After band and crew members flew and drove to Lutz’ studio from Lindon, Bergamo and Sheffield and a couple of rehearsals the time had come to set off for our first show with Liv Kristine in Pratteln, Switzerland. We left in good time, with full tummies and very excited to play an acoustic interlude for [...]
So yes, the new coat of paint of my blog is indeed inspiring to post a few more news items… this one is by now a few months old, but in order for this blog to be a complete record of events in my life it must definitely be included. For Dystopia I definitely wanted [...]
[Deutsche Version siehe unten] Hello and Season’s Greetings! 2011 has been a very exciting year for us: We’ve recorded and released our third album Dystopia, for which we received great feedback both from you and from the press. We produced our first ever music video for Save Me – www.youtube.com/lahannya – filmed partly at Sky [...]
Hello and Season’s Greetings! First of all, a massive THANK YOU to all of you who came to one of the concerts on our November tour! After playing some rather disappointing venues on the last tour we had decided that this time we would make sure that you had good sound and good light at [...]
After band and crew members flew and drove to Lutz’ studio from Lindon, Bergamo and Sheffield and a couple of rehearsals the time had come to set off for our first show with Liv Kristine in Pratteln, Switzerland. We left in good time, with full tummies and very excited to play an acoustic interlude for the first time in our existence as a band.
The first hour was fairly uneventful… When we approached Lahr, however, we suddenly heard a massive bang. Since nothing had fallen over and Matilda (our trusty 40-year old sleeper bus) still seemed to be running fine we assumed that the bang must have been caused by something on the road. Before we had time to decide whether or not to stop and check the bang came again, and again, and again. Matilda clearly wasn’t well. So the hi-vis vests and warning triangle came out and Lutz crawled under Matilda to have a look at her underbelly.
The news wasn’t good: after just 40 years and 320,000km her “Kardanwellen-Mittellager” had crumbled to dust. (No, I don’t know what a “Kardanwellen-Mittellager” is either, but it was pretty obvious that without one Matilda was’t going anywhere fast!)
Matilda was still moving at slow speed, so we carefully drove on the hard shoulder to the nearest exit and stopped at a service station. We managed to locate a nearby Mercedes centre that could get a replacement part by 8am the next morning and was able to loan us a van and car. They even pushed a semi-disembowelled 7.5t Matilda back out of the workshop at the end if the day so we could sleep in her after the show. A massive thanks to Hartmann Mercedes-Benz centre in Lahr and in particular to Mr Kellerer!
So I ended up driving a brand spanking new Mercedes Benz B-class which was likely more intelligent than myself, a fact it liked to rub into my face at every possible opportunity!
Things looked good, at leadt until we reached the Swiss border. Practised as we are we arrived fully armed with Merch and equipment lists for customs purposes. Unfortunately, what normally takes a maximum of 10 minutes turned into a wild goose chase, involving 2 buildings, 3 floors, 6 customs officers, 45 minutes and 500 Euro.
Slowly time was getting tight and my nerves frayed… Especially after another wild goose chase trying to find the venue. We had the right address but were unaware that the venue was inside a shopping centre, on the second floor. Mind you, a fair few Pratteln natives were also unaware of the fact!
Eventually we did find it and once we realised that we still had several hours before the show and a gorgeous dinner ready and waiting we started to relax…
The gig itself went brilliantly: the sound in the Galery was superb, the crowd fabulous and we loved playing the acoustic versions of Dying Inside, Sick and Tired and Cocoon. Naturally, in the spirit of the day, Chris broke a string during soundcheck and another during the show, but who needs 6 strings anyway, eh?
We met many old and new fans at the show and even got a Christmas gift of superb Lindt chocolate from Zym, our Swiss tattooist fan – thank you, Zym, there is hardly any left, it was that yummy!
By the way, on this tour we loan Lutz to Liv for a duet of Tanz der Schatten, one of Theatre of Tragedy’s greatest hits. The duet sounded amazing, a perfect example of beauty and the beast vocals, and will be a very special treat for Theatre of Tragedy fans, I am sure.
We’re halfway to Wuppertal now so I shall sign off for now. Photos are uploaded onto the Lahannya Web site Gallery.
So yes, the new coat of paint of my blog is indeed inspiring to post a few more news items… this one is by now a few months old, but in order for this blog to be a complete record of events in my life it must definitely be included.
For Dystopia I definitely wanted to make sure we had a proper music video. In the YouTube age it’s not enough anymore to produce CDs or release MP3s, you need to present people with a visual representation of your song. Since I am not a director myself (yet – you never know..), it was imperative for me to find someone who I could trust 100 per cent to turn my songs into visual piece of art that I was fully behind.
