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