AUTUMN TOUR 2019 : What happened and lessons to take away
Link to Video of pics and clips from the tour : https://www.facebook.com/thesurvivalcode/videos/589287715179320/
TOUR – HOW IT WENT
And so another tour drew to an end and we had a great time meeting fans new and old around the country as well as playing some cities we hadn’t played before. I personally hadn’t been to Nottingham or Liverpool before and had great nights playing and afternoons walking around the Cities.
As before Si and I were two lads in a Jeep/truck of sorts. We can travel pretty handily with it being the two of us and our gear as long as we don’t need to bring shells. We offered bands to use some of our bits and IDLE CROOKS AND ENGLISHMEN brought the shells which made the journey one we were used to
The tour started in Swansea as part of a 4 day beginning set of dates which went
SWANSEA > CARDIFF > LONDON > BRIGHTON
As we were setting off on a 10 date tour, it was nice to have a day off after the initial 4. As I mentioned we were with the lads from IDLE CROOKS for the duration and LUNA KISS were joining us for the first five. We toured with the Luna lads in March and formed a close bond
Swansea was great! It was nice to get going and play together with the lads in Luna again after a few months and the venue was the BUNKHOUSE. None of us played to a packed room but the support managed to help with numbers so we had a great night and it was a good start to get going. Cardiff was tougher, the Venue FUEL was brilliant but it was a rain-soaked Thursday eve and none of the bands had a big night but we all had a few there for us. The eve ended staying for a late bar, using the juke box and carving pumpkins – could have been a lot worse
The next night was London, an excuse for Simon and I to get back and have an eve in our own beds ( two nights earlier than expected :)). The Slaughtered Lamb was packed as it was a Friday eve after work in East London and people were up for a few.
After a good night’s sleep it was onto Brighton for the SOLD OUT show in the HOPE AND RUIN. IDLE CROOKS did very well to sell out their hometown show and it was great for us to be back there again having played Brighton in July. We had a great eve in front of a great crowd and we had our big night out after with the LUNA KISS lads as it was the last night we’d have together outside Cov – were they were from and that was the last date they were joining us on the tour.
It ended up not being too late meaning we could get out of town early and enjoy an afternoon at home.
COVENTRY > NOTTINGHAM > MANCHESTER > LIVERPOOL
The next day we were up bright and early and set off for Cov. Simon is from Cov and I randomly lived there for a year so it’s a hometown show of sorts for us both. We weren’t sure how it was going to go as it was a Monday eve, but we had a blast! A great way to send Luna off, with a packed room and tons of people enjoying the night on a Monday. Tin at the Coal Shed was very good to us, well worth checking out as a venue
Having had a few too many goodbye beers and a disappearance later, we were back on the road, heading to NOTTINGHAM. As I mentioned above I actually hadn’t been before, so spent the afternoon walking around, checking out the City and the Brian Clough statue among others things. The show in Nottingham was good, in a small venue which was up two flights of stairs and a little vague from the street, but once you were in the sound was great and we had a great night. We had a fee people that came down for us so we stayed out after we played for a few beers and a kebab….
How haven’t I mentioned this yet… We went kebab crazy on this tour! some tours it ends up McDonald’s, others is curries…. THIS WAS THE KEBAB TOUR!!!! haha… IN the 10 nights of playing we had 11 kebabs each…. That’s just before bed every night…heinous really. The problem is we can’t eat big before we play so we alway skip dinner but have a huge lunch. compounding this, I can’t have a beer until I’ve finished singing. So often we don’t start our evening until 10/11, have a few beers, a bit of food and bed. Thankfully touring at our level doesn’t require a dietician – not yet anyway 🙂
Next stop was Manchester. We had a great night! There were some local bands that were really good and brought some fans, that mixed with who came for us and IDLE’s, we had a great night! Thanks who all who travelled to see us!
The next night was Liverpool for Halloween before our last day off before the final two dates. It was a good night in a good venue and enjoyed playing to a great room We didn’t dress up, not going to lie…. We hadn’t the time or energy by the time we got to town 🙂
BRISTOL > SOUTHAMPTON
After another day off we had two more shows left before it was all over
We were a convoy for the last two dates as it’s what suited for travel and tying to avoid wasting time for us both. We arrived in Bristol to biblical weather that continued until midnight. It was a little miserable to be honest and we had our toughest night of the tour. As it was a Saturday night and we were on our 9th show in 11 days, we were pretty hot at this stage. We had played a different set each night and by the end we just played the songs that worked best for the tour and got the best reaction. As it was so far into the tour IDLE CROOKS and us became very close and we knew each other’s songs. It was brilliant having them there singing along and imagine the same vice-versa.
Ultimately one of the local bands in Bristol packed the bar out. It was just one of those nights where nobody would come in the venue as they could all hear and see it from the bar (poor layout really but that was the way it was). It’s nights like this you need support of the local bands to encourage their fans in too, but this night that didn’t happen which is rare and makes for a more difficult evening than necessary
We had a great end to our eve after packing up as it was our last night with IDLE’S as the lads were going to head home as we were directly after the show in Southampton. Are few merry ones were had and we were delighted the rain filling packed in for the eve
Next day we were up early and had a very leisurely day in Southampton and the Sunday evening show was so much better than any of us could have imagined. We played SUBURBIA again which we played on our last tour and had a great night
There are always things we could do better and improve upon, but ultimately we had a great time spreading the word about he and and our music. A huge thanks to the venues and bands we played with, new friends we made, fans or otherwise. Here’s to the next one !
