Lord Zion’s Tour Blog: Part 2

Tour Diary: SPiT LiKE THiS & TIGERTAILZ, May 2011 (Part 2)

Posted by LORD ZiON on May 23rd, 2011

Note: This tour diary was written for a feature on the website of awesome UK rock & metal mag, POWERPLAY.

Wednesday 18th May 2011: 02 Academy2, Sheffield
It’s lucky I keep a personal diary as trying to recall the events on tour is nigh on impossible. Motorways merge into another, as do venues. You have the greatest time in the world in a place but rarely remember where that place actually was. According to my diary though, I was up at 9am. This is never a good way to start any day! Thankfully, things seemed to get better as this day went on…

spit-like-this-1Our itinerary – I love putting these together, appeals
to the anally retentive side of my nature!

Left SLT HQ at about 11.30 all aboard the SPiT LiKE THiS Tour Bus (“Retardis”). I was having a period over the forthcoming drive to Sheffield but, as it happens, it was all OK, so there is a lesson for me to learn there somewhere. In fact, the only noteable bit about the journey up was when we got overtaken by Tigertailz members Jay Pepper and Kim Hooker on their motorbikes. Now THAT is how you get to a show!

There were two other bands on before us tonight – the first bonus bands of the tour – and this made soundchecking tight. Soundchecks don’t tend to have much baring on what follows, however, so we tend to just blast through them. Apart from our drummer Gilez, that is, who seems to have the same recurring problem with his in-ear monitoring night after night. Again, there is a lesson to be learned there but he can be a bit slow on the uptake, bless him.

spit-like-this-2Only place I can put my passes

After soundcheck we entered quite possibly the dullest and most lifeless of dressing rooms imaginable. I say that though but it was the first with WiFi and a kettle. You win some, you lose some! We set up camp in there and tried to relax a bit before showtime.

sltI keep all of these dressing room signs as little mementos. Sad, I know!

Being a Wednesday evening, this was never going to be the highlight show of the tour. Mid-week audiences are always a bit subdued, worried about getting too drunk for work the next day and all that. Which is fair enough. On the road, you forget what day of the week it is and forget that people might have to get up early tomorrow, but we forgive them Fortunately, what that does mean is that there weren’t quite as many people there to witness a couple of major cock-ups as there might have been were it a Saturday night! I think we were just goofing off some steam but, at some point, I wrestled Vikki to the ground and we both proceeded to lie there, mid song, laughing at eachother being idiots. It would have been perfect if it weren’t for the fact that this small jape caused Vikki to not be able to hear the guitars so she missed her cue into the next song. D’oh!

spit1Me & Vikki laying down on the job.

When you fuck up a song live you have one of two options: 1) Try and battle your way through the mistake and hope it gets rectified and that the audience doesn’t notice or, 2) Man up, stop the song and start again. We tend to go with option 1 as our mistakes are nearly always little ones but, on this occasion, we went with 2. It was obvious that it was just going to implode around our ears and, in those circumstances, it’s best just to make light of it and re-start. We’re only human and an SLT show is pretty chaotic and full-on so stuff will go wrong. But that’s part of it’s charm!

spit2On stage at Sheffield

As we were in Sheffield, home of Def Leppard, I told the audience that we had learnt a Def Leppard song specifically for this show. I pointed out that we did change the melody a bit, and some of the rhythms. Some of the words too, the tempo, key and title. We then proceeded to play our very own “Zero To Sixty” to a good reception.

spit-1On stage at Sheffield

So a rather rambunctious start to the second leg of the tour, all-in-all. After our set, I tried to relax as I was pretty exhausted, but Gilez followed me into the dressing room to dissect the show. We often have post-gig dissections me and Gilez, more so than with anyone else, probably something to do with being the engine and headlights of the performance: both need to be working properly to prevent break-down.

