After a two-hour flight from LA to Phoenix, a 10-hour layover, and a 10-hour flight across the pond, I arrived at the London Heathrow Airport with the Lora G & Nikki Lunden Band to what looked like beautiful weather. I wouldn’t know for sure, though, since we were detained for 28 hours at the border. Thus began my trip to the UK.
Being that we are on a “promotional” tour, it is not required that we have visas. Explaining that to customs wasn’t as easy as we thought, though. We would have been fine if I hadn’t had my cymbal bag with me, but the gentleman at customs took one look at me and said, “So you’re in a band?”
After 28 hours and a series of phone calls to the US Embassy, various lawyers, and our manager at home, we were granted admission into the country. We were literally 20 minutes from being put on a plane back to Phoenix. If this ever happens to you, I recommend being nice to the guards. Otherwise you will get one 5-minute phone call and, more than likely, a ticket straight back to the States.
Thank god we only missed one show. And more than that, the club was not only supportive but was glad to reschedule us. So far we have played two shows in London over a 3-day period and four in Edinburgh (pronounced Ed-in-bruh) in a total of three days.
To warm up and shake off the “I Got Detained Blues,” we decided to hit up a local open mic at the Elephant’s Head in Camden. If you haven’t been to this part of London, it’s a lot like Silverlake but without the pretension. Good clubs, good beer, great music, and great people. We played five songs as a full band to a crowd that expected acoustic singer-songwriters. They loved us.
We followed that show with one at the 12 Bar Club in London’s Tin Pan Alley. This may have been one of the dirtiest places I have ever played but it was one of the most amazing as well. The 12 Bar Club began as a blacksmith’s forge 1635, before the plague, before the London fire, and the charred remains of sweat and hard work permanently stain the walls.
We packed all our gear and luggage into a van and proceeded to stall our way through the wrong side of the streets of London on the way to Edinburgh, Scotland. As if driving on the wrong side of the road wasn’t scary enough, the sky proceeded to dump shoe-sized drops of rain on us for several hours.
After finally arriving in Edinburgh, we were greeted by a crowd of sloppy drunk Scots looking for cabs outside our hotel.
We were lucky enough to play during Edinburgh’s month-long Fringe Festival, an amazing collection of art, music, theatre, and street performers who spend days upon days entertaining locals and tourists alike. Our most enjoyable show so far was at Malone’s. Not only is it a huge open pub, it also attracts the kind of rowdy, pint-waving Irish/Scottish crowd you’d want to see when playing in Edinburgh.
One week in, and I’m still alive. We are heading back to London for another 4-6 shows depending on how the week pans out, and then on to Paris. Having a great time, but looking forward to getting home to LA. Cheers!