Wed 11th October - Day 1
After a small regional flight a rather battered looking Hugh McGinlay stood waiting at Taupo regional airport. A slightly late Jerseybob wheelspins into view and gathers the whiskey ridden Aussie for day 1 of the 8 day campaign. Raw Balance in Taupo had a strategically placed camper truck parked outside for Hugh's morning slumber. Meanwhile I toiled inside the cafe making the finest coffee known to man. Delivered aforesaid coffee Hugh sang his way to a free lunch and we hit the road for Eastern shores.
A spectacular drive ensued to Hastings town and the effervescent Common Room bar. Gerard Barron, aka G, has set up a magical space in hastings. Nestled in the quirksome Heretaunga East it has all the qualities needed for a good night out. Fire pit in the beer garden, fine local wines and ales and top notch music. Hugh delivers a high energy show and I manage a great set as we close the night with a Duo set. I was blown away by Hugh's harmonies and was definitely the highlight of the night. What followed the show was a particular lowlight but a hell of a journey. We were booked on the early sailing to Picton and had to drive through the night to Wellington albeit a short 2 hour 'sleep in the car' outside Woodville toilets, very romantic! We make the check in with hours to spare and await the giant floating vessels arrival.
Thursday 12th October - Day 2
One main objective on a tour of the South Island is to get a free ferry crossing. To do this we need to play a concert in the bar on level 8. After a night drive and toilet slumber this is the least of our worries. Load up the lift and we were all set for a mid sea concerto. It's such a great way to fund the trip and if it wasn't for the 3 - 5 year olds colouring in competition we may have had a full bar. The crowd were rather pleasant and we chorded our way to Picton and a well earned day off. The idea of a pint of Guinness was far to strong and before we knew it the black stuff was poured and a game of darts ensued. Hugh admitted he was no player and commenced to hit the bullseye. We celebrated his majestic throw with 3 more pints and a plate of fish and chips. I was a very happy punter and soon got over the thrashing at darts.
Midge McCleary had a Jam night set up that night and we had to put in an appearance to plug the forthcoming Session at The Irish Bar. It was a great night alright and luckily managed to get home to bed before the early start to Greymouth. Midge and Annabelle always make a bed for us and I love those buggers dearly.
Fri 13th October - Day 3
My fingers were already showing signs of wear but Hugh seemed to be revelling in the pain. First stop was the Picton Village Bakerij. An institution of fine pies and a very limited Vegan option! Hugh took out 3 pies and a tour record and I opted for the one and only vegan option, Turmeric bread sandwich which was rather pleasant. I did sneak to Z garage and collect a plan B Vegan pie also !! The road was a long 6 hour push across to St Arnaud, Nelson Lakes and Murchinson. Here we found a very agreeable bakery selling Organic coffee and French fancies. What a great find and I was transported to France in a whiff. One poignant stop at the Lyell cemetery to gather our thoughts and we were lucked on by a sunny West Coast blue sky. Taking a detour to Punakaiki and the magical sound of the ocean we arrive in Greymouth for a well earned pint of Monteiths. Brewed a mere 60 metres from the fabby Ferraris Bar.
By the time we sound check we have a 30 minute break at our luxurious accommodation and are back drinking fine booze on the busiest roundabout in Greymouth. Midway between wine glasses a very famous chef arrives for a televised cooking show. Annabel Langbein attracted a huge following of perfumed women. Myself & Hugh counted over 100 teetering on high heels and imagined a large crowd staying for our concert. Unfortunately they mostly scarpered and we were left with a cheeky bar full of inebriated folk. I enjoyed the banter and must admit to drinking an enormous amount of red wine, way more than my body could handle... Bring on a tumultuous 1.8km walk to the hostel that took over an hour to complete the campaign and a close encounter with the porcelain bus.. Hugghieeeee and Rallllllllf had arrived.
Sat 14th October - Day 4
Hugh cajoled me from a hungover slumber and I realised oops.... ! The plan was Reefton for breakfast, Motueka for lunch and the final push to the Mussel Inn. A mere 400kms. But as I was worse for wear Hugh became the surrogate chauffeur and did a sterling job. We had one cassette on loop in the car... 'I want my.. I want my.... I want my MTV' bellowed out across the cab as a superb cloud sat over the west coast mountains. Hangover lifting I found a marvellous cure. Mamazing Kombucha.
The mountain that separates Motueka from Golden Bay is affectionately called Marble Mountain. The sunbeams break through the clouds as the road twists it way to Takaka. We made it and all that was left was the performance of the tour. Hugh booked The Mussel Inn way back as the place is a sought after venue for musicians. Fine Ale, Fine audience, Fine Sound and the toppest quality owners. Jane and Andrew Dixon. The show was wonderful with Hugh pulling out all the magic and included one of my all time favourites 'Colour and Design' We finished with the duo set and Ancestors ringing in the ears of the crowd. It was fine fine and oh such a pleasure to play The Mussel Inn.
