Old Boy Tour Diaries by guitarist Jacob Walker.
Old Boy band members are on Southampton Solent University’s music courses.
11th January 2017: Southampton/Somewhere In France
11th January 2017, we embark on our first European tour. I’m still pretty shocked that it’s actually happening, who thought with our little metalcore band that we’d end up touring Europe. Like, we’ve done the UK a few times since our inception 2 years ago. This day is mainly for travelling over to France. So, in our touring party there’s 9 of us, there’s the band (Me, Connor, Ash, Conner and Alfie), Keiran (Conner’s brother and our driver), Tazz, Ollie and Zak (who have joined us for the ride).
We have a 3-hour drive from Southampton to Dover to get the ferry and once we get on the ferry we all sit down and get a few drinks in. Also with this some of the guys took this opportunity to abuse the duty free and stock up on large quantities of alcohol.
Once we got to Calais we then began to drive to find somewhere to stay for the evening. We end up locating a hotel which is only 30 euros for the night for three people which is an absolute bargain. I don’t see why hotels in England aren’t this cheap and it wasn’t too bad either.
12th January 2017: Somewhere in France/Mons, Belgium
Day 2 in Europe and the actual first date of tour we woke up relatively early to go and venture to the McDonalds next door as some folk wanted a McDonalds breakfast. Not really sure why as 7 out of 9 of us are vegan and McDonalds breakfast selection for us is just a hash brown and black coffee, a bit shit to be honest. Anyway, I digress, so we get to the McDonalds and it turns out that in Europe McDonalds doesn’t open till 10:30 and doesn’t do the breakfast menu, culture shock rumbles through the Old Boy camp.
To make up for this we went to the Super-Marché to get a large amount of supplies for our upcoming journey to Mons in Belgium. After an hour, we get into Mons and park up outside the venue and load in our equipment. We decided to head around Mons and have a look about to see what was going on. Mons itself a simple town, with a mixture of small independent shops along with your bigger chains such as JD, H&M and more. We first ended up visiting a store which resembled Forbidden Planet in Southampton after that we left the shop and head towards what turned out to be the local cathedral. Now I’m not a religious person at all but I can appreciate the beauty of a good church.
After this we continued our roaming around Mons, our friend Ollie wanted to look for a record store so we googled for one and then we went to find it. Once we got there we all went into the shop and had a look at the vinyl collection. We didn’t pick anything up but it’s also good picking up and album pointing to it and going “this album was really good, you should listen to it.” We began getting hungry so we googled “vegan restaurants in Mons” in the hope that we would find something. Luckily, we found what would be an absolute gem of a place.
It was a little vegan café, we all sat down and then began the struggle of ordering food with an obvious language barrier. Even with this, the waitress was lovely and very helpful with the little English she knew (not that it was an issue at all she didn’t speak English, I struggle speaking English myself at the best of times never mind trying to learn another language). I decided to have the vegan chilli myself and it was amazing, such an excellent meal.
After this we decide to head back to the van and our hearts sink. Someone had smashed the driver side window of the van trying to break in. Thank fuck for deadlocks otherwise they would have fully got into the van. I took all my valuables with my valuables with me but some people in our touring party left their stuff in the van.
This was distressing. What low scumbag would do this? It was not exactly the welcome into Europe we really wanted. We were all on edge and stuff got worse. Learning that we pretty much needed to cover the damage ourselves, we thought we were fucked. This was going to set us back almost 600 odd euros as it is and there was no way we could afford that. We decided that we needed to split up into groups, one group would go and sort the van while our group (being the band + Zak) would stay at the show.
I just felt sorry for our vocalist, he was making loads of phone calls trying to get this all sorted and trying to get the damage sorted so we didn’t have to do the rest of the tour with a busted window. We decided that we needed to ask for help and asked for donations to help us out and people delivered. We managed to raise the money to get the window repaired in 2 hours, it was amazing and really restored my waning faith in the human race. Literally, nothing has touched me more than seeing all of our friends, family and just other great people helping us out. It was amazing (by the way, if you’re reading this and donated. Thank you so fucking much, from the bottom of my heart).
After all of the panic, the show must go on. It was amazing, it was a release of all the stress of the day and people loved it. After we played we got told that someone had thanked our drummer for playing because they use to have a hardcore scene in Mons but it died, so it was great we came down to play. That was awesome, being thanked to play somewhere, in England playing a show almost seems like an inconvenience for some folk.
After the show, we all turned in for the night, sleeping on the stage that we played on. What an introduction to touring Europe ayy?
Words by Jacob Walker