The Scottish foursome on the road...
Copy Haho tour van

We love Scottish indie foursome Copy Haho, and Copy Haho seem to love writing. They also like to tour, and here they’ve written about just that: touring. And, because we love them, here are the words on It’s a TOUR DIARY! Shazaam

(Words by Richard and Joe)

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May 12; Southampton, Joiners

Richard leaves Aberdeen at 6am, arriving in Glasgow at 8.30am… we haven’t risen this early since school, and unfortunately a full evening of Google Maps Street View and Tim & Eric has allowed us a total of three-and-a-half hours sleep. Having hauled our equipment down a stairwell covered in wet paint signs we leave Glasgow for Southampton at nine, dreading the drive ahead and wondering whether our gargling van will reach the other end of the country.

Thankfully, it does! Ten hours later we arrive in Southampton, feeling slightly strange and hoping we’ve not completely missed our soundcheck. We meet the JoFo and Calories guys while unpacking our gear – everyone seems in high spirits, which is encouraging! Soon enough, 9 o’clock rolls around and we play to an attentive crowd. The fact that we’re all painfully knackered renders our performance a little lacklustre, but as our set draws to a close we wake up a little.

Calories take to the stage a while later, followed by Johnny Foreigner. I enjoy both immensely, and start to realise how much potential fun could be had on this tour! I will be buying t-shirts and records by both bands as soon as possible. Post-show we drive to a travel lodge in reading (exciting right?!) and I fall asleep listening to The Best of The Carpenters. Oh Karen, you were a sad lady.

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Loading up in Glasgow

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May 13; Birmingham, The Victoria

Uh oh, we’re in Reading… how did that happen? Blast! We have a bunch of time to kill, so spend the afternoon visiting a chemist (situated on ‘smelly lane’) and a music superstore. Flying V’s are ridiculous and yet every time I see one up close I seriously consider buying it with imaginary digital credit card money. Instead I buy a guitar cable – nowhere near as exciting, but it does feature ‘encapsulated soldering points’ and ‘oxygen-free copper conductors’. I figure that these features will improve my playing considerably.

We drive to Birmingham. I sit in the back on my own listening to Julie Dorian, writing this diary and chopping up bad demos in Logic. We arrive at the venue and are fed chilli, good chilli. Nice. Everyone seems real swell. Later on we play to a fairly packed room of friendly Brummies (?) who kindly nod and clap. We play a new song tonight for the first time ever, and it sounds very new – in a slightly unfinished way, but it’s fun to have conquered it live. My Telecaster-induced rash re-appears halfway through the show, and unfortunately this means I’ll have to start wearing a sweatband on my forearm – not a good look.

Once again Calories and Johnny Foreigner wow the crowd. The more I get to know their songs, the more I dig them. Post-show we head back to Kelly and Junior’s house, curry-down, watch an odd TV programme about caffeine overdoses and fused eyelids, then fall sleep.

May 15; Leicester, Sumo

We had a day off before this show – wishing to stay in the cheapest possible Travelodge, and conserving precious, precious fuel, we ended up staying in Leicester for two nights. ‘Highlights’ of the day off included watching The Devil Wears Prada and Congo back-to-back, and me convincing Joe that we’d done a runner from an eatery (the truth was that I’d paid for it when ordering at the bar). Rikki and I also went to a casino, which had no bar staff and a rigged roulette table (I put £10 on black, it was red, WTF?). The next day was a lot more fun – nice weather and a trip to a museum which, for some reason, had a whole floor dedicated to interactive games equipment. Shooting hoops in a museum should happen more often.

We play with Tubelord for the first time tonight, and have a childish time (I’m afraid to say the drawing of penises was involved, sorry Mum) in the ridiculous dressing room (the venue floods apparently, so you’ve got to climb over a wall of sandbags to get to the wet, dark, backstage area. The Spirit of Dunkirk saw us through). Post soundcheck we visit an emporium of fish and salted chips. The woman at the till tells her staff how inconvenient they are, in a jovial-come-serious way that makes everyone a bit nervous. By then the venue is creaking into action, so we eat in the van while recording a podcast-interview-type-thing (featuring some unnecessary sound effects and screaming). Back at the venue, a somewhat hesitant crowd gradually eases itself into the evening. I get the impression that, initially, some people don’t really know what to make of us... Perhaps it’s the accents? People clap politely, some nod along, and later on a handful of people even buy our records. Not bad at all. Good show, good turnout, standard Travelodge sleep.

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Standard Travelodge sleep

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May 16; Carlisle, The Brickyard (w/ Mitchell Museum)

So the only two things I knew about Carlisle prior to our arrival is that a friend from school studied there for a bit and that the town used to be part of Scotland, sort of. I can see why Scotland may not have wanted Carlisle: the one chip shop I could find had a terrible menu selection. No macaroni pies? No deep-fried Mars bars? Grow a pair, Carlisle! Heart disease is IN. I get lost in a ridiculously big second-hand bookshop and Joe gets excited about the number of mirrors in the dressing room (not from a narcissistic point of view, it just ‘looked good’).

