Sunfruits’ UK/European Tour Diary – Part One

Melbourne/Naarm psychedelic pop outfit Sunfruits are touring the UK and Europe in support of their debut album, One Degree. Band members Winter, Gene, Elena, Evie and Charlie are keeping Music Feeds up to date with their travels courtesy of a tour diary.

Hey. We’re Sunfruits and we’re currently in the middle of our first European tour off the back of our debut album, One Degree. We have just wrapped up the UK leg and we’re having the best time. Come with us on our journey through the land of fried food, music lovers, basements and geezers.

Sunfruits in Europe: UK Leg

Winnie and Elena at the airport

Saturday August 26 – Winnie: We left Naarm at around 7pm with much excitement and anticipation – partly due to the maxi taxi driver pumping MJ hits the whole drive – so much so that I left my pedal board in my car so had to ask my dad for an emergency airport drop-off. We were also informed that our connecting flight had been cancelled and we would have a 15-hour layover in Hong Kong.

As we settled onto the first, 9-hour leg to Hong Kong, movie selections were: Gene – Weird Al movie, Winnie and Charlie – The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Ele – The Incredibles 2, Evie – Pearl. Upon arrival in Hong Kong, we were greeted at the gate by a lovely staff member who got us on an earlier flight so the lay over became 6 hours. The elation was immeasurable.

After a feverish 6 hours, we hopped on the 14-hour flight to London. Movie selections this time: Evie – Mulholland Drive, Ele – a French movie called The Class, Gene – Ennio doco, Winnie – doco about the Toronto Pop Festival, Charlie – The Souvenir. Evie led the charge with group stretching sessions onboard and we got through the mammoth flights with relative ease. 

Sunday August 27 – Winnie: Upon arrival in London, we were told that it was the busiest day since pre-Covid times; despite this we got through customs pretty quickly. From the airport and two taxis later, we arrived at our apartment in Houndslow. Vibes were somehow still high and mighty after 30 hours in transit and after a canceled Uber Eats dinner order, we dived into the local delicacies at chicken shop Roosters. The smell and taste of the mayo was unlike anything we’d ever experienced. Radioactive. 

Monday August 28 – Winnie: We all woke up at 6am the first morning feeling the power of jet lag. This didn’t stop us getting our first full English breakfast experience at a country and western themed cafe called Country Love. As we were heading to the cafe, Evie experienced some true English hospitality from a local geezer who muttered “evil lesbian” to her as we walked past. This brekky and encounter was our first taste of the fried beige culinary adventure we were about to embark on – and the price point too.

From here, we got on a bus to Soho to find a camera shop to repair Evie’s cam. We realised on the way that Carnival festival was on, and half a million people were attending. We weren’t expecting the UK sun to have such bite and were all lapping up the rays as we strolled around London, eventually making it to Hyde Park. Here we saw our first squirrels, got our feet out in the grass, enjoyed some Kopparberg cider and were generally feeling very grateful.

We walked from here to the Carnival and soaked up the beautiful energy and party atmosphere in the form of street food, dancing and some local greenery. After this huge first day, we were all wrecked as we tore through some Indian food on the way home. 

Full English breakfast

Tuesday August 29 – Winnie: Jet lag was still high as we arose to the sound of the Heathrow flight path we were underneath. We started a pilgrimage to Rough Trade and Brick Lane. After a lengthy Uber ride, we were all famished and hit a local bagel shop that was highly recommended. Winnie and Ele’s bagels were top notch but the others had potentially too much salted beef.

From here, we went to to a local leather shop owned by a man named Mo. Charlie and Winnie bought their first leather jackets and were feeling on top of the world as we walked over to Rough Trade to try and find our album on the shelves. Upon scouring the store, we asked the shop assistant and he informed us it was available online but not in-store.

After this we went and met up with friend and musician Gordon (Don Glori) and his crew at a lovely local bar in Dalston, which had an extended beer garden. We chatted upcoming tours, UK cost of living and how so many Aussie bands were in EU this year.

After this, we hit a local op shop where Charlie bought his first baby tee of the trip. Feeling the 5pm jet lag crash, we went next door for Turkish food and caught the overground to see our friends The Lazy Eyes play at Dingwalls in Camden. It was so cool to see an Aussie band play to a packed room in London and we had the best time. After this we were once again super wrecked and went back home to crash as we waited for our driver Max to arrive that evening. 

Elena in London

Heartbreakers, Southampton

Wednesday August 30 – Charlie: A combo of us falling asleep and Max getting held up at the Eurotunnel meant we didn’t meet until the morning. Rise and shine at 6am to the sound of planes overhead. Figuring we weren’t getting back to sleep, Winnie and I went on a mission for coffee and a pastry and devoured this outside for a while, trying to get our bearings.

Vibes were high as we hopped into the 9 seater van provided by Highway Holidays filled with backline, merch, five stoked Sunfruits and one friendly, hot sauce-loving driver. We began the tour with a drive to Southampton, a place that Max also drove our friends Nice Biscuit on their recent EU tour.

