4 nights. 500 miles. a Tshirt, and a messy car…
Travelling Light – Leicester 22.11.07
As one does… armed with only a choc bar, a change of boots and some face powder, it’s time to set off. Stone Gods are coming! The birth is to happen onstage at 7.40 tonight, with Thin Lizzy providing the birthing pool – Leicester De Montfort Hall. I saw my first gig here 24 years ago – Wham!
Today was the launch of our website, less than 24 hours after the bands – nice work! But I won’t see it until Saturday at the earliest – gigs to go to and stuff. Left work at 4, set off at a cracking but legal speed across the fens, stopping only to wee in Peterborough. No time for messing about! I got all the way there, even across Leicester thanks to signposts (my home city is notoriously bad to drive in) but could I find the car park? NO. found the venue and everything… ended up asking random people and phoning Tezza, but a yellow jacketed man was spotted and driven at. Yup… here. Boots changed, powder done. Raced into the venue to find toilet, cloakroom, drink and tshirt. That done, time to look for the girls – ah here they are… BIIIG hugs. I don’t recommend that anyone interfere with an ex-darkling reunion. Dangerous moments! Not least the dash for the front, even if there was no one in our way. Waiting, watching for signs…
This moment, I think, was full of anxiety. Happy to see the lads back on stage, of course. But will we like it? Have the months of waiting and supporting been in vain? Only heard a little bit of ‘Burn the Witch’ that was sent to me via phone. WAAAAAH they’re coming! Surprising how much noise four girls can make, and how much we surprised those round us. Hee. Oh well. The lads are straight into it. Loud, heavy, metally throughout. Start with Burn the Witch… After that the song titles are a complete mystery but the songs ARE distinguishable from each other. Even one with an easily singable chorus, which we all got stuck into. Yeah. You are on your way, and no, we don’t care what they say either. It got harder and heavier, towards the end. There can’t really be any doubt of the musical direction, and that it’s so far from The Darkness you can’t see one from t’other. Full throated, deep, rock screams forced their way out of Richie, with admirable vocal back up from Toby and Dan – but they won’t be able to keep up with that voice. Richie proved himself a star tonight, with a presence and assured manner – interacting with the crowd and the posh seats, geeing us up. Not that the four down the front needed it. The lads were obviously joyous to be back on stage, and very well practised like the professionals they are. Dan’s floof was in full force, headbanging technique intact. Toby, the master of his area. Ed – he was a bit tricky to see, but sticks were flying! Toby mentions a mistake in his blog, but tbh, it was small stuff. Many many bands would want their first gig to be this polished, and to get the warm reception from not only their own fans, but a good few converts. A special night for us all.
A drink in the bar, a happy exchange of congratulations with a group of bouncy lads who appeared shortly after, and time to go home. Back in bed by 12.30, much earlier than expected.
Stone Gods . Day 2.
No one dropped out or evicted yet. An interesting day at work, followed by another instant departure – to Cambridge this time. Not quite so far, and I had time to get changed properly, take make up off and get it back on again. Again, no time to eat! Partner in crime Mistress duly gathered up from the train station and swept up off to the venue. Completely in the wrong direction, due to incessant nattering, and a phonecall to the Rock Blonde was necessary to put us right. Where are we? Next to Lloyds Bank… what? Multimap doesn’t have the bank? Poor!
The Corn Exchange is a bit fuller when we get there, though we’re not at all late. Got to the front without a great deal of hassle but with a lot of shuffling. Most people are staking their claim for TL, or Elizabeth as they’re referred to by our lads. Mistress has only had my excited jabbering to go by, but I know what’s coming… This time I pay a bit more attention to sorting out the songs in my head, aided by the set list I wangled last night. Not so many photos either. Too absorbed, and singing along where I could, Bouncing most of the time, and drinking in all that I’d missed. This was smoother than last night, though last night was something that can’t be replaced. Richie talks from the stage about it being an honour to play for the crowd, who respond to him – it’s pretty damn fine to be down here, to be played to! He’s obviously more confident tonight, crotch grabbing in front of lots of people is not something you do when nervous!
