On The Road Again: Direct Hit’s European Vacation, Part Two
DIRECT HIT! recently wrapped up their first-ever European tour, and vocalist Nick Woods sent AP his dispatches from across the Atlantic. Download free music from the band here. Their full-length, Domesplitter, is physically available from Kind Of Like Records.
The middle third of our trip was spent traveling all over the UK, with the exception of Northern Ireland. A lot of folks warned us going in that this leg of the tour was going to be a lot more like the US, with tougher crowds in sketchier venues. But I can tell you that, at least for us, the sentiment was about 100% wrong. Because the UK was great!
The first night wasn’t though. My cold had reached the point where I could barely speak, much less sing well, so the six people that showed up at the show we played in Swindon were treated to a DH set with Devon Kay on lead vocals. Good thing Devon’s a better singer than me, and everything went off without a hitch. We spent that night sleeping in a motel, and visiting a local exotic dance performance center called Foxie’s before heading off to Nottingham where I planned to dress as Robin Hood, fire arrows into the crowd, and then steal everyone’s money before giving it to homeless people. Folks there were too nice though, so I just ended up playing Street Fighter 2 and moping about being sick. A lot of throat lozenges and hot tea were starting to help though, so I was at least able to sing our set before everyone crashed out at our friend Scott’s place later that night.
The next day involved the longest drive of the tour up until that point – A six hour trip to Dundee, Scotland, which felt a lot shorter because of the gorgeous countryside. Dundee reminded me a lot of Houghton, Michigan: dark and intense, along a lot of water. Our host Neil and his wife Jo were pretty much the exact opposite though, super warm and inviting, with a house full of dogs, guinea pigs and fish. The Dundee show was one of the best of the UK, and afterward we hung out at the club, drank cocktails, and watched the packed room full of people go nuts on the dance floor to Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, and the Ramones.
Our show in Glasgow the following night was on a Sunday, but it didn’t seem to affect the turnout at all, and we crashed out at our pal Tom’s place before waking up to buy scotch at the grocery store in the morning. We left for the next night at a co-op-y kind of place in Leeds called Wharf Chambers, where we ate vegetables and rice, and where Danny, Robbie, and Devon all ended up partying until the sun was hanging up in the sky. Not that the next night in Wales offered any respite, where everyone was impossible to understand – even though they were all speaking English – because the Welsh accent sounds like you’re doing magic even if you’re talking about video games. We played an unexpectedly great show after Devon’s amp blew up, which forced us to finish the set with only one guitar, and the packed room to deal with me stomping around in bare feet, hugging everyone through a two day unwashed shirt. Not that it mattered – everyone was soaked in beer by the time we left anyway.
Our last two shows in the UK were in London and Kingston, located pretty much right next to each other. Danny, Robbie, Devon and I all at bone marrow at a restaurant called St. John before the London show, where we played to an awesome crowd that put up with a set under the constant threat of explosive diarrhea. After staying up until around 4 AM again drinking cider, we headed over to Kingston to play at the Fighting Cocks, before climbing back in the van for an all-night drive back to Belgium. We had a ferry to catch at 2:30 AM across the English channel, which was a surreal experience to say the least – staring off the deck of a boat into total blackness, processed by a sleep-deprived and perma-hungover brain is about as close to staring into the abyss as you can get. We’re lucky it didn’t portend the last few dates of our trip though, which sent us back to the US already trying to figure out when we’d be able to come back. alt