Swampgrass News

Blues news with a Swampgrass twist

Spring Tour 2017 Part 2. Five shows and much, much driving

So a couple of days off after the show at Hawthorns and a chance to get the new tour van sorted for the trip north for shows in Bristol, Leicester, Harrogate, Leeds and Elme Hall. Despite the best efforts of all involved the new van didn’t end up being ready so we had to take two cars and hit the motorway north in two teams. Every venue in the second half of the tour was new to us so we set off with much anticipation.

Bristol Blues Club

Regardless of what you’ve heard and what people tell you, it’s natural to keep the expectations low for a gig on a Tuesday night. As we have discovered throughout the tour, the mid week shows keep stepping up. Bristol Blues Club at the Downend Tavern is a brilliant night out. From just before 9pm the crowd started streaming in and filled the front bar area and got down to having a great night. It was nice to see some people make the journey up after having seen us at the Old Duke the previous week. A cracking crowd who wanted more and we can’t wait to play there again.

The Shed – Leicester

What a setup. The Shed has been closed for renovation for a while and they’d opened only on the previous Saturday to a sell out crowd. The Shed deserves every success as it is a high quality room run by enthusiastic and knowledgeable people. A video screen behind the band is a great touch and the room sounds amazing, both on the stage and in front of the bands. They also serve the finest pint of Stowford Press yet tasted. They are getting the basics very right and the lineup that was put together for the evening was excellent. Eddie & The Wolves was a great kick off with Edd Saffell’s voice and guitar playing just a joy to watch. Dr. X were mayhem and madness on homemade instruments with great tunes and a really cool stage presence. Looking forward to seeing both of those acts again. Plus 10 points for good quality wifi – every venue should have it as it means you’ll get live streams and social interactions. Again, these guys are getting things very right and they deserve to be a major venue in our humble opinion.

The Blues Bar – Harrogate

george from the RAC gets swampgrass back on the roadWe were staying in Leeds on Friday night so set off on Friday morning – with a few sore heads – for the just over two hour run to Leeds. However, one of the cars decided it was time to split a hose meaning a call to the RAC, another call to the RAC when they got the location wrong and a pleasant couple of hours on the side of the road. George from the RAC was an absolute delight though and got us back on the road without a great deal of fuss.

So after a six and a half hour journey to Leeds we stopped for a brief moment and then headed off to Harrogate to play the Blues Bar. We keep saying it but what a great venue! Compact but never feeling small, the room sounded great from the first note. We’d been looking forward to the Harrogate and Leeds gigs for ages so we were very happy it went so well on the first night, particularly as an overheating tour vehicle could have ruined it all. The crowd know what they like and they keep the bar very busy!

The Duck & Drake – Leeds

No driving today! Andy at The Duck had welcomed us the previous evening and had made us feel right at home. Best night’s sleep on the tour courtesy of some pretty awesome king sized beds. Bit of a wander around Leeds showed the city itself to be a total delight. The worlds greatest breakfast at Riveresque, damn fine cocktails at Bibi’s, a new Code snare bottom skin from Leeds Drum Centre at The Corn Exchange and a couple of hours in the sun trap beer garden at The Duck & Drake. All that and we got to play too! The audience at The Duck & Drake are looking for a good time and there are listeners, participators and groovers throughout the room. For the last couple of tracks Sharon’s voice started to go (what, after only 11 shows?) but she ploughed on through and the crowd loved it. A great time had by all and some really lovely people to play to. Can’t wait to go back.

Elme Hall Rock & Blues Club

As it turns out it wasn’t just the strain of belting out two sets a night for two weeks but a full on cold greeted Sharon on the last day of the tour. That and a blast of hay fever meant we were in very near danger of having to cancel the last show of the tour. We – well, she – soldiered on and we drove the three and a bit hours to Elme Hall for the Rock & Blues club. Would you want to spend your afternoon indoors on hottest day of the year so far with a clear blue sky beckoning you outside? Of course you would and happily the fine people at Elme Hall came and supported the event. It’s a lovely room and they are doing a really fine thing by hosting an act every Sunday and as with all the other venues the people were so very nice. It seemed strange to have the tour finished in broad daylight but it was a nice way to finish (and then hit the road for 5+ hours).

Time for a break

It was a wonderful time. 1300+ miles and 12 shows at some of our new favourite venues. Met some amazing people doing excellent things all over the country. Thanks to all the organisers for asking us to play and thanks to every single person that came to a gig, bought a CD and said really nice things to us. It’s an easy band to travel in as everyone gets along great and much laughter was had throughout the tour. Definitely doing it all again in the Autumn!

Check out the photo’s from the tour on the gallery page.

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