The show – as is to be expected when a little band plays in a little town for the first time – is a quiet affair. Joe asks what there is to do in Carlisle, member of audience replies with “fuck sheep”. Joe hears this as “flock sheep”. This is the funniest thing that happened in Carlisle.

May 17; Manchester, The Deaf Institute

We’re in Manchester! Home to Ryan Giggs, who it turns out is actually Welsh? It sure is a crazy mixed up world, huh? Anyway, The Deaf Institute is by far the nicest venue we play on this whole tour. The walls of the venue are covered in fancy wallpaper AND they seem to be serving Sunday roasts downstairs in the bar.

By the time we play it’s still light outside – that coupled with a tiered seating area at the back made for quite a strange atmosphere. Regardless, we secretly turn up a little on stage and play a relatively solid show. Later on in the evening I end up speaking to a handful of people at the merch table, all of whom are really nice – I think I like Manchester.

Post-show we drive through to Liverpool to stay with massive top notch blokes Hot Club de Paris. Many things happen, the details of which will never be divulged. Huge doughy pizza and beers. Win!

May 18; Sheffield, The Harley

Despite the fact that Sheffield boasts such musical luminaries as Pulp, Cabaret Voltaire and The Human League, there is a distinct lack of enthusiasm in the air. It’s suggested that exam timetables were preventing a bunch of people from venturing out to the show, which is unfortunate, but understandable. The promoters of tonight’s show are very kind – they feed us well, which is very much appreciated! Despite the fairly hilarious turnout we actually end up playing quite a good show. A few people mention post-show how much they enjoyed the new songs we played, which is way excellent.

Feeling a little deflated, but not altogether down in the dumps, we load out and start making our way up to Glasgow. Unfortunately we run into a few late-night problems. Epic fail.

May 19; Glasgow, Stereo (w/ Times New Viking & Crystal Antlers)

As we’re in a band that’s on tour, we have to do really clichéd things like have a van which breaks down. We chose to do this just outside of Sheffield. A few hours later and a grumpy AA man arrived. We get back to Glasgow at silly o’clock (around 7am, maybe?), so to say that we’re all pretty tired (Mini more so, he did all the driving) upon arriving for soundcheck is an understatement. This, coupled with a fair bit of alcohol (sorry Mum) results in a below average performance on our part, but people still clap and buy stuff afterwards, so consider yourself fooled, Glasgow!

It’s awesome to play with Times New Viking again, and Crystal Antlers are ridiculously friendly. All three bands head out afterwards, and we get our crunk on (can I get away with saying ‘crunk’?) at a nearby late bar. TNV introduce us to a new phrase: “Let that bitch off the chain”. Apparently you’ve to use it in pretty much every situation. They’re convinced it’ll be a hit over here. I’m unsure that saying “let that bitch off the chain” before Granny opens her birthday present is going to go down well.

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A live gig drawing from Glasgow show, by Jenny Soep

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May 21; York, Fibbers (w/ Johnny Foreigner & Calories)

I’ve spent a lot of time in York with my parents, so it’s always a bit weird to come and play here – knowing a place really well but not knowing anyone is a strange combination. It’s a bit like going to Disneyland for the tenth time, only not as good.

The show was good – the small (I mean small) handful of people who saw our first York show ages ago still come along to see us, which is very heartening. One of them ( I can’t remember who so I’m not going to attempt a guess at which one of you it was, sorry! ) bought a t-shirt, so he’s the best person in York.

We stay with the friendliest, and other best man in York, Joe Coates. Despite not having any formal connection to our band (eg he’s never put us on before, etc) – we met him at a gig/through a shared love of Distophia – we’ve ended up staying at his house after our last two shows in York. He’s the kind of guy that not only lets you stay at his house, but cooks you breakfast and makes sure that you’ve got enough bedding. The best of British! The bacon was Danish obviously.

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Joe’s cat in York

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May 22; Wakefield, Escobar / Leeds

We start the evening in Wakefield at the Escobar. The venue is covered in framed photographs and signed Kate Nash t-shirts. I scour the walls for a band or musician I recognise but have no luck, oh well – perhaps I’m a little out of touch. The venue is quite small, but not too small, and by the time the first band takes to the stage it’s near full with a very local crowd (mums and dads, et cetera). I haven’t seen middle-aged housewives dance, well, ever – quite a spectacle.

Our set goes relatively well and a handful of kids nod along enthusiastically at the front while their parents keep an eye on them. I find the fact that ten or so kids in Wakefield know the words to our songs quite, quite shocking. We then throw everything back in the van and wizz through to Leeds to meet our good friend Doug (this evening’s host!).

Tonight is the Leeds leg of Stag & Dagger and, luckily, friends we haven’t seen in a long time are playing the festival. After a series of grandiose high fives, clinking glasses and fond farewells, we hit the sack.

May 23; Newport, The Meze Lounge

Though the drive down from Leeds is a bit of a mission, we arrive in Newport just in time to check in to our horrible hotel for the night and head to soundcheck. My first impressions of South Wales are good,: it looks a bit like Scotland only the weather’s a lot better. Later we’re taken to an Indian restaurant – the walls are covered with pictures of Tom Jones wearing really odd ‘70s/‘80s clothes. Unfortunately tonight turns out to be the last of our shows with Johnny Foreigner and Calories, we’re all secretly quite sad about this, but hold back the tears.

As far as the show goes, turnout wise it wasn’t great, but that didn’t seem to matter a jot. Calories play first and I hop on stage to feel awkward and sing along to slacker hit ‘Drugged’. The awkwardness does eventually give way to a feeling of accomplishment and pure joy – what a time! We then proceed to play a fairly shambolic set to a small group of people. Regardless, a few are singing along at the front, which makes the whole thing worth doing. Alexi joins us at the end of ‘Bookshelf’ on vocals, which actually works really well! Fun! Johnny Foreigner then hit the stage and chaos ensues. A slightly bigger and slightly drunker crowd coupled with faulty microphone stands and alcohol makes for an engaging performance! At one point a Bruce Springsteen look-alike forces me to ‘crowd surf’ which was, considering the size of the crowd, absolutely terrifying. We load out, say some long goodbyes and return to our Etap ‘hotel’. I sleep on a concrete floor, absolute luxury!

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Crowdsurfing on Springsteen (?)

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Day Off (Barry Island / Cardiff / outside Milton Keynes)

We were meant to play Northampton on this date, but the show got cancelled – no idea why, but let’s say it was due to the venue exploding. Something exciting and out of our control, certainly. Left the Etap (barf) in Newport, after a quick complaint to the staff (long story, but it resulted in a refund on the room AND a free stay in the future). Half expected to see some of Goldie Lookin Chain working at the hotel, but no dice. That’s not the reason we complained, though.

Head to Barry Island (not actually an island). Ridiculously hot weather – when we arrived at the beachfront it felt like a proper day off. Not like that shoddy day off in Leicester. Use band money to buy ice cream. Mini and I concoct some ridiculous tale about how babies in Wales are born (don’t worry it’s not xenophobic/derogatory – it evolved out of seeing a small child crawl out of a hole in the sand and drag herself along the beach…). I go into the arcade from Gavin and Stacey. Nobody else seems that bothered, but Mini obliges and takes my photograph outside. “Something to impress the parents with,” I think. They weren’t impressed. Quick stop off in Cardiff at the overpriced-to-the-max Buffalo Bar to meet a friend quickly, then onto Milton Keynes, where we encountered the receptionist who wins ‘biggest jobsworth in the Travelodge empire’ award. Nevertheless, Joe still manages to sneak into the three-person room. Natch.

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Barry ‘not really an island’ Island

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May 25; London, Old Blue Last (w/ 4 or 5 Magicians &

Last day of tour, guys! Which is incredibly convenient for the two drivers in the band, given Glasgow’s close proximity to London. Buh. Dump equipment at venue early afternoon, and spend the remainder of it sweating like four Scottish people in hot weather. Mini runs out of t-shirts, I conveniently have my No Age one that shrunk in the wash. Catch up with the fantastic Janine Ellis, who puts us up for the night, again! She has saved our skin with places to stay in London many a time, so props – mad props. The show is ok-ish, could have been busier (though this is true for all gigs that aren’t sold out, right?). However, the hot weather and bank holiday doesn’t put Spike Jonze off from being at the show. That’s right, Spike Jonze. Bet you wish you sacked off the park and rocked out with us now, huh? He’s really friendly and unassuming.

After the show we head to the Dalston Jazz Bar, which is fast becoming the official Copy Haho post-London-show hangout. It’s amazing. Who else do we bump into in the near-deserted bar than Crystal Antlers! After some impressive hugging (on their part, we got crushed in their grizzly bear grip) there’s just enough time for a little dance before they have to head off to France. Go to sleep a bit later, wake up, drive back to Glasgow. I then get a train back to Aberdeen. Tour over, let’s do it again sometime. In June to be precise.

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THINGS WE LOST ON TOUR: A wallet (since recovered), a shaker (broken in Glasgow), a new pair of trousers (thanks for ruining them, by the way, laundrette in Glasgow), our minds.

THINGS WE GAINED ON TOUR: Some mild debt, AA cover for 12 months.

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Copy Haho play shows and release things this year – keep track of what’s what via MySpace, and find our review of their excellent ‘Bred For Skills And Magic’ EP, released in the spring via BSM, HERE.


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