After a fair bit of research I decided that David Kenny would be the right man for the job. He is based in London like myself and therefore intrinsically gets what the concept of the album is actually about.
So, for the record, here is our first ever music video: Save Me.
[Deutsche Version siehe unten]
Hello and Season’s Greetings!
2011 has been a very exciting year for us: We’ve recorded and released our third album Dystopia, for which we received great feedback both from you and from the press. We produced our first ever music video for Save Me – www.youtube.com/lahannya – filmed partly at Sky TV Studios and partly in an old East London warehouse during the London riots. We played a great headline tour in the UK, which took us to all our favourite venues, and had the amazing opportunity to accompany one of the most successful German alternative bands on their tour.
If you haven’t had the chance to come and see us live we have now made the new merchandise articles available in our online shop. You can order Dystopia t-shirts and hoodies as well as the silver-coated Lahannya Logo pendants and, of course, all of our CDs from www.lahannya.com/shop.
With the end of the year rapidly approaching you may wonder what we have in store for next year… Even though 2012 hasn’t even started yet, it already promises a few highlights: We have finished shooting the video to our next single, which we will release in the first half of next year, and we are confirmed to play some major music festivals in Germany and Belgium. Here are the dates for your calendars:
Aug 11/12: DE – M’Era Luna, Hildesheim
Aug 25/26: DE – Feuertal Festival, Wuppertal
Oct 19-21: BE – Metal Female Voices Fest X, Wieze
Thank you for your support during the last year and inspiring us to carry on. Without you there would be little point going on tour or releasing new CDs. If you want to support us in 2012 then please continue to introduce your friends to our music and our videos, ask festival promoters to book us, your local radio stations to play our music and your favourite magazines to write about us.
Much love and best wishes for the new year!
Hallo meine Lieben,
2011 war ein sehr aufregendes Jahr fuer uns: Wir haben unser drittes Album Dystopia veroeffentlicht und viel positives Feedback sowohl von euch als auch von der Presse erhalten. Beides freut uns natuerlich sehr. Wir haben unser erstes Musik Video fuer Save Me herausgebracht – dieses wurde uebrigens teils in den Sky TV Studios gefilmt und teils in einem alten Ost Londoner Warehouse waehrend der Unruhen im August, was eine sehr unheimliche Atmosphaere verbreitete. Ansehen koennt ihr es auf YouTube – www.youtube.com/lahannya. Wir spielten eine tolle UK Tour in allen unseren Lieblingsstaedten und hatten die fantastische Moeglichkeit mit einer der erfolgreichsten alternativen Bands Deutschlands in ihrer Heimat auf Tour zu gehen.
Falls ihr uns nicht auf Tour sehen konntet, dann koennt ihr jetzt die neuen Merch Artikel auch bei uns im Internetshop bestellen. Dort findet ihr Dystopia T-Shirts und Hoodies, sowie versilberte Anhaenger mit dem Lahannya Logo samt Lederkette und Organza Pouch und natuerlich auch alle unsere CDs. Ab sofort ist all das erhaeltlich bei www.lahannya.com/shop.
Jetzt wo das Jahr zur Neige geht seid ihr vielleicht neugierig was wir naechstes Jahr vorhaben… 2012 hat zwar noch nicht begonnen, aber wir koennen uns jetzt schon auf ein paar Highlights freuen. Wir haben schon das Video zur naechsten Single gedreht, welches in der ersten Haelfte naechsten Jahres veroeffentlicht wird. Ausserdem sind wir fuer mehrere tolle Festivals bestaetigt. Hier sind also schon mal ein paar Termine fuer euren Kalender:
Aug 11/12: DE – M’Era Luna, Hildesheim
Aug 25/26: DE – Feuertal Festival, Wuppertal
Okt 19-21: BE – Metal Female Voices Fest X, Wieze
Vielen Dank fuer eure Unterstuetzung im vergangenen Jahr. Es ist euer Support, der uns immer wieder motiviert weiter zu machen, denn letztendlich machen wir Musik und touren fuer euch. Wenn ihr uns 2012 weiterhin unterstuetzen moechtet, dann helft uns weiterhin unsere Musik und unsere Videos mehr Leuten vorzustellen, sagt euren Lieblingsradiosendern, dass ihr unsere Songs hoeren wollt und euren Lieblingszeitschriften, dass ihr mehr ueber uns lesen moechtet. Jedes bisschen hilft!
Viele liebe Gruesse und alles Gute fuers neue Jahr.
Hello and Season’s Greetings!
First of all, a massive THANK YOU to all of you who came to one of the concerts on our November tour!
