We rolled into the Welsh territories without knowing what to expect. Though it is not proper Wales, the rural “tribal” (Graham's words, not mine) history meeting the big city gave Bristol a quaint charm that belied it's party nature. This turned out to be a very fun night, if only for the fact the bands played below sea level in the hull of the Thelka, Bristol's (famous?) floating performance space. Even if it was freezing cold in the venue the whole night, the bands and the fans were in rare form, especially for a Tuesday.
Loading into the hull.
Looking down at Sarah.
Looking up at Andrya.
It even made the warm beer they gave us go down smoother. It also may have spurred Talk Normal to deliver their best set to date, in my opinion. Unlike London, where they had the most energy, this was the tightest and most on-point they've sounded on this tour. Must've been the sound guy.
Jerey (aka Zack Galifianakis) the sound man.
Sarah signing autographs for a fan. A regular occurrence, believe it or not.
Once again, we were ushered off-deck the moment Wire ended at 10 pm. Most weekday shows end at 11, with the weekend shows ending at 10 so the disco night can begin. But this was a Tuesday. Apparently Bristol doesn't care what night of the week it is. In came the underage and underdressed clientele that would keep the boat-party rocking' till dawn.
Graham looking pensive.
Mark the fireman, who's been at 9 Wire shows on this tour.
We decided to head back to the 'Lodge and call it a night, and the next morning we did some more exploring in downtown Bristol. It really was a nice, college town. Entirely reminiscent of the Village in NYC, or the small-market co-op community in whatever city you live in. Really great vibe with great record shops and vintage boutiques – with Andrya and Sarah feeling compelled to visit each one.
The only thing I cared about at the vintage store.
Next up was Exeter, a town I hadn't ever heard of before we received the tour itinerary. Again, we entered a town strewn with history, where castles sat next to tall glass city buildings. This time we played in the Arts Center of the Exeter University, but that still didn't change the demographic of the audience.
There was one guy in a Phillies hat who I refrained from all conversation with.
Us taking advantage of Wire's green room.
What we did come to find out during our stop in Exeter is that this would be the furthest West we would be and that the area was most well-known for its cider. Of course we had to taste the local fare and we finally spent a night out with Wire drinking past the midnight curfew of most of the local pubs. We walked to The Old Firehouse with Matt, Graham and Jerry, the increasingly awesome sound guy, and downed a few half-pints of mulled cider. Tasty indeed. So tasty we drank enough to inspire a late-night dance party around the food cart, where Sarah got the most amazing sandwich ever – veggie burger with bacon and grilled onions. Marinate on that for a minute.
Graham telling a story…
Result of said story.
Jerry, Sarah, and Matt (new Wire member/second guitar player) at The Old Firehouse.
Jerry looking devilish with some mulled cider.
Latenight dance party at the food cart.
On our way out of Exeter, we made a quick stop over in Cheddar – you guessed it – the home of cheddar cheese. It's also home of the “Cheddar Man“, copious amounts of cider, and a giant gorge. We went for the gorge, but came back with two-year aged cheese, some cider, some fudge, and these sweet pictures of mountain goats who were so close you could touch them. Their horns suggested it was a bad idea, so we did not.
And now for a lot of nature photos. But first with some cheese and cider. We'll catch up in Cardiff.
The base of our journey.
Walking up 367 steps to the lookout point.
A goat blocking our path to the lookout tower.
The view from the top of the tower.
Walking to the edge of the gorge.
…and goat poop.
We made it.
The view from the very top.
Looking over the edge. Note there is no railing.