Hey guys, what’s up?! It’s Josh here with the latest blog coming out of the TIGRESS camp. It’s currently Monday May 1st as I write this and I’m lying in bed trying to chill out after what can only be described as the craziest tour myself and the guys have ever experienced. 6 weeks. 11 countries. 28 cities. 1 surgery… I know right?? Ridiculous…!! If someone had told me everything that has happened would happen at the start, I would have laughed and just assumed they were joking. I’ll start from the beginning…
It’s Thursday, March 23rd and we’re heading to Dover, South East England to catch a ferry over to Calais, France. The first drive of many, many, many long drives to come. The first show of the Counterfeit European and UK tour wasn’t until the next day in Hamburg so we were heading to Dortmund to stop over before things kicked off.
When we first saw the poster for the tour and were told the dates I was immediately drawn to Germany, we’ve always been told the shows over there were crazy. Everyone was saying how the German fans bring the party, so the fact the tour was starting and finishing there was really exciting.
The next day I woke up fairly early, mainly due to this stupidly loud boiler in the bathroom keeping me up most of the night. It sounded like someone was hitting it with hammer over and over again… anyway… it was finally…
DAY 1… Hamburg, Germany!
I was so ready to play that night! We got to the venue where the boys in Counterfeit were already set up and ready to sound check. We all met for the first time including the crew and I could tell from that very first meeting that this tour was going to be different from others. There was a level of positivity that was really refreshing from all angles. I was super pumped to play.
We were sharing a dressing with Decade who arrived not that long after us, who are all lovely guys too. We’d never met, but I’d seen them live at Slam Dunk Festival once before so was looking forward to see them play again.
About 45 minutes before every show all the warm ups start to happen and we get changed into our stage clothes. At this point, I just want to walk on stage and play… I hate waiting. I love playing more than anything else. The whole day builds up to that one moment. It becomes a complete release of emotion and energy.
It’s SHOWTIME. The in ear monitors are in and we walk on. You can tell straight away whether it’s going to be a good show or not. On a tour like this, a lot of it all blurs into one, but there are also many moments that I remember distinctly. Our intro music is on as we’re taking positions, you could feel the energy from the crowd and Jack turns round to me, smiles as if to say “Game on”… this is was one of those moments.
Right now I have to look at my calendar to remember where we went next…
SCANDINAVIA!! I’ll be honest here… this part of the tour is a bit blurry, probably because it feels like such a long time ago now. What I do remember though is long drives and stunning scenery. One of the best things about touring, apart from the shows, is getting to see new places that you’ve never been to. I feel really lucky that I’ve been able to travel around Europe with my friends and doing what I love at the same time. It’s pretty damn cool.
DAY 2… Copenhagen, Denmark!
I’ll always remember this venue because it was actually a TV and Radio station. Apparently it’s the biggest in Denmark. Really cool room visually. The walls were in blocks on different levels, black and beige. Light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. I remember standing at the back during sound check with Sean and both thinking the sound was insanely good.
We run our on stage sound through our in ear monitors (IEMs) which we had set in rehearsals before we left so we generally have the same sound at every show we play. We have to make slight changes here and there to adjust to the different venues. For me, with smaller venues I feel you are surrounded by the sound more because everything is slightly closer together, so you still get that added boom. It gives you a feeling of being right in the middle of a wall of sound. With bigger venues, the music doesn’t bounce around as much so you feel slightly further away. Our sound check sounded really good though here!
It was a couple of hours before the show started and we were backstage in our dressing room having some dinner, Katy was doing a piano cover of one of our songs… I want to say ‘Power Lines’… but I could be wrong. Either way it was sounding really cool.
The show itself could have gone better. 10 minutes before we were supposed to be on stage Sean’s rig was getting checked and decided that it didn’t want to work… like at all… his amp had died for no reason we could think of. It was absolutely fine the night before and fine 2 hours previously, and now nothing. Luckily Pete (Pmar), Counterfeit’s tech was on hand to help us out with a spare amp head that got us through the show. The mix in our ears though was completely different because of it. I had a Sean Bishop overload in my ears… I couldn’t even hear myself, let alone the others. I was like “Yeah cool solo man… now shut up!!” I’m only messing, his solos are actually really good. These things happen though and you just have to get on with it. The show must go on as they say!
DAY 3 -5… Sweden and Norway!
A lot of the drives we were going to have to do on this tour were pretty damn long. Anywhere from 5 hours to 17… I’ll get to that one in a bit though.
There were a few drives though that I was looking forward to in advance because of what we might be able to see along the way. The next few days were definitely on that list, as well as Italy and Switzerland later on in the run.
SO MANY LAKES!! These next three days we were playing two shows in Sweden and a show in Norway in between. I wish I could remember exactly where it was, but we drove past this lake that just seemed to go forever.
