A while back it occurred to me that very few of us really know what it is like to be on tour, the work behind the scenes, the giggles and the disasters and so was born On Tour With…
Having shared the idea with Mr Ed and Matt we mulled over the bands we would like to read about ourselves, as you know Matt headed off to Evergrey to ask to tour with them. For me there was one band right at the top of my list – Spit Like This.
I love their heady Rocky Horror style mix of big anthem style sleaze/rock/punk and there is rarely a day that Vikki and Lord Zion don’t have me chuckling away at my keyboard via Facebook. Now not only are we lucky enough to bring you On Tour With Spit Like This but Lord Zion has agreed to bring you his own On Tour blog…
Opening night of the tour.
“We’re here but we can’t get in, box office say they don’t have a guest list and have no way of contacting any of you or the tour manager. Red xx”
The text I was frantically sending to Z from the box office of the HMV Institute whilst the security guy was informing me that I could only wait in the box office for ten minutes before I would have to wait outside. I glanced outside at the grey skies accompanied by the torrential rain and sighed, knowing that Matt had jinxed me with the hysterically funny & frustrating journey he had to join Evergrey.
It wasn’t too long before we heard Vikki shouting “Red” outside and grinning, we hit the box office once more. You have to laugh when a band member is told they cannot add someone to the guest list without the tour manager. Martin TM being in Glasgow was an absolute star and patiently spoke to them on the phone, we were in.
Up, what seemed like a million flights of stairs (it was three flights, I’m prone to exaggeration), to The Temple rooms Vikki regaled us with the way the venue staff had hurried them to unload the van and move it, even having to leave all their gear in the rain, nice! Now this is where I turn into a total fan girl, I got to man the very cool looking merch stall with a big huge grin and met Mike, the very awesome hidden band member who does all the bits n bobs behind the scenes.
“If I buy the CD could you get the band to sign it for me?” asked a new fan.
“Yes of course I can petal” loving my brief merch desk responsibility (all of five mins) and duly take his cash while trying to work out how to use the cash box, an intelligence test I failed as I did get it open but for the life of me could not get to relock. Rob Riot and Vile Gilez wandered over pre show and we had a quick chat about Canadian accents and sourcing P9 batteries at Hard Rock Hell.
8pm hit and it was time for SLT to take the stage, excited would be an understatement. The last time I saw Spit Like This live was at Hard Rock Hell whilst holding a very drunk drummer from Hanging Doll upright to prevent security ejecting him, bless. I really couldn’t wait to hear all the new material from the new album “Normallityville Horror “. I’ve been listening to the unmastered copy online for several months now and have loved every single track, and oh boy, are these guys tight.
I could have been listening to those tracks online as they played Normallityville Horror with more energy than a pack of terrier puppies on speed. You can’t help but enjoy a band that clearly loves being up there playing, interacting with each other and the crowd, if you are smiling and moving then you are having a good time. The grin on my face was clearly repeated on the faces of those surrounding me when the drum intro to “Sick” kicked in.
It was a nice touch to see SLT stop midset to sing Happy Birthday to Syz Goss in the crowd, shame he didn’t bring a birthday cake with many, many candles to help light the stage as it was little dark and during the fifth song I noticed a staff member open the stage door, grimace and disappear rapidly, two minutes later the stage lit up. Someone had forgotten to turn all the lights on! All too soon their set was over ending with my favourite “Dead to me Now”. Back to the merch desk, while TigerTailz took the stage, although how Spit Like This have the energy to interact with their fans after such a fabulous performance I just don’t know. I was exhausted just watching them on stage.
Now after much chatting and sharing of lollipops whilst security did their best to clear the room it was that packing up moment, bloody hell who would be in a band? All that gear is horribly heavy when you have three flights of stairs to descend and next time you see me ask me about the carpet belonging to Gilez…
Sleep, editing and get ready for London; Camden I hope you are ready for us.
Cupcakes, London parking and zombies.