After playing some rather disappointing venues on the last tour we had decided that this time we would make sure that you had good sound and good light at every show and we were really happy that we managed to make good on that promise. Thanks for spreading the word about us in your local area: Because of you we had more than twice as many people as last time at several concerts and most people were able to sing along! This is really inspiring and we’re already starting to book next year’s dates and preparing for Mathilda’s MOT next year! (N.B. if you’re a new fan, you should know that Mathilda is our trusty 38 year old tour bus and part of the crew)
SCAVENGER FAN EDITION DOUBLE PACK CD/DVD
For those of you unable to see us on tour, we released a Fan Edition Double Pack CD/DVD called Scavenger in November. It’s again packaged in a beautiful digipack with stunning artwork by French designer and metalhead Stan W Decker, who I found on the Deviant Art Portal. It contains an audio CD with two brand new taster tracks from next year’s album “Disorder” – “Scavenger” and “Beautiful Wasteland” – and four live tracks recorded at the Essen Original Festival: “No Tomorrow“, “Charades“, “Kill Me if You Care” and “Silent Victim“. On top of that it also includes a DVD with our full performance at Metal Female Voices Fest 2009. The Scavenger Fan Edition is now available on our Webshop at www.lahannya.com/shop and, of course, at the merch stall on tour.
CHANGE OF LINE-UP: A FAREWELL TO BELLE
I also have a piece of sad news for you, I’m afraid. Unfortunately Belle, who has been drumming with us for the last three years, had to leave the band. As you know, we’re continuously working on new music or playing live and this requires a great commitment in terms of time. As his personal circumstances changed this year, Belle was no longer able to go on tour for several weeks at the time or to spend extended periods of time in the studio. As you all know, Belle is a pretty unique character and finding someone else to take his place in the line-up was going to be pretty difficult we thought. Luckily we were wrong and things worked out perfectly….
We played a couple of festival shows and recorded four tracks for the new album with Lars Nippa, an acquaintance of Lutz. Lars is a shithot (pardon my language!) drummer and was great fun, but due to his commitments with regards to family and other projects was not going to be the permanent solution. Chris then introduced us to Luca Mazzucconi – a crazy but lovable Italian who can’t handle spicy food or complete a sentence without including at least one swear word! Luca again is an amazing drummer who played the November tour with us. It worked out really well and I think you guys liked him, too. He’s therefore now going to be a permanent fixture in the band and will be recording the remaining songs for the new album with us this December.
A FEW MORE (BRIEF) NEWS HEADLINES
- New Lahannya live videos (from the Scavenger DVD) are now uploaded onto YouTube: www.youtube.com/lahannya
- Prices for T-Shirts / textiles have been considerably lowered in the Webshop in the run up to Christmas
- The new album “Disorder” is planed to be released in June 2011
- The next Lahannya UK tour is being booked now for September 2011
- The next Lahannya Germany tour is likely to take place in October 2011
VOTE FOR US (IF YOU SPEAK GERMAN…)
Also, if you speak German we’d be grateful if you could vote for us in the annual polls of the following magazines:
Sonic Seducer: www.sonic-seducer.de/index.php/component/option,com_botb/
If you can get your friends and family to vote, too, that would be fantastic, but please only vote once per person and per computer, so we don’t get disqualified!
FINAL CHANCE TO SEE US THIS YEAR
17 December: DE – Essen, Zeche Carl
18 December: DE – Muehlhausen, Kulturfabrik
We are hoping to play a number of summer festivals across Europe in 2011 and would very much appreciate your support in suggesting us for the line-up of your favourite festival either in the festival forum or directly via email to the promoter. If enough of you request us to play, then we are likely to get invited!
If I don’t see you at the two upcoming shows before Christmas then I would like to wish you a wonderful Christmas break and great start into the new year!
Lots of love,
I’ve been meaning to write a few words about our long trip into the heart of Poland, where we played mROCKfest on 31 July. Unfortunately one thing or another always seemed more important and now it’s been ages since it actually happened! However, I’d still quite like to share a few photos and anecdotes with you…
The trip from Karlsruhe – home of Lutz and Mathilda – to the Polish border past Berlin was relatively uneventful, the real adventure started once we’d passed the German-Polish border. The roads themselves weren’t as bad as we had been made to believe but the traffic was worse. We took the main road that goes from Germany through Warsaw to Russia, which just has a single lane in each direction and is packed with lorry after lorry. There was, however, a fairly generous hard shoulder for the slower vehicles, like ourselves, so the centre of the road could be used for some rather dangerous overtaking maneuvers by both lanes.