I remember the Stockholm show for two reasons… 1. We met this girl at the merch desk afterwards who tried to do a trade of reading our palms for a free t-shirt… I’m superstitious so wasn’t going to do that, but she read Jack’s and I’ll be honest, it was pretty brutal but made us laugh anyway… I think he’s supposed to end up really rich though so maybe I can sleep on his sofa one day!
And 2. The view of Stockholm itself. A girl who worked at the venue very kindly took us up to the top balcony that’s apparently the highest point in the city. You could see everything from up there. She also told me they go up there for the New Year countdown and firework display, maybe one year I’ll have to check that out.
Now for me, most cities look best at night with all the lights. Stockholm was very calm. Not like London that goes a million miles an hour all the time. We went up there with the boys in Decade and spent about 15 / 20 minutes looking out over the city. It was only day 3 at this point and I suddenly realised up there what we were doing over the next month or so. You try to take everything in, but you live in the moment and only really let things sink in when looking back, when it’s all done.
We were heading up to Norway the following morning to play Oslo. This would be my second time there. We didn’t get to do the whole touristy thing here because of time, but luckily I’d already done that when I was there before, so I didn’t really mind too much.
It’s always hard on tour to balance exploring new places and doing what you’re actually there for, which is getting ready and playing the show, but across the tour we tried our best to fit in what we could! This was the smallest show on the tour so very hot and sweaty!
Next up and the last show in Scandinavia was back down in Sweden. We were hitting up Gothenburg at a venue called ‘Sticky Fingers’.
A drummer friend of mine from back home had played there a few times and said it was great, so I was looking forward to playing the show when we eventually got there. Once we did get there I got message from a friend I met while playing shows last year. They were on tour in Europe at the same time and happened to be in Gothenburg for a layover, which was really random but really nice too. We had them all down to the show that night so was great to be able to have a catch up afterwards. Being in a band and touring a lot of the friends you make don’t actually live anywhere near you, so seeing them out on the road or at festivals is sometimes the only time you see each other. It’s one of the other things I love about doing this.
DAY 6… Travel day to Berlin!
17 hours… 17 hours… 17 hours… that’s all I have to say on the matter…
DAY 7… Berlin, Germany!
BERLIN! YES! I can safely say on behalf of the whole band that this was, and will always be, one to remember. We woke up early because we wanted to explore the city as much as we could before the show. There were only 2 or 3 days on this whole run where we would be waking up in the place we were playing that day, so we wanted to make the most of the time we had.
We got to the apartment we were staying in for the next two nights late the night before. Tom and I wanted to eat as much cereal as we could and it was about midnight, so we decided, along with our managers Satvir and Callum, to go out on a mission to find the cereal! The boys have to eat after all! Now… when we went outside and started walking I realised we had absolutely no idea if this was a rough neighbourhood or not! You see, back home… I know not to walk down certain streets or areas in London at night because of what it’s like. Being in another country you don’t know. You can take an educated guess based on the surroundings, but you can’t know for sure. In a weird way I quite liked not knowing. Looking back now I think it probably was a rough area, but the cereal addiction was kicking in and I needed my next hit, so clearly I didn’t care and Tom definitely didn’t care. That boy loves cereal more than anyone I know… it’s up there with oxygen for him. It was a success and I even found Soy Milk so that was an added bonus!
Anyway… it’s show day in Berlin and we get a taxi from the apartments into the city. We were staying on the East side of Berlin. One thing that struck me straight away was the amount of graffiti, it’s literally everywhere, I believe it’s a legal form of protest there. Some of it was actually really cool.
We headed to the centre. We had a few things on the list to see. The Brandenburg Gate, the Holocaust Memorial and the wall. What’s left of it anyway. As we approached the gate we could see the statue sitting on top of it. It’s actually really impressive and I’m sure you could see it from a mile off. It’s the statue of the goddess of victory driving a chariot pulled by four horses as a key entry point to the city. I definitely just Googled that by the way…
We headed over to the memorial. I didn’t really know what to expect, it’s quite eerie to be honest. Hundreds of blocks really close together, sloping up and down getting taller and taller to the point where you have no idea where you are in comparison to where you started. Sean told me it was intended to represent the living conditions of the camps back in the war. Claustrophobic doesn’t even do it justice. We lost each other a fair few times in there. The only way I can describe it is ‘A Never Ending Maze’. It was definitely worth taking in and I’m glad we were able to check it out. I recommend going there if you’re ever in Berlin for sure.
Due to time we weren’t able to go and look at any of the wall because we had to get to the venue for sound check. As we got there we could already see the crowd lining up. It was the second of five German shows on this tour, and once again I was expecting big things. The venue was ‘Lido’ which used to be an old cinema that has been converted into the venue that it is today.
The show kicked off big time!! It was the best show up to that point and I can now say that it made it into my top 5… maybe even top 3! German fans know what’s up that’s for sure!! I had so much fun that night. Meeting everyone afterwards was awesome as well. I would love to go back to Berlin one day. It’s got a special charm about it.