King Charles, Poole

The Tours

If you have tipped over the milestone of 50, you might just remember a band from Hamworthy in Poole called “The Tours”. They caused quite a stir back in the late seventies when they released their debut self-released single “Language School”. The Legendary John Peel was so impressed that he played it on his radio show for 50 consecutive nights and declared it his second favourite 45 of all time behind “Teenage Kicks” by The Undertones. The band signed a considerable six-figure deal with Virgin who released their second single “Tourist Information”. A little over a year after this, it was all over as the band was ripped to shreds by clashing egos and industry meddling in the line-up and future sound. They then all went their separate ways. In 2010 Cherry Red Records released “Album of the Year (That Never Was)”, a compilation of studio sessions from 1979 and 1980 that should have resulted in “Tours” debut album.

The band; made up of Ronnie Mayor, Richard Mazda, Steve Jeff, Mark “Basha” Spiers and original guitarist John Hole felt that there was unfinished business. This being their 39th anniversary the band decided to get back together for a “one-off” night with an intimate show at one of the oldest pubs in Poole, the King Charles. The band had no way of gauging interest in their reunion and as the stage time drew nearer the place got more and more packed, with people coming to the pub in their hundreds to get a glimpse of the past. The evening opens with local resident “Surfin’ Dave” who gives us some delightful tunes from his back catalogue. He pleads with the large crowd to move forward a little to make space for the latecomers trying to cram themselves into the venue. With just his iconic red Gretch guitar Dave strips his mix of punk, surf garage and rockabilly style down to bare basics with catchy three-minute tunes, which include the simply titled “Job Song” and the enchanting “Monkey Bike”. Dave leaves the stage after a great 30 minute set with loads of applause from the King Charles crowd.

Surfin' Dave
Surfin’ Dave 1

Finally after an age apart “The Tours” take to the stage with a massive warm welcome from their hometown crowd. Kicking off aptly with their first single the very catchy “Language School” the band roll back the years and sound fantastic in this high ceilinged 250-year-old building. With Richard having to come back from his home in the USA the band cannot have had much time to rehearse, but a few false starts aside the old magic has certainly returned. The band’s lengthy setlist includes everything you could expect to hear including “Foreign Girls” and “Tourist Information” showcasing their original New Wave sound. The three guitars seem to work really well together with Richard and Ronnie taking turns with the vocal duties.

Tours 123456

You also cannot fail to ignore drummer “Basha” who single-handedly holds things together with some fantastic drumming skills and at one point he’s playing his kit with some brightly coloured illuminating sticks. The band end their 17 strong set with massive applause from the delighted crowd who encourage the band to keep on playing. As they have come to the end of all the songs they rehearsed they repeat three songs they have played already after taking requests from the crowd. This time though the band played them with a new energised, positive belief. “The Tours” celebrate their 40th Anniversary next year and Ronnie confirmed live on stage in front of hundreds of witnesses that the band will indeed perform another gig to celebrate. A truly fantastic night of live music with a trip down memory lane for all who managed to squeeze into The King Charles. With this much interest, the next gig will surely need to be in a much larger venue.

Set List
Language School
Foreign Girls
Tourist Information
You Know
Face in the Crowd
Don’t Stay at Home
On The Beach
Can’t Get Through
Changed My Mind
She Said
Love on The Rebound
The Last One
My Dream
I Lose Control
Bitter N’ Twisted
Sliding in the Vee

Language School
Face in the Crowd
Tourist Information

Words & Pictures By Dave Chinery (Chinners)

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