Brightlingsea's very own blues rockers, When Rivers Meet, had a touch of the star treatment as they left town in style in a huge tour bus on the first leg of their UK headline tour.
Grace and Aaron Bond left Brightlingsea in style for the first gig on the 17-date Flying Free tour, a sold-out performance in Sheffield. The tour will see the award-winning band on the road until the end of May, visiting venues across the country – from Scotland to the south coast. The fourth gig, on April 29, will be in front of a home crowd in Colchester Arts Centre and is also sold out.
On the tour bus - Aaron and Grace
As their gear was packed in to the 12-bed, 15m-long bus – which has previously been used on tours for stars including Beyoncé and Jay-Z – the excited couple said "it didn't feel real" to be finally setting off. The tour, which took a year to plan, was jeopardised when Grace and Aaron both caught Covid in March, but fortunately both are now fully recovered. After playing several summer festivals, the band will head to America in August before returning to the UK for another round of gigs starting in October.
Accompanying them on the bus as it set off from Brightlingsea were the band's tour manager Alix Sheppard – well known in Brightlingsea as one of the founders of WinterFest – drummer and keyboard player James Fox and guitar tech Paul Lambert. Bassist Roger Innis boarded the bus en-route to Sheffield.
Throughout lockdown, the couple built their audience with regular livestreams and in November 2020 their first album, We Fly Free, was released to critical acclaim. In 2021 they were the first band to win four UK blues awards in the same year and were voted Best New Band by Planet Rock listeners. Their second album, Saving Grace was released last November and made the top ten of the Jazz and Blues, Official and Independent albums charts.
Ready to tour, l-r: Paul Lambert, Grace Bond, Alix Sheppard, Aaron Bond & James Fox
You can see and hear the band in action on their website.