Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tracer Storms UK/Europe - Is America Next?

Photo by Benon Koebsch
Tracer is still riding high on the heels of their excellent 2011 release, Spaces In Between, they've just kicked off their first headlining tour of the UK, and a month worth of dates across the European continent. I spoke with lead singer/guitarist Michael Brown in the restaurant of the St. George Hotel in London a day before the tour started.

"We're really looking forward to these shows. It's a buzz to fly 30 hours from half way around the world to play for our English fans again," Brown said. "The shows are selling very well, in fact, we had to change venues for London. The show sold out and we needed a bigger room."

Tracer placed 3rd in Planet Rock Radio's Best New Band poll in early 2012, and the band is anxious to keep their momentum building. The band released their latest long player in October of 2011, and they've had great success with the first two singles, Too Much (which has tallied over 65,000 hits on You Tube), and Devil Ride, which has just been A-listed by Planet Rock.

Photo by Benon Koebsch
Brown continues, "It's really fabulous to hear the audience singing along with some of our songs, especially Too Much. That one always has the crowd singing right along. We just released our video for Devil Ride, and we're getting great feedback from people on that, though it's mostly guys wanting to know who the hot chick is in the video!

"We've been back home writing and jamming on material for the next record, so it'll be great to be back in front of some live crowds."

Tracer's sound is a tuneful mixture of classic guitar rock, stoner rock, jam band experimentation, and a healthy dose of modern edge. I asked Brown about the band's influences.

Photo by Benon Koebsch
"We're obviously big fans of classic bands like Led Zeppelin, Sabbath, and Deep Purple, but we also listen to a lot of newer stuff like Queens of the Stone Age, and Kyuss. We spend a lot of time just jamming, playing together to come up with cool riffs and different parts - we don't want to just play the same stuff throughout songs, we aim to keep it mixed up and interesting."

Photo by Benon Koebsch
And that they do, quite successfully. Throw on any tune from Spaces In Between, and you'll be greeted with a compelling mix of melody, sledgehammer solid riffing, and some very cool and intricate instrumental interludes. It definitely shows in the songwriting that they spend some quality time working up the material. The band has been together for nearly ten years, and with Michael's brother Leigh supplying some great bass playing and background vocals, you can hear both the hard work and their innate chemistry. When I reviewed their album back in September, I called the band, "the biggest Aussie rock export since the Young brothers paraded AC/DC out for the world to see," and I'll stick with that summation.

Surprisingly, the band is bigger in the UK and Europe that they are in their homeland. Michael had this to say about that:

"Touring in Australia is tough, because for us to drive from our hometown of Adelaide to Melbourne, it's an eight hour drive each way. We come to Europe and we can play three or four times the shows in a shorter span of time. In fact, the record is only just getting ready to be released in Australia, so we hope that we'll get busier at home next year."

A bigger and better question might be, when will America catch on to Tracer? The band is hoping for some 2013 tour dates in North America, and given that they should have another album under their belts by then, the timing might be perfect for them to have a large impact here in the States. Thrown together on a bill with another guitar driven monster like, say, Stone Axe, and you'd have an amazing rock and roll tour on your hands. In the meantime, Tracer will see great success taking over the UK and Europe.

All photographs by Benon Koebsch

Thanks to Tracer, Michael Brown, the one and only Peter Noble, and Benon Koebsch.

Tour Dates:

24 Apr   -   London - Islington O2 Academy
25 Apr   -   Bristol – The Tunnels
26 Apr   -   Manchester – Academy 3
27 Apr   -   York – The Duchess
28 Apr   -   Sheffield – The Plug
30 Apr   –   Divan Du Monde - Paris (FR w/ Headcharger)
03 May  -   L’Oasis - Le Mans (FR w/ Gojira)
04 May  -   La Nef - Angouleme (FR)
05 May  -   Le Splendid - Lille (FR w/ Gojira)
11 May   –   Maiwoche - Osnabruck (DE)
16 May   –   Little Devil - Tilburg (NL)
17 May   –   AfterDauwpop Festival - Posternenk (NL)
17 May   –   Luxor - Arnhem (NL)
19 May   –   Egopop - Egchel (NL)
01 June  -   La Luciole - Alencon (FR)
30 June  -   Rosrock - Rossem (NL)

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