Maricn, our Polish driver is a lunatic on the motorway. The fact that we haven’t yet died is a miracle. He drives so close to the tail of Lukas in the van in front carrying BBB that there is now an on going joke that they are gay lovers and Lukas is the taker. This joke is needed simply to alleviate the fear when he is a foot away from the front van whilst going 90 miles an hour. Pleasant driving it does not make!
The van is quiet, we have a short journey to Nottingham and we are all aware that it is the last show. The only sound is all of us munching on apples and even the music choice has changed. We have gone from listening to Megadeath to just leaving the radio on and at this point are listening to The Bee Gees. There is definitely a resigned feel in the air. We even find the venue early. Everything is as it should be which by this point makes me for one feel a bit on edge.
Ali from the Earache HQ meets us at the venue and off we trot to the lions den all excited at what stuff we might be able to nick. The drivers stay behind to wait for the venue to open and begin unloading.
The Earache offices are like a boys bedroom. Metal posters everywhere, loads of computers and paperwork all over the shop. In some rooms the walls are hidden behind boxes and boxes of C.D’s , L.P’s and DVDs. We are all salivating at the mouth. We meet the rest of the Earache massive and after delving in the stockroom and coming out with a classic Municipal Waste T, we head off to Pizza Express across the road for breakfast/lunch/dinner on the boss.
We all eat and drink like we are orphans in an Oliver Twist Metal remake and I do my best to drag the bands back to the venue for set up and sound check which is hard since there are better things to do like drink and go record shopping but eventually everyone is present, except maybe Carlos who after last night is dying slowly and even chucking up twice does not seem to be helping much!
Cauldron have interviews to do so manage to avoid sound check, which I have learnt is the least favourite thing for bands to have to do. The sound check gets done, the merch stall gets done, this time it is a coffee table and a corner wall and during all of this a lot more drinking is done. Yay Nottingham!
The first two bands play and then Cauldron. I’m at the back on top of a chair to watch since merch sales are not doing so well I can afford to concentrate more on the gig than I’ve otherwise done and watch a blinder of a set all be it with the same poor sound we have come to live with from several of the venues. I think this must be why bands hate doing sound check, what’s the point when the sound man still gets it wrong.
BBB play their usual dynamite set and even Carlos pulls it together on time. I spot Cauldron up at the front just standing there so push my way through and start up a little friendly moshing with them and Talita. One for the road stylee.
Suddenly everyone who came to watch is gone and the merch stall is in boxes and I’m done. My job has come to an end. A combination of copious amounts of booze and genuinely liking these miscreants has made me quite teary when it comes to saying goodbye. The BBB and Polish massives have to set off to Belgium immediately and it’s sad to know that Cauldron and me won’t be leaving with them. On the up side, The Gallows are throwing an after party up the road and the Boss is well up for partying! How fickle of me.
Having dumped our bags and Cauldron’s equipment at the hotel we find ourselves drinking shots from a teapot and drinking round after round of beautiful alcohol before discovering the upstairs dance floor where Lags form The Gallows is chucking out some top tunes. Since Earache are pretty much the only people throwing some shapes he takes all the requests from the Cauldron crew and in no time the vibe is rock eighties wedding reception, complete with mum and dad dancing and even more booze!
Eventually I stagger back to the hotel, Talita is right behind me and too soon i am passed out in a drunken slumber and the party is officially over. Somewhere near Dover there are two highly suspect vans being driven badly by two tired Polish punks and carrying a group of Mexicans and all their instruments. Fuck I wish I was with them! Mind you….