The Canadians hit Wales. Wales hits back...

Part two of Canadian rockers’ Ten Kens tour diary of the UK. Read the first part HERE.

Day 7 – Dec 4

We had been waiting for that one show, the one where everything would come together. Behold, Manchester. We played to a full house at the Roadhouse. The crowd was alive, ready, and completely energized us. In turn, we gave them our best performance to date. Manchester is the place, no question. Music fans live there.

Afterwards we celebrated our victory with four bottles of Jameson’s, courtesy of our friends in A Place To Bury Strangers. And if there’s any questioning APTBS’s loyalty to their drink of choice, I’m sure Jay and company would be happy to show you their latest inkings from the night before in Dublin. That’s rock and roll.

Day 8 – Dec 5

Leeds… Manchester with hangovers.

Day 9 – Dec 6

Welsh women wear WAY too much make-up. It was something we all noticed, it was very strange… bright rosy red cheeks with aqua-blue eyes. Anyway, Cardiff wasn’t far away from Leeds, but it seemed like we were on a different planet when we arrived. We hadn’t heard anyone speak Welsh before… that’s a way cool language, but totally undecipherable. There was a big football match that night, so the entire city was rammed with cars and people… We hoped getting out was going to be easier than it was getting in.

The show went great, the venue stayed pretty empty right up until the moment we went on stage… people just seemed to appear out of nowhere all of a sudden. APTBS suggested we use their smoke machine that night, we thought it would be cool to try it out. We were perhaps a little too generous with our dispensing of the smoke; Ryan, our drummer, all but completely disappeared for the entire set. Smoke is cool. However, never could we win a smoke battle with APTBS, they aren’t just looking for a little atmosphere, they’re looking to completely smoke a place out. One fire alarm and an evacuated venue later, and it was mission accomplished. Smoke is cool.

Day 10 – Dec 7

Another day off. We’re back in London now for the remainder of the tour. We had an acoustic set in the park to film. We don’t like being filmed, we’re shy.

Day 11 – Dec 8

Tonight was the night. A completely sold-out show at ICA. It was APTBS’s last show of the tour, and our last one with them. Awesome venue. Awesome sound. Awesome crowd. Awesome. We got a pretty elaborate light show when we played which was sweet; it’s not something we’re accustomed to. Playing with a strobe is mind-melting, but very cool nonetheless. We pulled out all the stops for this one and did our best to impress. We got the reaction we wanted.

APTBS went out in style; they indeed saved their best show for last. When the smoke cleared, we were sad to see it all end. But the night wasn’t over… we had some serious celebrating to do. Unfortunately, I’m not at liberty to divulge any further details on this matter. Cheers fellas… cheers.

Day 12 – Dec 9

Tonight we had a headline show at Metro. It’s funny, sometimes the smaller the crowd, the harder you want to hit it. We played our hearts out that night, hangovers and all, it just kinda happened. I don’t think the crowd knew much about us and we might have scared them a little at first, but in the end, we had definitely won them over… and I suppose that’s what it’s all about. Apparently the Metro is being torn down very soon, which is too bad, but I am glad we were able to play there before it happened. R.I.P. Metro… thanks for the memories.

Day 13 – Dec 10

Our last show. Two weeks seemed like two minutes now. We played 229, a campus club of sorts. The only thing missing were students. We were visibly tired, but brought the noise regardless. We played a super short, high-energy set. And that was that. All’s well that ends well. We were pleased.

We decided to head to the airport straight from the show. The original plan was to stay in Brighton for the night, then get up early and go. But we figured we might as well just go straight there and wait it out; we knew we weren’t going to get much sleep anyway. Of course, it’s always a gamble when it comes to airports. All the flights were delayed, and in the end we spent over 11 hours at airport, and over nine hours on the plane. Didn’t matter much though, and it was a good test of perseverance.

Two weeks of touring the UK completely transformed our band, as we hoped it would. Sometimes I guess that’s all it takes. The only way to learn is to jump in with both feet and sink or swim. In the end, all you really need to do is play your heart out and hope the right people take notice… But what do we know, we’re just getting started.

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Read the first part of this tour diary HERE. Ten Kens’ self-titled debut album is out now via FatCat. Find them on MySpace HERE.


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