A.C. Newman Tour Diary By Jon Wurster: Part 3

glasgow_view550If you think that post title is catchy, you should hear Get Guilty (Matador), the most recent solo album by New Pornographers frontman Carl “A.C.” Newman. It’ll blow your mind. Jon Wurster, drummer for indie rock’s A-list (Superchunk, Robert Pollard, Bob Mould, Mountain Goats, Whiskeytown), chronicles his recent U.K. tour with Newman this week at magnetmagazine.com:

May 21
Today we travel further north to the land that gave us haggis, golf and the Exploited. To say nothing of the many fine products in the Scotch brand tape family. It’s a beautiful drive through the English and Scottish countryside; really inspiring. At a rest stop, we meet a band from Ireland that will also be playing in Glasgow tonight. They’re at a venue called King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut. I’ve played there a few times over the years, and my main memory of it will always be sitting down to eat a club-provided pre-show meal and Mac McCaughan being presented with a “tuna potato,” which is, of course, Scottish for “a potato with a lump of tuna stuck in it.” I think he ended up just dropping it in the toilet when nobody was looking.

Later: At the ABC Glasgow, which is a great venue with nice crew and the full backstage spread; they even have my last-minute addition to the rider (six copies of the current issue of Nuts). After running through a few songs, we head out for more Indian. On the way to dinner, a woman asks us for directions. Miranda’s reply will live forever in the annals of greatest things ever said: “I’m sorry, I’m totally from America.”

There’s a small yet very enthusiastic turnout tonight. We play well, and it sounds really great onstage. Several of the Belle And Sebastian folks are here, and there’s a big hangout in the dressing room post-show. But tonight, I’m in “lone wolf” mode for some reason. Everyone seems really nice, but I’m in need of private times. After we load out, Alun and I hang in the van for a bit. He’s a little unsure of the safety of the neighborhood and doesn’t want to leave the van.

After a bit, I head down to Nice ‘N’ Sleazy, the bar where everyone’s gathered. It’s so loud and packed, I turn right around and get a drink in a quiet bar where they’re watching a soccer match. It’s kind of a toss-up between what I enjoy less: watching televised sports (specifically basketball) or listening to the blues. Thankfully, the other TV in this pub is showing the new Green Day video, which is something I could enjoy for all of eternity.

I rejoin Alun in the van and wait for the others to come back. There’s a disco happening at ABC, and we watch the kids queue up outside, carefully avoiding various small puddles of vomit. Suddenly, there’s a big commotion in the lobby. A bunch of security guards spill out onto the street. They’re restraining a guy. A weird sound cuts through the din, like a duck quacking or something. We realize it’s the fellow they’re restraining—he’s deaf. He’s hustled back into the club and held there until the police arrive about 20 minutes later. The cops shove him into their car, and it’s very weird watching his friends trying to reassure him in sign language as he sits there in the back seat. He, of course, can’t sign back because his hands are cuffed behind him.

The incident reinforces the warning we keep seeing on posters addressing the city’s growing crime problem: “Commit a felony in Glasgow and the last sound you’ll hear is the prison door slamming behind you.” (Except, of course, if you’re a deaf. But rest assured, you will hate it just as much as the normal-eared.) Now it’s off to … Hey, look at that: a Premier Inn.

May 22
We have a day off today, and we’ll spend it at the cemetery-gates Premier Inn. Miranda, Shane and I get dinner at the adjacent pub. There’s some kind of bachelorette party going on a few tables away. They call them “hen parties” over here. You think you’ve heard cackling? You know nothing. Everyone’s going out for the night, but I’m going to continue working on some stuff. And by “working on stuff” I mean watching vintage Burger King commercials on YouTube.

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