Last month I went on a mini-tour of the UK with German glamrockers; THE PLEASURES. It was their first time gigging in the UK and it was cool to see how people reacted to their wild shows… The UK isn’t used to that much glitter!
I intended to keep a Tour Diary whilst we were actually on the tour, but I’m afraid debauchery prevailed… Thus, the following article was written once I’d (mostly) recovered from the excitement and sleep deprivation.
What an insane four days!
The tour kicked off on Thursday July 13th at Nottingham’s Junktion 7. Quite frankly, after so many logistical amendments to the action plan, it’s a wonder we even found one another and made it to the venue! But we did, and did The Pleasures ever leave their mark on that place?! And I don’t just mean sticking & scattering flyers all over the place, which, of course, we also did.
All of the bands were present and correct at the venue for around 6pm. The headlining band, King Lizard, had been drinking aaaaall day with their manager, who soon slipped into booze-induced slumber during sound-check and was subsequently made an example of for several photos.
Sound-checks went smoothly for King Lizard and Sweet Seduction, but The Pleasures had a few technical issues, involving various band members getting streams of electric-shocks from their equipment and one another. But after some technical wizardry, about which I know nothing so that’s all the explanation you’ll get, the problem seemed to be under control… Though I will later find out that, during the show, Lord (guitar & vocals) received several shocks after hurtling himself to the floor in the throes of musical passion and subsequently found himself draped in an electrically-charged Dancette (vocals)!
The backstage room was a tiny, hot, humid kitchen of sorts, cluttered with the bands’ affects. Various musicians milled in and out, but The Pleasures kept it occupied until their stage time and made very good use of the single wall-mounted mirror. I watched with intrigue as the band got ready for the show, changing from jeans and t-shirts to lycra and sparkles. Dazzling colours, make-up, glitter and fake blood everywhere!
Sweet Seduction was first on the bill at 8:45, warming up the crowd very nicely with that feisty rock n roll. Then finally, after months of planning and organising (and waiting), The Pleasures were set to play their first ever UK gig. Excitement, anticipation and adrenaline coursed speedily through my veins as I watched the guys drape feather boas over their mic stands. And finally, FINALLY ‘Lollipop’ exploded into the room, bounced off the walls, reverberated in my gut… Fantastic!
The show got off to a rather dramatic start when, surely no more than 30 seconds into the set, Dancette got a little over-enthusiastic with the swinging of his mic stand and subsequently sent a large ceiling tile crashing to the floor in several pieces. In a split second, a bolt of panic sliced through me as I suddenly feared everything would go hideously wrong. But I was foolish to worry. The show went on without hesitation and a song and a half later, Junktion 7 had fallen in love with The Pleasures, rocking out to every tune, applauding and cheering riotously.
The rest of the 30 minute set passed without incident, but with bundles of the energy and enthusiasm I had expected from The Pleasures. Band and audience bounced off one another, kindling an undeniable buzz, which made that night a fantastic and very memorable first-UK-gig.
King Lizard followed. They’ve got style and charisma, they play trashy, sleazy fast-paced rock n roll and they have a band name that inspires intrigue. The grand finale to a great night.
A lot of loitering, mingling, photo-taking and general merriment later, we headed to our lodgings (Tour Promoter James’ house, conveniently situated in Nottingham), sorted out who would sleep where, faffed about some more and eventually collapsed into bed at around 2:30am.
Friday, July 14th
Day of the London gig. Early start. For everyone else, about 8am. For me, 5:40am. Curse my bizarre sleep(less) patterns.
Eight of us piled into the tour bus (rented minibus) at around 11am and began the journey south. Didn’t get off to the greatest start when we found ourselves heading North. But it’s ok, our driver had an excuse; “I’m German!”
Soon travelling in the right direction, a somewhat raucous and very entertaining journey ensued. Various bad-taste jokes were made about a neighbour of our host’s, who had given us an earful that morning about the level of noise she had endured upon our arrival at around 1:30am. Hell, it wasn’t me! I’d made a speedy retreat indoors to relieve my bladder. It must have been the Germans. Amongst the jokes, the rock trivia, the sing-a-longs and the unnecessary violation Mr. Pleasure (three inch tall teddy bear sporting a ‘The Pleasures’ t-shirt), we witnessed a truck transporting a skip with the legend “METAL ONLY” etched into the back of it. This entertained us all massively. Though the driver of the truck didn’t seem to appreciate our displays of rock fingers, thumbs-up and general enthusiasm as we sailed passed him. He obviously didn’t appreciate quite what he had.
A brief(ish) stop at some services, for food, saw Dancette discover the apparent phenomenon that is the massage chair. Hold that thought – we will later have much more fun with said chairs.