Clearly all things you can expect when hitting Camden Underworld for the second night of your tour, well they are if I’m joining you. Knowing how early Spit Like This were going to have to be at the venue we thought ahead, knocked up some cupcakes, stole my six year old son’s portable TV and armed with the Wii, House of the Dead Overkill and remote guns we hit the motorway for London.
Now I have to admit that I thought parking in Camden on a sunny Saturday afternoon would be a nightmare but other than the parking meter charging by the five minute mark and my maths skills being right up there with my car rebuilding skills (non existent) it was surprisingly easy and we made it to the venue at 4pm just as the SLT van had been unloaded. Gotta love our timing eh?
It is a very strange, almost the end of the world apocalyptic, feeling to walking into a near silent Underworld from the heat and bustle from Camden’s busy streets. The only slight noise was of Robin Guy, Tiger Tailz drummer methodically putting his drum kit together on stage. Empty rooms, clean floors, deserted bars all a little eerie until Vikki was handed the full cupcake box, her squeals of cake filled glee echoed around the room, I think had we been closer to a coastline dolphins may have answered.
Dumping the TV and Wii in a spare corner amongst all the guitars, amps, heads and a silver head and torso (must find out if it has a name) we said our hello’s and chatted about the previous evening, our respective journeys and other varied things whilst the stage manager checked us in, sorted the food list and dispensed the very cool back stage wrist bands, so cool in fact that I have refused to take off the white band with black skulls on. It will have to fall off in the due course of time.
A little later the stage manager was replacing a stage light standing on a rather wobbly ladder so I nipped over to hold it steady for him, I mentioned that the lights were all coloured and it would be perfectly lovely if one or two could have the filters removed for us poor overworked photographers. Vikki was absolutely killing herself at my attempts of eyelash fluttering however with a great deal of smugness I can report that it worked and I had two whole white lights for the stage, RESULT!
Soundcheck, Veggie burgers and Zombie slaying…
I am not sure what I imagined sound checks to be like but I don’t think I was ready for a Spit Like This soundcheck; Vikki singing “Hit me baby one more time” with the delightful Lord Zion obligingly miming a punch, screams of “domestic violence you all saw it”, Rob Riot warming up with “You can’t touch this” and Lord Zion standing like a forlorn rock version of Charlie Chaplin complete with hands in his pockets. It just is not possible to be straight faced and serious with these guys, my sides are still hurting from all the laughter.
After the fast and efficient sound check we wandered upstairs to the pub and placed our food orders, I say all of us but we seemed to misplace both Gilez and Rob at this time. As we waited for the food the merch desk/coffin was set up as was the TV and Wii, I left our web master and Mike exploding zombie heads and wandered off to chat with Vikki before nipping back up to collect the food. Sadly I missed the sight of Lord Zion attacking Mike with his hairspray can of awesomeness, Mike still claims he was unable to defend himself from this style attack as he had to shoot the zombies, hmmmm I’ll let you judge that one.
Nothing can make you feel more guilty about tucking into a jacket spud filled with chilli or a veggie burger and chips than watching Lord Zion doing effortless push ups and various other exercises in the same room. I do actually read his tips on his fitness site Fit Like This and my boys love his DIY power bars that we make without the protein powder. Luckily my enjoyment of the chilli out weighed the guilt.
The clock by this time was ticking furiously forwards and having accidentally lost Gilez and Rob shortly after sound check Mike and I went on a band member search of the pub above us, all zombie killing put to one side for the cause. Fortunately it wasn’t too difficult as they were just coming out of the pub to join us, I then had to go and locate Mike as I had sent him one side of the bar as I went the other, sorry Mike.
Quick change of clothing for Vikki with a spattering of sparkly lippy, some more muscle pumping exercises for Z, guitar checking and stretches for Rob, rapid deep tissue massage of Gilez hand and lower arm before he too launched himself into some fearsome press ups aided by the ever helpful Z, I’m not sure if it was actually a help or a stealth bumming moment… ask me about that later.
