Kent-based band The Standard Lamps supported The Bluetones on their reunion tour in 2015, so we’ve seen them around and about over the last few years and had been talking for a while about gigging together. They were going to play in Birmingham in 2016 while up here on a bigger tour; we’d got a date all lined up but sadly the Lamps had to cancel, because the other tour they were on was rescheduled. That other tour now kicks off on 3rd April at the Liverpool Echo Arena (capacity 11,000). They’re on an arena tour. Supporting The Who. They had to cancel the gig because their tour with The Who got rescheduled. Hey, it’s happened to us all, right?
In the meantime, The Standard Lamps sorted out another trip to the Midlands and kindly invited us to support them at the George IV in Lichfield on a Friday night. The day before the gig, we got a call to ask if we might be available to join them on the Saturday and Sunday too, to play Shrewsbury and Ledbury. Well, we weren’t going to turn down that chance, so we checked the prices at the Travelodge, cancelled all our plans* and packed a suitcase!
We had a thoroughly fun time. We got to say we were On Tour, and come on – our job for the weekend was essentially to watch from the front row as The Standard Lamps played three astonishing gigs. What a privilege.
The Lamps’ set each night was a masterclass. The band are ridiculously tight, with really engaging songs and some enormous riffs, and on top of that the dynamics and intricate rhythms are a real joy to behold. It’s pretty hard to get decent photos of the band when they’re so animated on stage, but photos don’t really do justice to how good the band are live anyway. Youtube is your friend. Go forth and google. Or save some time and just click here.
Here are 10 things we learned On Tour:
- The Standard Lamps can crack the secret of any PA problem, given enough time and maybe a piggy-back.
- Lichfield remains the Hasty Curry capital of the country. We are always in a rush when we eat at the Eastern Eye but it is always worth it.
- The star of our show will forever be Mike’s special bass pedal. It’s purple. Do not allow bass players to discuss the pedal or they will begin suggesting that we should play entire songs with it switched on.
- If your Travelodge is right on a big motorway roundabout, the satnav will get very confused. Where it normally does a sing-song “Take the roundabout; third exit”, it just went “Take the roundabout…” and stopped dead. *round and round we go*
- If you set up your kit in front of the dartboard in a pub, be prepared for disappointed faces. “How am I going to play darts now?” “Carefully.”
- If you don’t get over to the merch stall straight after your set, you run the risk of someone buying the other band’s CD thinking it is yours. Note to self: label the merch.
- The shop opposite The Bull in Shrewsbury has headless lingerie mannequins in the window, which occasionally revolve apropos of nothing. They then stop, making you think you’ve imagined it. Distracting.
- When travelling between Shrewsbury and Ledbury, you will pass Hampton Court Palace and some kind of mammoth museum. You need to be prepared for this so that you can fight the temptation to stop off at either.
- Having friends in the audience at a gig makes for a really welcoming atmosphere; we’re lucky to have met some very lovely people on our musical travels. When you know all of the front row, however, it does become mildly terrifying.
- The Standard Lamps rock. (We knew that already, but still.)
Find out where you can next catch The Standard Lamps here. We’re eyeing up that October date already…
*Thanks J and L for being so understanding x
End-of-tour photo along with Russ from the Prince of Wales, Ledbury