Reading & Leeds Festival. Day two. BMTH, PTV, Alexisonfire and more. Let's do this.
This is how Brawlers do it.
Brawlers are always, always, always on the road, so we asked them to give us a snapshot of what it's like living life in a van.
Take it away, Harry...
"When I was 16 years old me and my pal Tom Watson bailed from school early and went to see Less Than Jake in Nottingham. The show was predictably ace, - especially since the bands ‘Borders & Boundaries’ had become our staple summer record - and after the show I waited for their bass player, Roger, to come and sign my ticket whilst I told him how I wish I could grow dreadlocks too.
On Saturday the 8th August 2015 I was going through the contents of Roger's lunchbox* and drinking a beer before walking onstage with my rock and roll band Brawlers to support Less Than Jake. Weird, huh?
*It was a Star Wars lunch box and it held a Go-Pro camera and some other various cable bits and bobs."
FRIDAY, AUGUST 07
READING BOWERY DISTRICT W/ ANTI-FLAG
"Me and the boys in Brawlers drive to Reading. It’s miles away. We pool every pound we have - and a few extras we borrowed - to buy petrol and then set off into the sunlit abyss of Berkshire…
Throughout the last hour of the journey we fantasise about what food could be waiting for us after this gruelling but nu-metal sound-tracked five-and-a-half-hour journey. We decide that a cooked chicken in a bag would be heaven. Not fois-gras or anything, just some cooked chicken. We’re starving!
We arrive at the venue to be greeted by the Anti-Flag dudes and after a brief hug with everyone we seek out the rider. There isn’t one. I want to murder everyone in Reading, now. Anti-Flag overhear our plans to rob a nearby Tesco and the next thing we know they’ve donated their food-rider to us. That’s fucking punk rock! We haven’t got a pot to piss in and one of the hardest working, internationally established punk bands in the world gives the support band a helping hand. You guys will never know how grateful we were that afternoon.
The show ruled, I made 100 people get into a photobooth with me mid-set and then we got drunk, ended up at the Purple Turtle bar because we had nowhere to stay and it was open ‘til 4am. Some of us stayed on a trampoline in the garden of a manor house that night, some of us slept in the van with just their denim jackets as a quilt. It doesn’t matter which one of us did what but it was a good time."
SATURDAY, AUGUST 08
LONDON BROOKLYN BOWL W/ ANTI-FLAG + LESS THAN JAKE
"We drive to the O2 Arena to open up for Anti-Flag and Less Than Jake. Normal. We have to do bomb-checks and sign heaps of weird documents but when we finally get to the venue it kind of hits us that this is easily the biggest show we’ve ever played together and that we probably will get fed!
The next hour or so is funny because I’m so nervous that I have a big blank spot. We do the show. No one shouted any abuse and there was certainly more people at the end of the set than the beginning. It’s just a sea of people and I have no idea what I’m doing there. It’s ace though. Then we eat some amazing ribs and fries (Brookyln Bowl you RULE) and the show rep is this rad Australian punk rock dude who cottons onto it being my birthday and brings us up more spirits than you can shake a stick at – NICE!
Anti-Flag and Less Than Jake play killer shows. They both shout out Brawlers and considering how hard trying to tour and get our music out to people can be, a huge smile appears on my face. I look over at Matt, our guitarist and best friend, and he has the same smile. Then we get shitfaced, annoy the big bands, share some laughs and some beers and I drink birthday shots until someone bundles me into the van and the last thing I remember is listening to Korn really loud with our manager. Best show ever."
SUNDAY, AUGUST 09
BRISTOL MARBLE FACTORY W/ ANTI-FLAG
"One of my favourite bits of touring is the morning after when we all have to find each other in a city we’re not always totally familiar with, waiting for our shared stories of debauchery and adventure. Once we all find the van we buy some pitta bread and Laughing Cow cheese and have breakfast. Bristol is always good to us and it’s a beautiful and interesting city. The hangover has pretty much gone by the time we get there. We listen to the new Don Broco record and it’s brilliant. The rep for tonight’s show is a friend from when we played Hit The Deck a month or two previous and hits us up with a crate of Red Stripe.
Whilst Anti-Flag sound check we sit around a table outside in the sun, drinking beer and laughing until beer comes out of my nose. I love my bandmates with all of my heart. I never have laughed so hard, so consistently as I do with these boys. Sometimes people start bands for the wrong reasons, but truly, with Brawlers, it’s an excuse to make music we love with the people we love. 3 people or 300, we will always have a laugh and a beer and be thankful we are there and not in a call centre.
We sit for hours after the show with the Anti-Flag dudes and talk about girls and Fat Wreck Records and have a good old time. They really are great people. We exchange numbers and photos and hit the road home. We get in at 6am and although I’m so tired that my body aches and I know this hangover will neutralise the next 24 hours of my life, if we got a call asking to go back out that day for another week, or month, or year, we’d do it in a heartbeat.
I just hope I have enough pocket change to buy some breakfast…"
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