Max is an epic legend, we were all stoked to meet him and break the ice, as we will be spending the next month on the road together. He mentioned that his brother Adrien was tour managing King Gizzard, and had arranged for us to go to their show after our Manchester Psych Fest slot on Saturday, which got us all pretty buzzed.

Upon arrival in Southampton, we were hungry and dived into a local chain Kokoro. Southampton was cute but felt slightly ominous – it looked like the setting of Shaun of the Dead. After sprucing ourselves up and downing some questionable cod and chips at the accom, we drove to Heartbreakers, the first show destination.

The at-first daunting task of loading an entire backline up two flights of stairs would soon become a piece of cake, but the first time it was not – Win, Ele and Evie all forgot their UK power adapters for their pedal boards. After a lengthy soundcheck, we met Alice from PSYCH, the local promoters. Legend. We set up the merch station, which included our EU Tour t-shirts designed by James Devlin and the new splatter vinyl variant of One Degree. After doing some quick pound-euro-AUD conversion, we were ready to go.

Gene, Evie, Winnie, Elena and Charlie in Southampton

Ugly Ozo rocked out first and then it was time for us to play our first UK show. Such a wholesome way to kick off the tour. Got to chat to Jess from Ugly Ozo who mentioned she would be touring in Aus later this year with another artist, so we’ll try and catch her then. We also met long time internet friend Brad from Strong Island Records. Overall, a successful show.

We packed down the gear, loaded the van and headed back to the accom. We may have had a late-night chicken shop venture prior to snoozing, where a couple of lads pulled up and muttered some interesting thoughts about my tight-fitting shirt. We laughed it off and all passed out and rested up to head back to London in the morning.

Sebright Arms, London

Thursday August 31 – Charlie: Woke up to a rainy morning, the first sign of the gloomy UK weather we had heard so much about. We cleaned up, packed the van and headed back to London. The van ride was filled with British accent impressions and jargon, along with an eventful stop at a service station and a Costas to snack and refuel. Max fed Pringles to a crow that looked as though it was on its last legs, a true geezer. It was here that I was introduced to Evie’s fear of birds.

As we were leaving the servo, a car pulled into the parking space that the crow was sitting in, and we all thought that we had just witnessed something truly awful. Evie got out and checked underneath the car as we held our breath, and confirmed the crow was unscathed – a lucky escape for the little guy.

We made it to the Anchor Hotel in north London and opened the front door to a strong smell of weed and sweat, both good omens for our stay. The hotel owner was a lovely stoned French man who was very welcoming but seemingly unaware of the potent stench coming from his room. Another steamy sauna shower – so far the UK doesn’t believe in exhaust fans in bathrooms.

After smashing a quick vegan noodles for dinner we headed to Sebright Arms for load-in and soundcheck. We stopped on the way at Waste! to have a look around. By this point we had heard that there were only 10 tickets left for the show, which had us all amped to play.

FEZ and Volleyball opened up the stage and then it was our time to rock. It was pretty surreal playing to a sold out room for our first time in London. Bob, a legend from San Francisco, had flown over to see The Lazy Eyes a couple of nights ago, and decided to stay in London and catch our show. Great to catch up with Naarm friends Stella and Tallulah and Swiss friend Sebastian. Big thanks also to Liam for taking snaps of the show.

Winnie and Evie in London

Royal Park Pub, Leeds

Friday September 1 – Evie: After riding the high of our sold-out London show last night, we’re off to Leeds today. We start our drive with some trivia, finding out some of my fav bands are from this part of the world including Gang of Four, Delta 5 and The Mekons. Nice one Leeds.

We arrive at our accom and all the houses are stunning in this area, so much gorgeous greenery. We settle on our rooms and do the usual dance of lugging gear and suitcases up narrow flights of stairs. This time, Elena, Gene and myself are sharing a room at the top of the building and we all find ourselves momentarily horizontal before load in. We’re playing at the Royal Park Pub, which is a loud boxy basement. They like to play loud in Leeds so we did as we were told and cranked our amps behind us. Our local sound guy recommends we dig in to the local delicacy of pie, and he reckons the best in town is next door at the Brudenell Social Club where Snail Mail happens to be playing tonight.

Pie and Guinness in Leeds

We all order a Leeds pie with the lot including mushy peas and crispy onions, all served on a bed of creamy mash potatoes with a baby Guinness on the side for me. Fuelled and ready to rock later on, we head back to the Royal Park Pub and meet Jordan from Happy Daze who is promoting our show this eve. A super helpful and kind guy from Manchester. He was telling us how he’s been waiting for three years for this show – he got in contact with our king Josh White from Third Eye Stimuli in 2020 about bringing us over to the UK, and here we are in Leeds.

