Paul McManus has now officially joined GUN. He starts with the band on their sell-out tour with Lynnard Skynnard on Thursday 4th March in Birmingham Arena.
After the Skynnard Tour, GUN will be doing their own club tour of the UK.
Gun Day 1
A "secret" warm up show was arranged and billed as "Scotland's Biggest Band plays Scotland's Smallest Venue."
Arrived for soundcheck at Kirkintilloch's Bar Bliss to the best hospitality ever from the bar owners. They were delighted Gun agreed to play and showed it with overwhelming kindness to all the band and crew.
We retreated to the tour bus to await show time and to swap amusing anecdotes. Some more amusing than others!
At 9pm we tried to get into the gig but it was almost impossible - it was absolutely jammed packed! The reaction we got when we finally took to the stage was incredible - I got it there and then how important this band are to such a loyal fanbase.
The gig went great from my point of view - the songs rocked, the band were super tight and all the equipment and computers were fault free.
A great show in front of an incredible audience!
A special word of thanks again to the owners and staff at Bar Bliss.
Gun Day 2
An early stary for the journey south to kick-off the first leg of the tour at the Birmingham Arena.
We were escorted directly into the Arena and given "All Access Passes" by the LS Tour Manager and led to a suite of dressing rooms. The guys from LS and all their crew made us feel immediately welcome.
We were given a soundcheck which lasted over an hour, a favour not normally given, and both the front of house and monitor engineers were especially helpful.
We were also notified of an extension to our alloted set time which was another really nice gesture from LS.
And so we were set for our opening night.
Walking out onto the stage at one of the nations biggest arenas for your first show with your new band is a daunting task but what a buzz!
We kicked into "Welcome to the Real World" and blew the back wall off the place!! The reception was sensational. What a gig!
Off stage, into shower, then escorted to catering to have dinner with Bernie Marsden from Whitesnake - doesn't get much better than that!
If this is the Real World then my eternal thanks to GUN and their fans for welcoming me to it!
Gun Day 3
Leave our hotel about midday for the journey across the Welsh border.
The Cardiff International Arena is in the centre of town and is a huge venue.
When we get there the crew have rigged the PA and lights, the line-checks have been completed, so we head off to catering where the girls from Eat to the Beat look after us a treat.
We're called for our soundcheck at 5pm where Rob and Johno from Britannia Row give us another hour and a bit check. Unbelievable!
7.30's showtime and what a gig - band go down a storm in front of a huge audience! 45 mins pass in a flash and before I know it my tech, Mikey Allen, is leading me down the backstage ramps to the dressing room! Great show.
Got a very kind invite from LS' sound engineer to watch their show from the mixing desk. What a band they are! Incredible. Do yourselves a favour and get out and see them on the tour.
Short footnote to the Birmingham gig blog - my thanks to Chris Payne, drummer extraordinaire and owner of Birmingham Drums, for coming down to see the show. Chris was responsible for putting together my current touring kit and his assistance is greatly appreciated.
No sleep til Hammersmith........!!!
Gun Day 4
A relaxing morning in our hotel near Newport before boarding the bus for the trip to London.
All of the shows on this tour are an exciting prospect but I have to say I'm so looking forward to playing the most iconic of them all, the Hammersmith Odeon. Or as it's now called, HMV Apollo.
We get into the venue at 4pm and, as usual, straight to catering which is outside the main building and in a quaint pigeon loft-type building! Hungry lot these boys....
Backstage at Hammersmith is vintage concert venue - narrow staircases, noisy plumbing and single-glazed windows. The atmosphere and sense of history is immense. All my favourite bands have played there and some have made it their own, eg Whitesnake.
As per usual, we get the red carpet soundcheck treatment and then it's calm the nerves time til showtime.
The venue is sold-out for tonight's show and........completely rammed for us going on!!
Our reception was truely awesome - it was simply breathtaking!! The band played the best of the tour so far and we left the stage all too soon. That gig will live with me for the rest of my life.
After a quick shower it was up to the VIP bar to mingle and let our hair down. Some more than others........
Big thanks to all our guests who came down to see us, especially Steve Strange - great guy as well as one of the country's biggest and most successful artist booking agents.
A fantastic honour to have played this gig and my thanks to Joolz, Dante and Toby for having faith.
Look out Coronation Street - Gun are comin to rip up your town.
Gun Day 5
The weather in Manchester is truly glorious today. Bright sunshine with a real hint of spring in the air – surely we deserve a bit of good weather after what was thrown at us over the winter!
We arrive early at Manchester Apollo which is a bit of a pity because it is the first time on the tour that the crew have been delayed setting the stage. However, we find a way to relax – yes….off to catering again!
We finally get called to soundcheck at 6pm and spend the next hour in the capable hands of Johno and Rob who, once again, get a fantastic front-o-f house sound as well as a crystal clear on-stage mix.
Manchester is the hometown of Gun’s manager, Bruce Mackenzie, so we know we’ve got to be at the top of our game tonight!
Big Mikey calls us at show time and we descend into the backstage area prior to lights out. Again, and somewhat unbelievably, the venue is absolutely rammed for us going on. A big thanks to the Skynyrd fans for their non-stop support on this tour!
Show is running like clockwork and the band are seriously rippin the place up until….disaster! My first technical failure thus far – I use a click track on Let Your Hair Down (the band’s current single off the new POPKILLER album) and my software crashes half way through! Frantic looks from Dante, Joolz and Toby ensue before I recover the situation by disabling the click then fly without a parachute for the rest of the song!! Rock n Roll!
Got through the balls-up to finish off a blistering set and take another standing ovation from the sold-out crowd.
A massive thanks from GUN to all the Manchester fans - we felt so at home in your venue!
