News

Compiled by Terry Kilburn

Tour Diary of Guy Fletcher: 3rd May 2019 – A Coruña

Monday, May 6, 2019

Celtic music is very much a part of Galicia and Asturias, two regions in the North Western corner of Spain and La Coruña is a beautiful town in the Galicia region. Mike McGoldrick knows more about that than anyone in the band as he regularly visits the region playing shows and festivals. Unfortunately, the band didn’t get to explore the area as we chose to spend our days off in Lisbon. Our intrepid crew, however, did stay in town enjoying a well deserved rest up. A few of the boys are pretty handy with a golf club too so they organised a round at a local course.

Exigently, we said our goodbyes to the much loved Four Seasons in Lisbon, a hotel we’ve luxuriated in so many times especially as each room has a balcony. We headed for the GA terminal once more where ‘Joy’ our Bombardier CRJ-200ER was fuelled and ready to go. Flight time was 1 hour and 3 minutes so a light lunch of Pulpo a la Gallega and a heavenly Pastel de Nata was perfect. Coming in across the beautiful fertile green landscape of Galicia, we landed in a light crosswind and were in the vans and on the way to the gig in no time.

Load in for the crew was not an issue as they had no travel the night before and we arrived to find them ready and waiting for the scheduled 5pm band sound check. We, however, were far more concerned with the coffee machine in the dressing room, unloading our bags of stage clothes from Lisbon, sorting laundry or getting completely distracted by the soup in catering which today was a quite ridiculous Potato and Onion concoction. Laurence, our keyboard tech rolled his eyes as I apologised for our slow appearance.

Tech note (please skip to next paragraph if easily upset by geekiness). My iPad issue has now been resolved. I’m running Lemur as a program changer and trigger app and we couldn’t find a midi interface that would charge the device whilst in operation. We tried several. The iConnectivity4+ delivered to us in La Coruna has done the trick. Still a little concerned by the occasional stuck note from the RD-2000, might swap it out for the spare next show although this evening’s gig was flawless.

I bumped into Stage Manager, Dave Hall and Rigger, Johnny ’Hotpants’ Ashton in one of the production offices. Johnny was doing something with three rather large tape measures. He explained to me how he measures the rigging points using these three colour coded, rather analog, devices. Fascinating. In the dressing rooms, we have many areas for the band to relax and as there are now eleven of us, this is no mean feat for any venue. Today we had two, quiet rooms with inflatable beds, a tuning room, two lounge areas and a ‘communal’ area where the wardrobe cases reside. We have one of these each, with drawers and hangers. Once Mark and I had decided on the slightly shorter set list for the show, enforced by a strict airport evening takeoff restriction, I headed for catering for a very healthy steak and then to a quiet room where I drifted off for at least an hour.

Cups of freshly prepared Honey, Ginger and Lemon tea were waiting in the lounge area courtesy of John McCusker who fulfils this ritual every evening an hour prior to show time. The healing, cleansing infusion is the antidote for all weary, creaking and wheezy musicians in search of an uplift before stepping onto the stage. At Ten PM precisely, we did exactly that and were greeted by one of the most enthusiastic audiences anyone could wish for. The Coliseum was full and the majority were standing on the floor. A wonderful, emotional night, lovely people. A very thoughtful fan left a lovely bottle of Ribiera wine with one of our drivers, which was handed to me during the runner to the airport. We made our slot and were en route to Bordeaux and it was Adios Spain, for now. Up next….Pamplona.

 

Guy Fletcher’s full Tour Diary, including photos and more tour diary entries, can be found here.

Tour Diary of Guy Fletcher: 30th April 2019 – Lisboa

Monday, May 6, 2019

Filling with warm Summer sunshine, the tiny hotel courtyard was the default assembly point for musicians as departure time drew near. Chris (our promoter) took the band for lunch to a local restaurant that I had visited on my time here preparing to record Vicente’s album. Incredible food once more, as you might guess. Just as coffees were being served, our tour manager Tim received a call from Pete who had gone ahead to the airport with our bags, we needed to get there ‘sharpish’.