Sunday 15th October - Day 5
Our last show was back over in Picton where the Irish Bar was waiting. The drive was a special thing with a stop at the clearest springs Pupu in Takaka. A large coffee always agrees and the Wholemeal Cafe never disappoints. Loaded up we cross the hill and plummet into Nelson for a well earned stop. Life on the road is normally 4 - 5 hours of driving, 3 hours of drinking coffee/eating, 3 hours of playing music, 4 hours of blah blahing and the chance of a bed/sofa/mattress on floor. It's great and greater when the last show beckons.
I like to set up and get ready before any punters turn up and we manage this perfectly at Seumuss Irish bar. Home for a quick siesta at Midge and Annabelles and I was raring to go. The show was an early affair 7.30pm kick off and the most delightful thing happened. Andy Coleman made it up from Christchurch and that was a sight for sore eyes.. We both played a cracking set and even got Andy and Midge up for a guest slot. It was a brilliant end to the tour and rather pleasingly sold a few items of merchandise. No mean feat in the day and age of Spotify. Guinness and more Guinness and a fine farewell to Picton's best bar. Our number one fanclub loved it and John & Judy took a few good memories onwards.
Monday 16th October - Day 6
Hugh had opted for a safe early flight from Blenheim to Christchurch and the final 29km drive to deliver the Aussie. As we hugged farewell we made promises of more to come and I ain't a man to break a promise. It was a fine tour, it was a joy working together and I have never seen a man eat so many pies. I had the luxury of a day off and found Ritual Cafe in Blenheim where I could eat a Vegan meal drink an Organic coffee and a RAW cake. Great place and wonderful food. I still had a Ferry show to play and after an early night I was back ready for my penultimate show.
Tuesday 17th October - Day 7
It was a perfect day for a ferry ride. Slight wind and sunshine. Alas which meant it was a perfect day not to sit in a dingy bar on the ferry and listen to some Original folk music. I did manage to get the elusive gift shop lady to make an announcement after the scones had sold out. All of a sudden I had 1 very excited audience. It made all the difference and before I knew it I was loading the lift for the North Island. I still had to get up to Carterton some 1.5 hours away but I could sense home was getting closer. Closer to my girls I missed, Monika and fur daughter Maggie, the Snauzer Jack Muscle.....!!!
Apres Tour Synopsis Top 3's
1. Raw Balance Deli, Taupo
2. Wholemeal Cafe, Takaka
3. Le Cafe, Picton
1. Interislander Ferry to Picton
2. Z Garage, Greymouth
3. The Red Barn, Murchinson
Best Pie (Hughs Chosen Category)
1. Picton Bakery
2. Motueka bakery
3. Z Garage, Greymouth
(No Worst Pie Category but hasten to add the sausage rolls in Havelock were RANK)
Best bed for the night
1. Global Village Backpackers, Greymouth
2. Bed in the back of Jerseybob's Truck, Taupo
3. The Mussel Inn, Onekaka
Worst Bed for the night
1. Car outside Woodville toilets
2. Car outside ferry terminal
3. Car waiting to get onboard ferry to Picton
(You get the picture it was very unagreeable)
Best Crowd On Tour
1. Seumuss bar, Picton
2. The Mussel Inn, Onekaka
3. The Common Room
Worst Crowd On Tour
1. Raw Balance Deli, Taupo
2. Wellington To Picton Ferry
3. Picton To Wellington Ferry
Winner Of The Biggest Fans Of The Our
John & Judy Vermeulen (Hands Down No Arguments)
Big thanks to all those peeps that helped on the tour. Wives, Pets and kids that released us for a week of debauchery and suffering. Till the next one xxx
Jerseybob and Hugh McGinlay
Well well well before I totally forget where the last 10 days of relentless touring went I better write a wee overview of it. Firstly a big high five to everyone that put me in a bed for the night and fed me. My missus for letting the rope out and giving me the freedom of travel and punishment and all the venues for keeping the dream alive in a oddly strange world where Pokemon Go seems to be more important than real life!!
North Island : Friday 15th July - Sunday 17th July.
As Monika turned left to town I beeped her off and turned right to take the scenic 300km drive across to the west coast and Taranaki. Big stormy Mokau was a good half way coffee stop and as the storm front arrived a great place to stay till it passed. I had booked a few shows in the North Island and a handful in the South Island. New Plymouth has a vibrant scene and it's always a good time to catch up with old pals. The gig was at a boutique backpackers which sounds odd but works wonderfully. Brett and Paula transform the room into a great listening space as we wait for a few clients.. It turned out to be a cracking night with Matt Herrett playing a blistering set with a tip top sound and finished off with Vincent Black Lightning!! I loved playing to the crowd and did the ubiquitous set of fun, laughter and heartfelt tunes. I have to say it was a good show and highly recommend the backpackers. Great to kick off the tour with a humdinger.