Is there anything I don’t like? ummm… lots of guitar changes in the middle of a song. Took me a couple to realise there wasn’t a tech problem.
Lads still excited in the bar afterwards. More congratulations, and an exit. They’ve written their own blogs on myspace, you can read those – but Toby’s account of being accosted by the drunk unintelligible guy was very funny. Suitably rocked, we left and headed off to bed. Still not seen any Thin Lizzy. Never mind. Although… how odd to see TL shirts in the crowd, and the banner up on stage, and not to see the logo on Dan’s chest…
Day 3 – Ipswich
Even closer to home, and being a Saturday, no rush. The Rock Blonde arrives from Leeds, still jetlagged from LA and Van Halen (not sure which one was worse). We sit and eat, chat and recover. I get a chance to look at the site, which is pretty damn impressive. And the member count is impressive as well! The launch is a huge relief, now we can get started on what we need to do.
Blumming eck, Ipswich is even more of a nightmare than Leicester to drive in. We end up at Gill’s hotel to park, put a final bit of slap on, and set off to find venue and food. Gill agrees to act as bodyguard, though quite why is a mystery – for whom? 😀 Lipstick is completely ruined by my dinner, and Rock Blonde has to endure all sorts of teasing about wet patches when her coffee ends up in her lap. Threats are issued about mentioning it later, which we largely ignore. The venue bar is open, thankfully, as it’s pretty cold. This is a proper theatre. Seats. *sigh* We are allowed to look through the auditorium doors at the sound check, ten minutes before we’re let in. Bodyguard and Rock Blonde get themselves all wound up between listening to that and getting their t shirts on. We’re in row Q, but we refuse to sit down at all. Don’t like not being at the front, I generally can’t see anything! It’s a good view of the stage, I suppose. What? We’re not allowed to take photos during the performance? What sort of stupid rule is THAT? This is a rock band, not an orchestra! Thin Lizzy, sitting DOWN? Waah. Well, anyway, we’re on our feet for the entire set, and from where we are we can see most of the audience. You can’t do that at a normal gig. Interesting to watch their reactions to ‘our’ boys. They clap, and cheer, and get their hands up in the air, but apart fron the very front row of about 7, they stay seated… I can’t get my head round that! Finally though, it becomes apparent that the audience DO like them, and it’s not just us, and things are going right. That’s an emotional moment, when everything falls into place. The springboard.
Some time is spent in the pub chatting, with a well earned vodka for me. I’m about on my last legs! Bodyguard is taken back to her hotel, we depart, and three days of mayhem is over. So many things have happened this week, all of them good, and we feel like it’s all been worth it. All the waiting, support, hard work and worry are behind us, we hope.
Still not seen any TL!
A few days’ break, and it’s just me this time. Norwich UEA, home ground, and supporting Thunder. Met up with a couple of old friends and some new ones once I got my bearings, and before I skipped off happily down the front. I got some good photos this time! Yum. I did my best all night to spread the word to the people I was standing near – no harm in a bit of pimping. I was able to sing along a lot more, which always helps the enjoyment levels. The lads went down really well with this crowd, with local support a factor, but by no means the biggest one. They made a LOT of friends tonight. The crowd were calling for more when they went off, and that’s quite an achievement. The lads themselves weren’t too happy about how it went, perfectionists as they rightly are – but. But… there are more people ready to buy than there were before the gig, more fans, more people telling me they wanted to buy tour tickets. Naturally, I have a totally different perspective on things, but people are keen, loved them, and wanted more. A success of a gig in my eyes, way down here.
For those of you wanting tech info and comparisons with other bands, my apologies. I’m not a tech, and I am NOT a rock chick. I neither know nor largely care whether they have elements of Metallica or AC/DC, as I was told by lots of people. The British thrash punk Metallica was the longest label I heard! That might give you an idea, but – these are Stone Gods.
We’re up and running. The Stone Gods, and the fans. Long may it continue.
Visit us at our sites for news, chat and live photos.