Woohoo! I can get wi-fi in the hotel in Amsterdam! But more about that another time. Last week saw The Dead Beat undertake our first ever mini-tour. Unfortunately, it was also our last ever dates, as we decided to call it a day – well, the others did. I must admit I was a bit reluctant to put a full stop on it, and am gutted that its over and done with. But situations have changed with everyone in the band and it seems like the best thing to do at the time.
Night #1, we all headed to Brighton to play at the Green Door Store with 1994! And Algernon Cadwallader (2 bands from the states). After stuffing ourselves with food at The Prince Albert across the road, there was a bit of faffing where we had to acquire a marshall cab from one of our local buddies, and then was time to soundcheck. The GDS is a mostly great little venue under brighton train station. Looks and sizewise, its great, but unfortunately the sound isn’t the best as it gets lost in the cavern like surroundings and makes it difficult to hear whats going on. It was cool though, and the sound issue only made us fuck up one song.
We played to a relatively decent sized crowd (for us), pulled out all the stops and played through the sound issues. I think we were pretty happy with the way it went. Once we’d packed up, we dragged the gear back to my residence in brighton just down the road, then headed back to the venue to hang out with our mates. Our old drummer adam had popped down to see us and was great to catch up with him after all this time, esp as I won’t be seeing him for the next 6 months due to my travels.
After the gig, we stayed for the free club night – an 80s Soft Rock evening where the DJs played everything from Boston, Bad Company to Joan Jett and the Sweet. It was bizarre to say the least, but being different from the norm, we all had a good time jumping around and generally being ridiculous. Myself, Tonio, Dan and Vix then headed back to where I was staying and carried on partying till 3am, knocking back the Anchor Steams and eating toast. Bad mistake as we had to be up early the next day for our trip to Leeds.
Day #2 was a nightmare to start with. With everyone hungover and tired, we dragged the gear up the hill to the car at 8.30am, then went off to reload the bigger car and pick up our drummer Dave. Set off from Brighton at 11am (expecting to get to Leeds around 4ish) – and hit heavy traffic on the m25 an hour later. This continued for the entire journey – 3 hours to Northampton, then stuck again at Nottingham and Derby. Stopping for a break halfway, we all had a massive and dirty KFC each, and eventually arrived at Leeds at 6pm.
The gig was being promoted by our friend Toby who works his DIY promo/fanzine under the “New Wave Of Cut And Paste” banner. He moved to Leeds last year and we hadn’t seen him for a while so was great to catch up before the show. I also had two of my best friends from Sheffield pop down to see us, so we pitched up in a groovy little bar/café for some pizzas, anchor steam and a chinwag.
The gig was at Santiagos, a divey little venue in what appeared to be a disused shopping centre! It was small and loud, and exactly the kind of place I like to play. Oh, and the beer was cheap too. I think we played well tonight, playing harder than we did the night before, with less of a cock up in “More Snakes”. However, Dan was a moany git throughout the show, which prompted some nice fella in the audience to remark “I’ve paid £4 for this, stop moaning!”. He was right, as it did sound a little bit like we really didn’t wanna be there, haha. Bit of a no-no in my book.
Toby had put on a wicked line up too, and we played with a couple of ace bands – Matadors, who were a rockin Hot Snakes type band who included members of Dead Reckoning and Buzzkill, and Blacklisters (who were Leeds answer to The Jesus Lizard!). Both bands were awesome, and it was a great change for all of us to play with some bands we really got into and were trying to do summat different, rather than some of the identikit Fest-wannabe bands we’ve seen in the past.
It was Tonios night to drive, so Dave got on one and was caning the jagerbombs with Dan, while I dozed off in the corner by the merch desk. I’d not been sleeping too well, and after the late night and hellish car journey, I was done for the night! Thankfully, got a great nights kip at Tobys awesome house! Thanks for letting us stay dude!
Day #3 was another early start to Kingston to try and catch Slow Science (the opening band at the lunchtime half of the two-part punk show we were opening in the evening). 8.30 we were on the road, and this time had a straightforward drive back to London. 5 hours, BAM! That’s more like it.
After Slow Science, we watched Bristol based Caves (Woah-Oh!), then left the gig to go and grab some food before the evening session. Thanks to Banquet Records, we’d managed to jump onto a show they were promoting that evening, when we got shafted by a promoter in Nottingham and the original gig was pulled – actually, I don’t think it was ever arranged, but whatever. Banquet really came through for us, and we really appreciated it. When we arrived at The Peel for soundcheck, we found that the headliners had already set up and soundchecked, so we finally got a chance to really get the sound right onstage for us, as we rarely have the luxury of taking our time when it comes to checking our sound.