THINGS WE LEARNED THIS TOUR
Having just finished our ten date tour . Aside from obvious things like : minimise travel and going back on yourself in terms of planning dates to booking hotels, there are so many things we learn as we go that we use to build on for the next steps
PLANNING PARKING / CITY CENTRE ROAD CLOSURES
Most of the venues we played on our travels were bang centre in a City centre with the exception of Coventry. As we used a promoter to book the tour we hadn’t as much control over this aspect of the plan. Si and I do our best, but we often wouldn’t look into some of the particulars of a journey until we’re on the road on a given day to a hotel we booked before sound check. Almost every day without fail we struggled in Cities from NCP’s being closed which wasn’t indicated on the site, to road closures for the beginning of Xmas markets and roadworks. We started to get the gist toward the end that researching, using twitter for local road closures and calling ahead were vital things to do the day before moving onto the next City. Otherwise we would lose up to an hour each day trying to find parking/ get two seconds up the road or the way one way systems end up taking you
TRY AND WORK WITH THE OTHER BANDS ON TOUR
This isn’t something we learned as much as was great advice given to us when we started. Get on with the other bands you’re one the road with, it’s professional at the end of the day no matter how friendly you end up being or otherwise. We operate in a very small pond, it’s very easy to get known for being a nightmare. Consider the other bands with sound check, load in times. When setting up your merch, think about their space too. Doing small things like this helps the flow of a tour so much! At the end of the day we’re all in the same game, albeit sometimes apples and pears
Another thing that is so important is sharing gear when you can/it makes sense. If 4 or 5 bands are playing on a bill and two are local supports who will naturally bring all the gear under the sun as they’re near their houses/rehersal spaces. Unless you’re playing a venue that is far bigger than is needed, drummers/guitarists/players need to use their head and share where possible to make change overs as quick as possible. Local supports really need to be aware the touring bands are travelling for 1-4 hours per day and playing that night, if you can’t bring a crowd – these things happen. But please be on time for your sound check, please don’t play 10 minutes longer as the opening act than you signed up to, which impacts all the touring bands doing their best to bring their respective shows across the country. It’s just common courtesy.
We usually have great experiences on tour, the negatives are usually and have usually been reserved for bigger Cities which includes London. It’s still very common at most gigs for most members of bands to think they’re slash et al and nobody talks to anyone and everyone has a cold shoulder…it’s so grating as we’re all in the SAME GAME! And the pool has been getting small for years for guitar genred bands, but yet we still fight each other – madness
BE HONEST AND OPEN AS POSSIBLE
Ultimately you’re not going to get on with everyone in any walk of life. There’s also no point in being dishonest to anyone. We do our best to be open upfront and honest with everyone we deal with for better or worse. Sometimes this leads to the odd awkward situation but for the most part it’s for the right reasons and often works out on that basis, the next morning with clearer heads if nothing else. Ultimately everyone respects being told the truth to their face, isn’t always easy or possible, but tends to work out on average
EVERY BAND HAS THEIR PROBLEMS
Like no families are perfect, every band is managing internal stuff. Whether it’s money issues, personal things, internal band relations… It’s never usually as straight forward as it seems. We always try and learn as much as we can from every band/musician we meet. We like to try and chat and share past experiences and companies we worked with constantly trying to find an angle and a better way of doing things along with respective internal struggles. Sharing helps and if someone has been down a path you were about to walk down but has met or worked with said person and maybe had a bad experience this can be the difference between a wasted campaign and one with potential. Talk talk talk 🙂
THE OL’ ANDREW WK BLOG POST
I meet so many band members in a similar situation to us, with a great offering but struggling for years to make a meaningful breakthrough. It often feels like you’re wasting your time and that all efforts are futile given the gulf between where we and bands like us exist versus the mainstream artists we listen to respectively. I am not much of blog reader says the blog poster..ironically :). but one of the things I am happiest to have read in the last ten years is the ANDREW WK blog post about commercial versus musical/creative success. It clearly doesn’t just apply to music, but certainly helps remind and reinforce the great privilege being able to play music is, being able to be creative and success of any level is a lot more than the average person will ever expect to experience. Commercial success is a whole other beast, the one we all naturally tend to measure ourselves against, but it’s not a fair barometer. We as TSC have been lucky to have outlived many of the bands we played with since we started. Yes, our genre and offering has changed a little over the years, but keeping going, working hard and talking to all the bands as we said, not being too hard on yourself as you’re doing something right already having output, good songs, a band of brothers or sisters…. We all need to figure out the next stage but don’t let that define you! It’s still something I need to remind myself of weekly – we are still standing and we are in the game. That is admirable!
Having referenced the man (whatever you have ever thought of him or his music), check it out here, no truer words spoken : https://www.villagevoice.com/2015/05/08/ask-andrew-w-k-how-do-i-become-a-successful-musician/
AND LASTLY : BRING SPARES
No matter how much you prepare things will go wrong. For us it wasn’t unit our 8th show thankfully, but my in-ear system completely broke before the show and we played our first show ever as a duo where I had to just follow Si and what I could glean from the monitors. It was a challenging evening but one we survived and nobody seemed to notice the strain we were under. Either way despite bringing some extra parts for bits we learned on our last tour the reality is I could have had a spare for most things as I had the bits at home and just hadn’t thought about “what if?”. Next time I may bring an extra one of everything I have – saves the stress if something breaks that shouldn’t/doesn’t usually break
I think that’s about it for now. Thanks for reading if you got this far and if nothing else do check us out on Spotify. We’re quite excited atm as our song SO SERIOUS has just pipped 71,000 plays since August and it’s by far the best thing that has happened to us this year. ROCK ON! – TSC
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