And so, we arrived in London, after only another one or two minor navigational glitches, at 3pm. Shortly thereafter, I was tasked with guiding Lord & Dancette across London to Totalrock radio station where they were to be interviewed at 4pm. Getting to the place was the easy part, finding the right studio in that maze of a building was another story… But eventually, with help, we triumphed. We walked into the cool calmness of the studio and were greeted by the charming DJ Twang, who played a couple of The Pleasures’ tracks (Yes It’s Us & Parade Parade) before interviewing the guys live on air, with a couple more album tracks (Honeymoon In Venice & Well Cum) thrown in at intervals.
A little over half an hour later, we were on our way back to the venue, hurrying across London in sweltering heat.
I had time to snap a few shots of the band in the beer garden before they had to sound-check. Impressively, the sound engineer was Austrian, thus spoke the guys’ lingo, so I had no idea what was going on, but nothing blew up, so I guess it went ok!
With a few hours to spare before the show, there was plenty of time to ‘chill’ for a while… Then the band were interviewed by the very lovely Nix from Pure Rawk fanzine before it was time to glam-up. No backstage room at the venue, so the guys undertook their transmogrifications in the pub. As all the other bands on the bill that night were indie types, our glam boys caused quite a stir. On stage at 9pm. The crowd weren’t quite so enthusiastic as the Nottingham lot, but The Pleasures definitely made an impression, had a good time, sold some CDs and at the end of the night had seemingly converted a handful of indies to glammies. Not bad for a night’s work. Their performance was even described as “mesmerising”. Quite!
So, Nottingham bound we were. Though not without a stop at Castle Donnington services, where Dancette re-discovered massage chairs. I got the impression this was an entertaining encounter, but as I was too busy trying to sleep in the bus, I can only speculate as to what went on in those services…
Back at James’ house it soon became apparent that the shower was leaking fairly spectacularly, which meant it was now out of order. No showers for us sweaty lot then. Nice.
After a bit of relaxation followed by hysterical giddiness, everybody eventually retired to bed. I turned the lamp out, expecting darkness to descend, but all I got was a daylight-drenched room… it was 5am.
Saturday, July 15th
So much for being at the tattoo place for midday. I woke up at 12:15, and I was the first to wake up. No matter, we did eventually make it to the tattoo place, where a few of our rabble got new tattoos, including Lord Viv, who had a pink star tattooed on his arm, to mark the tour.
For some of us, the rest of the afternoon was largely spent sitting in James’ garden talking crap, singing silly songs and painting fingernails, whilst the others went to buy coach tickets for the bands’ journey back to Stansted Airport the next day. Oh the glamorous life of a glam-rock band.
Eventually at the venue in Leicester, I sat comfortably and watch the guys lug equipment around and sound-check. Third time witnessing it and I hadn’t tired of hearing Lord scream his guts out for several seconds, into the mic, then, cool and calm as a boy could ever be, says; “That’s the loudest I get”. Mic check done. I love it.
The line up for the Leicester gig was:
New Generation Superstars
I was looking forward to seeing New Generation Superstars, as I’d heard only good things about them. I see why. They rocked. I particularly enjoyed their rather impromptu performance of The Ramones’ Blitzkrieg Bop, which apparently they’d previously vowed never to play again. I’m glad they broke the vow.
When the Pleasures took to the stage, there was a stir similar to that of the London gig. You can see people giving their friends a ‘wow, look at these guys’ kind of glance as they wonder what to expect from the performance.
The set-list varied each night, but it’s certainly safe to say that The Pleasures’ gloriously deep and heavy cover of T-Rex’s ‘Children of the Revolution’ went down a storm each night. And well it might, it’s fantastic.
As ever, the band gave their all and had a ball. For me, their was an air of finality to the night, as it was their last gig and the band would be going home tomorrow, but in a strange way that made it extra special, and we were all in very high spirits.
After the gig, some time was spent in the bar downstairs, basking in the brilliance of Appetite For Destruction as it blared like pure bliss through the speakers. Eventually though, we were Nottingham bound again on a mightily fun bus journey which was host to many a sing-a-long, courtesy of the Rocky Horror soundtrack and Bohemian Rhapsody. Here featured a truly classic Wayne’s World moment, when suddenly a small sea of heads before me were banging. A moment I shall likely never forget, for its comic and rock n roll value.
A detour took us to Castle Donnington services, for the guys to use the shower facilities. Needless to say, the massage chairs were re-re-discovered. And abused this time, when James, in his intoxicated wisdom, decided it would be a good idea to lie face-down on the vibrating chair. It soon became apparent to everyone within a five mile radius that this was a very pleasurable experience for James. It proved a very amusing experience for all onlookers.
Several rounds with the chairs later, we finally left at 2:40am. Once back at James’, the party kept on rolling – with an interview for OI thrown in for good measure – until the band had to leave at 5:30am to begin their journey back to Germany. No-one wanted it to end but, of course, it had to. All good things…
And so, it remains for me to summarise; it was an awesome, riotous, rockin’ few days that left us all thirsty for more.
Massive thanks to James, for being a general star, and to The Pleasures for being an inspiration and the cause of/reason for such a brilliant experience. I love you all.
Check out The Pleasures here: