The SoapGirls are back touring with their ‘Stinks Like Punk’ tour. Covering 9 months, kicking things off in April and going all the way to December, this is going to be epic.
They started this tour in April at Percy’s in Whitchurch, then having a few UK dates over the next couple of weeks before heading off to Europe for a bit. Of the UK dates, I’d taken a look at which ones were quite local to me and realised there were two that I could possibly get along to, the first one being at The Shed in Leicester.
The first time I ever saw The SoapGirls was at The Shed back in 2015 on the ‘Calls For Rebellion’ tour, since that date I have seen them numerous times, but while they did come back and play again at The Shed in 2017, I couldn’t make that gig as I had other plans for that night. I’ve wanted to see them back at the venue I first saw them in, even if it has had a good refurb since that gig, so I knew I would be trying my hardest to go along to this one.
I was working on the day of this gig, so finishing at 7pm with the doors opening at 8pm, it was a bit of a rush, but nothing I’ve not done before. When I arrived, the doors weren’t open yet, so I headed to the downstairs bar where I could see a few people I knew and we chatted until the upstairs was open.
Support for this gig came from two local bands, opening up were ‘We Be Beasts’, and then ‘Smack Jack and The Many Grams’. I’d never heard of these bands before, but they both put in decent sets to warm up the crowd before the main event.
Mille and Mie got onto the stage ready to play in front of what was now a decent looking crowd, a bit different from the first time I saw them here, when the crowd was looking a bit thin. I managed to have a word with someone I know who was doing the lighting for the show afterwards, and made sure the lighting would be decent for The SoapGirls on stage.
Playing a mixture of songs from their two albums, along with some new tracks, they put on a great show. As always when the SoapGirls are on stage, there was plenty of crowd interaction, getting people on stage for various parts of the show. Whether it’s to sing along with them in the background or take centre stage as they strip down and put on a nappy (yes, that actually took place), they know how to make each event unique.
I’ve seen them play sets which have lasted over 90 minutes, and while this wasn’t that long, it was a good length considering you can go to a gig and see the headline act play for around 30-40 minutes. All too soon though we were coming to the end of the night. There was a cut off time for the gig to finish as The Shed has a weekly night called Ambush which had to be set up and start at a certain time.
After the gig, I hung around for a bit and chatted to the people I hadn’t seen for a while, but with the next event starting, it wasn’t an ideal place to be having a conversation. I managed to grab a few photos of The SoapGirls afterwards and knowing it would only be a few day until the next gig, I left pretty early compared to some of their other gigs.
Fantastic to see them on stage again, and a bonus that it was at the same venue I first saw them. The Shed is an excellent venue which I really need to get along to more often, as I’ve only been there a couple of times since the refurb, and that was about a year ago.
After seeing them in Leicester on the Saturday, Tuesday came around really quickly and I was in Birmingham to see them again. There had been a bit of confusion about the venue they were playing, but it ended up being at The Cuban Embassy.
With any new venue, I try to get an idea of what it’s going to be like before I get there, looking at photos and websites to see if I can tell the size and what the lighting may be like. For this venue it wasn’t that easy so I thought I’d just have to see when I arrived.
I got to the venue and immediately recognised a few faces in the crowd. The music venue was upstairs, so we had to wait around downstairs for a bit until they had finished soundcheck and we were allowed to go up. As I walked in I thought the stage was a bit bigger than I expected it to be, and the lighting wasn’t too bad, especially for a smaller venue.
This evening only has one support act, Bryony Williams, who was a little bit different to The SoapGirls in her music style. Sometimes when you go along to a gig for the headline act, you almost forget about the support acts afterwards, but I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on Bryony for and more gigs or music releases. Really good original songs and a fantastic voice, what more could you ask for.
As The SoapGirls were setting up I was keeping an eye on the lighting to see how it would look. When Bryony was on stage it was decent, but as she wasn’t moving around that much it’s always easier to take photos. When Mille and Mie were on stage, it looked like the lighting was nice and bright on Mie, but a bit darker where Mille was standing, which wouldn’t be too much of a problem for individual shots, but when both of them are in the same photo it would cause a few issues.
The stage was a decent size, but when it came to them starting their set, the crowd was quite close to the stage, so I couldn’t move around all that much. I managed to get to a few different positions to take photos, and create a bit of variety to the images, it was a bit of a challenge, but that’s all part of the fun.
Another incredible set from the sister, crowd favourites mixed in with some new material, to keep it fresh. Again there was crowd interaction to make the evening different from other gigs, people getting on stage and singing along to their songs, dressing up and generally having a really great time.
As the lighting was a bit of a mixed bag, I did try a bit of experimental photos using flash. Along with using flash to just light up the scene a bit, I also tried to use the surrounding lights to create light streaks in the images while the flash firing froze the motion to not make it just a blurry image. It’s not going to be used for every gig, most gigs I don’t even use flash as it can be distracting, but every now and again it’ll be nice to try something a bit different.
After their set it was a bit of a quieter situation compared to a few days previous at The Shed, so I stayed a bit longer and chatted to everyone that was there. As The SoapGirls were about to head off to Europe for a bit to continue their tour, before coming back to the UK later on, I thought it would be a while before I saw everyone again, but hopefully this won’t be the last show I can get to on this tour, new dates get added quite regularly, so I’ll see what happens.
Two wonderful gigs in a few days, fantastic to see The SoapGirls again, best of luck for the rest of the tour.