Even major roads seemed to go through a town every few miles which meant constantly braking and speeding up, lots of traffic lights and traffic jams, a constant stop and go. Mathilda, our trusty 36 year old tourbus, didn’t like it. Not one bit. She soon decided that she’d had enough and refused to go any further. Standing by the roadside with only 300km to go – which on Polish roads would take us about 10 hours – we were seriously worried… Luckily, after much finger-crossing, a thorough examination and some TLC from Lutz and the Polish equivalent of the AA Mathilda could be persuaded to have another go. Phew!
We spent the night parked up at a petrol station and headed off to Ostroda fairly early the next morning, where it turned out that none of the organisers were at the venue despite the fact that it was load-in time. When finally someone turned up they couldn’t speak any English so we just obediently parked up where we were shown and waited for further instructions.
Load-in started 2 hours later and since by this time neither the PA nor lights were set up we kind of figured out that everything was running late. Our soundcheck time came and went, the PA and lights were still not set up. The doors opened and we still hadn’t soundchecked. However, we were assured by the promoter that “you know what it’s like, festivals always run late”, so there obviously was no need to worry, was there? Hmmm…
None of the organisers seemed to be worried about the delays and so none of the bands were asked to shorten their soundcheck or set. Although I really enjoyed the melancholy Slavic lament of Negradonna and the Emilie Autumn-esque Vic Anselmo we got more and more worried that people wouldn’t stay to wait for us to go on.
When around 2 am we finally went on stage, we were positively surprised and ended up playing to an amazing crowd that was up for partying all night! Playing in such a great location and to such an enthusiastic audience made up for all the waiting around and we had an absolute blast on stage. We played several songs from the new album for the very first time, including “Sick and Tired” and “Burn”, which are definitely amongst my new live favourites. It was great to see how well they went down!
By the time we got off stage the promoter had already gone home as had anybody else who knew the address to where our tourbus was parked up! With a very small Polish vocabulary and no address it was a bit tricky to make our way there… However, the lovely Kris, who works behind the bar there, sorted it all out for us and around 4.30am we and our equipment were finally safely back at our overnight spot. What a night, but despite being incredibly tired we had to have a celebratory drink or two ourselves before going to sleep!
The next day we took it easy, explored the city and practised our newly emerging Polish language skills. In the evening we headed over to the castle again for the second day of mROCKfest. We met Thomas Rainer of L’Ame Immortelle who despite our best intentions decided to ply us and several of his band and crew with cocktails all night. He seemed to have had a similarly exciting journey to get to Ostroda – but that’s his story to tell…
On the way back we took the slow route along the coast – the first few days off I’ve had all year – before starting the long way back to Karlsruhe to unload and carry on the studio work on our new album Defiance… So have I learnt anything from the whole experience? Probably not as I would do it all over again
Thanks to the promoters for inviting us to come and play our first Polish and festival headline show ever and for everyone who came to the show and partied with us! Hope to see you again at some point!!
With the band and Lemmy safely on board, we set off on Friday afternoon, around 2pm, with our first stop being Sainsbury supermarket to stock up on supplies for the English-breakfast-press-album-pre-listen event we had organised for Sunday morning in Leipzig. Half an hour later, stockpiled with eggs, bacon, sausages, baked beans, tomatoes, hash browns, toast and various flavours of crisps, beers and ciders, we joined the slow-moving Friday afternoon traffic to get out of London and head towards Dover…
The next stop was the ferry, which we cheekily used for a picnic in the sun accompanied by a chilled bottle of rose. Then the long drive from the French coast to eastern Germany awaited us, with an overnight stop just after passing the Belgium-Germany border. The drive, however, was never boring because this time we had a free-flying budgie exploring the bus, which kept us entertained throughout the journey! We reached Leipzig fairly late on Saturday evening, picked up our passes and parking permits and headed to the Agrahalle to park up for the night, get some dinner and catch up with friends.
On Sunday morning we headed to the spot the WGT organisers had suggested we use for the breakfast-press-album-pre-listen session. Upon arriving we quickly realised that there were no parking spaces whatsoever and busloads of tourists were being shown around by tour guides armed with conspicuous umbrellas. After searching the backstreets we eventually found a small strip of green with a parking spot directly in front of it and decided to try our luck there.
By this time we had just found out that our PR agent had broken her leg the night before, spent the night in hospital and would not be able to join us to welcome the journalists and photographers who said they’d come. On her way from the hospital to her hotel she also left her mobile phone in the taxi so we had no more way of contacting her to get the expected guests’ phone numbers and tell them about the new location. This required a slight change of plan and we phoned Jason, who runs our UK street team, to come and help us by escorting the guests from the agreed meeting place to where we actually had parked up.