spit-2On stage at Sheffield

Thursday 19th May 2011: 02 Academy2, Newcastle
Arose at 11, which is a bit more like it, starting the relatively short journey from Sheffield to Newcastle at 12. En route, Vikki discovered this amazing review of our show in London the weekend before. This put us all in rather buoyant moods, to say the least! We are an often misunderstood band so, when someone completely “gets it”, it does make our day, rather.
An event that first occurred on our recent tour in Germany re-occurred today: we picked up some hitchhikers. It has now been decreed that this is SPiT LiKE THiS Tour Tradition: if we happen across some hitchhikers, provided they are the non-murdery-type, we will give them a lift to as far as we can. These particular two – we’ll call them Arthur and Andy – got a little bit further north thanks to us.

spit-3Our hitchhikers Arthur & Andy

Arriving at the venue, we took our food buyout (because we are so fussy, it is easier to get our food rider in the form of cash) and jollied on up to Tesco. I typically spend at least twice what the buyout is but it tends to balance out as Vikki costs just pennies to feed and water.

spit-4Some of my crap

We were on at 8.15 and it was all going rather well until Vikki broke the E-string on her bass. For those who know no better, the E string is the biggest fattest one on the bass guitar. They use them to hold up suspension bridges so quite how she broke it is a mystery, other than the fact that she is a tough cookie. She swiftly switched to her back-up bass and carried on rocking, this time without breaking a thing.

spit-5On stage

A funny thing happened on stage – I said “hello” to the front row and Vikki remarked that the front row was usually the best looking. I glanced at them, pulled a face and said “Nah…” – always a bit risky to take the piss out of the crowd but it is part of what we do. The humour and funny banter between us and the audience is something that defines us to an extent, I think. It shows that, even though we take what we do very seriously, we don’t take ourselves very seriously. After all, it is a damn silly job we have and to be all self-important and grandiose about it would be a bit too egotistical for my liking.

spit-6Poster from Newcastle

Post-show, Vikki re-strung her bass and then we all hung about by the merch bit, selling our wares, meeting fans new and old and generally having a bit of a giggle. I’ve since heard apologies from people for the quietness of the audience but, to my ears, they sounded plenty loud enough. I can only presume that the further north you go, the louder the crowd tends to get!

spit-7Rob Riot on stage

Friday 20th May 2011: The Cathouse, Glasgow
Well, we were about to find out if that theory was correct as we were going as far north as we’ve ever been in the UK: Scotland. A nice easy drive up, viewing some spectacular scenery. In many ways, geographically, Scotland reminded me of Norway. Just greener. I guess it is on a similar latitude so would make some sense. It has that rugged vibe that Norway has.

The Cathouse is a great venue but, as it is smack-bang in the middle of Glasgow, load-in was a bit tricky. We had to perform certain maneuvers that, if attempted in London, would have you hung-drawn-quartered with your head put on a spike. Thankfully though, bureaucracy outside of this nation’s capital is slightly more grown-up and slightly less money hungry so maneuvers were maneuved and we were in. And what a venue! Yes, OK, it did have multiple staircases that we could have done without but, maximum credit to them – THEY HAD PEOPLE TO HELP! This is quite a rarity and a very welcome addition. Thank you!

spit-8Our agent, Martin Jarvis

Our agent, Martin Jarvis, was present at this show. He lives in Glasgow so we’d have had to have sent the big boys round if he’d not been. Anyway, it was he that put this tour together so maximum respect and thanks to him. And I’m glad to say that he enjoyed our set which was, dare I say it, the best of the tour?? I’m not sure – it’s either this one or the one in London.

spit-9On stage

The Glaswegian audience really got into it and gave us an immense welcome, despite me telling them that Vikki regularly urinated on images of Mary Queen Of Scots and was a fan of Elizabeth I (you gotta laugh, history buffs!). We gave them 30 minutes of rip-roaring, new-A-hole-tearing punk n’ roll that they couldn’t get enough of. Really really want to get ourselves back up to Scotland ASAP. I’ll even forgive them the weather.

spit-aCrazy Cathouse Crowd

I had an interview to do for PlanetMosh.com after the set and, once that was done, we were at the merch once more. We met the loveliest-slash-craziest bunch of wild and crazy kids in Glasgow and spent the evening signing autographs and posing for photos. Another highlight was seeing one of the oldest SLT fans, Bill Bump, who has been on board since the very beginning. Good GOOD times.

