Leaving Manchester today for the bucolic pulchritude that surrounds the Foxlowe Arts Centre in Leek, Staffordshire. It’s an hour or so south of Manchester and this was one of the unfortunate routing backtracks which sometimes happens because you simply can’t get the dates in the order you want them. It wasn’t so far out of the way and a nice drive through the rolling hills and the sheeps (we call them sheeps when we are in the presence of Olivia’s dad, Gerd). We found a coffee shop just outside Poynton, where Dare and brother Dave lived as a kid, in a place called Adlington and as it happened Dave and his partner Rachel came to the show. It really is lovely in this part of the world, the fields a deep green, a mesmerising calm as you gaze into the undulating hills and contemplate the rooks on a wing.
We arrived to find the car park and load in locked behind the venue, so I went around to the front to bang on the door, it was cold. I thought I was going to be quick, I banged again – nothing. Too cold I went back around to see the gate open and Olivia and Boydie already loading in, foiled by the system. We’ve played here before, it’s not the easiest place to pull a crowd but a local, Graham Stone, puts a lot of work into getting people in and the audience was fine for an intimate show.
A nice staff, Jane the manager, Saule from Lithuania behind the bar, and Rich the soundman who used to be a funeral director. He told us fascinating stories, his dad was in a band from Leek in the seventies called Hunter. After soundcheck we went to the Thai to order for later, we ate in the hotel after the show, it wasn’t good. Dinner is tricky on the road, soundcheck and load-in takes you almost to doors and then you are on. In our case we have no support, two sets, so we have to be back to play. Where’s my personal chef?
On stage one of the lightbulbs blew, we were glad to have had Gerd send us some spares, Olivia had dropped one earlier in the tour so if we lose one more, our killer light show will be a quarter down. On the subject of losing, I lost an earring somewhere, no time to buy another one (or two) on the road. As I’ve had my ears pierced since the seventies, I can feel it’s not there although I can’t see it or physically feel it missing.
The audience’s reaction was again very enthusiastic and I signed quite a lot of records after the show. We are now down to the last MOAT debut album and the last Noctorum – Afterlife album, all pressings in the world sold out. The other titles are running low, only two Space Summits, five Hanging Out In Heaven, nine Nightjar, two Atantaeum Flood, and on the CDs only MOAT CDs and two Atlantaeum Flood, everything else has sold out. We do have the kool Marty and Olivia shirts of which we need to sell seven more to break even, come on, we can do it. Thanks to everybody that has been buying our records and T-shirts, it makes a big difference to the touring budget and allows us to come out and do tours like tours.