So, we’re just about recovered from the Big Cheese Magazine UK tour 2013. A few thank you’s - Eugene at Big Cheese, Electric River, The Hostiles, Chris at Jubilee, Jane Whitehead, Josh & Thalia, Will & Isabel, The Brickyard, The Rattlesnake, Pivo, Punktastic, Classic Rock Magazine, Jamie Otsa, Julie Weir and everybody who came out to see us, bought merch, bought us a pint, tapped their foot, clapped, sang along. Amazing times.
Some of you will know, our Adam works for the local rag when he’s not on tour with us or playing drums somewhere else, and in his ‘Soundcheck’ column this week he’s done a Big Cheese Tour diary, transposed in full below, enjoy!
Big Cheese Magazine UK Tour 2013
The Colt 45 UK tour wound up in Kent on Sunday night, having taken in a fair amount of the UK throughout the previous 10 days and nights. The tour was conceived and organised by the good people at Big Cheese Magazine – one of the biggest UK print rock and punk monthly’s in circulation, alongside Rock Sound and Kerrang. Pairing Cumbrian three piece melodic punks Colt 45 with London-based socially-minded alt rockers Electric River was a match made in heaven. They were a pleasure to share the road and stage with every night – a lasting friendship forged and hopefully more tours to follow.
First stop was Glasgow, a place we’ve played many times before and thankfully made an impression, as lots of familiar faces from our previous shows turned up to see us. Local support acts were chosen for each leg of the tour, with Electric River and Colt 45 taking it in turns to headline each night. Glasgow’s Pivo Pivo venue was a great choice, the small venue was ideal to kick off the tour, feeling nice and busy despite only having around 60 people in attendance – not bad for a bitterly cold February night in Glasgow. The new songs we had rehearsed in preparation for the tour got their first outings, and seemed to be received well alongside our older material. So far, so good.
Next stop was Edinburgh, somewhere we’d never played as Colt 45 before, so we were really looking forward to this one, especially as the show was organised in association with the local students union of the Edinburgh College of Art. Having spent the day checking out the impressive castle, exploring the Royal Mile and finally getting the matching triangle tattoos we’ve always talked about, it was time to hit the venue and check out the local supports. Taking Chase are an Edinburgh based band and were superb, fusing lots of common influences in to an exciting display of punk-fuelled post hardcore, crushing riffs, great melodies and clever break downs. Definitely ones to keep an eye on. Our good friends The Hostiles also joined us for the first two nights and headlined both the Scottish dates, and as usual, set about causing a total riot in the by-now packed venue with their chaotic blend of ska, punk and straight-up rock. It was great to see Electric River for a second night, and their catchy melodies and awesome song-writing had by now become stuck in our heads, and their EP became the soundtrack for the rest of the tour. Edinburgh, we’ll definitely be back up soon!
Day three was a special one for us, Carlisle Brickyard, our home town show. The pressure was on with this one because we really wanted to show the Electric River boys and the Big Cheese team exactly how we do things up here, and how good our local venue is. The hard work we put in to promoting this show leading up to the tour paid off, and we were thrilled to see so many people down, with local support act The Alleys pulling off a great set and making lots of new fans. Electric River were impressed with the excellent sound and organisation of the Brickyard – something which as regulars in there we perhaps take for granted. It’s worth mentioning that the Brickyard is head and shoulders above many venues around the UK in terms of its support for local music, attention to detail when it comes to making touring acts feel welcome and the quality of the live sound and sound techs who make it happen. As usual, big thanks to Mark and Andy for putting on the show and to Gareth for an excellent job on the sound desk. A message to anyone who thinks they’re into live music – go and watch bands, local, touring, known, unknown, we have an amazing live music institution in our area which operates only because of the passion of the people who run it. It needs your support to keep putting on the amazing events we’re lucky enough to be able to attend. Check out upcoming listings at www.thebrickyardonline.com. Seriously, do it.
The fourth night was Manchester and after a decent rest stop at home in Carlisle the night before, we arrived in good time to check out the famous Gulliver’s venue – many of our friends have played here before and told us all about the unusual surroundings and funny smells. Basically, it’s like playing in someone’s spare bedroom, in 1968. Portraits of not-forgotten stars of the past adorn the walls, a broken chandelier swings awkwardly from the ceiling, there’s a pungent smell of stale beer and old furniture, a make-shift bar in the corner and a sound guy who’s seemingly just arrived on the last boat from Jamaica, literally. The perfect venue for a Colt 45 punk rock show then! It was great to see so many familiar faces from Cumbria and elsewhere on our travels, people we didn’t know who were fans or had read about us in the press and bought our music, it was a really enjoyable night, despite being tired. And even though it was a Sunday, the small venue was packed out again and we played one of our best shows of the whole tour.
The Electric River crew then took off to play a couple of shows in Leicester and Ipswich whilst we went home and back to work for a couple of days. We re-joined them in London on Saturday night and were chuffed to bits with the excellent venue, The Rattlesnake in Angel, near Islington - a relatively new establishment quickly making a name for itself as a must-go on the UK tour circuit. The American themed bar and diner gave way to an awesome venue space at the back of the club, soundchecks were completed, the sound was good, and we knew lots of national press were coming to review the London show. No pressure then. We relaxed with the Electric River boys waiting for doors to open, and were over the moon when about 400 turned up before the second support act had even been on stage. By 10pm we were raring to go, with lots of familiar faces in the audience, pens and iPad’s twitching, such was the anticipation we’d built for this gig and knowing the people we’d invited were watching…it was without doubt our most daunting London show to date, but I’m pleased to say we pulled it off, probably our best performance of the tour.
Just as Carlisle was our home town show, so too was London for the Electric River boys and hundreds of their fans, friends and family packed out the venue to support them – great to see original and unsigned bands have such a passionate following even in London, where competition and distractions are rife. We let our hair down after the gig and enjoyed a boozy night with the Electric River lads back at their London base, before an early start the next day…
Final night in Canterbury was one we’d been looking forward to, mainly because it was the furthest we’d ever played away from home – we were closer to France than Cumbria! We should have maybe re-thought the organisation of press interviews after such a big night previously, but we just about got through it and didn’t say anything too stupid. Being a Sunday, it was always going to be risky, but the excellent local support band as well as the hard prep work we’d all done paid off yet again, and we played to an audience of about 85 in the end – a great result for us all. This venue was a little more like our usual haunts – old school pub vibe, great jukebox and friendly bar staff who couldn’t get over our strange northern accents. With Neil and Gareth rendered virtually incomprehensible due to their Workington origins, it was down to me to act as translator, and probably the first and last time I’ll ever been called ‘posh’ for coming from Carlisle!
Due to work commitments, we had to drive home to Cumbria through the night after our show on Sunday, landing back at our rehearsal room base at 5.30am, an ungodly hour, but high spirits were maintained, we knew we’d done a cracking job promoting the tour, and played well every night, and we just about broke even as well from selling lots of CD’s and t-shirts. Job done, progress made, and the good ship 45 sails on to find new shores. Expect to hear more from us very soon. A lot more.