Sunday, 4 September 2011

On the road again...

Hey out there speed freaks... It's been a fun couple of weeks for us. The Peacocks are back in the UK again so it means that we're back out on the road supporting them on their shows. This tour, unfortunately, we were only booked on a couple of shows due to double-bookings and other assorted booking / promoting mishaps but the two we were on were the two saturday night shows so that suited us just fine.

We've been working hard to get the new tunes ready for the road lately and I think it really showed in our performances over the last couple of weeks. We slipped a couple of new ones into the set over these last few shows and they've been going down like a house on fire.
Last saturday night (27th Aug) we made our way down to Cambridge for the Last Gang In Town night to play as main support for The Peacocks. We always have a blast playing for Laura and Alec. We supported Coffin Nails there in february and the after-party still has a few people in either rehab or physiotherapy. My trusty, rusty old Mondeo was loaded up to the roof with gear but we had a pretty good run down there and met the lads from Voodoo Ghost Town after unloading. We went through the usual rigmarole of setting up the merch, seeing where they hide the booze and finding a decent place to draw some graffiti just before The Peacocks arrived.

We first played alongside The Peacocks at The Vic probably three years ago and have supported them on at least a couple of shows of every UK tour they've done since. I won't recount the story here of how wasted Greg got after that first show when we all headed back to mine but ask me about it at a show. It involves me throwing him face first into a toilet and is always a crowd-pleaser. They're a wicked bunch of lads and playing shows alongside them is always great fun.

After soundchecks, some chips from the Chinese that I always have a fight in down in Cambridge and a few drinks we headed back in to check out Voodoo Ghost Town. I'd never heard of them before that show but we'll definitely be trying to get them on a line-up with us up north sometime soon. They had a cool punkabilly sound that we really liked. A good group of musicians and good lads too.

We went on and played what felt like a great set. There's always an enthusiastic, young crowd down in Cambridge and a few of the guys from Kreepers in Notts (Kate, Colin, Big Keith & Steve) turned out as well. We played the first of the new tunes that we're trying out live, "Cocaine Boogie" and it went down a storm.

Not long after we'd retired to the merch stand to lick our wounds and chug our lager The Peacocks took to the stage to show everybody how it's done. They played a good long set that spanned pretty much their entire career and the crowd lapped it up.

We had a pretty long drive ahead of us that night so we chatted to a few people at the merch stand, had a few beers with all of the guys and girls that we know in Cambridge and headed back home.

The following friday (2nd Sept) we had booked a local show in support of the grand opening of Annie's Burger Shack at the Navigation in Nottingham. We were pretty avid devotees of her burgers when she used to serve them down at The Old Angel so when she asked us to help her put on a night down at The Nav we immediately signed on. We always like having a small local gig before we go off to do a bigger show somewhere further afield. It's an easy way to mix up having a decent rehearsal session the night before and getting a bunch of your mates together for a big old party.

We'd got our mates from Steve & The Raise on the bill as well as The Smears who were booked by Annie. We all rolled up after work, dumped our gear on the stage and grabbed some drinks. We could tell by the sound Steve & The Raise were getting during their soundcheck that we could make do with a quick and simple line check before kicking off our set.

Both of the bands playing before us played great sets... Steve & The Raise get better every time we see them and their set of psychobilly, rockabilly and sailor shanties started things off in style before The Smears got onstage and played a really tight and incredibly pissed up set of straight out punk rock.

Soon after The Smears were through we got our backline set up, opened a fresh crate of beer and kicked off. We'd all had a few shandies by this time and were having fun onstage. There were some pretty crappy technical problems but we just laughed them off and kept on playing. Halfway through "13" I managed to bust the 'A'-string on my Falcon and had to concentrate pretty damn hard in order to solo my way to the end... I desperately signalled to borrow a guitar from Danny from Steve & The Raise but he didn't seem to understand what I was getting at until the song ended. I whipped my guitar off and was passed Adam's (Steve & The Raise) blue epiphone dot. Unfortunately I somehow managed to bust both the high 'E' string on this as well as the cuticle on the index finger of my strumming hand and had to hand it back to him later sprayed with gore. Sorry Adam!

The atmosphere was a real party though and the crowd were well into what we were doing. We got people up dancing for the last few tunes and Annie was over the moon with hearing our fucked up version of Link Wray's "Rumble" as an intro to "Hey, Gringo" for the encore.

The next morning we got ready to head up to Manchester and tried to piece together how any of us got home the night before. We'd been looking forward to the show for a while. The guys at Back From The Grave had put together a really cool line-up in Murderburgers, Speed Kings, Hip Priests and The Peacocks. We knew there'd be a good turnout and that we'd have a good night hanging out with the other bands.

We arrived just after five o' clock having made seriously good time on the way there. We loaded in and then I had the ridiculous task of trying to find a place to park in Manchester. It's always a bloody nightmare. In the end I just parked across from the venue and guarded the car from parking wardens until I could legally park there... What a pain in the ass.

After that saga we piled into our favourite dive bar. We ended up having a long wait for a soundcheck that never came but when you've got a big bill like that it happens pretty regularly. The room was already pretty damp and hot and we could tell that tonights gig was going to be crowded, sweaty and loud... Just the way we like them.

'Murderburgers' were first up and despite the small size of the crowd at that time put on a really tight and energetic set of punk rock, even playing an encore for a very enthusiastic member of the audience.

Soon after they'd exited the stage we set up, line checked and set about tearing through our set. We were later told by Stu that runs the night that it was the tightest and angriest that he's ever seen us. Good to hear! The new tunes "Cocaine Boogie" and "Just A Rat" went over really well and the crowd were good and warmed up for main support 'Hip Priests'. They smashed through a set of sleazy, dirty rock 'n' roll. I hadn't seen them with their new frontman but he proved himself more than qualified to fill Gary X-Ray's shoes.

Finally The Peacocks kicked off the final set of the night. The room was more like a sauna than a venue at this point but the crowd were not letting it affect their mood one bit. The Peacocks nailed every tune they went into, ending the night in style... Seeing Hasu having to wring his shirt out after leaving the stage just proved how insanely hot and humid the gig got. It was a crazy night. We ended the night hanging out in the back room with The Peacocks and The Hip Priests and exchanging stories about the road or getting your ass kicked by bouncers in various clubs...

Thanks to everybody who came out to the shows these last couple of weeks and thanks to you guys for regularly checking out our blog (and this extra-long post). We'll be back soon with more details on the new tracks and more stories from the road.

See you in the pit!

Johnny - Speed Kings

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