Life On Mars/Tour (Part Two)


After a couple of days rest, Van Rockman were ready to hit the road once more. Much like at the start the buzz was strong, the van was packed, spirits were high. And so the band went forth... on the journey from hell. I've never known gridlock like it. Just before our stand still moment we were told by the various roadsigns that certain junctions of the M6 were closed due to roadworks. A detour was needed. The trouble was not only did everyone have the same idea, they had the same route in mind as well. Was everyone going to Liverpool this day? The answer was apparently yes. Seven hours later... We arrive at the venue. A curious place. Pizza restaurant in the front and live music venue in the back. Given time this place could become a hub of the local music scene in Liverpool. It's a small place, yes but that doesn't take anything from the night. Van Rockman are playing. Halfway through the set Tim mentions that 'Harley To The Party' is number four in the rock charts and asks people to google it. A lot do so and then go to correct the confident frontman. Van Rockman are not number four. They're number two. The news can't help but put a smile on every band members face. After the gig it's off to our hotel. I can't help but pray that this one is at least a little better than the last shithole we were in. I'm not disappointed. This place is the Ritz! Decent sized rooms, a proper bathroom and beds that don't try and give you a lifetime of back problems. There's even a small bar downstairs. Open till 4.30am. Time for a quiet after gig drink. The guy who checked us in was also the barman. His name badge said 'Printworks Hotel' but I could tell this was an alias. I didn't want to pry as to what his real name was so for now let's just call him... Bob. Bob was from Yorkshire and had come to Liverpool for work. It was only meant to last a year but he liked it so much he stayed. Eleven years later and he shows no signs of going anywhere else. Halfway through our conversation I begin to realise that this is one of the best things about touring. Going to new places and hearing the stories of new people you meet. Towards the end of the evening/beginning of the morning, Tim shows up. He's still stoked from the news of being number two. I have some good news for him. I've double checked and in the few hours that have passed since we found out, Van Rockman are now number one. I may have added to the collective jubilation, but the tour is not over yet. Next stop: Leeds. This journey was not as hellish as the last one. Quite uneventful in fact. All we had to do was show up, set up, play. One problem though. No soundman. What a clusterfuck this was. Ignoring the fact the stage was the width of a shelf; ignoring the fact that we had to haul our gear up a winding staircase and ignoring the fact that the bar upstairs wasn't even open, how could we or any other band play if no levels were set? Assured that he was on his way, we set up anyway. Other bands began to appear. Still no soundguy. Eventually we had someone come and set up. Was this the elusive man of sound we were waiting for? No. This is the man setting up for the soundman who's showing up due to the failure of the original soundman not showing up. You with me so far? After an eventual soundcheck, morale was dipping slightly. We and the other bands rallied though. As with such situations, what was looking like a disaster turned into something special. It was as if there was more determination, not less to turn this gig into a success. Afterward was the long drive home. This tour was one hell of an experience. For now the only thing to do was rest. On Sunday it would be the big homecoming show at the O2 Academy Birmingham!


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© 2016 by Ryan Lowry at So Called Studios for Van Rockman