However, beforehand Lutz, Belle and myself had to head off in different directions to procure some items that we needed, no easy feat on a Sunday in Germany where pretty much every shop is shut. We got some paper plates and wooden cutlery from the WGT medieval market, but sending Belle off to get some crushed ice proved to be the wrong choice: he went missing for the best part of the event, leaving at 11.30am and returning – without ice – more than two hours later!
At 12 noon on the spot the first journalists started turning up, catching us only half prepared! But luckily everyone was absolutely lovely and chilled and so the whole listening session, interview and breakfast went smoothly and it was actually a lot of fun for everyone involved. So much so, that we realised only just in time that we had to pack up and rush back to the Agrahalle so Lutz would be there in time for his performance with Umbra et Imago. Back at the Agrahalle then Lutz went off to find the rest of his other band, while I finally sat down to relax and have a late breakfast myself. In the evening, Dave and myself armed ourselves with Caipirinhas and watched the Umbra et Imago and ASP shows, while Belle was lying in a Bloody Mary induced coma in the bus.
And then it was already Monday morning and time to head over to the Parkbuehne. There we met up with Stiefel, our sound engineer, Ronny, our stage tech, and Janina and Candy who were looking after our merch stall. Stiefel and Ronny we had originally met on the ASP tour and Janina and Candy I knew from DJing for the globalnoisemovement collective, which they’re a part of.
It was an absolutely stunning and scorchingly hot day and my worry that our first time on an open air stage it would pour down with rain luckily turned out to be unfounded. At ten to four it was time and we headed out on the stage and the reception we got was absolutely incredible. There were so many familiar faces from the ASP tour, last year’s Nocturnal Culture Night and a large number of UK fans, which meant that lots of people could sing along to our songs. With hindsight, a long sleeved latex and PVC outfit might not have been the wisest choice when performing mid afternoon in the sun, but by the time I came to realise that it was far too late to do something about it!
We only had time to play six songs: Silent Victim and Doors from Shotgun Reality, our first album, Welcome to the Underground and Inside the Machine from our Welcome to the Underground EP and two brand new songs – Dying Inside and Our War – which will be on our second album, Defiance, which is coming out this autumn.
After the show I wanted to go the merch stall, but as soon as I emerged from backstage I found myself facing an unexpected 20 metre long queue of people wanting autographs and photos! After 10 minutes of signing CDs and cards in the blistering sun, however, I just had to head for the shade of the merch area. Soon Lutz, Belle and Dave joined me and we stayed there signing CDs, posters, flyers and bodyparts, posing for pictures and catching up with fans and friends we’d not seen in a while. What an absolutely amazing day! One day like this every now and again makes all the hard work very worthwhile indeed!
After Nosferatu played and it started raining cats and dogs we headed off into the centre of Leipzig where I was booked to DJ at Gothic magazine’s end-of-WGT party at the Darkflower. We were treated to free drinks all night and I played an hour of hard electro and industrial, which was great fun since I don’t DJ regularly anymore. After catching up with some more friends – Martin from Gothic magazine, Udo and Anke from the Zeche Carl amongst others – and losing Belle again either to a mirror or a gorgeous female we finally went back to Mathilda around 5am and fell asleep within minutes…
Photos were taken by either Lahannya (no 2, 6, 7), Lutz (1, 3, 4, 9, 10), Dana (5) and Ritual Art (8). More photos can be seen in the gallery on the Lahannya Web site at www.lahannya.com/gallery.
It already seems ages ago as so much has happened since, but our tour diary wouldn’t be complete without an account of the Manchester show and the Wave-Gotik-Treffen in Germany. But first things first, so let’s start with Manchester.
Since we didn’t get much of a chance to spend much time with Dyonisis during the Birmingham show, we decided that our two bands would meet up on a truck stop just outside Manchester and catch up over a barbeque.
We arrived at Satan’s Hollow in Manchester just after 4pm, which should have given all of us plenty of time to set up and soundcheck before 7pm, when the doors were supposed to open. However, when we turned up it turned out that the venue got a new PA on the day of our show, which was still in bits and pieces when we turned up! When it was still in bits and pieces two hours later I have to admit I was beginning to get a bit nervous but no one at the venue seemed in the slight bit stressed. I soon realised that everyone was so chilled because for some strange reason the staff had been told that the doors were opening at 8pm, not 7pm! So I spent the next half hour trying to hurry everyone along and apologising profusely to the crowd that began to gather outside the venue. Luckily it was a sunny day and everyone was still in a good mood by the time the doors finally opened half an hour late!
