The trip to Bulgaria started interrupting my dinner on the Thursday evening when Dan and tour manager Steve turned up early, apparently bored. They'd travelled down from Scotland that morning, picked a hire car up from Heathrow and had killed some time in the afternoon watching World War Z at a local multiplex whilst I was busy last-minute rehearsing.
The trip to the hotel at Gatwick was without incident, save for picking Paul up from the middle of nowhere (where he's been staying in England for the duration of the festivals with a friend) and squeezing him into a car already nine tenths full of equipment, stage clothes and a bottled Daniel Firth.
Next day's flight out was at 6.15 in the morning, hence the overnight stay, with a much anticipated lobby call of 4.20 am (not!), which was almost missed by getting stuck in a queue at Boots and waiting for James to gently materialise.
Three comatose hours later we arrive in Sofia, to a scorching hot Summer's day, dispensing with hitting the hotel in order that we might start building the drum kit et al in time for the rest of the band's arrival via other flights. Cue several hours later and still no sign of a kit and the crew are finding it a little difficult to do much other than nibble at the spread of food laid on for us in one of the sports hall dressing rooms, so Daniel, Lindsay and I decide to go for a walk roundabouts to pass the time.
The rest of the afternoon is spent signing autographs for the fans already showing up in drips and drabs, taking in the sun with an ice cold beer and a lolly in the outdoor bar and later on undertaking press once sound check is eventually completed.
This is our last show for a while, and certainly our last Summer festival, so as stage time looms, the more the excitement starts to gather and there are certainly more and more people loping about backstage waiting for the band to appear leathered up and ready to rage (oo-er missus!).
At a quarter past ten we eventually do, to a sizeable crowd all going pretty ballistic. Despite the size of the sports hall and the relative problems we've encountered with amps blowing up and equipment not showing up on time, the sound is actually really really good, thanks in part to the skill of the Crewdle and the collaboration of the locals.
The full set is wheeled out for the crowd's (vulgar) delectation and there are circle pits aplenty through tracks such as Funeral In Carpathia, Honey And Sulphur, Nymphetamine and The Forest Whispers My Name, and it is evident to all and sundry that the band are really enjoying this last show. Personally, I'm all over it and the Bulgarian audience (with quite a few people flown in from Macedonia) are an amazing bunch of loud, energetic nutcase s !!! And we love them for it!
The night ends signing a whole bunch of stuff and gracing photos for those who meet us at the back door of the venue, and then it's journeys back and forth to the hotel to wind up with a few farewell beers in one of the rooms. A great end to a great, though slightly long-winded day in Sofia.
The rest of the weekend was equally cool for me, for, having made it home via Easyjet and hire car by 2 o'clock in the afternoon to find Suffolk wickedly warm as well, it was only a few hours before attending Matt from Bloodstock radio's 40th birthday party upstairs at a local bar. Here I spent a great deal of the time jumping about to classic metal, with the following day spent recovering in the park attending an Indian Mela, sipping on cold beer and eating curry under the blazing sun with my extended family.
Come back soon to find out what is next happening in the life and grime of the 'Filth...
Comedic Horror Head knockers not withstanding!!!
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