Expansion has been slow at Cordoba’s tiny airport and when we arrived there, Pete was shaking his head. In a virtually empty terminal building, security were arguing amongst themselves as to which screening machine should be used for our suitcases. Best to stay out of the way whilst management handled things! We did have a departure slot which got pushed back due to air traffic into Lisbon. This is controlled Europe-wide from the ATC centre known as ‘Eurocontrol’ in Brussels. We made ourselves comfortable inside literally the only jet in town and the whole band fell asleep in perfect synchronisation.

Lisbon was only an hour away for us but for the crew buses and our six trucks it represented an overnight drive and a typical hold-up at the border. Nothing unusual, just added time which meant they didn’t arrive at the venue until 11am. Thankfully as our stage manager Dave Hall explained, the Lisbon local crew are hard working and efficient and the venue is a perfect place for a quick load-in as all trucks can be parked and unloaded inside the arena.

In 2005, on April 1st we played here and the gig was well remembered as it was the day that Danny Cummings saved the day. We had just finished romping around Australasia and drummer Chad Cromwell decided he could not continue on the tour so at extremely short notice, Danny stepped into a baptism by fire and remained our drummer for the next five years. As I’m sure those who have seen the show can see it’s great to have him back in the engine room playing percussion with Ian (Ianto) Thomas on drums.

Zoning out on a day off is essential and Lisbon offers much. For me it was an extremely windy round at Oitavos Dunes golf course with my new friend Miguel F. Sousa, president of the Portuguese Golf association. Miguel and I seemed to hit it off straight away and on day off number two, there was more golf, this time on the Quinta da Marinha course. The day ended with a relaxing 5 hour feast at the Mar do Inferno seafood restaurant on the waterfront in Cascais with Miguel, his lovely wife Marta and their two young boys. It clearly a popular spot with touring musicians as Metallica, who seem to have been following us around Europe walked in and enjoyed a day off band dinner there. I think I’ve had my fill of Percebes now.

 

Guy Fletcher’s full Tour Diary, including photos and more tour diary entries, can be found here.

Juke Ross

Friday, May 3, 2019

Mark is pleased to announce that Juke Ross will be opening for a selected few shows in London and France. 

“A singer/songwriter with a dusky warm voice and an infectious spirit of affirmation, Juke Ross hails from the small country of Guyana on South America’s northern coast. Picking up the guitar during his med school days, Ross began writing heartfelt, thoughtful folk-pop songs, one of which, the breezy “Colour Me,” quietly began to pick up steam on digital platforms. Not long after, he signed a deal with Republic Records in the U.S. and, relocating to New York, began recording new material, including the 2018 single “Fresh Roses.” “

 

 

Juke will be appearing at the following shows on Mark’s tour:

May 6 – Bordeaux, France (Bordeaux Arena)

May 7 – Toulouse, France (Zenith)

May 12 – Strasbourg, France (Zenith)

May 21 – London, UK (Royal Albert)

May 22 – London, UK (Royal Albert)

Jun 17 – Paris, France (Accor Hotels Arena)

Jul 15 – Nimes, France (Antic Arena)

 

You can listen to and follow Juke Ross here:

 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn4YUzEKjXeAy6DbePTrVBg

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3mDo5Nv0SWpslJe9HzA2xY

Apple Music: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/juke-ross/1112539089

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jukeross/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jukeross/

Tour Diary of Guy Fletcher: 29th April 2019 – Cordoba

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

 

Dropping in on the beautiful city of Cordoba is something to look forward to and the opportunity to stay in town after the show meant we could meet up with our dear friend Vicente Amigo. Nine years ago, Vicente came to the same venue and saw us for the first time, which led to him calling upon me to produce an album using some of Mark’s band. ‘Tierra’ was recorded at British Grove with Mike, John and Danny from the band.

Under cloudless skies across central Spain, we departed the Villa Magna in Madrid, headed once more for our plane and a very short and sweet trip South. Daniella served up small plates of delicious seafood and we were taxiing at Cordoba’s deserted airfield before we knew it.