spit-bSLT on stage at the Cathouse

Saturday 21st May 2011: Marcus Garvey Ballroom, Nottingham
From my perspective, today was daunting. Being the only member of the band able to drive the bus, it is my job to get us to the shows safe, sound and in one piece. Sometimes this can be quite tiring as any long-distance driver can attest to. Effectively today, I had to drive from Glasgow to Gatwick (480 miles) in one day but stop off at Nottingham to give it my all on stage. And anyone who has seen us live knows that I really do give everything I have.

spit-cVile Gilez might need a new prescription

So an early start wasn’t too welcome, coupled with bad sleep (always the way that I cannot sleep when I need to), I was zonked before we started. But, never mind, I am made of strong stuff and we set off on the 6 hour journey. And what a journey! Scotland was wild and windy today; keeping the bus on the straight and narrow was quite some task. By the time we arrived in Nottingham, I was knackered. We were bang on time though and soon got loaded in, although the sight of 3 flights of fire stairs wasn’t a welcome one.

There were some Chavs loitering around who looked like they might be there to help. Alas, repeats of the Glaswegian aids were not forthcoming and all these creatures did was watch and leer. To be fair, they did later offer to help Tigertailz with their gear – for a tenner! Cheeky cunts. They seem to have been employed by the venue just to add a certain rat-like ambiance to proceedings. Perhaps I am being unkind… Yes, but truthful.

spit-dGlamorous life on the road: our dressing room!

The Marcus Garvey Ballroom is HUGE and, as it’s name might suggest, is a ballroom hence has a massive domed ceiling. This causes massive sound problems unless a temporary ceiling is put in place (ie huge sheets hung from it). Today was no exception. Also on the bill today were Wrathchild so soundcheck was very tight. We barely had enough time to make a noise before it was over and then we barely had time to get to the dressing room before we were due on stage.

spit-eVikki trying to get in a quick nap

Sound on stage was poor. Sound off stage was poor and at a volume that liquidised your insides. I actually had to leave during Tigertailz’ set as the volume was making me nauseous – and I am a fan of noise. I am, after all, in a rock band. But this was a frequency thing; all top end and head-explody. We put on the best show we could, but the lights were operated by one of the Chavs who was just mashing his paws on random faders at will and the on-stage sound made it hard to hear what was going on. Big applause goes out to the audience who were in attendance and a big thanks for the reception we got.

spit-fOn-stage in Notts: worms-eye view

Despite all my grumbles, we DID have a good time and it was a great way to end the tour. We shared a dressing room with Wrathchild who, without exception, were a great bunch of guys. We also saw a lot of familiar faces from our many times up in Nottingham, plus people that had followed the bands around on this tour.

spit-gOur merch display case

And then it was all over. An awkward load-out (made overly complicated by a club night immediately following the bands) not helped by greedy Chavs was a shame but we said our farewells to Tigertailz and started our 3+ hour journey back to SLT HQ.

Our roadie, Mike, described my driving endeavors on this day as “heroic”. Maybe I wouldn’t go quite that far but it was tough. It is certainly the sort of thing that eventually sorts the wannabes out from the rock n’ roll lifers. We all four fall into that latter bracket which is why, whatever anyone might think of us, our music, our show, the lifestyle we lead, I know that we deserve maximum respect. We have devoted our lives to this band and nothing can take that away from us.

spit-hOh the irony! Vikki & I insist on buying a tea towel from each country we visit. Seriously!

Before I finish, I want to say a few thanks:
To Red Imp and Mark Hoaksey at PowerPlay – thank you for giving us this awesome opportunity on your site. Your support is truly appreciated.
To Martin Jarvis, our agent, for putting this tour together and making sure that we were properly looked after. We have only been on your books for a wee while, but you have given us a sense of self-worth that we’ve not had before.
To Tigertailz – Jay, Kim, Sarah & Robin – it has been a total pleasure. It was awesome to show up at a new venue each day to see some familiar faces, some of which adorned my bedroom wall as a teenager. You treated us like we will in future treat any support bands we are lucky to have. SLT salutes you!

(you can find the original tour blog here)