I had a few hours sleep and before I knew it was setting up at Escape Coffee shop for an early morning soiree. Great coffee which was sorely needed after the celebrations the night before. This is one of the better coffee shops in NZ and after the 3 hours I am feeling more perky. Next door is a Bike Kitchen where they repair old bikes and sell for an affordable price. Heavenly place to be playing music. Sandwiched between a coffee shop and a bike shop.. Boom. I packed the car for a 5 hour drive to The Tin Hut in Wairapa and noticed a flapping note under the wiper blades....... $200 fine for not displaying the rego correctly... My heart sank.
5 hours to Carterton and the Manawatu Gorge cheered me up. Arrived at 5.30pm and was whisked off to play at The Tin Hut, a great venue 20kms south. Just for the record. This was my 3rd gig in 23 hours.... My fingers didn't need to know that! It was a fun evening and I stayed sober to get us home for a well earned glass of Johner Pinot Noir (Possibly the best drop out there)
I was rudely awoken by a Snauzer called Charlie snorting a load of previously eaten dog food over me at the ungodly hour of 8am. News was we had landed a wee gig at the farmers market in Carterton and the crowd was waiting.. Holy that made it 4 gigs in 32 hours and I still had the ferry crossing to play later that day!!! The tour was well underway. The ferry was as normal, sit in bar, order a terrible cup of coffee pay $4.50. Play for 2 hours and maybe if you are lucky 1 person may clap in a appreciation. The only time you see any resonation in the audience is when the scones are announced as being served in the lobby. There is a mad rush and the crowd evaporates. It's a pretty nice way to get a free crossing though and before I can say boo to a goose we dock in Picton.
South Island: Sun 17th July - Sun 24th July
The town was deserted, I searched the streets for signs of food and drink but was left empty handed. Midge McCleary had thought ahead and as I pulled in for a few days break there was a veritable stash of lager and wine. The next 3 days was a blur of tiling a tiny bathroom, drinking green juice and cacao smoothies, drinking vessels of wine, fishing off a vessel and catching a large shark (True) and generally lazing after the 5 gig bonanza earlier that week.
Thursday nights in downtown Picton explode at Oxleys Rock bar when Midge brings his jam night to the bar. Some great performances arise and some not so great ones too. We end up worse for wear singing another brick in the wall with a Gary Glitter chorus. Normal night in Picton then! Bed before 1 am is always a bonus and I hit the sheets for an early departure to Greymouth.
I take a scenic 400km drive via St Arnaud and the fabulous Buller and Murchinson gorges. The West Coast is renowned for its in clement weather, but today was ideal for a diversion to Westport and down the line to Punakaiki and a 7 metre swell sets the scene for a spectacular blow hole shower. Into Greymouth and found my accomodation kindly sorted by the venue. Unfortunately it was infested with South Korean travellers who were probably not going to watch my approaching concert. They need to get out more!
Show time and due to Pokemon Go I only attract a small appreciative audience. The bright side is the food was perfect, Thai and tasty as it should be. Sold 75% CD sales and had a skinful to boot. Great hosts and well worth a re visit. One down side of Greymouth is nothing is open after the gig and the well earned fish and chips has never happened to this day.
Early start and a driving northerly wind wakes me up on the walk to the venue to collect the car. Nelson is a 4 hour stint and Reefton saves my ailing sight with a decent coffee and some poached eggs. Meet up with Bryce Wastney in Nelson for a catch up and a hot cuppa. The Irish Bar in Picton is the evening gig and I arrive travel worn and a wondering if I can play a 3 hour set to the rugby revellers. I needn't worry as a few pints of Guinness later and a hearty meal I find the crowd very receptive and blaze through till the early morn playing a fair few originals and a huge back catalogue of Waterboys songs. I finish at 1am with deep knowledge I have to check in at 7.30am to play my final show on the ferry.... The wind decides to pick up that minute!!
It's a North Westerly and man she blows. There was a slight doubt the boat might not go but I was soon on board wrestling with speakers and the lift to the 8th floor. Set up and ready by 8am for a easy going show with some very agreeable applause. At one point I had quite a following when an announcement of a whale on the starboard side emptied the bar. I was tempted to have a look but I kept on keeping on. A few returned with scones and REAL cream and the boat arrived in the capital. Tour was over and I had a small jaunt to Carterton for the shortest drive of the campaign. Ken and Jayna had just opened a rather pleasing bottle of Grenache and next thing I remember I am crawling the streets of Carterton 7pm on a Sunday dribbling utter nonsense to the welcoming locals. Great town and I left with a large hangover for a 6 hour crossing of the Manawatu's and Desert Road home to a loving warm hug from the wife in a cold old house.
Top 3 best and worst's of tour:
Best Crowd Reaction
Worst Crowd Reaction
PS I was going to do a best and worst accomodation but to be truthfully honest everywhere I stayed was great and I thank all the hosts for a pleasant journey. See you on the trail.