Early Summer is an unusual time for us to tour Spain but this meant that the temperatures were a lot more bearable than last time when I recall us needing to delay show time due to excessive evening heat. Nonetheless, it was pretty warm during sound check. Thankfully the stage was facing away from the direct sunlight, crew and gear being spared a direct solar assault.

No changes to the set but we worked on a few monitor changes and arrangement modifications during sound check. Then it was off to catering where I found Dave and Steve menu-building. The daily routine where the evening menu is created. Chef Dave stunned us all again. I went for the blackened Tuna on a Sweet Potato and Salsa bed. Insane.

Dined and rested with a quick disco nap, we started getting ready when Vicente came backstage along with Chris Ortiz, Vicente’s manager, friend and our promoter. Chris is one of those wonderful guys who simply makes things happen with minimal fuss, great to have as a friend. It’s always special to see Vicente and we chatted for a while before show time. Vicente and his music, exudes  ‘duende‘, a Spanish term for a heightened state of emotion, expression and authenticity, often connected with flamenco. The term derives from the duende, an elf or goblin-like creature in Spanish and Latin American folklore.

Evening drew in and the night was indeed young as the show got under way. The atmosphere in the bullring was electric and the show had many moments both dramatic, moving and frankly, scary. By the time we finished playing, it was truly hard to leave the stage. The noise was deafening and the emotion coming to us from this incredible audience, palpable. We left the arena and headed to our hotel in the middle of old town Cordoba, Chris and Vicente weren’t far behind and a typically Spanish late night session began. The bar staff eventually left us to it, Richard Bennett took over behind the taps.

 

Guy Fletcher’s full Tour Diary, including photos and more tour diary entries, can be found here.

Tour Diary of Guy Fletcher: 28th April 2019 – Madrid

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Clashing with the Madrid Marathon in more ways than one, the first day off of the tour found us arriving at the Villa Magna hotel at 2am. We were subjected throughout the night to the construction of the start-line paraphernalia right outside the hotel on the Paseo de la Castellana then at 6am sharp, the PA was fired up. They didn’t hold back. For four straight hours the motivational pounding consisted of ‘Highway To Hell’, ‘Bat Out Of Hell’, ‘Chariots Of Fire’ etc. SO loud that the ceiling in my Hotel room seemed to be answering back, the hidden plumbing rattling like it wanted to be free. Not a wink of sleep. Never mind, it’s a day off and in Madrid an opportunity to sample some of the loveliest food in Europe.

As always, the good spots are filled with locals and tough to get into so I booked and Danny and I headed to the family run Casa Lucio. Huevos Rotos like never before! True to form in these places, the owner makes an appearance and the clientele pose for pictures, in this case, Lucio Blázquez. We make it back to the hotel in one piece but my gastronomic day isn’t over as friends in Madrid offer to take me out to dinner at another local family institution, O Grelo where I am treated to a stunning evening of Galician fish culinary wizardry which included my favourite, Percebes and a delicious Ribeiro wine served ICE cold from a jug. Ribeiro is similar to Albariño but slightly more sparkling and slightly ‘musty’. Incredible with fish.

Sunday morning, show day and I had work to do. As large elements of my rig are now software based I am able to make changes and create layers and sounds on the laptop. As well as enjoying Roland hardware, I’m running Mainstage, Ableton Live and using Lemur (controller app) on an iPad. I set about correcting a few elements I wasn’t happy with in the first two shows.

As it was a Sunday, I was expecting a slightly more subdued crowd for the show but the audience in the WiZink Center were incredible. The two and a half hour show seemed to fly by which is always a good sign. Half of the band ran back to the hotel and half stayed for a dressing room drink. I ran along with Mark to meet friends in the hotel bar afterwards. These included Hugh Hudson, director of the movie ‘Altamira’ Mark and I worked on and also of course ‘Chariots Of Fire’. How funny.

 

Guy Fletcher’s full Tour Diary, including photos and more tour diary entries, can be found here.