ClashMusic.com likes to see bands on tour, and likes bands on tour to keep notes of their time on tour. We like to call these notes, when delivered to us, a ‘tour diary’.
This is the ‘tour diary’, if you like, of Ten Kens.
Ten Kens are Dean Tzenos, Dan Workman, Lee Stringle and Ryan Roantree; they hail from Toronto and released their self-titled debut album via FatCat earlier this year. It received a number enough of thumbs up on a critical front, celebrated for its heavy psych-rock leanings and air of general fogginess – it’s a booming, atmospheric listen.
And there’s a tasty Track of the Day to download HERE. ‘Your Kids Will Know’, yours for free.
Over to the band for part one of their take on touring the UK…
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What you’ve got here, essentially: four guys that aren’t really supposed to be here.
Our story is an interesting one to say the least. Basically, it starts with a demo, and ends with four completely inexperienced, unknowing guys touring the UK supporting A Place To Bury Strangers. Why not jump right in with both feet, right? And away we go…
Day 1 – Nov 28
We left Toronto at 6:30 pm and arrived in London at 6:30 am. The excitement kept us awake; jet lag is for the bored. We had our first show at The Lexington in London. Before leaving, we had found out that our favorite band, Snowman, had moved from Perth Australia to London… Apparently Perth has its limitations for bands. We asked them to play with us and they accepted. Being such immense fans of their album, we were absolutely thrilled to have them at our first show. I think we may have been more excited to see them play then to play ourselves.
Snowman did not disappoint and, as a matter of fact, they showed us a thing or two about owning a stage. Incredible band, can’t say enough good things about those guys. We should have played before them, because now we had even more pressure to perform above and beyond. We played alright, I think we were all a little nervous and little overwhelmed. When it was over, we were just happy to have made it out alive. London ain’t Toronto, and we weren’t entirely prepared. But, with our first show jitters behind us, we now felt ready to put on our tour legs and have at’er.
Oh, and driving in London is fucked. (If you can’t print swears, I apologise. Please feel free to replace the middle letters of the swears with the appropriate *#@ symbols.)
Day 2 – Nov 29
Off to Birmingham, to play our first show with APTBS. The traffic in Birmingham was an absolute mess. We were told later that it was because of a big football match that was going on, which makes perfect sense now. I don’t plan on filling our tour blog with tales of our driving woes, but this one in particular is quite noteworthy. Essentially we made a very bad call and found ourselves trapped in a parking garage with no way out. What you then saw was four frantic guys running down the streets of Birmingham, with full gear, trying to make it to the club in time for soundcheck. We ran right past APTBS who just happened to be walking the other way at the time. We shouted a quick hello as we tore by… not the introduction we were hoping for.
We played a good show that night. The venue had great sound and a very patient sound guy. The crowd seemed to dig what we were throwing at them. We finished our set and waited for APTBS to do their thing. Let me just say first off, that those guys are class act in every way possible… friendly, professional, and mad talented. They hit the stage and we were in awe. It’s very humbling watching those guys perform. They’re just awesome.
After learning some slang terms from the locals and helping APTBS finish their rider, we called it a day, a successful day. Glasgow tomorrow… long drive.
Day 3 – Nov 30
Scotland is beautiful. The endless rolling green hills had us all a little speechless during the drive in. The city was just as beautiful. Tonight we were playing at a club called ‘Nice N’ Sleazy’… and that’s exactly what it was, nice and sleazy… nice and good. We played a very loud set that night. We weren’t sure whether or not the crowd was digging it, it was hard to tell. We finished a song mid-set and there was this very uncomfortable silence afterwards. Then out of the silence, in thick Scottish accent we hear: “Yeah, you guys are alright.” We had to laugh. I think our inexperience as a band still comes through a little, but I also think it may be a part of our charm. Of course, APTBS came on afterwards and blew them all away as per usual. Good night, yay Scotland.
Day 4 – Dec 1
Never could we have asked for a warmer welcome than in Edinburgh. By far the most beautiful city we have ever seen, especially at night. We played a headline set at Cabaret Voltaire in the heart of the city. This was the coolest concert venue any of us had ever seen. It’s essentially an old stone dungeon all classed up. So cool. The promoter that night was a fellow Canadian and a most gracious host. Drinks, drinks and more drinks. Things got sloppy, very sloppy, more for some than for others… You know who you are. We played a very smoky, very loud set… this crowd liked the hard stuff, so we played an extra aggressive set for them, followed by our first requested encore of the tour. Hangovers and sore throats never felt so good… thank you Edinburgh.
Day 5 – Dec 2
Off to York, with a radio interview pit stop first. Interviews are weird, especially this one. It had actually been cancelled, but we didn’t pick up on the message in time, so we showed up anyway. This wonderful woman, whose name I now forget, brought us in, set us up, and fired off questions having no idea who we were. She was good, very good. She was even able to make Lee speak, which is no small task I assure you.
We then headed into York for another headline show at The Duchess. Amazing venue, but big, really big, too big for us. We were feeling pretty burnt out from the night before and weren’t totally jazzed to be playing for such a quiet crowd. But then a woman came in with a young mentally handicapped man she was caring for. I guess he just loves live music, and she brings him to concerts to let him do his thing. And do his thing he does… dance up a storm he did. It made us feel good, and we thought playing for this one guy alone would make this a successful night… so we decided to knock his socks off.
However, putting a glass of water in the hand of a dancing machine proved not to be such a good idea. As the water hit the mixing board and the power went out, we realised that this night was just not meant to be. Again, mad props to the staff and the other bands.
Day 6 – Dec 3
Our first day off. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Exciting huh.
PART TWO OF THIS DIARY IS HERE