Despite all the setting up shenanigans I have to say that Satan’s Hollow is a fabulous venue, especially for a club night. There was an old gnarly tree decorated in subtle fairy lights adorning one alcove surrounded by iron bars, there was a huge Satan’s face on one of the walls and the stage / dancefloor was a slightly raised circle surrounded by an iron railing in the middle of the room.
Like Birmingham we had a great line-up at Satan’s Hollow with Dyonisis and Screams of Cold Winter, who both played great sets. Then it was our turn to step into the round and even though the shape of the stage felt very odd and Lutz had to fight with a rather uncooperative bass string, it was a great show because of the enthusiasm of everyone there! After socialising at the end of the show for a bit it was far too soon time to pack up and head south again to change some equipment, pick up Lemmy my budgie and start our journey to Leipzig.
This, by the way, was our first UK tour without getting a single parking ticket! No mean feat with the length of our bus and the stern traffic wardens we’ve encountered in the past…
On day 2 of our UK tour we were meant to play as part of the Persecution club night in Stockton-on-Tees. We already knew that we might have to complement the equipment at the venue and bring our own cables but since we had been assured that the venue had a decent PA and 16 channel mixing desk we weren’t too worried. When we arrived, on a day of glorious sunshine I might add, we were told that they counted the channels again and it was unfortunately only a 12 channel desk. Oh well, we thought, less than ideal, but still doable – after all, we even once managed to play on a 6-channel desk at Hoko 10 in Newcastle, although that was an experience we’d rather not repeat! When Alan, our sound engineer, took a look at the desk, however, it turned out that they counted every single hole where someone could potentially plug something into the desk and that it really was only a 4 channel desk, which meant we did have a problem on our hands…
In the face of the situation Ferg, the owner of the venue and a really lovely chap, proceeded to make several phone calls, then grabbed Alan and off they went on a hunt for bits and pieces to assemble a PA that would allow us to play that night. They returned less than an hour later with exactly that! Although it was still less than ideal and the PA wiring required soldering, complemented with pieces from Alan’s equipment we finally had a working PA! (I say we, but it really was Alan who saved the day!)
After the soundcheck we went backstage, which was pretty much the whole upstairs floor. One of the rooms was so amazing that we all wanted to move in straight away: about 10 meters long, maybe 4 meters wide and about 4 meters high with half the walls covered with 3 meter high windows – probably 7 or 8 of them! – and a beautiful opulent bar tucked in one of the corners. This is where we took Dave “Chippy” Chipchase from Bishop FM who came to interview us and review the show. He was a really great guy and we really enjoyed the questions he asked us…
A little while later we got called downstairs where the guys from Midian had prepared a delicious dinner, I think it was pork roast with chips and salad, absolutely perfect for how we felt after a very long day (well, Belle being a vegetarian felt a little less excited about the roast but very grateful indeed for the chips and salad and since it was a late gig starting around 11pm it really hit the spot.
The gig itself went down really well. We had a good crowd of not just alternative people that usually come to the Persecution night but also a few locals that saw the posters and got curious… I think we played a fairly long set, about 50 minutes, but those were over far too quickly! After the show we got to meet many old and newly won fans and sign a few autographs – amongst the “items” proferred to sign were the first pair of breasts, of which I signed the right one and Lutz the left. Dave and Belle only got their names on the upper arms! The Persecution crowd was very friendly, welcoming, fun and very unpretentious. They seem to really appreciate it when bands include Stockton on their tour schedule. A big thank you goes out to Ferg, Paul and Lisa, the entire staff of Midian and everyone who came to see us!
Next up was TJ’s in Newport, Wales, so a fair drive, which meant we had to leave Stockton the same night. We stopped at a truck stop near Sheffield (I think…) where we had a well-deserved full English breakfast and arrived in Newport around 3.30pm on the Saturday to glorious sunshine. We found a parking spot directly outside TJ’s, setting up was very relaxed, but Alan had a tough time getting the sound set up right as there were reverberations bouncing all around the venue! But eventually even that was done and we had a takeout from a local kebab shop for dinner.
While we were eating inside the bus, the venue opened its doors and the outside of our tourbus was suddenly crowded with people drinking, smoking, chatting and watching the occasional fire artist perform on the pavement. It was definitely a little odd, but many things were just a little odd that night, everything was just a little bit different to how we expected it. For example, the face painter asking me to make an announcement that people could get their faces painted next to the stage (which I of course dutifully made!) or the two girls that danced a tailor-made Macarena style dance to Bleed For Me during the show or the chap who walked in an hour after we came off stage and bought a CD and t-shirt from us without ever having heard of us!
