Notes from the Road: Bleeker tours the UK
Canadian alternative rock outfit Bleeker is currently on the road in support of their debut album Erase You, touring through Canada with The Trews for the remainder of 2016. The three-person band will be sharing their experiences in our Notes from the Road tour blog series.
Notes from the Road is Music Canada’s artist tour diary. Canadian artists on tour around the world will share their stories of fans, gigs and the “good, bad and the ugly” of touring! This week, Bleeker vocalist Taylor Perkins shares his experiences touring through the UK.
10 sleepless hours overnight, I finally landed in London. Sleepless because I couldn’t stop watching all the new releases they had on the flight. Our tour manager Pete Bright picked us up. We’d never met him before but he would be our handler for the next 10 days. We grabbed some beer, our drummer Chris (already in the UK touring with another band) and then it was off to our label rep Gary’s house for the next few nights. An energized Englishmen who we met a month or two before in Miami.
With a few beers in us, we skipped a recommended nap and went out. Our bass player Mike’s dog had been hit by a car so we grabbed bottle of whiskey and drank it quick. What else could cheer him up more than that? Or make him more sad…no way to know. Dinner, and bar hopping lasted until 3am. I tried my best to have conversations with the locals but everyone seemed to be from somewhere other then London. We all crashed in a small living room area, scattered around the room with alcohol themed sleeping bags. Alcohol is my secret enemy on tour, and it was everywhere. The industry seems to run on it.
Waking up extremely tired, we packed what we needed and headed to the venue in Bristol. I don’t know if it was jet lag or hangriness, but the UK hadn’t impressed me yet. It was cloudy, and a bit cold. This feeling lasted through the next day or two. Maybe I missed California and the familiarities.
The shows in Bristol, London, and Nottingham were great! However, we were the first of three bands, which means we didn’t get anything we needed. Sound checks were abandoned for throw n’ goes and sometimes even setting up as fans came into the venue. It’s hard to be cool and mysterious with your pants down like that, but it was fun nonetheless. Less formal but in a good way. The stages were small so the drums were shoved to the front every night, which left us all with a few feet of room. Deafening drums, and getting hit by guitars were standard happenings each night.
We got to meet our Radio/Promo team, and we did some great interviews with French magazines. The crowds were super accepting too. Most didn’t know we were even playing since we were added to the tour so late in the game, and we weren’t included on the posters or promo. It’s an uphill battle! Being the underdog is the easiest position on a bill in my opinion. No expectations and only room to go up!! If you suck.. it’s what the people expected haha
Next up were Glasgow, Manchester, and Wolverhampton. All great shows and the vibe was getting much better. We had spent more time with the other bands and started becoming friends. The other opening band Dinosaur Pile Up had the same humor as us, and sharing dressing rooms sometimes became great times. Too many beers, making fun of each other’s accents, and keeping each other entertained.
We stayed in some nice hotels, and some terrible hostels. Each day on tour can change so much – from luxury to squalor. 3 square meals, to one breakfast sandwich and a bag of chips. The next couple days to come will I HOPE be the worst of this 3 month tour. It all started with the always great idea to not sleep..
We left Wolverhampton for the airport and flew to Berlin over night. No one slept, we had only a couple beers and adrenaline from the show fueling us. We showed up to our hotel freezing and exhausted. We were ready to sleep the day away in preparation for our headline show and radio appearances that night. Our hotel turned out to be a weird apartment style building above an unlicensed dentist and a Middle Eastern Market. It was 10 am. It was supposed to open at 11am. It opened at 12pm. We waited outside in the half rainy wetness huddled for warmth. The door finally opened, only for us to find out they lost our reservation and rooms weren’t available till 3pm. We tried to sleep on the hardwood floor near the lobby. Didn’t work. By the time we settled into our room it was 3:30 and sound check was at 5. No sleep.
The venue was great! Big backroom with all the beer and food we needed. Alcohol.. our enemy turned saviour at this point. We had an amazing 60 minute show to our first crowd in Germany. A highlight of the trip for sure!
Still no sleep and off to the airport to catch an early flight back to L.A. “United Airline computers are down and your flight is delayed as well” said Pete Bright with a half smile, showing he thought the same thing as us.. “Of course”. We tried to sleep on the cement floor in line to check our bags.. but at this point it was useless. After 2 nights of no sleep we finally boarded our 15-hour flight, scrambled with layovers. If you’ve ever gone on tour, or stayed up that long you’ll know there’s an ongoing fight to “stay human”. We were no longer human. There were humans around us though. Families on vacation to California. Couples.. businessmen traveling for work. And then there was us. 3 guys in clothes we’d slept in and worn for 10 days, reeking of someone else’s stale smoke. Our gear and bags piled up around us like a fort, looking likes assholes for wearing sunglasses indoors to hide our eyes. BUT it was all over after this final push.
Touchdown in L.A. and our manager Adam picks us up, “How was it? You guys wanna go get some drinks tonight? I’ve got a few friends going out and wanna hang.”
Thoughts and Feelings:
– Always have a merch person. The worst part of the night is standing around the table tired and sweaty
– No sleep ruins everything. Especially motivation to go see historic landmarks in cool cities.
– No more early flights
– We saw Ron Weasley
– Shared bathrooms suck
– I think I’m a California kid..