We knew the Lemuria/Cheap Girls show we were playing was gonna be a busy one, but when doors opened and we got onstage, I was a bit gobsmacked. Looking at the crowd, it was as though the whole of Kingston had come out to see us – faces from every show and every band and every friend. I also spotted our original singer Phil, who had turned up relatively unannounced to watch us for the first time. Although we had one more gig to do on the Sunday, we really felt that this and the brighton show were are last official shows, as they were the hometown ones. We pulled out all the stops again and played as hard as we could – and made no cock ups this time. It was definitely one of the best shows we’ve played, and when it was over, we kinda felt that we probably couldn’t have done any better. It was a good way to end the band.
After the gig, there was a punk rock club night arranged by Banquet at the big Hippodrome club in Kingston. Our mate Tim decided he was going, so dragged me, Dan and Dave along for the ride. We got in for free, negotiated the thuggish brain dead illiterate bouncers (who seemed to think packaged rennies and ibuprofen were class A drugs), and headed up to the side bar where the club was. Once we realised the beers were nearly a fiver for a bottle of becks, we knew we wouldn’t be staying. After a brief jump around to Teenage Bottlerocket and Off With Their Heads, we all headed back to Tims for a few more beers. Me and Dave crashed out and left Dan to it, but Dave snored like a drill all night, so kept me awake. The fucker.
Day #4 was a later start, as we only had to be in Basingstoke. After the awesomeness of the previous night, we were not exactly filled with enthusiasm for playing a final gig where we knew no one would know who we were or would give a shit that it was our last show. But we knew we had to do it, so off we went.
When we arrived at the venue there was no one there – just the first band Just Add Monsters soundchecking. And no bass cab or amp in the backline, which would cause us problems. As it turns out, the promoter had all the bass cab backline pulled by the bands – no one was bringing any with them. But rather than phone round to see who could bring one (like US, as we could have bought our own!) he’d just left it and hoped someone would bring one.
So after Just Add Monsters played to us, then the following metal band played to no one, it was our go. We weren’t too happy about the bass going through the PA, as Tonio was likely to blow the thing up – being a bass driven band, you want the bass to sound right. Luckily the band after us had arrived and had bought a massive Trace Elliott cab with them, and they were cool enough to let us use it. Unluckily for us, once I plugged in I was getting electric shocks from my microphone. Brilliant.
By the time we played Dan was in a foul mood, so we cut the set slightly short and powered through it. We’d managed to be the first band to actually pull a crowd of sorts, so at least we weren’t playing to no one like the others had. And although I really hadn’t wanted to play, we still pulled out all the stops for our final show. In my mind, it was the last chance I’d get to play with the band again, so I was gonna make the most of it. I’ve always loved playing music and making a racket, so rather than worry about the small crowd and bad organisation, I was gonna play this final show for ME.
Once completed, we packed up and got the hell out of there. Back to brighton, switch cars and say goodbye to everyone, in Daves case for a while as I wouldn’t see him before I go off travelling.
So that was our one and only tour. We had a brilliant time, and was just cool to finally get the band together for a few days to hang out and have fun. I’ll really miss playing with these guys. This band has been a real hard slog, whether it be trying to get gigs (and never being available for them) to trying to make an effort to write music that’s a little different from the norm (however rudimentary we sometimes sounded!). Big thanks all round to everyone that’s been involved with us in someway in the past – from the friends that continually came to see us and showed support, to the promoters that still asked us to play, even when we weren’t always available for shows. To the bands that we played with that lent us gear and who were generally cool people to hang around with. I would list you all but this blog has rambled on long enough. You know who you are.
And to Dan, Tonio and Dave – there wouldn’t have been a band without you. It was brilliant to finally be in a band with Tonio after 20 years of hassling him about it, and in Dans case to have someone that tirelessly campaigned to get the band to actually do something. Without him, we wouldn’t have done the gigs we managed to do, got loads of artwork, and also have someone within the camp that put on great gigs for us to play when we couldn’t get shows – and in doing so, put on great shows for the other bands we always played with. I look forward to attending more of Dans gigs in the future as a punter – and maybe in another band at some point.
that’s me done for a bit - over and out!