Grab your leather jacket, your mates and a double whiskey and coke as This Feeling’s Alive Tour is rolling round to a city near you very soon.
It all kicks off tomorrow (1 October) in Bristol and continues to meander it’s way around the United Kingdom giving people a fresh taste of the future in rock music. Whether it’s psych, punk, indie or slightly heavier stuff you’re into, it’s a line-up made to accommodate everybody. So sit back, relax and read our preview of what looks set to be a riotous expedition to help you get in the zone.
A – is for Alive Tour
Beginning in Bristol tomorrow, the This Feeling Alive Tour rolls around the entirety of the UK showcasing the future of rock ‘n’ roll to the country. With a line-up hand-picked by This Feeling founder Mikey Jonns, you know you’re in safe hands when it comes to finding your new favourite band. Taking to the stage on every night of the tour are Bristolian psych-rock heavy weights The Shimmer Band, the atmospheric and theatrical Bang Bang Romeo from Doncaster and lively Sheffield via Guildford upstarts BlackWaters, all of which sew together strands of This Feeling’s very own rock tapestry. “These bands are This Feeling,” laments Mikey, who has become a figurehead for the independent music scene in recent years. “This is the most consecutive dates in a row that we’ve ever done so for us it’s the first time we can really get our teeth into touring life, especially with how big a profile this tour is, we really get a full taste of what it’s really like to be on the road and see people that we’ve never seen before and people that have never seen us. It’s like a challenge and that’s the best thing about being on the road for this one,” offers Bang Bang Romeo vocalist Anastasia Walker.
L is for London?
For many years London has been said to be the hub of the music industry, and while this may still be true to a certain extent This Feeling are helping to eradicate the myth that you must move to London as a band in order to be successful. “We’ve had Vida from Glasgow, Shambolics from Fife, Himalayas from Cardiff and The Americas from the West Midlands, there’s no London band on this tour apart from Paves. You’ve got to deserve it and all of these bands hang out of this feeling,” says Mikey. “If you want to be in a band now you have to do the hard graft and be in it for the long haul, to do that you need to be 100% into the band and to do that you need to live cheaply and you can’t do that in London,” explains David Carpenter from BlackWaters. “The only time people really take note of where you live is when there’s a load of bands that come with you from that space. Up North it’s a different type of band, as soon as you hit Oxford and up it’s completely different music,” believes their drummer James Watkins.
I is for Inspiration
This Feeling founder Mikey Jonns has curated a line-up of bands who are set to inspire the next generation of rock stars. When asked about why it was these three bands in particular to head up the bill the answer was simple, “apart from them being three of my favourite bands they deserve it, it’s not any other reason apart from the music and the work ethic.” The bands aren’t short of inspirations themselves too, on stage BlackWaters vocalist Max Tanner doesn’t look too far away from the school of This Feeling to hone his charismatically chaotic approach to performing. “For me I used to be completely different and stand completely still but Bobby from Strange Bones actually inspired me quite a lot. When we first went on tour with them he didn’t give a shit really and he was nutty and I love that.” Guitarist David elaborates, “Once our music started to develop into the more punk rock ‘n’ roll thing it just clicked that we should reflect that in how we perform – so if you’re playing a fast punk song it should look like you’re playing a fast punk song.”
V is for Volume
Rattling speakers, erupting amps and tons of glorious reverb, This Feeling are a community that like it loud. With a dedicated fan base who will be guaranteed to be at the front every night with the bass vibrating in their fingertips, we spoke to The Shimmer Band’s Tom Newman about the impact of live music. “The music guides us, it’s natural, we let it flow through us,” he explains, “it’s always a little bit different every show but it’s really fucking good when you’re playing to an audience that know your songs.” Anastasia agrees, “You get those magic moments, every now and then you’ll get a crowd that sings your words back to you and that is the biggest injection of adrenaline and shock to the system, it stays with you and you can’t sleep for the rest of the night because of that feeling of having people digging your music. Being on stage with your best friends, performing music that you’ve made together…wow this is getting really heartfelt.”
E is for Excess
It’s been known that bands under the This Feeling umbrella don’t do things by halves whether it be the passion for their performance or their passion for the party afterwards...“Wear waterproofs it’s going to get very sweaty. I’d say hold tight, make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before and come in your best clobber because you know very well everyone will be dressed to the This Feeling nines at these shows. Get dressed up and get ready to get sopping wet with sweat, it’s going to be a long night,” offers Bang Bang Romeo’s Anastasia when asked what she would write on her ‘Invitation’ to the tour. And if the date at London’s Electric Ballroom isn’t enough for you then head to Holloway’s Nambucca after the show for the official afterparty which features more performances and DJ sets from This Feeling favourites until 4am to coincide with the club night’s 11th birthday. And when it does get all too much you can head back to the Travelodge with BlackWaters and settle down with an episode of QI, “after doing a mad gig and being really drunk it brings us back down to reality, as soon as I see Stephen Fry’s face I’m back down to earth,” reamarks David.
