 Tour Blog
Thursday 1st July
I receive my new Rock Tour kit from Yamaha late in the afternoon and spend the remainder of the day unpacking and setting it up to play. I get a shell pack of 2x22” kicks, 10”, 12” rack toms and 14”, 16” floor toms. I also got 2 hexracks to make up a 4 sided system with 8 cymbal boom stands.
The shells are lightweight Big Leaf Mahogany finished in matt black with brushed chrome hardware. I take time to set up in my rehearsal room and have a quick thrash around to make sure the hardware is set up correctly. First impression is that the toms sound really punchy, theres great projection and tone and the different sizes have distinctive notes. The hardware is of amazing build quality and is in burnished chrome which looks stunning with the brushed chrome hoops and lugs on the shells.
Saturday 3rd July
We have an early start to make the trip to the first show in Camden, London. The guys have been at a wedding the night before in Glasgow and arrive to pick me up at 6.30 am. We pack the van and have time for a quick coffee before leaving. We have a nice new Mercedes splitter van hired for the week as the old MMD yellow and green machine is sadly no more. Its a great sunny warm day which puts everyone in a high spirits. We’re out for the first time with new guitarist JJ who stepped in recently to replace Davy who helped us out on our last 2 tours and unfortunately can’t commit anymore. Due to time restrictions and JJ playing in another band we’ve only had 2 full band rehearsals with him. He played perfectly so we’re all confident. The journey goes smoothly and we arrive in North London on time and meet the other bands, The Rotted and Sworn Amongst, and tour manager Corey.
I’ve know Ben from the Rotted for a while so its good to hook up and MMD and the guys have played together numerous times when they were going under the name Gorerotted. Corey had worked with us on both the Decepitated and Machine Head tours. We load in and set up and we get a quick soundcheck. As we’re headlining most of the dates and as I’m showcasing the new kit, I brought my black Paiste cymbals. They comprise 13” hats, 14” hats, both signature, 15” visions crash, 16” signature crash, 17” and 18” 2002 crashes, 18” and 20” Novo china and 22” signature ride.
We soundcheck and it all sounds a bit rubbish, it seems the in house sound guy doesn’t know the rig very well. It doesn’t matter as we’re all hyped to be out on the road and London is always good to play. We finish up and let the other bands set up and head out to meet a couple of mates and wander round Camden. Its a pretty full on place and with it being Saturday night its extra busy and the bars are all full. We visit a couple of places but as I don’t drink before I play I don’t go crazy. Its nice to be out and about as it’s a great warm sunny evening. We head back to the Underworld and the local support are on. They are pretty good but there are only about 3 people in watching them which is as surprising as it is a shame. With the whole area being so busy, we expected the place to be a bit more full.
Sworn Amongst are on next and play a tight set of Modern sounding Thrash. The crowd has increased a bit but not nearly enough. They still give it their all and those present get a good show. The Rotted are next and explode into their Punk/Grind /Death hybrid. They have a few people in to see them and get the crowd going. Drummer Nate doing some seriously fast blasting and double bass 16ths. He uses a kind of push/pull technique for his feet similar to Jojo Mayer, really interesting to watch.
We finally get on and play our set. It’s the longest we’ve played for a while because we’ve been supporting the last couple of tours. It’s good to get a proper workout! We open with This Day Is Black and the onstage sound is pretty non existant but we have the best crowd of the night which fires us up and Joe in turn instigates a riot... We’re straight into Gainsayer, a really tough song and one I really need to be warmed up properly for. A bit of a rest for me next with It Comes In Threes, this always gets every head banging without fail. You’d need to be brain dead not to nod along to this one when it gets going...Silent Observer from MMDs second album the Human Condition is a change of pace again then the firestorm that is the title track from No Tolerance For Imperfection which is an arm breaker for me. Back to the first album with A Lesson Once Learned which I really enjoy playing, there’s a lot of time changes and catchy melodies. We finish with the ubiquitous Kill It, Skin It, Wear It which always slays and although its a tough one to play, I always love playing it as its such a great song. So the first show a success we have a few beers to celebrate and head to our hotel in Luton, a 45 minute drive from London.
Sunday 4th July
Well rested we get breakfast with the Rotted guys and head North to Sheffield. I’ve never been here before , Its not a particularly pretty place and seems all the more desolate on a Sunday with not much happening. We load into the Corporation which has a really strange stage, about 5 feet tall and about twice as deep as it is wide. There’s no local support so we check and let Sworn Amongst set up in front to play. The venue is split into different size halls and we have to walk through the larger one to get to the dressing rooms which has possibly the stickiest floor in the world. We actually had to wipe our feet when we went outside. Sadly this was the most memorable thing from a pretty forgettable gig, playing through terrible onstage sound to a handful of people who didn’t seem that bothered to be there in the first place. Goodnight Sheffield, hope not to be back soon... We get a few beers and meet back at the hotel and sit chatting for a couple of hours.
