Travelling all over the UK in the leading 80’s tribute band might seem like an exciting and glamorous lifestyle, but in this unique behind the scenes look as Electro 80’s travel to Shildon Civic Centre, we see that it’s maybe not the showbiz existence we might imagine.

A (FAIRLY LENGTHY) JOURNEY BACK IN TIME

When 1980’s Electronica Tribute Band, Electro 80’s started out they, by today’s standards, were more or less neighbours – all living just walking distances from each other. A lot can happen in 12 years (as of 11th March 2017) and the members have now all left the town they formed the band in and moved on to pastures new. Shildon Civic Centre posed a bit of a logistical trauma for the band (all being based in different parts of the North West of England) and so each set off on their own individual voyage to arrive at the venue on time.

Green and Red had decided to share the costs of travelling down together, while Blue was in charge of transporting the equipment in the official band van, the Man O’Chome robotic technical team (Mick and Michelle) were struggling to start ‘Vano Chrome’ (Mobile home used for gigging purposes) but eventually got on the road and the team was mobile.

It was a long journey down, with Green travelling 40 minutes before he’d even picked Red up for the gig and at least another 2 hours to Shildon, there was a lot of travelling ahead. Discussions were mainly about taking the band forward and the next steps of Electro 80’s future and then, shortly after they passed ‘Vano Chrome’ on the motorway, the conversation turned to food. A call to Wetherby services (which was reminiscent of a WWII military installation according to Red) was called for – mainly for soup and pasties – to keep the energy levels going!

Green and Red’s food stop-off was possibly the cause for them to be the last to arrive at the venue. Blue and the Man O’Chrome technical team had already made a start on setting up, the sound engineer had set up the rig and the very basics of 80’s tribute evening was starting to take shape.

GETTING READY

During the soundcheck the band performed the usual benchmark song, Gary Numan’s ‘Cars’ and couldn’t get the sound quite as they wanted, so after some alterations and re-patching, a performance of OMD’s ‘Messages’ seemed to be in-line with the sound the band was used to. Green also sound checked one of his vocal tracks, a song originally made famous by Howard Jones, ‘New Song’ which also prompted the adjustments to the sound system to get things to the standard everyone was used to.

It was now around 8pm and the band had over an hour to kill before being able to show the people of Shildon, just exactly why they are known as the UK’s Premier 1980’s Electronica Tribute Band. Green was again thinking of food and was soon heading off to the local chip shop. Two bags of chips were consumed by usual suspects, while the Man O’Chrome technicians ‘enjoyed’ a chips and gravy between them, Blue didn’t partake in any additional nourishment, but did enjoy a pint of lager in the dressing room while the others were eating.

THE GIG

The performance itself was a huge success with everyone being more than happy with sound both on and off stage. The capacity crowd were very appreciative of the band’s efforts, although they possibly didn’t realise the mini adventure involved in bringing the show to them. Two encores later and it was all over… one very tired Electro 80’s and one seemingly very happy Shildon audience. A great night at a great venue.

After a minute relaxing, it was time to start packing everything away – always the hardest part of the night. At the wrong side of 40 bodies ache a lot easier than they used too and packing everything down seems to be getting more difficult year by year. However, it wasn’t too long before everything was back in the van and the dressing room was checked one very last time before the Electro’s headed off in different directions again.

As if things hadn’t been bad enough, a thick fog had descended everywhere while the band was on stage. Blue had decided to go cross country in an attempt to reach the M6 and Red’s version of keeping Green company on the long drive home involved a lot of snoring and nonsense talk. The Man O’ Chrome technical team had decided to stay overnight in the camper van to monitor the well oiled robot – everyone was safely back home or tucked up in bed by 4am. Welcome to a taste of life on the road.