It was also at this moment that we realised our van master, Maxime, had got lost on his hot sauce adventures. He was taking a bus into town to secure some hot sauce he had been dreaming of, but unfortunately the shop was shut. He hopped on the wrong bus on the way back leaving us at the venue with very little time to head back to our accom to get ready before being back at the venue in time. We decided walking would be a fine enough adventure and it actually allowed us to take in some old architecture and see some lush greenery. 

Maxime and his hot sauce

Rushmonds and Sun King warmed up the sweaty basement for us. We hit the stage after watching some soccer on the multiple screens within the venue and felt ready to leave half our body weight in sweat on stage in Leeds. The crowd were super nice and especially intrigued by both Elena and my axe setups – perfect time to nerd out.

After a mega load out of yet another basement, it was time for a late-night meal. This time our poison of choice was burgers. Gene and I opted to share some fries whilst Charlie dug into a bacon special and Winnie and Elena hit a veg option. Back to our accom for some round table chats and, after a spooky megafauna history lesson from Maxime and Elena, we’re off to bed for some hard earned beauty sleep. No bed bugs this time. 

Manchester Psych Fest

Saturday September 2 – Evie: Today is the big day. Manchester Psych Fest. We start our day off with a full English at our accom and a few rounds of fresh orange juice. We all feel a bit worse for wear post-meal. Maybe that’s a sign of a good full English? 

First stop of the day is once again a hot sauce shop. Nick from Nice Biscuit did warn us to watch Maxime around hot sauce. Elena and Maxime come back to the car with an assortment of sauces, like children in a lollie shop. With these purchases, we find ourselves on our way to Mancity!

We leg it to our early check-in to ensure enough glam time. Sunfruits have to share a room with 2 king beds tonight like a true band sleepover. No exhaust fan in this bathroom either. Sauna-esque shower experiences are becoming a pattern over here in the United Kingdom. None of that matters though because you can sense the sheer excitement in our hotel room as we gear up for Manchester Psych Fest. 

Once we’re all ready, we load back into the van and leg it to Yes bar to collect our wristbands from Josh. On the drive there, we realise Manchester is already so much more gorgeous than anywhere we have been yet. Wristbands secured and we race to Albert Hall to catch Sorry’s set, one of my absolute favourites for the past few years. I couldn’t believe that we were on the same lineup – gosh they’re cool. Such a great set with the gorgeous backdrop that is Albert Hall.

It’s time for our second meal and we head back to Yes for some gyros. One of the better meals we’ve had on our trip so far. Delicious addition of honey mustard; who knew? After a refuel we’re off to catch The Murlocs shred the Manchester O2, another gorgeous venue that provides a lot of space for punters to see the band properly and also room to breath. They rocked their first show back in two months with ease. Gene and I had a sing along to ‘Comfort Zone’. Such a hit.

Sunfruits in Manchester

Everyone heads back to the van to gather their energy for the long night ahead. We’re off to see King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard play at midnight after our basement set. Gene and I opt for a caffeine hit pre load-in instead of a nap to keep our momentum up. We find a little cafe with cute seats out the front where we pause for a moment with iced matcha and macchiato in hand, pretending we’re in Italy somewhere.

Slowly making our way back to Yes, we bump into mates from The Prize who are also playing Manchester Psych Fest. Vibes are high and we exchange hugs and tour stories and hype each other up for our impending sets. Load-in is a tight turn around, true festival style. Elena and I change in the van as well. With six minutes to spare, we run our pre-show ritual and indulge in a few jumping jacks and high fives. We walk out to a packed, sweaty room, which only keeps filling up.

At some point, Winnie breaks his D string and then his A string. I sense some panic on stage but combat it with confidence to keep going and offer to swap axes for a few songs, which we end up doing. We end with ‘Believe It All’ and I have to rock out karaoke style like a true-90s backup singer. I think I manage well though. 

We meet some really lovely people and sell some records after the show and yet again load out. A few Kopparbergs for the road and we’re off to Gizz’s midnight show at Manchester Academy. The vibes are high at the academy and it seems like everyone is ready to party while Los Bitchos DJs. We hang out with some crew and head side stage to watch the set. Friends from The Prize and The Murlocs rock up and we’re all stoked to hang out together in Manchester in the name of psych rock. After a long sweaty set, the party begins backstage and we find ourselves crawling into an early morning Uber where Elena leaves her favourite handbag behind, never to be seen again.

We all hop into our king size beds and giggle about our night before we all ultimately fall asleep mid-conversation.

King Gizzard at Manchester Academy

Stay tuned for the next chapter of Sunfruits’ UK/EU tour diary – find all the band’s upcoming tour dates here

Further Reading

Xavier Rudd, Spiderbait to Headline Phillip Island’s Ocean Sounds Festival 2024

Mature Themes Make a Psychedelic Mess in Video for ‘So Much Better Now’

Sunfruits’ ‘Believe It All’ Is Psychedelic Pop Candy

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