Tag Archive for UK

Lahannya UK Tour May 2009: Manchester

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…

Lahannya UK Tour May 2009: Stockton to London…

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.

Lahannya UK Tour May 2009: The Beginning…

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for a few weeks now – shame on me that I’ve only got around to it a few weeks after the actual tour! But better late than never or so they say…

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