Updated: Monday, 15th July 2019 @ 5:58pm

What happens on tour, stays on tour: on the road with City Reign

What happens on tour, stays on tour: on the road with City Reign

By Melanie Hughes

Ever wondered what it would be like to go on tour with a band? You’re imagining endless partying, relentless drinking, and crap food. Well, you’re right.

But before I get onto that, let me introduce you to Chris Bull, Mike Grice, Mike Glaze and Duncan “The Hunk” Bolton, collectively known as City Reign.

The band is touring to promote their new five-track EP entitled Numbers for Street Names which was released on this week.

We’re in Amsterdam and we’ve had about four hours sleep. Maximum.

The whisky still coursing through their veins is making them perspire, twitch involuntarily, and Chris is forced to hold his head in his hands to save it from dropping off.

The lads are off to their first live European radio performance, where it’s ok for the DJ, Mike Berry, to say the word “c*nt” before 8.30am, much to the shock of the travelling Brits. It’s all beginning to feel like a parallel universe now, a sick joke.

As we trekked bleary-eyed through the town there was talk of hookers and tattoos but instead we opted for a quiet pub on basis that we had been there before and it had a parrot. We left shortly after though, because it had a parrot.

The sound engineer, Stephen De Sarasola, who is a born and bred Mancunian, despite the name, arrived on the scene and discussions for the Saturday evening took place.

Steve is City Reign’s very own Karl Pilkington, which was pointed out by some Dutch bloggers, Harm de Kleine of the Apply Some Pressure website and Thijs Schrik, who came to watch the band.

Now, when I say Karl Pilkington that’s not a slight on Steve’s mental capacity but just that his head is very round – and he’s Manc!

This gathered a head of steam and Chris exclaimed that he never thought he would hear a non-English speaker say, “he’s got a head like a f*cking orange”!

 It was that first Friday night in Amsterdam which started what is now known widely accepted as the tour tradition.

The tour tradition is simple; it’s a mixture of excitement, ego and self-destruction and it boils down to getting as drunk as humanly possible whilst staying on the right side of “misadventure” the night before the gig.

This means a few things – 1) You have a fantastic night and you can plug your gig to similarly minded people 2) Saturday becomes an uphill struggle and 3) Hair of the dog is absolutely essential to avoid crashing at 4pm.

So given that model there’s no surprise that by the time the London gig came about a few weeks later, Chris admitted: “We’re all getting tired now.”

Fans in Manchester will be pleased to know that whilst on a gruelling two-hour long night bus journey home from Camden to the south west of the city Chris and Duncan both said, “I wish I was in Manchester.”

Night buses in London are a punishment for partying. They’re so long that you are actually acquainted with your hangover, due for tomorrow morning, by the time you get off. Here’s to riding in limos next time.

There was always going to be glitches along the way – such as a minor car accident in Amsterdam - but there were a few bits of luck scattered around in each of the cities.

Notably, on the train to Glasgow we managed to pilfer half a bottle of gin, some tonic and some plastic cups left thoughtlessly (or perhaps, generously) by some affluent travellers.

There were no gripes about tucking into the booze which ensured Glasgow was a cracking weekend from start to finish but I draw the line at eating other people’s sandwiches. City Reign’s guitarist, Grice, isn’t so fussy, it seems.

And speaking of consumption, Duncan must take the biscuit (literally) for some incredible eating achievements throughout the tour.

Like with any tour/holiday there is a certain amount of deliriousness which usually stems from lack of sleep and is preceded with giddiness which gives rise to “banter”.

Duncan’s clever new nickname, The Chunk, was directly related, not only to the sheer volume of food he consumed but also due to the necessity for it to be the dirtiest, greasiest thing on the menu.

In an attempted to dispel these allegations and his cruel new name he consumed, in 24 hours, a full English for breakfast, fish and chips for lunch, a delightful haggis and black pudding pizza (only available in Scotland) for dinner, finished off with a two sausages and chips from the chippy at 3am.

I should mention that it was washed down with cups of coffee, cans of coke and pints of lager and followed by a full-English the following morning and so the cycle continues. “I’m a growing man,” he protests.

Luckily drumming apparently burns as many calories as playing football so he’s still, just about, keeping up the sex appeal in the band.

“One of the reasons we wanted to go up to Scotland is that you constantly hear it’s the best place to play. The crowds let you know exactly what they think of you, whether it be good or bad,” said the band.

“Luckily they seemed to take to us and helped make it a really special night for us. We all had a great time and can’t wait to get back up there to play,” Chris added.

The shows themselves were the best City Reign have ever played. Each was better than the last and the venues were fantastic – kudos to the various bloggers and friends who put in the time to recommend them.

They played with some fantastic bands, including a band hailing from the USA - Wiretree - who I would really recommend.

“It was refreshing to meet a band that really was great, but were also really cool and down to earth too,” Chris said of the Texans.

The lads are home now and the final show in Manchester is set to be a cracker tomorrow.

I would love to round this off by saying that lessons have been learned, spirits are stronger, skins thicker and the maturing process has taken hold but, I wouldn’t want to lie to you.

City Reign are playing at Gulliver’s on Oldham Street tomorrow night (Saturday 26 Nov) with fantastic support from Emma Elizabeth, Modern Alarms and Stella Marconi . Tickets are priced at £2.