For anyone who has missed the first two parts of Sheldon’s on the road diary with Imperial Leisure, you can check them out on the links below.
Now, on with the final instalment….
Day 3 of 3 – Bristol – The Fleece – Sunday 17th November 2013
Despite going to bed at silly o’clock in the morning we all got up around the same time. Possibly because of other circumstances and noises but we were soon up and ready for breakfast. We went to a nice and homely little café around the corner, and then started to plan the day after a little bit of banter over last night. Some of the band went to do other things; most of us went to the PMT (Professional Music Technology) store, I had a nice little session on a drum kit while Dave and Russell fixated on the keyboards and Ben on guitar. A little while later we decided to head back to get showered and ready for the gig.
Even though the entire band jokingly complain about aches, pains and bowel movements they all soldier on. Especially Ushwin on major medication for his back injury, which never stops him giving 100% on stage! I also briefly talked to a couple of members of the band on how they manage to successfully balance touring with work, the secret is having flexible contracts, which luckily enough some of them do while others have to book holiday.
Just after the sound check Dave, Russell, Jim and myself went to get a bite to eat at the nearest Wetherspoons. This was where I got some more funny history of the band. These included times they have had their set cut short and been escorted out, fans sending them particular messages and drawings of the band and other little details of bad nights that shouldn’t have happened or created awkward situations. Russell then received a text saying “Where the **** are you” so we thought it would be best to return to the venue, we managed to catch a couple of songs from the Reggae / SKA act that is Dirty Revolution who were fantastic, a big Caribbean atmosphere and people were going nuts singing to ‘I love Reggae’. They were also a really nice band and easy to get along with.
Imperial Leisure then got ready to perform, the place almost silent in anticipation myself included. Denis had told me previously that he was looking forward to Bristol because “they always go nuts”. To say that this was an understatement is an understatement. With the Fleece’s green glowing AAA stickers you can see Imperial Leisure jump into action for the final performance of the weekend. Almost immediately Denis smoothly hits his head while saying hello to the audience, I saw quite a few people laughing, cheering and clapping to that.
They carried on into their great set list including new songs like ‘Nasty Boy’ and the extremely catchy ‘Lucky People’, which hopefully will be their next single. The crowd participation was outstanding in the packed venue, Denis split the audience into 2 sections getting them to chant and be louder than each other. I also witnessed Ushwin crazier than normal and more passionate by demanding circle pits and really expressing his passionate side. There was people dancing, singing, crowd surfing. It was manic and chaos, exactly how a gig should be. Although enjoying it a little too much, it did make it seem like such a short set. Next time we shall demand more!
King Prawn then dominated the stage with the best performance I’ve seen from them all weekend. They performed more than 1 encore. The atmosphere and energy from everyone involved was brilliant. Watching from the merchandise stand I stood/danced proud to be involved with this weekend, the best highlight of that night was when they played ‘Dominant View’ seeing how mental the crowd could go. It was great to see so many people that supported each band by buying their merchandise all the way throughout the gig or whenever they could. Imperial Leisure continued to celebrate with continuous drinks and shots before packing away and going separate ways as a couple stayed in Bristol and the rest had to bolt for London as some had work in the morning.
Before we left Bristol some of the guys wanted to get something to eat, so we stopped off at a random kebab house. Inside were fans of Imperial Leisure and surprisingly even remembered me dancing behind the merchandise stand. They had a great discussion with the guys and got half of the band to come in to sign a CD they bought earlier that night, Scott was either jokingly or genuinely surprised that they wanted the signatures. I could not tell!
Ben and Ushwin also could not stop laughing at one of the jokes a fan made while ordering his food “I’ll have a kebab wrap and I don’t even like Hip-Hop” After a LONG wait for the food we finally got back on the road, with an intoxicated Dave on board they were highly entertained pulling pranks on him and making sure he didn’t throw up on the bus. After a little nap we had one more services stop then Jim kindly dropped me off in Basingstoke on the way back towards London. Jim had been a diamond throughout the weekend putting up with so much and helping out when needed. Without him on this tour it would have been so much more difficult and less enjoyable without his witty banter added into the flavour.
I finally returned home from such a surreal experience with a band I rate highly and after this weekend they have impressed me so much more, you would not be able to tell that this line up of members have not been together long. Their chemistry on stage and off leads you to believe they have been friends for years and years. There is so much more I could tell but you know what they say: What happens on tour stays on tour.