OK so it’s not June anymore, but I’m only 1 day out – and I have a good excuse.
For the last week I’ve been experiencing what it’s like to be ‘on tour’. When someone says to you, ‘I’m going on tour’ it sounds really glamorous and I guess if you’re Coldplay or some other mega bucks artist then it is but when you’re 5 lads from Cambridge with a manager who hasn’t yet won the lottery it’s got to be a little less tour busses and mineral water chilled at precisely 5 degrees celcius on your rider and more mini vans and McDonalds. That said, I had an absolute blast!
28 Boulevard have just come back off a 5 date UK tour taking in Cardiff, London, Birmingham, (ahem, Soham) and Brighton. This was a week that has been circled on our calendars for months, it took it’s time getting here but when it did, boy it was worth it! We were supporting the up and coming band Room Service for whom it was their first headline tour and were joined along the way by the brilliant welsh 5 piece The Moon Birds.
I hired a 9 seater van for the week to ensure that all band members and kit could travel together in one, I was a bit apprehensive about the thought of covering over 1,000 miles in 7 days in a vehicle that is about 3 times as big as my humble Fiesta but I took to my role as driver/tour manager like a duck to water – the journey’s were sometimes the highlights of my day! There were plenty of laughs along the way, some photos and videos of those made it to the bands Facebook page. We left Cambridge on the Tuesday bound for Cardiff – 4 and a half hours, two comfort break stops and £6.80 later we arrived in the beautiful welsh city of Cardiff and found our way to the first stop of the tour – The Moon Club. This name amused me for two reasons – one, one of the support bands were called the Moon Birds and of course, 28 Boulevard’s very own bassist’s surname is Moon. The gig went well, the lads took a little while to adjust to playing such a long way from home but impressed the locals.
The next day we returned across the border (thankfully there was no toll on the way out!) and back to almost near home – Kings Cross in London to play Surya. Performance wise, this was the highlight of the week – the band had a guest list of fans at the gig so were pumped for a top performance and they didn’t disappoint. By this time people’s attention was beginning to be grabbed by their mature and accomplished performances. Birmingham came next and despite a lot of sound problems caused by inexperienced sound engineers, the lads impressed me (even if they weren’t happy themselves) with the way they carried on their set professionally not letting the on stage issues affect their performance to the modest sized crowd. Some fun and games in Birmingham that night followed (I won’t elaborate..!) and we returned home on the Friday leaving the tour briefly to play a long arranged gig at the Soham Village College leavers prom. The lads dressed up in their suits to fit the occasion, I had a night off.
Saturday came and we once again departed en route to the last stop on the tour – Brighton. This was by far the best crowd we’d had all week, the fans were really in to the performances from all the bands and dedicated enough that they were queuing up to get in since 3pm that afternoon. The little I saw of Brighton, it’s a lovely place although if someone doesn’t do something about the Seagulls, I swear the town will be taken over by the blighters soon enough! It was an ideal way to round off the tour, a really energetic performance capped off a great week. The tour did exactly what it was intended to do, it was a great experience to play different locations away from home, play 5 top sets consecutively and network with some great bands and promoters. It feels weird to be home with no gig to go to tonight!
I should say that all 5 lads were an absolute dream to be with all week, I already got on really well with them before we left having known them for two years but we definitely bonded as a team. Whenever anyone came up to me to tell me how great they were, I always felt proud to know that I am contributing to their ongoing and increasing success.
Just prior to the tour the band played in the ‘Rising Stars’ competition at the Macebearer pub in Bury St Edmunds. I knew their heat would be tough as an excellent local band ‘Three Patch Problem’ were also playing but the band played two very strong 30 minute sets and now we must wait until voting opens to find out if they get through to the final on 12th July.
It’s Curious Yellow Festival next weekend – another date on the Boulevard gig list. I’m intrigued to see what this event is like as it’s a little bit different to your average festival. 28 Boulevard play on Friday afternoon around 4pm then they’ve a gap in their live dates so will be spending most of the summer working on some new material.
Lucid have had a bit of bad luck with gigs being cancelled lately – both of their London gigs at The Garage in June and Nambucca this Thursday were cancelled. I’m in the process of working on some new dates with a few other promoters though which we will announce soon. Already announced are details of the bands second Commemoration Hall gig on 9th August – they will play a full set with some new material and be joined by supports including Nathan James King and Vectis. Entry will be just £2 with a bar available and also some brand new Lucid merchandise.
In addition, the band are playing a headline set at The Portland Arms on 2nd September with out of town band Me and the Mountain and local group The Varsity. Tickets are £5 for that one.
I’m looking forward to going in to the studio with the band later this month, we’ve two days booked at Half Ton Studios in Milton to record two new tracks which we’ll be putting on iTunes later in the summer.
Finally on Lucid – if you’re in Cambridge this Thursday (4th July) and see the band with a guy dressed as a clown, don’t panic – that’s just them filming their new music video!
What are Lost Lungs up to I hear you cry? Well, not too much at the moment! They did play a great set in the Rising Stars competition the week previous to 28 Boulevard and I hope will also be in the final on 12th July and 3 of them busked around Bury St Edmunds last weekend for the Bury Busk event. They will play a biker festival in Felixstowe later this month and have a few other gigs in the pipeline but will also be going in to the studio to record a debut EP soon.
On my gigs front, The Acoustic Nights at the Bath House are still going well. Last month we had sets from Rupert Stroud, Alice Rayner, Cogo Music, Josh Robins, Genevieve & Jake and Aku-II. The next dates are 4th and 18th July. I’ve been approached by the Avery pub in Cambridge to put on a similar night there soon, watch this space for that news.
Unfortunately the DoubleTree by Hilton decided to pull the plug on their summer music nights after just one weekend, a shame for them but it was more work for me than I was anticipating to be honest so not too bothered about that!
On the radio, upcoming Cambridge 105 New Music Generator (Wednesdays 7-9pm) guests include Holden Girls (3rd July), Chasing Outlaws (10th July), The Balancines & Heather Merryn Ford (17th July), Lewis Edridge (24th July) with sets to come from Blonde Louis, From The Sticks and Goldstar.
STAR Talent is going well, this Tuesday (2nd July) features Elliot Porter with upcoming shows featuring Music & Spies, Zak Thomas and Violet Bones. (Tuesdays 10-11pm)
The NMG Sessions return this month too on 25th July at The Portland Arms (tickets £3 in advance/£4 on the door) with a headline set from folk group The Floe with support from Elliot Porter & The Missing Pieces and B Sydes. Music starts at 8pm so come down!
That concludes my June update, see you next time!