A special mention also today to Skynyrd’s merchandising guy, Mick. Thanks your company at dinner the other night – it was a blast! Man you can sink those John Smiths!
Glasgow here we come………………..
Gun - Clyde Auditorium
Travelled up from Manchester taking constant calls, texts and emails from family, friends and aquaintances looking for tickets and passes for tonight's show. Managed to cater for most, but apologies to those we couldn't get in!
Clyde Auditorium is a great room to play - perfect mix of arena and theatre.
Soundcheck goes well so we've got some time to meet up with some of our guests before the show. Special thanks to Billy Sloan and Tom Russell for their continual support of the band.
We hit the stage at 7:30 to a 3/4's full venue due to severe traffic congestion. By 3rd song the place is full and jumping!
We power through set and reception is unbelievable! Band at top of game tonight and it's a real enjoyable gig.
Great to come off stage and hang out with family and friends, then driven home for a night in my own bed!
Special thanks once again to all members of LS, their management, crew, to Live Nation for booking us, Eat to the Beat for feeding us and to all the loyal fans who came out in droves to see our show.
So, it's'a free day tomorrow then out across the nation on our own club tour. Can't wait!
After a relaxing day off we start all over again, only this time we're out headlining our own shows around the UK clubs.
The band leave in the bus from Glasgow but I've pulled rank and, thanks to John, I'm being driven to and from the next 3 shows so I can get to my own bed each night! Thanks John!
So, it's the Granite City tonight. Nice venue, good stage, excellent PA and great staff. Oh and very nice hospitality from the nearby Italian restaurant.
We're joined on this tour by a truely remarkable band called 'The Virgin Marys from Manchester. The band are excellent - a unique sound with a totally individual style. Really impressed. Great to have them with us. Their first album is released this month and it's definitely worth checking out.
We get our show call at 9pm from Big Mikey and we hit the stage for the workout of my life - 90 mins of overwhelming aerobic demand!
Great reception from the big crowd and the show's a belter! We've now got all elements of the show gig-tight so it's great to be completely comfortable with the songs and enjoy the show from the best seat in the house!
We play a 2 song encore to a really fabulous audience. I'm also starting to appreciate how loyal a fanbase GUN have. There are a number of fans who've been at ALL shows so far - Amazing!
Leave stage just after 10:30 and hit motorway at 10:45. Thanks again John!
A very relaxing morning back at home before John collects me at 2pm to drive to Dumfries for soundcheck. Tonight's gig is in The Buccleugh Centre is in Langholm which is close to Lockerbie. Langholm happens to be the home town of a neighbour of mine when I stayed at Cormiston - Davy Scott. I spent 7 great years at Cormiston before moving on, and it was the friendship and kindness of Davy and his wife Sandra that made my time there special.
The Buccelugh Centre is a modern community theatre which the locals are rightly very proud of. When we get there our rider has already been laid out in our dressing room, although I must say there were curiously robust chains and padlocks on the two massive fridges in the room....?
Begs many questions!
The stage is large with a decent drum riser and an excellent light show, however, the in-house PA looked on the modest side to me. Our front-of-house engineer, John, managed to crank it up and I'm led to believe the live sound was great. I had the smallest drum monitors of the tour so far but they turned out to be adequate.
We've solved the problem of the bug that got into my computer set up.
Yes, we switched it off then turned it back on again! Not quite, but it's close to the truth!!
I watched all of the Virgin Marys set again tonight and I'm totally blown away with these guys. What a noise and energy they create.
We get our stage call at 9pm we launch into Welcome to the Real World.
Toby plays a blinder tonight. Believe me he is a real star. Gun is an extremely powerful band and the onstage mix is generally really loud.
This normally causes the singer monitor issues, however, I've never once heard Toby complain or make an issue with the sound guys - he just stays completely professional and polite then gets on with it! He was sensational tonight, both vocally and as a frontman.
Check out some of the videos of tonight's gig on YOU TUBE - eg,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyAXcMniLJ0 Incidentally, there's a
great video of our last song at the Hammersmith Odeon on YOU TUBE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SN-SwReUGU The crowd reaction at
the end sums up how well we've been received on the Skynyrd tour!
I really enjoyed tonight's show - thank you to a great crowd.
Again, a relaxing morning back at home, all courtesy of the driving efforts of John McCormick. I have a feeling that I'll get a huge bill from him one of these days!
Studio 24 is a great room to play - a proper rock venue. Great stage, lights, fantastic PA (and a great house engineer, Matt) and good-sized dressing rooms. We are due to soundcheck at 4pm, but we are plagued by a series of annoying gear problems. Our apologies to all the support bands for the delay.
Oh, and by the way, a special mention to the guys of The Black Lights (James, Stewart, Steve and Gregg) - loved your set guys. Thanks for gigging with us and for your patience at the soundcheck!
My phone has been non-stop with friends and family wanting to come to the gig. I managed to sort as many out as I can but the gig is completely sold out so my apologies to some.........
We take the stage at 10pm and it's incredible to see the crowd that's turned out for us tonight. It is rammed to the back wall. Amazing.
Tobe's mike fails in the first song (sod's law!) but our guys get a replacement rigged in the blink of an eye. After that we storm through an hour and a half of high-octane rawk. We finish the set with Steal your Fire and leave to an incredible noise from the audience - deafening! We come back to do 2 encores, Shame On You and Word Up and the reception we get is simply amazing. I think I lost at least a stone tonight with the effort and heat (some, of course, may suggest I need to lose that and more!).
A special thanks to all my friends who turned up to see us, and a particular mention to 2 of my old school chums, Brian Gibb and Lesley Dempster - great to see you both after all these years. Brian and Lesley first saw Gun in 1989!
I decided to stay at the gig for a while after the show and it was great to meet so many of the fans - thanks again to all of you for a special night!