On The Road With Imperial Leisure – A Tour Diary Feature Part One

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Imperial Leisure Tour Banner 600x300

Day 1 of 3 – Colchester – Tribal – Friday 15th November 2013

A lot of people only know Imperial Leisure as the insanely over active and addictive SKA Punk band based in London. I was given the chance to see more than the music, also to find out what they are like compared to what we see on stage. This is just some of the shenanigans that took place:

I rushed onto the 11am train from Basingstoke to London in order to make the departure of the tour bus at 2pm. I arrived just over an hour early and met with Denis. He kindly suggested taking me back to his place, while he got ready and had one last practice with the band. During the car journey I asked a few questions leading Denis to briefly explain some plans for next year. They are in fact looking for a label to join in on their new album; they have roughly 6 songs completed out of a possible 10. The aim is to have a single released in the beginning of next year, ready for the festival season.

While waiting for the band I met their close friend and musician Karl Phillips. He has created great songs like ‘Attack The Brain’ and ‘Pink Champagne’ he also previously appeared on Don’t Flop. We had a fun conversation with topics including Brighton, cider, independent labels, bands superiority and touring. We then scooted over to the band so I could get acquainted. Dave and I left to get some alcohol for the group (they almost left without us we speed walked/ran back), and then took off for Colchester.

Imperial Leisure tour van drinking

Not long into the drive, the music was blaring. There was lots of laughter and sharing of Becks, with wine and stories flying into the air. After a few drinks on the motorway a few of us were in desperate need for a toilet, a couple of the lads including myself ended up peeing in a bottle and tipping it out of the window. That’s what road trips are all about? They continued to chant such things like “Lads in the basement” and “Drinking on the tour bus”; it felt like I was down my local pub with all of my mates! I heard Russell state “I love being in a band” quite a few times. They also talked about how pleased they were when King Prawn asked them to support. A band that Ushwin has had on his “bands to tour with before I die” list, since he was 14 years old. Other bands included Beastie Boys, Prodigy and I believe Take That was also mentioned.

King Prawn & Imperial Leisure Colchester Show 2013 Poster

We arrived at the venue called Tribal (pub-like venue with friendly staff) to set up for sound checks. The band went to find some Chinese for dinner, and I stayed to watch the preparation of the gig. A lot of people fail to notice the amount of work and effort that goes into each gig; it was good to see it first hand. In no time at all people started to pour in and it kicked off with Hobo Chang and their soft, Psychedelic, Soul and Reggae style with Fiona Harmon (vocalist) dancing slowly and alluringly while she sang, bringing a lot of male attention. Shortly after, Tyrannosaurus Alan came to the stage with their Rock, SKA and Rap influences; they slipped in a surprisingly great cover of ‘Plan B – I’ll Manors’ getting people slightly pumped.

Imperial Leisure were next on, after some last minute Tequila and Sambuca shots. They treated the first gig of the weekend like it was their last and gave it their all, they kicked off with the extremely catchy tune ‘First Past The Pump’ then later encouraging the crowed to get closer and chant “Beast”. As the set goes on they play ‘Man On The Street’ where Denis did his trademark, spraying champagne into the crowd (I got drenched) also giving the bottle to the audience to share. They followed with ‘In A Letter’ while trying to persuade girls to bid for Russell, which started from 2p; He finally went for £10! The crowed were really getting into it and embracing the atmosphere.

Imperial Leisure King Prawn Colchester 2013 Show Times

An accident occurred with some masking tape, and I ripped my lip, so I was bleeding while King Prawn attacked the stage for the first time. This was their first tour in over 10 years so this is a big celebration for them and you could tell that through the way they played. Being on the road I have come to realize, is quite addictive. After King Prawn finished there was a chance to carry on partying in the basement but unfortunately we had to pack up and hit the road to get back to London. When we got back to London, very inebriated; most went home to sleep while others carried on to partying. Denis thankfully let me crash at his place ready for stage two the next day.

Part two of Sheldon’s exclusive Imperial Leisure tour diary will be published later this week so please stay tuned for the next instalment!

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