And finally – the oddest thing of all – in the general unloading and soundchecking business I had accidentally left my laptop in its backpack next to a pillar on the dancefloor throughout the entire event, but it was still happily sitting there at the end of the night, with no beer spillage, waiting to be picked up by me. All’s well that ends well and so I went to sleep with a big smile on my face on the drive towards London. A big shoutout goes to Sean and Gaz from Fab’n'Kinky who invited us to play, promoted the show so enthusiastically and looked after us on the day!
We stopped in a truckstop near Swindon for the night, but with it being a Sunday it wasn’t open in the morning for us to get breakfast or use their facilities. Therefore the nearby Sainsbury supermarket had to do and we probably caused some funny glances with several rough and unusual looking types all dressed in black turning up at 9am on a Sunday morning! We also had a little panic moment when we accidentally left Mathilda’s petrol cap at a service station between Newport and London, but luck was with us once again and the wonderful Alex who was coming to our gig roughly along the same route managed to find the service station and bring it to the London gig! Again, a massive thank you is in order – we love you Alex! And while I’m doing the thank-yous, one must definitely go to Jason H, who on very short notice looked after our merch stall, and Mike Exley, who is doing our PR and did an outstanding job with this tour!
Our London gig at the Water Rats was unfortunately quite stressful, mostly because the promoter who we had arranged the show with was not actually there and not everything that had been agreed had been communicated correctly to the venue. Luckily Rob and Craig who were working that night were very supportive and so in the end we managed to get most of the details sorted to everyone’s satisfaction. The promoter had put on a ridiculous number of bands – six in total – most of which had very little in common with each other and whose fans were unlikely to appreciate the other bands.
The band I enjoyed the most were Silent Descent, a 7-piece that are fusing metal and trance elements, arriving at a sound that is very much their own. I’d definitely recommend you check them out if you get the chance. Before we went on we had a very chilled interview in a rather hot tourbus with Elena Francis from metal-discovery.com, which was very enjoyable.
Once back at the venue it was fabulous to bump into so many fans we’ve known for years and to see so many familiar faces in the audience. We also got to meet a few new fans, some of whom had travelled a fairly long way to see us! It felt to me like we played the best gig of the tour, as everything seemed to perfectly fall into place once we stood on stage, the on-stage sound was great and we had such great enthusiastic response! We absolutely loved it and it was the perfect ending to the first part of our tour!
More on our Manchester show, the trip to Leipzig, our performance at the Wave-Gotik-Treffen and other shenanigans soon.
If you’re reading this on our Facebook page you can’t unfortunately see all the pictures. Better take a look at www.lahannya.com/diary instead, which is also where all blog entries get published first!
All photos on this page are taken by Lahannya apart from 1 – taken by Lutz with Chippy’s camera and 6 – taken by Bayerberg.
The first trip on any UK itinerary is getting our trusty tour bus Mathilda, our equipment and our bass player Lutz across the Channel into the UK, and this time also myself and Lemmy – my budgie – as we’d been in Lutz’ studio to work on the new material and on Mathilda as her MOT inspection was approaching rapidly…
I’ll write a separate blog at some point about the trials and tribulations of travelling with a pet bird between the UK and the mainland, but suffice to say they don’t make it easy for you! Luckily we discovered that Lemmy much prefers to travel with us in the tourbus than to stay at someone else’s house or boarding at her vet’s, especially now that she gets to fly free most of the time.
With all the work necessary on Mathilda – yes, I was actually lying underneath her on a couple of occasions for several hours applying anti-corrosion protection – and Lutz’ having to also rehearse with Umbra et Imago for their Wave Gotik Treffen performance we ended up leaving late and in a rush. That’s of course never a good thing when you need to have the right gear with you for a whole tour, the Wave Gotik Treffen, a press album pre-listening session and a few days in a specialist workshop for old Mercedes buses to get your MOT. And sure enough, we’d forgotten some vital things which we ended up reacquiring on the way or had to ask friends to bring to WGT.
We started the actual tour off with a rehearsal at Farm Factory Studios in Welwyn Garden City to make sure that all the new songs of the set were fresh in our minds. The rehearsal studio was great, the staff friendly but our rehearsal next to disastrous! Somehow nothing seemed to want to work properly. But maybe we just needed to get all the shit and bad luck out in one session so it wouldn’t happen on tour. That’s at least what we were all hoping…
At this point it’s probably worth mentioning who “we” actually were. There were obviously Lutz and myself as we’d come over from Germany together (Lemmy was being looked after by some friends – thanks Sheila & Steve, what would I do without you?!), Belle of course, but unfortunately Chris couldn’t join us on this tour. Luckily we found Alien Dave, who Belle used to play with in Killing Miranda a few years back, and for the first time we were travelling with our own sound engineer – Alan – who was a great find and much more than a sound engineer, more like wizard and a serious Jelly Baby addict.
