High Fives 2015 – Sound of the Sirens
OK, I’ll admit it, I have gone on a bit about Sound of the Sirens this year but I think events have proved me right. I was absolutely blown away the first time saw Abbe Martin and Hannah Wood supporting Mad Dog Mcrea at the famous Half Moon in Putney. Since then they’ve had a stratospheric rise which saw them play at Carfest South and appear live on the first edition of the revived TFI Friday, so I was really chuffed when they agreed to do something for this year’s High Fives. I should say that they’re lovely people (and that includes Johnny Wood as well) and I wish them all the best for 2016. Thanks once again, Abbe and Hannah for sharing this insight into the world of Sound of the Sirens.
We arrive at the services with extra wide smiles and sit for a second to take in the full extent of what has just happened. People in the car park double take when looking at the car and we sit inside with the cheesiest grins. We don’t look like the owners of this vehicle… we look like we’ve stolen it. We are sat in a top of the range brand new Land Rover Discovery and the usual battered van is long gone…..for the day. It’s a Sunday morning in August and we have just played Carfest South to a crowd of 20,000 and we are in a complete daze of disbelief that this is now a memory of ours. It happened! Sunday morning sees us packing up to leave the beautiful Surrey countryside and head back south to Somerset for the lovely Watchet festival. Chris (Evans) suggests we head back to Carfest for the night after the gig but the van will never make the journey on time. ‘Do you want to borrow one of my cars instead?’ So here we are at the services smiling and laughing at how strange and fun life can be.
It’s January 2015 and I (Abbe) book tickets to see Ben Howard on his last European gig of his tour. He is playing in St Petersburg and I have always wanted to go. This is the perfect trip. In the mad panic of Christmas and sorting visas, I never once double-check the venue location. On arrival in Russia I discover that he playing the first date of his American tour. It is then that I discover there are 2 St Petersburgs and I am in Russia and he is in America. I am on the wrong continent! This gives our friends back in England fuel to tease for me life and one in particular tweets Ben Howard to tell him about my faux pas.
It’s now February and we have just played a gig in Birmingham and we are heading back to Devon. Johnny (driver, roadie, all round sirens organiser) pulls into the services and we all bundle out together as Hannah announces what percentage she needs a wee. This is a normal soundtrack to our drives. 20% is ok but 97% is a bad situation. We are all on a high 80% when I get a message sent through with a link to a video where Ben Howard is laughing at the St Petersburg disaster. Well, he laughs and then calls us ‘******** idiots!’ Totally fair though. As I am watching the video and following the corridor through the services I wander into the wrong toilets look up and scream as I disturb Johnny. My screams echo round the services as Hannah’s laugh erupts from the ladies next door. Bad times!
It’s April 2015 and we are sat in the Bristol Gordano services and Han is in need of a hot chocolate and a hug. We have been waiting at the airport for hours whilst she is detained by the police. We have just played at the Frankfurt Messe working alongside Elixir Strings and Freshman guitars and have flown home excited and full of stories to share. We step off the plane and through passport control when I realise Han is no longer behind me. A commotion breaks out ‘I can’t find my passport Ab’. My heart sinks. I should let you know that Hannah is a ‘loser’(Not an insult, Hannah loses things – AM). So ….. she can not come back in the country and the police chat to her. She has left her passport on the seat of the plane but they can not find it. Unfortunately at that point a flight comes in from Amsterdam and hundreds of people assume Han is a drug smuggler. More bad times! We are eventually let back in after they realise she is English and not a mule.
We have arrived at the services for a strong coffee to ease the self-inflicted ache in our brains at an overload of excitement . It’s a Saturday morning in October and we are electric with energy as we have played live on TFI Friday the night before. Our slot was set between the mighty U2 and Take That and endless messages are pouring in from the lovely people we’ve acquired on our musical journey and each one puts a smile on our face. As we arrive at the services one message comes through from a friend to tell us that we are 20 in the ITunes chart and it just keeps rising as the day continues. I don’t think the services have heard a scream like ours before.
We have just finished supporting Mad Dog McRea on their tour and we are heading back to Devon eagerly awaiting the services sign on the side of the motorway. This was it. We had found the perfect services. We all piled out like animals at feeding time. You should know we base our day around mealtimes and we take it very seriously. This services had everything to offer. There was a vast selection of different places to eat and we all set off in different directions to get food. However, we kept meeting each other in different queues heading to the front and then changing our minds and joining the back of other queues. We were all in a fluster that we would make the wrong choice on our food and worried that food envy would set in and so nothing was achieved. We all needed time out from all the choice on offer. This services was too good and we were not prepared for such decision making. We have since stuck to simple services as we fear the larger ones that offer too much. We are small town girls and the big services are just too confusing.