Last month German pop punk rockers Smile and Burn joined up with Man Overboard, Moose Blood and Roam for one of the most exciting UK tours of the year so far.
The Berlin-based band were making their first return in 3 years, and to mark their return to these shores we asked the quintet to document the tour for our “Tour Tales” feature.
In the first part of this two parter, saw the quintet adjust to life in a van and more. In this second edition, Smile and Burn continue to the tour, doing interviews along the way before playing Manchester’s Pinky Swear Fest and Liverpool’s Fury Fest. Then they say goodbye to the UK for now.
View part one of Smile and Burn’s UK tour tales feature here.
Scholar Bar, Leicester / Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton
As a band that is permanently on the go and spends any given moment wandering around on a self-managed tour, we need a little rest every now and then. That day happened to be Leicester; where we mostly sat backstage stealing rider food from the other bands, re-energising for the second half of our tour and next day’s show in Wolverhampton. We had three interviews scheduled for that day, so we got up early, searched for the nearest service station and waited in line for the shower, as usual. Interviews are always a fun thing to do, but especially here on the island we have to overcome some difficulties.
As no one knows us everyone is asking more or less the same questions, which is okay but makes it hard for us to make an interview unique so we always have to think of ways to keep the conversation as interesting as possible. Obviously we cannot talk in our native tongue so it can be easy to embarrass yourself or bore your audience while endlessly searching for the right words to say. The Wolverhampton show, however, was one of the best shows on this whole tour and all our worries were settled, when Scott – band member of Birmingham’s punk band The Fight – came up to us after the concert and said “Guys your unique selling point is, that you are that one German band, that doesn’t suck”.
Think Tank, Newcastle
Newcastle was the first city in which we actually realised how cold the North East of England can be. On our way there we had to use some of the jackets we sell as merchandise as an extra cover for the night. We were damn lucky when an old friend named Ross offered us and Roam a place to stay his house. Eight years ago our bass player Chris was on tour with Mike TV predecessors Pickled Dick and stayed at that very same house with Ross and his family. Ever since that day eight years ago, the family has picked up bands that have played the North East who have been searching for a place to stay. The boys in Roam were already asleep when we were visiting the “Man Cave”, with a snooker table, a beer fridge and loads of guitars. After another few beers at the kitchen table and stories of Australian festivals and ancient rock shows long forgotten, everyone is feeling well at home, in the three storey building.
Glasgow welcomes us with even colder temperatures and a venue built into a church. Despite our 60 minute walk, the city centre just seems unreachable for us, so we head to a local burrito dealer ready to make our first “Scottish experience”. When the guy at the counter tries to tell me that they are out of rice, I feel like I am in a new world. Not a single word seems comprehensible to me. I’m looking back to my friends, but they simply seem as clueless as I am so I just nod my head and hope to get some food. That same thing was bound to happen a couple of times during our stay in Glasgow, so we finish the night with Nick from Man Overboard and out of spite, have some Irish Whiskey as a nightcap before entering the harsh cold temperature of our van.
Sound Control, Manchester (Pinky Swear Fest)
What lay ahead of us were two festivals and consequently stage times that are not nearly punk rock friendly enough. A performance at 3pm, however, gives you an excellent opportunity for some extensive sightseeing. We did so, but arrived back right on time to see Roam performing one of the best shows of their lives. I haven’t seen that many stage dives in forever. The kind of pop punk Roam and a lot of other bands are doing has a different standing back in Berlin, and even Germany, where I’d never expect such a show to even be possible. To see a whole crowd collectively losing their minds is so rare yet so amazing. I guess that day was a bit of a culture shock. Not only the show itself but also our afterparty in the pub across the street gave us rare insights into the English lifestyle. Of course, there are more than enough bars in Berlin but I figure I haven’t seen a single one, where all social classes come together and get insanely drunk to extremely loud rock music. It sounds too common a place and yet I was astonished to see people in suits stumble across two punk rockers with torn tights and all to the soundtrack of Meat Loaf, Avenged Sevenfold and Blur.
Fury Fest, Liverpool
Things became even more confusing, the next day in Liverpool. I must admit we had a long day, playing early and even drinking the first beers early. Actually, we were trying to have a beer all together at least once, but since everybody has their own sleeping places and bus calls this seemed impossible. When we only just ordered our first cider the boys in Man Overboard and Moose Blood were about to rush out of the pub and find something to eat. Whilst strolling through the city we found all women were crazily dressed. The last time we played Liverpool was the day of the Grand National so we were not shocked by all the short skirts. This time we found out it is the normal way people go out here. Again, we have seen short skirts, high heels and little dresses before but not on such a scale. Literally every woman no matter how old, no matter what occasion or social class, were dressed as if the town was one big female bachelor party. I tried hard, but I couldn’t find one woman actually wearing jeans.
The party in the Heebie Jeebies, however, was a blast. It was one hell of a social party and a perfect evening to finish those two weeks full of clapping and singing along in which we had the chance of playing in front of so many people.
The Key Club, Leeds
Consequently we suffered a severe hangover on our last day in Leeds and after celebrating our last stage dives and giving everyone one last hug, we headed straight to Dover ready for the worst part, at every beginning and end of a UK tour: the night drive. It takes nearly a whole day to get back home and I swear to God, none of us ever got on that ferry boat without experiencing insomnia at its best. The moment you see the cliffs of Dover fading behind a wall of English fog that’s when post-tour depression starts. The only thing that matters now is to figure out how we can make our way back to the island as soon as possible.