T is for Triumph
“I grew up in the 90s and it was all very different, there were scenes of people and you could go to any indie night in London, even if you were on your own, you know half the people there and I think that’s what This Feeling is hopefully becoming UK-wide,” says Mikey. In the nearly 11 years that Mr Jonns has been the captain of the This Feeling ship the brand has gone from strength to strength. Now a fully fledged scene across London and other cities in the UK, the founder is looking to expand This Feeling’s horizons even further. “I’m in talks with some serious people about a This Feeling record label and I want to take This Feeling TV bigger and get it onto television. I’m aiming to get This Feeling in every city and town and join the dots - why if you’re from Plymouth should you not get an opportunity? We’re starting up in Plymouth in December and going to do Norwich next year. I want to keep growing, keep providing opportunity and keep booking bands I love.”
O is for On The Road Again
All three bands are no strangers to playing live. Having made their way across the length and breadth of the UK with some occasional trips abroad too, they have all honed their live performance to impeccable precision, but what happens in between shows when the crowds have filtered out and it’s time to move onto the next city? “Navigating is difficult, but we’ve come up with some good games to keep us going” begins Bang Bang Romeo’s drummer Richard Gartland. “There’s obviously the alphabet game, but on the way here we played a game where a film about the best band in the world, and you have to say which actors are going to play which instrument. We got Ryan Gosling as lead singer, Leonardo DiCaprio on keys, Johnny Depp on guitar, Uma Thurman on bass and Will Ferrell on drums, and then before you know it you’re in London,” continues Anastasia. “We go through phases of things to try and kill time, we got pretty good at checkers at one point and we got pretty big into Top Trumps. We listen to a lot of music as well, it’s a pretty good place to listen and we have a lot of time to hear all of the latest stuff,” agrees Tom from The Shimmer Band.
U is for unity
Just taking a glance at the social media for the three bands heading up the Alive Tour, the rapport and support all of the bands share becomes achingly obvious in an instant. More groups are joining the string of dates, with a new band joining the tour each evening. “There’s a lot I’m looking forward to seeing that I haven’t had chance to see yet, like Sheafs,” offers Richard from Bang Bang Romeo. “We haven’t crossed paths with them yet so we’re looking forward to them and our boys from Sheffield, Liberty Ship. I’m looking forward to seeing Mint again too and Paves are friends of ours,” agrees Anastasia. “We saw Sons at The Great Escape in Brighton at 1:30am in a tiny, tiny pub and they were good,” says James of BlackWaters and The Shimmer Band are just as forthcoming with their love for the other bands joining the tour. “I’m looking forward to seeing the Vida lads and Paves, although I’m looking forward to checking out every band on this tour, it’s nice because we get to see a fresh band at every gig.”
R is for rock 'n' roll riffs
...And boy do these bands have them in an abundance. BlackWaters have worked with indie rock royalty in the form of Libertine Carl Barat. The musician took them under his wing and even invited the band to come and perform with him and support The Libertines in Newcastle. Also more recently since their relocation to Sheffield the quartet have also been spending time with Reverend and the Makers’ mouthpiece Jon McClure – “he is Sheffield in a human” according to drummer James – which has all been impactful on their wild and primal sound. Bang Bang Romeo on the other hand conjure movie soundtrack-esque, theatrical delights which seeps through into their other creative endeavours – the video for their new single Natural Born Astronaut features a cameo from guitarist Ross Cameron’s son as well as some nods to the band’s favourite films. Whilst The Shimmer Band sprinkle their performances with more psychedelic aplomb than you can shake a stick at. “When we play ‘Freedom’ and it gets to the middle section...I feel pretty alive when we’re doing that,” explains singer Tom Newman.
Tickets for 'alive' with The Shimmer Band, Bang Bang Romeo and BlackWaters are available here. Tour dates and support band info are below:
Oct 1 Bristol w/ YVES
Oct 2 Cardiff Glee Club w/ Chapel Row
Oct 3 Birmingham o2 institute w/ The Assist
Oct 5 York Fibbers w/ SHEAFS
Oct 6 Glasgow o2 ABC2 w/ Vida
Oct 8 Manchester Academy 2 w/ Proletariat.
Oct 9 Leeds Wardrobe w/ The Strawberries
Oct 10 Hull The Welly w/ Mint
Oct 11 Nottingham Glee Club w/ The Ruffs
Oct 13 Sheffield Plug w/ Liberty Ship
Oct 14 London Electric Ballroom w/ Paves
Oct 15 Brighton Concorde 2 w/ SONS