Monday 5th July
We head for Manchester around lunchtime and have a good journey across the Pennine Hills through some stunning scenery. We get into town on time and have a quick load in and check. This is the same venue as we played on the Decapitated tour back in February though we’re not expecting the same numbers tonight. I meet up with Tony From Yamaha who I haven’t seen since we were down here with Machine Head. We talk about the new kit and about possibilities of further equipment Yamaha can help me with. We chat for ages about gigging and shows we’ve done and before long it’s gig time. The turnout is terrible, the lowest we’ve seen for some time. Manchester is such a strange place, there’s no happy medium. It’s either amazing or absolutely dire in my experience. I enjoy our set and play well, Tony gets some live shots for Yamaha to use. The rest of the guys don’t enjoy it at all, with barely a crowd to play to they find it hard to get into their stride.
Tempers are beginning to fray by loadout time, the poor crowd turnout getting to people and when Trud, the Rotted bassist drops a £2000 guitar head a shouting match ensues. We head back to the hotel shortly after and get a rest.
Tuesday 6th July
Wrexham, it turns out , isn’t far from Manchester so theres no rush to head off. We relax by the hotel carpark and have breakfast. The trip to Wrexham only takes an hour even though it’s in another country... I really should look at a map before we head out on the road, my geographical knowledge of the country I live in is terrible.
We’re playing Central Station which was another venue we played on the Decapitated tour. We’re in the smaller room tonight which is ok as theres a decent temporary stage setup and its not so big as to look empty if there’s not hundreds of people in. We check and the sound guy remarks that the Yamaha has the best sounding toms he’s heard in ages.
The same local support, Impaled Existence, are playing as last time we were here and it’s good to catch up again and regale them with stories of the MH tour. We also hook up with Ian from our new Agent company, Factory and we’re determined more than ever to give a good account of ourselves and prove we’re worthy of more tours...! The cafe in the basement of the building is set aside as a communal backstage area and the Holland/Uruguay world cup match is playing which takes up a lot of guys time during warm up. There’s a healthy turnout and all bands get a great response. We hit the stage and its a really hot show. We’d been talking before the tour that it’s nice to go out when its not freezing and winter, now some people are complaining it’s too hot. It’s a damn sight better too hot than too cold... There’s a good amount of MMD shirts at the front of the stage and a lot of lyrics getting shouted back at Joe which is really encouraging . Not far into the second song, Dan breaks a bass string. With only Alan and JJ’s guitars going through the P.A. along with vocals and Kick triggers, the bass is relying on on stage volume so when it drops out its pretty unnerving and takes some time to readjust.
True to form, Danny transforms into McGuyver and has the string changed, tuned and playing by the end of the song. We all play a blinder and really get into it along with the best crowd so far on the tour. The gig finishes with a particularly sweaty rendition of ...Kill It. And we all leave the stage on a high. We head north and stop in Chester for a short night’s sleep before the drive north for the hometown gig.
Wednesday 7th July
It always feels like we’re responsible for the crowd when we play Glasgow on any tour, like if it’s a bad turnout it’s our fault.
We get to Ivory Blacks early and wait for the promoter to open up. We set up quickly and have time to run through a new addition to the set. JJ has spent the last 2 days working on” Dead In The Water” from the “No Tolerance” album so we have the first run through during soundcheck. It sounds spot on which is surprising as we’ve never played it as a full band before. It’s a tricky song with the verses having a 4 way change in drums, straight blasting into 16th note kicks, back to blast then into gravity blast so it’s a good confidence boost that it works well and I’m at least playing tight enough for the others to follow.
I go out for food with my wife and miss the opening band and Sworn Amongst and get back in time for the Rotted’s set. There’s a decent amount of people in but for some reason nobody is reacting to the band. It’s like some zombie movie with everyone standing motionless despite Ben’s best efforts to get some participation. Unsurprisingly the band are pretty despondent when they come off.
The crowd moves up when our intro starts and finally comes alive. Again, there are a lot of MMD shirts and calls for song titles show most of the people are familiar with the last album. The Gig gets off to a ropey start when it becomes apparent that the sound guy’s return from holiday in Turkey that afternoon was too soon for him to be back at work... The monitor settings are completely off from what we soundchecked and I’m getting random rhythm guitar and Danny’s backing vocals above anything else. My triggers decide to play up and it takes the first 2 songs to decipher the cause. It turns out one of my Ekit sensors has worn a groove and is triggering on the up stroke as well as the down. Most frustrating. I try to not let it get to me but it puts a downer on the set for me. We get a pretty good reaction and Dead in the Water goes down well but I can’t pull this one back and enjoyment wise, this is the worst show of the tour.
We head out to a club later with the Sworn Amongst guys and Ben and Tim from the Rotted. Far too much Jagermeister is consumed and I agree to start a Death covers band with Jonny from Sworn Amongst..... I don’t remember a lot else about the latter half of the evening.
Thursday 8th July
With heavy hangovers we leave for Bradford early in the morning. I sleep most of the way only waking to get some overpriced junk food in a service area.
We get to Bradford and get ready to load. Its a dangerous job with a busy road to cross with the equipment but we make it without any casualties. Rio’s is a small hot venue with a small stage so for the first time all bands, including the local support will be using my kit. The local sound guy is pretty much out of his depth so souncheck takes way longer than it should and everything is put behind time. The guy who installed the P.A is called and has to come down to take over. Farcical. We eventually head out for some food and wander round a deserted Bradford. It doesn’t bode well for any kind of good turnout. When we get back the local band are still on but at least there’s a few bodies in. Sworn Amongst and the Rotted play great sets and we go on after 11 which is pretty late. There’s no drum monitor that works so I’m going by feel as far as my kicks are concerned with no triggers audible. It turns out to be a good training exercise in using my ears more and really having to concentrate.
We play a great tight set considering the restrictions and the people watching give a good response. The guys say I had a great show tonight and that my hands are particularly strong with great volume on the snare for the blasts. I think it’s probably the lack of kick in the monitors made then rely on listening to the upper kit more. I’ve been training more to hit harder and its been a factor in my playing for some time. It’s nice to get compliments and if they’re happy then so am I so I don’t mention any more. We head across to Leeds to our hotel and get some rest.
Friday 9th July
Friday lunchtime we head south to Norwich. This is The Rotted’s home town show so we’re all looking forward to a good one. The weather is glorious and the drive down is relaxing. About 50 miles outside Norwich we come across the Rotted guys at the side of the road with their broken down van. We pull up and have to load as much essential gear into our van with all the band members. The sun is intense and there’s an infestation of tiny black flying insects which land on us and stick to the sweat on any exposed skin. Within about 15 mins we’re back on the road with considerably more equipment and 9 people squashed in. The drive is somewhat less relaxing for the remainder but at least the show will go on. Corey and the driver are left with the van to wait for a recovery team in the sweltering heat with only the insects for company.
We arrive at the venue which is a pub and we’re playing in the small sublevel backroom. It’s tiny, stiflingly hot and a bit rough but everyone’s in good spirits as its Friday night and the plan is to go for a few beers after the show. The stage is small so again everyone will be using my Yamaha. There’s a local support who play to literally nobody, its a bit of a shame. Sworn Amongst go on and a few people venture through to see them and by the end of their set there’s a good atmosphere. The Rotted are last on today as it’s their home show so we’re up next. Theres no drum monitor tonight so it’s down to feel for me again. Its been pretty good training if nothing else to play in slightly tougher conditions, it’s preparation for any problems that might occur on future tours. We get a good crowd from the off which steadily grows through the first couple of songs. It’s insanely hot and have trouble with my sticks slipping out of my grip from sweating so much. We all agree later that its the hottest show any of us has ever played. Apart from that there’s a great atmosphere and we get a good reaction. Just before Kill It... at the close of the set I pour the remainder of a water bottle over my head to cool down, this basically washes all the sweat from my head down into my eyes, blinding me. I have to get to the first guitar break to wipe my eyes clear...! Blasting at 240 bpm with your eyes closed is not recommended. Mental note not to do that again. I miss the Rotted’s set as I’m trying to cool down outside but from what I hear they have a great show. We pack up and leave the vans at the venue and head into town. Some guys go to a lapdancing club, not my scene, so a few of us head off to find a bar. We venture into a few places playing very loud, very bad music full of very drunk people who all look the same but eventually find a decent place and scoop a few pints before the nights over.
Saturday 10th July
Its another hot day as we get ready to leave Norwich for Peterborough which makes our hangovers even worse. Thankfully we have time for some breakfast and rehydration before we leave.
It’s not a long journey and we arrive early afternoon and the venue is shut. We wander round the town, get some lunch and see the sights. We get in the venue later and have a very hot set up and soundcheck. It’s apparently 31 degrees today and I’m already sweating like I’ve already played the set. Check is good and the P.A and monitors are great. I spend most of the night out by our van as it’s just too hot inside. I catch the beginning of Sworn Amongst and the end of the Rotted’s sets. Theres a respectable number in though not much movement.
We get on and have a great set from start to finish. The Sworn Amongst guys get up to sing ‘It Comes In Threes’ and Ben from the Rotted comes up to do ‘Kill It.. there’s a great atmosphere and everyone seems to love it. We unload afterwards and have a little party in the carpark just saying our goodbyes and getting group photos taken for mementos.
So overall the tour was great, the new Yamaha kit is amazing, it sounded great every night and looked badass. I personally was pretty happy with my playing and generally enjoyed the experience.