We arrived at Liverpool today at 14:00 GMT. Checking into the hotel, we met with our local promoter and all-around swiss army knife of a tour manager, Olga Bogdanova. Olga is a small person with a giant personality and a bigger spirit. Her positivity is absolutely unwavering and unstoppable.Armed with her translucent yellow file folder, she lead this troop of misfits on our crusade from city to city and venue to venue. Without her, this trip would not have happened. She was our contact with the new world – sometimes acting as a guide and other times as the muscle, shaking down bar managers for sound gear and vital information. Combining her energy with the rest of our support staff – Indianapolis-based photographer and UK driving all-star, Tim McLaughlin and Mama-Bear to us all, Katelyn Chovanec – we had a team assembled that would handle anything that came our way.
As we made our way to our first venue of the tour, Studio2 on Parr Street, we searched madly for any indication of Liverpool’s greatest claim to fame – the Beatles. What was perhaps the most jarring aspect of this city was the complete lack of commercialization of this part of its history. While the Beatles may be the only thing we knew about Liverpool coming into this town, it seemed to be only a footnote to the locals. This place proudly recognizes itself as the city the Beatles came from, not the city that came from the Beatles. A rich, more modern and diverse creative community of musicians and artists paint a broader, more complete picture of Liverpool than we knew existed.
Studio2, like the name may suggest, was originally a recording studio. Built by Phil Collins in the 70’s to capture the drum sounds for future Genesis records it was the location Coldplay recorded their first three albums as well as other giants such as Black Sabbath, Moby and Bjork. 5-7 years ago (various employees gave opposing accounts), the studio was purchased and converted into a live music venue. The control room now hosts a full bar and the resonance room, a stage and dance floor. It was here, surrounded by narrow brick roads and buildings as old as any in the original 13 colonies of the U.S., that Veseria would play its first show in the United Kingdom.
Our local support for this show wasn’t actually local and they were added at the last possible second. Jen scoured across the internet just days before our departure to find a second band for this bill and after dozens and dozens of messages, one band finally agreed to join. Enter: Seegulls.
Seegulls is a five-piece rock band from Chester, England. All of its members would barely be admitted into the 21+ clubs back home but the skill and prowess with which they perform their live show is more reminiscent of veterans of the Seattle or Portland psych rock revivals of the 90’s. Matty and Cash dual over perfectly executed, riff-heavy guitar melodies while James Kitchen wails on vocals like Mike Adams at His Honest Weight joined up with the Clash for a sold-out arena show. In recent years, so much of the excitement we’ve felt in this band has been based around industry contacts we’ve made or show-turnouts or record-breaking sales we’ve made of our vinyls and downloads. Tonight might be the first time in years that we’ve felt the inescapable thrill of pure, incendiary live rock and roll. They were absolutely incredible both as performers and people and we cannot wait to work with them again in the future.
On Day 2, we spent the afternoon in Liverpool. We traveled through its bustling, metropolitan city center to find the legendary Cavern Club. Here on Mathew Street is the only place you find the scattered landmarks of rock and roll’s greatest manifestation, the Beatles. Entering the club, we breathed in the musky air from 3 stories below the street. We ran our fingers against the graffitied stone walls. We basked in the moment. Just four musicians dreaming big. Like that’s never happened before in this space.