On Thursday 21 May then we arrived at our first venue: Eddie’s Rock Club in Birmingham. It was supposed to be The Flapper but they phoned us a couple of weeks before the show to tell us they had a double-booking for that night; apparently some event that was happening annually on 21 May and they forgot about it until a reminder came up in their diary a couple of weeks beforehand. It sounded like a very flaky excuse to me but neither pleading nor complaining changed the fact that we were without a venue I had decided to get on with it and find an alternative one instead of moping. Colin from Eddie’s was an absolute lifesaver and offered us Eddie’s at short notice and really supported us in promoting the show. I cannot recommend working with him enough!
So, we arrived at Eddie’s where luckily things were going much much better than at the rehearsal the night before and since we’d arrived with plenty of time to spare setting up was, for a change, quite relaxing. Around 5pm the other bands arrived, first Dyonisis who we’ve played quite a few shows with by now – the first ones being with Emilie Autumn in July 2007 – and then Tin Omen, who we didn’t know personally at all but came recommended by Ted from The Dark Rooms in Wolverhampton.
Doors opened on time at 7pm with Ted spinning music that fit the theme of the night – many female-fronted goth, rock and industrial bands. He’d also provide the musical entertainment in between and after the bands.
Tin Omen were on first at 7.30pm. I had heard their music on Myspace, but I have to say it doesn’t do them any justice, they are so much better live – not because they’re bad recordings, not at all, but first of all the audio quality on Myspace is just not the best and secondly if you have a charismatic frontperson with a great voice live in front of you, it’s just unbeatable. And Kelly Omen is definitely such a frontwoman.
Next up were Dyonisis, who I once again enjoyed immensely. They’ve come so far – as have we probably – since we first played together. Nel and Lou’s voices have gained so much confidence now and their interplay is very hypnotic. It always reminds me of my Drowning EP and some tracks on Shotgun Reality where I played a lot with intertwining melodies and harmonies. Dyonisis have really made that their trademark feature and it works really well live. Nel always turns into a completely different person on stage – I think she really lives every song and often forgets that there is a world around her and an audience…
And last, but hopefully not least, it was our turn! We started the set off with Welcome To The Underground, because it’s the perfect song to start a show with! Just like Doors is the perfect song to finish on… In between we played the faster tracks from Shotgun Reality, Inside The Machine and No Tomorrow from Welcome To The Underground and four brand new tracks: Our War – which we’d played already live on our last tour, Interference, Brave New World and Dying Inside. It’s funny how different songs seem to work better at certain shows than others, well in Birmingham the faster and more metal-sounding numbers went down best I thought: Inside The Machine, Interference, Dying Inside, Our War and Doors I seem to remember were the ones that got more applause than the others, but then again you got a different perspective when you’re on stage… Either way, we had a great time, Dave fit into the band as if he’d always been playing with us and from the feedback I got Alan did a killer sound!
Afterwards we got some time to spent with the people who came to see us, some old fans, which are slowly starting to become friends already, some new fans that found out about us on Facebook, from friends or because we’re playing Metal Female Voices later this year and some people that have been talking to us online for ages but never got a chance to see us live before (Hello Mr Dave Raveheart!)… It was also great to spend some time with Dyonisis and Tin Omen, although this time it was Kelly Omen who was rather tipsy from the backstage red wine and kept telling me she loved me, rather than Nel who is usually the first to announce her undying love to someone, usually Lou!
Shortly after midnight when everyone had left, all our gear was safely packed away and we’d said our good-byes to Colin, we withdrew into Mathilda for a quiet end-of-day glass of wine before heading into our respective bunks for some well-earned sleep!
More about our adventures in Stockton, Newport, London, Manchester, on the way to Leipzig, Leipzig and at the end of the world where Mathilda got MOT in the next few days…
More photos from our UK tour can be found in the Gallery on www.lahannya.com and soon after also on Myspace.
Lots of love,
All photos by myself apart from: 1 – Tourbus: Lutz; 7 – Lahannya on stage: by Dyonisis; 8 – Lahannya on stage: by M Kessel
Missed us live? Or want to see us again? We’ve finally managed to do something with the footage taken from our last show with ASP on 9 April 2008 at the X-tra Club in Zurich: Courtesy of Paranoid Android Films you can relive – or see for the first time – our performance of Inside The Machine. Unfortunately we did not have the technical set-up with us to also capture the live audio, but there is always a next time, right?
Keep your fingers crossed and Andy from Paranoid Android Films may edit another video from the Zurich show for us…
If you want to enjoy some of the other work Andy has done, you can check it out here: