Feature, Reviews

Lost In The Riots: European Tour Diary 2012- By Joe Heddon

September 9, 2012

Back in April we featured the news that Lost In The Riots announced their European tour.  The  four-piece post rock/ instrumental band hailing from Watford, Hertfordshire  consists of Adam Edwards – Guitar, James Cook – Guitar, Robbie Parmenter – Bass and Andy Curd – Drums.  We stated the great achievement for the four- announcing the tour. As excitement took over we also shared the news that the four piece would follow in Alright The Captains’ footsteps and write us a tour diary of their adventure. We are extremely pleased and delighted to share with you a great piece of touring history. Written and bought to you by friend of the band, Joe Heddon who accompanied the four on tour- got to witness the highs and lows (lets just say mainly highs), got to experience the adventures overseas and meet and greet fans whilst reppin the merch stand.

  Below is Joe’s view on the entire trip- read all about the shows, the excitement and the experience through the eyes of a fifth band member (not on books- but as a person who stands at the merchandise stands at every gig lets give him some well earned respect). I am honored to have Joe take hold of Circuit Sweet for his fantastic writing. Something everybody will enjoy.

Joe Heddon- Lost In The Riots European  Tour Diary

Day 1 – Departure/Brussels

The Lost in the Riots cap has been acquiring feathers since first descending from [vaguely descriptive prefix]-rock heaven and wrapping around the band members’ collective heads in November 2010. Having released a debut EP, played around England, composed an albums worth of material and begun to record it, the band embarked upon their first European tour in June. I joined them as a friend, fan, human €uro/merchandise exchange interface, helping hand and diarist. The latter role entrusted me with encoding freshly stored neuropsychological information of note into an exocranial format – such as .doc or the pages of a spiral bound A5 80gsm white ruled paper pad. As my train approached the station where I was to meet up with the others, I was excited.

The van was big. I’d envisaged it swelling with baggage, pressed against the glass and spilling over my compacted compadres. That turned out to be the case in a strictly testicular sense. Such luxurious size made locating a space for the behemoth to rest within Brussels narrow and traffic laden streets an exercise in tedium. A parallelogramatic circuit in the vicinity of our destination became richly embellished in my mental cartography. Repeatedly passing the same shop fronts, I began to wonder why what appeared to be an adult video store prominently displayed a poster for the 2005 computer-animated Disney family comedy Chicken Little in its window.

Our eventual arrival was heralded by the rising of what was to be a weeklong wave of hospitality and generosity. Our hosts had prepared a delicious meal and stocked the fridge with beer of strength we were unaccustomed to. Several drinks deep, we were ushered upstairs and introduced to a collection of exotic and homemade instruments. These provided much entertainment, and intoxicated proclamations that they must feature on the album somewhere. Andy aurally echoed our shared desire to reciprocate the kindness that had been shown to us at a rate of roughly once every ten minutes, with the coherence of each repetition fading in line with his diminishing sobriety: “You all have to come….to Watford”.  Frivolity forged forth until the early hours, with Jim, Robbie and I eventually crashing on the floor while the others continued the party outside.

Day 2 – Brussels to Jena (1st show)

I awoke with the kind of surely, not yet horror that comes with pairing an immensely fun late night with a cruelly early start. The rain was ferocious, and the 15 minute charge to the van in an over laden Neanderthal gait (why did I bring the entirety of my luggage into the flat?) led to the discovery of a somewhat devolved looking Adam and Andy incubated within it.  I was zonked for a significant portion of the long drive, but became keenly aware that Robbie is a machine and pilots the van as if it were an extension of his body.

Not knowing what form the next meal was going to take, I deemed it a good idea to buy a ton of food during a refuelling stop circa lunch time. I became possessed by a malevolently gluttonous spirit on the way to the checkout and picked up an enormous pretzel, which I felt strangely compelled to consume despite my better judgement following the rest of my lunch. The next hour was spent feeling it wind through my body like a tangled mass of stodgy arteries, fearing that at any moment a grotesquely salival doughy protrusion would burst from my mouth in Gigerian fashion. When I reminisce on this first excursion into the world of a rock band on tour, I can recall how my alcohol intake was pretty sensible on the whole, I declined Bob Hope in Netherlands, remembered to pop a multivitamin every morning, but oh boy, I hit the bread products irresponsibly hard that one afternoon in Germany.

Between bouts of pre-occupation with keeping such horrors at bay and periods of unconsciousness, I was able to observe that we were driving through some areas it would be inexcusably weak to describe as nice. As was the venue and all those we spoke to within it. We were granted food, more bottled fluid than we knew what to do with, a shower (a blessing after leaving the flat that morning within minutes of waking) and a far more comfortable hostel than any of us had been expecting.

Any pre-show fantods the band may have been feeling must have been purged quickly, because they kicked the tour off with one of the best performances I have seen them play. Seeing Adam and Jim set up on an actual stage rather than on the floor amongst the audience as had become customary was a new perspective, and the guys at the venue had done a really impressive job with the lighting and sound. The music sounded huge, and there was a progressive increase in the vigour and volume of head nodding and applause as the set went on.

I was taken aback by the quantity and friendliness of people buying CD’s and t-shirts after the show. They were inquisitive about the band and tour, and I got to engage in some lengthy musical conversations with exactly the kind of people you hope to meet at shows. Cafe Wagner and the people of Jena definitely left a good impression on me, and I wish I could go to every post rock Sonntag show – the promoter seems to have created something special with a loyal following. Show #1 was a great success from my perspective.

Day 3 – Jena to Paris (2nd show)

This was a long drive, and brought Andy’s prodigious sleeping abilities into focus – inseparable from his pillow whenever in the back of the van, mere minutes of motion irresistibly lulling him into slumped absence for hours. A hasty morning departure meant recourse to baby wipe bath time, and consequently the first of a prolonged series of scrotal readings in my visual field from an Adam Edwards direction.

On French roads and approaching a toll booth, we naively rummaged through our loose change only to be stung by a €35 charge. This was followed by the French police searching the van, where they found enough beclometasone dipropionate , loratadine and cetirizine to immunise a large mammal against the effects of hay fever for a substantial period of time. Drowsy to the extent of suspicion, Andy was subjected to a thorough cavity search while listing, eyes closed and mouth agape, into the pillowed side of the van – an occurrence he recalls only in the form of a dream he has specifically requested that I refrain from repeating the details of.

Our satellite navigation equipment had been reliably disseminating guidance in a thick Australian accent since England, but Paris seemed to hurl it into a frenzied state; the casual upward inflexion disguising a lurch into profound spatial disorientation. I lost track of how long it took us to find the hostel. Let’s call it: a long time. It should once again be stressed at this point that Robbie behind the wheel of the van is a figure of considerable heroism.

The venue had a dingy charm, though the toilet was of a certain maybe I can wait calibre. Presenting tokens for complimentary drinks at the bar, Andy and I received glasses of the most off beer I have ever tasted – visually black; palatally a vinegary dilute of what I can only describe as a concentrated liquid distillation of the word festering.

The audience was not as populous as the previous night, but those who were watching seemed to enjoy the show and sought out CD’s after. The songs sounded great, and I was pleased by the sight of the solo performer who opened the night with a quirky set featuring some unusual covers (one of which involved dragging a Britney Spears song into the depths of insanity) getting so into the music.

Day 4 – Paris to Bordeaux (3rd show)

Stating that we would be going to Bordeaux had been met by blank looks on several occasions thus far, with repetition eventually leading to a revelatory, “ah, Bordeaux!”.  Our déclassé English bore-dough ricocheting off cultured ears, we began utilising the pinch fingered gesticulation that unconsciously accompanies any attempt at French pronunciation – as if the continental sophistication has to be physically drawn from us. Exhausted by this linguistic masquerade, we privately embraced our plebeian phonology by emitting the word into each other’s faces in the most slack-jawed and heavy-tongued manner possible. BOOORE-DOOOUGH.

“Ah, Bordeaux!” was such a beautiful place that I could see why there was a mental block preventing it being linked with our droning. Some pre-show flyering provided a great opportunity to stroll around the city and further hone my pronunciation – of bonjour and bonsoir at least, which were deployed at several hundred bemused Bordelais.

I was unprepared for the sheer hypnotic force of AREA’s energetic performance – which was of I must own their CD tonight quality (I did, and it was a wise decision). Thus far, everything had come together to make this a special show. The opening volley of ‘Stranger in the Alps’, designated LITR opener all tour, gave off an instant intuitive resonance that confirmed this would continue to be the case. Judging by the applause and smiles all around, I was not the only one to have a great time. Adam leapt from the stage and circled the audience, leading us in a clap along to the closing section of a blistering rendition of ‘Sentinels’ (the unrelenting riffage of which I cannot wait to be able to hear a shiny studio recording of).

Everyone we met in Bordeaux had been incredibly cool, and staying out with our new friends after the show was fun. Our host possessed a fine selection of airbeds for the night, and given the quality of the bands he put on, it was surreal to think who had been there recently (e.g. Maybeshewill) and was to come in the following weeks (e.g. Prawn). Another promoter of impeccable taste, doing a great service to their local music scene.

Day 5 – Bordeaux to Orleans (no show)

We awoke to the first opportunity to enjoy a proper breakfast thus far. The next show was not until the following day, and being spared a groggy early morning pile into the van was a refreshing change. Our free time was well used: our gracious host gave us a tour of Bordeaux, and sniffed out the best falafels I have ever had the joy of consuming. We were sad to leave a place that had treated us so well, but a long drive beckoned.

Orleans was a mid way stop for the night en route back to Brussels. We were surprised to discover that our hostel was within a football stadium, and delighted to find that it provided the opportunity to play table tennis. Andy revealed himself to be a ruthlessly talented player. His ferociously unreturnable returns possessed an almost phobic character; an animalistic swat of pure adrenalized force – as if someone had thrown an arachnid at him and shouted react!  Jim quickly detected a weakness in my game and exploited it mercilessly: I was unable to prevent myself from entering a state of near hysteria whenever he performed a certain physical contortion. This involved fashioning a mildly kyphotic curvature, the promotion of the shoulders to earlobe level, a diagonal rearing back of the head, the adoption of an intimidating grimace, and gazing upon me with a single predatory eye. This had been activating my ventromedial prefrontal cortex in a manner which provoked litsotic eruptions of amusement all tour. Adam deployed the same tactic, and his faces defy description. One is like evil manifest undergoing high-G training. One is like the nightmare that inspired the Troll 2 costume department. One is vacuously serpentine. These are mere words, resigned to their inadequacy in invoking such images. A passing woman’s face presented an expression I translated as, “these are English of some serious maxillofacial trouble”.

We spent the rest of the evening watching ’Dude, Where’s My Car?’ in the van. This film is: idiotic. Despite the brain erosion inflicted by it and several beers, we adhered to the sign imploring us not to ‘slap the doors’ on the way to our room. It was the least we could do.

Darkness and silence filling the room, an arm swung down from the bunk above me offering a mobile telephone. I accepted the object, and began digesting the sense data beaming at me from the illuminated surface. A vast colony of pixels worked in unison to project an image of James Cook. A blurred effect had domed his glowering expression within hazy contours. It elicited the muffled and spasmodic noises of barely suppressed laughter prising its way into the open. These sounds, which I found increasingly difficult to contain, aroused Andy Curd.  Manipulating his body from quarter-past-nine to quarter-past-eleven, he enquired, “What the fuck?” Allowing an absurdly short response time, he repeated this enquiry a further two times.

“I am just laughing…at this picture…”

“What the fuck?!”

“…he looks like an Engineer…from Prometheus…”

“What the fuck?!

“…it’s just a funny picture…I’m sorry…”

“What the fuck?! What the fuck?!

At this point, I began to suspect that the Andy I had aroused was an irrational and unconscious one. Also: one of profound lexicographical deficiency. There would be no reasoning with him. My brain entered data search mode, as I sought a way to appease him and atone for my noise pollution. In desperation, I began to sing an Ethel Merman medley – blurting out line after line, while caressing his fevered head. Remarkably, this worked – the expletive inquisitor slithered back to his dark mind cave, recommencing peacefully burbling sleep.

Day 6 – Orleans to Brussels (4th show)

Brussels was fortified with a formidable lattice of velocity dampening obstacles: metal husks alternating between stationary and creeping. The weather conditions made me think: it is as if someone has, like, collected a huge quantity of water in an enormous receptacle, lifted it into the sky, and they are pouring that water out of the receptacle, and gravity is causing it to fall back towards the Earth, but before it gets there it is hitting some kind of sieve-like layer, and that is dividing it into these sort of angled but more or less vertical streams, and that is the form I am seeing it splash all over the windscreen and the road and the pavement and the buildings and the metal husks and the umbrellas and the other things in. ’10 minutes in Brussels’ became a phrase of temporal absurdity after an hour spent watching the street map centric face of our antipodean guide flirtatiously wink ETA’s grossly out of sync with reality – evidently suffering a severe malfunction of the Shatner’s Bassoon.

It was great to be reunited with some of those who had made our first night in Brussels so great, and new friends were soon found in the form of those who were putting the show on and providing our accommodation for the night. A feast had been laid out for us, and we were treated to more free beer.

The venue was certainly one of the most aesthetically appealing we had been to. The opulence of the main bar area was backed by a staircase, beyond the inky-veiled landing of which lay a low ceilinged Cimmerian cellar, breathing natural atmosphere. Industroika administered an undulating soundscape flickering with cosmic energy to a sizeable crowd, after which it was the turn of LITR to perform. The audience curved around the band in a way which conjured a real feeling of intimacy. I had volunteered to film a few songs, but found myself quite unable to stand still – a particularly impressive feat given that I had already witnessed these songs 3 times within the last 4 days (and I cannot remember how many times previous to that). After catching myself unconsciously nodding my head in a manner I suspected detrimental to picture stability during ‘Sentinels’, I gave up and focused solely on enjoying the show. ‘Pearl River Delta’ has been a favourite of mine since I first heard it, and it has never sounded better to my ears than it did on this night. The end section of it has been described, with one hundred percent accuracy, as ‘feckin’ beautiful’. By the monolithic closing combination of ‘We Build Cathedrals’ and ‘The City Burned’, it seemed like a moment had occurred. That is: a wordless sense that something special had been collectively experienced. Of course, this could be a fantastic projection on my part – but those I spoke to after seemed to have enjoyed it a lot, and I was acutely aware that it would have ranked very high on the Incredible Discovery scale had I wandered in with virgin ears.

I scampered to the merchandise table, and quickly realised that neglecting to procure any kind of lighting was ill judged. T-shirt requests were met with much rummaging and squinting, while the unfamiliar feel of the currency led to each piece I retrieved from the money box being scrutinised under mobile phone light. I spoke to some really cool people who had kind things to say, three of whom stayed out late in the bar upstairs with us. It was a brilliant night from start to finish: I thought we must have passed the high point of the tour when we left Bordeaux, but Brussels had somehow managed to be at least as incredible.

Day 7 – Brussels to Leiden (5th show?)

The Leiden show had been cancelled. A replacement venue had not been found. LITRoptian optimism abounded; spirits ran high. We went anyway, with hopes that something could be arranged.

Leiden felt Dutch. Bicyclical flotillas crisscrossed. Grolsch grolsched. Our host’s cat was orange. It became apparent that the trend of people/places being substantially in excess of pleasant had continued to the end. We were instantly made to feel welcome, and enjoyed a beer on the grass next to a canal. A whizz around a supermarket was followed by former chef Andy impressing us with his culinary skills.

We toured the city via stops at small bars at which there was a chance the band would be able to play. Around 10:30 the persistence of our new Dutch friend paid off, and permission was granted. We hurriedly retrieved the gear from the van, and began setting up on the tiny two levelled stage. Andy’s drum kit barely fit on uppermost shelf, the mat spilling over the edge. There was an air of punk rock.

Those in attendance had not expected live music, let alone the music the band would be playing – who knows what their tastes were. Considering this, the response was great. The sound could not match the previous shows, but was remarkably good given the circumstances – any extra scruff adding to the impromptu vibe. The bar staff continually ferried shipments of beer toward the stage, embracing the spontaneity of the night and visibly enjoying the music.

‘Sinking Ships’ hit me with some kind of psychological warp power. I realised that I was in the Netherlands, watching something I had been originally sent as a solo bedroom project demo by Adam – what, 5 years previously? – being performed by a full band in magnificently evolved form. That I had witnessed it in Germany, France and Belgium over the last week, along with an array of phenomenally good material they had since constructed as a group. That people who had never heard it before were cheering after, and buying copies impressed on beautifully packaged CD’s. This struck me as being: pretty cool.

Again we thank Joe for his time and Lost in the Riots for allowing us to feature their tour diary.

Lost in the Riots are currently finishing recording their album expected later this year- we can’t wait. In the mean time get more from the four piece at the featured links below- 

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  • Reply European Tour Diary | Lost in the Riots | Watford Post Rock November 6, 2012 at 10:01 pm

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