It was stage time!
We’d all been sneaking to the back of the stage to peer out at the rapidly filling room, Underworld so very different when filled with music and chatting people eagerly awaiting the two bands. A quick nod of the head from Mr Stage Manager and I legged it to the very full room to shoot Spit Like This burst onto the stage and when I say burst I mean it. Four blurred bundles of energy swept onto the stage, Z introduced them briefly before bursting into “Dragged Kicking and Screaming” to a wildly enthusiastic crowd.
Powerful riffs, screaming guitar, strong opening drum pieces all mixed up with enough sleazy punk n roll to fill several front pages of the red top papers. Grinding hips, fearless stage leaps and buzzing distorted bass sounds; it took only seconds for the fist waving crowd to get it, Spit Like This: here to truly grab you by the bollox and make you have fun. I was blown away by the crowds reaction to SLT and found it nearly impossible to grab any shots from the front of the house due to being obscured by heaving bodies and madly waving arms. I headed to the back of the stage to get some more usable shots.
I really do find it hard to shoot this band, I just cannot stand still for long enough to fire off the shots. I’ve never been a fan of anything punk, I’ve never really got the whole discordance thing but Spit Like This mix it up with metal, rock, sleaze and just about anything else that fits. They whipped up the fans, new and old, made friends with the crowd including Ruth who had bought a poster before the show. Told the crowd they could move in with them but they would have to pay rent but it would include seeing Vikki’s bottom once a week and for extra they could see Rob’s bottom once a week too, how could you refuse?
A quick mention of Dex Etherton who despite being stuck in casualty for eight hours the night before with serious back spasms still managed to hit the gig to see SLT, now that is fan devotion.
Just like the previous night “Normalityville Horror” had everyone jumping but all too soon the set came to an end with “Dead To Me Now”. I know I keep going on about these two songs from the new album (due for release in October 2011) but they really are anthems, big songs for what should be a very big band. I think SLT were as sorry to leave the stage as the people in the room were sorry to see them go, and nothing can beat a madly grinning group of musicians bouncing off the stage to join their fans out the front.
Post show shenanigans
The merch desk, the place to be, where else would you get to see Z on all fours licking the newly tattooed leg of James Grimes, Vikki happily chatting to the fans along with Gilez, with Rob contentedly sucking his beloved lollipops?
I have to admit to sneaking off for a quick game of zombie killing back stage with Mr Webmaster before watching some of the Tiger Tailz set, that I think will be my claim to fame; I killed zombies backstage at the Underworld in Camden… ah the heady heights of rock and roll.
Security once again had problems ushering out all the fans spending time with various members of Spit Like This so all the gear could be packed up ready to be loaded into the hired van. It had to be a hired van for this gig rather than the fabulously rock n roll number plated Spits van due to the new London Green Zone charges. The Underworld have a very strict curfew and as the Stage Manager put it “you won’t want to be here as it turns into one of those horrible Indie clubs in twenty minutes”, never have I moved so fast to prevent being there for a change over.
With much delight I noticed that only one flight of stairs existed to carry the gear up, so much easier than the three flights we had looked upon with much arm dragging hatred in Birmingham the previous night. Finally all the gear loaded up I stood on the stage and took one last glance around the once again empty club; empty rooms, dirty floors, deserted bars covered with empty water bottles and plastic glasses.
Many thanks to Spit Like This for allowing us to join them on this tour, you will never meet a nicer, funnier, warmer more friendlier band, each and every member are people I would choose to have for friends away from the music scene. I can honestly say I had the time of my life this weekend and I can now appreciate just how much hard work goes into putting on each show let alone a full tour.
Keep up with Spit Like This on their facebook, band website, album website and their brilliant Tshirt website. I have three of their Tshirts already with a wish list a mile long.
Again Thank you Lord Zion, Vikki Spit, Vile Gilez, Rob Riot and Mike Bishop, it was an absolute delight to share this weekend with you all.