Has it really been a week since the first show of this tour? The time has just flown by... And it's been as amazing as we hoped - no, scratch that - it's been better. Great gigs, great crowds, great responses, oh and the odd comedy moment!
So, our first night, Nottingham, was awesome. Rock City is a legendary venue on the circuit - it was great to be playing the main room - and it was also very nearly the site of an unscheduled pyro display for our 1700 strong audience. Though it was probably the smallest show of the tour, no matter what, we were going to put on a BIG show. It's night one after all and we had a job to do. So, as part of our great pre-tour admin merch order, we had special side-drop banners custom made, but, once all of our gear was on stage, we couldn't actually put them up! They were a bit close to the lighting rig and we decided that, with all the hairspray on our heads, there was probably enough of a fire risk without our big banners catching alight too. First gig of the tour and what an amazing show. It was great to see Michael from Steel Panther catch one of our songs from the side of the stage. It really put us at ease to know that the headliners are nice guys and genuinely interested in the band touring with them.
Rock n roll, party, sleep and on to the next location: Wolverhampton. When we arrived at the Civic Hall and walked in, it really brought home for us what we're achieving as a band. The venue was huge, with a balcony to boot. Plus, we were told on arrival that it had sold out - 3500 people, so double the size of our previous show. Any band knows the reason why the Spinal Tap movie is so funny is 'cos it's true, and Wolverhampton is where we get our first real 'Spinal Tap moment'. The backstage area was a maze of corridors, entrances and exits, so finding our dressing room was a bit of a challenge. Do bands develop 'homing radar' to get them on and off stage when they're in venues like this every night? Anyway, for those of you who have seen the movie, we made sure we walked the route from stage to dressing room a fair few times, so we wouldn't re-enact that famous scene when show time came. As funny as it is on screen, I think we might have had sense of humour failure if it had happened on the night! Route sorted, all that was left to do was play our butts off for the sold out crowd. And there were people out there that knew us. One guy even shouted out the name of our debut album 'Shake The Faith' as we were about to play the title track from it. Things like that make you feel immense. Apparently, we gained 100 Facebook 'likes' just in the time we were on stage, then after the show we headed to the merchandise stand to say hi to people and sign whatever people wanted signing. We couldn't believe how many people wanted to talk to us and we were more than happy to oblige.
Newcastle was a big deal for us as it's a hometown show for 50% of the band. No matter how confident we're feeling, there's always going to be nerves at a show like that. But it turned out to be our best yet! People were shouting our name, there was a small mosh pit that broke out and we had the sound of 3500 people chanting the chorus refrain to 'Aint Down With The Rock' ringing in our ears. In most situations, that many people yelling "f*ck right off" at you would be seen as a bad thing... But for us, in Newcastle, it was a defining moment.
Each day we see what it takes to keep a show like this on the road. Between Nottingham and Wolverhampton, Steel Panther's production added 3 new truck loads of lights and effects as our venues got bigger and bigger. That meant more people working on the shows, which meant an unexpected bonus for us: A bigger canteen. See, 'catering', for us, is usually a soggy sandwich, or some cash to go and buy a burger, so to be able to go into a room with hot and cold food choices, plus tea and coffee on tap, is a whole new world. Steel Panther and their crew have just been awesome to work with and they've afforded us every luxury we could have asked for. We'd actually heard horror stories of how support bands can sometimes get treated, like no sound checks, being forced to start playing as the doors are just opening so you're playing the first song to an empty venue, or just not being allowed to use any of the lights; so, while being treated like kings doesn't always make for exciting blog posts, it's been pretty humbling to have been looked after like we have.
Here's a short video taking you behind the scenes of the first two dates.