Nathan Gray by Nicole Dixon
Nathan Gray by Nicole Dixon

Nathan Gray discusses touring, post-COVID era, upcoming European tour with The Iron Roses

4 mins read

Nathan Gray (of BoySetsFire) and The Iron Roses are doing a full EU/UK tour this fall with CLOWNS (Fat Wreck) and Joe McMahon (Smoke Or Fire), and to celebrate, we sat down with Nathan to discuss the post-COVID times, his take on touring Europe, and more! See the full interview below.

The 15-date tour begins on 28th November in Austria and finishes up on 13th December in Manchester. This tour marks the first time both Gray and McMahon have toured Europe since the Covid-19 pandemic, and is also Gray’s first time touring with the full Iron Roses line-up.

Nathan Gray and The Iron Roses released their last full-length album, Rebel Songs, in 2021 via End Hits. Smoke or Fire recently released a collection of their rare and out-of-print material with Beauty Fades, featuring some of the best songs the band has ever written that Joe McMahon often still plays in his live sets.

Nathan Gray and The Iron Roses released their last full-length album, Rebel Songs, in 2021 via End Hits and Iodine Recordings. Smoke or Fire recently released a collection of their rare and out-of-print material with Beauty Fades, featuring some of the best songs the band has ever written that Joe McMahon often still plays in his live sets.

Full Nathan Gray and The Iron Roses tour dates with Clowns and Joe McMahon below:

28.11.22 – Graz, Austria / PPC
29.11.22 – Linz, Austria / Posthof
30.11.22 – Munchen, Germany / Backstage
1.12.22 – Zurich, Switzerland / Exil
2.12.22 – Stuttgart, German / Wizemann Club
3.12.22 – Hannover, Germany / Musikzentrum
4.12.22 – Leipzig, Germany / Conne Island
5.12.22 – Nurnberg, Germany / Hirsch
6.12.22 – Hamburg, Germany / Knust
7.12.22 – Berlin, Germany / Columbia Theater
8.12.22 – Kolm, Germany / Essigfabrik
9.12.22 – Sittard, Netherlands / Volt
11.12.22 – London, UK / Underworld
12.12.22 – Bristol, UK / The Exchange
13.12.22 – Manchester, UK / Satan’s Hollow

Thoughts on the post-COVID era and live shows in particular

Our first tour after lockdown was as direct support for Frank Turner in October of 2021 across a good portion of the U.S.. It was an incredible feeling, but so wildly different from tours prior; we self-tested every few days, stayed masked when not playing, and greeted rooms of masked people. You would think that some of the intimacy of live music would have been lost in that, but everyone was so utterly elated to be experiencing live music again, nothing else mattered. We were all just on top of the world to be doing what we loved again. By now, we are largely back in a pre-pandemic place as far as shows go, but understand that not everyone is ready to be in rooms full of strangers. We get that, and can’t wait to see those folks, whenever they are ready too.

European shows – memories from pre-COVID shows in Europe

The last time I toured Europe, Working Title came out just after I got home, and just weeks later (during a U.S. tour, in fact) the pandemic hit and the world went still. But that last Euro tour was really special, and was an absolutely huge turning point in my career where I FINALLY got comfortable in myself enough to understand that I was valid as a solo artist, and a human.

It was at a monumental emotional crossroad for me, and was truly a catalyst for some deeply necessary healing. I cried many nights on stage, just working through these feelings of awe that people were receiving me as a person, and not that one guy from that one band.

How does it compare to the energy at live shows in the US and other places?

Throughout my musical career, Europe has definitely been the place where I have had the biggest family of fans. The people there have always welcomed me with open arms, and I would be nowhere without them. They appreciate live music in a way that is deeply passionate, and it makes every event feel like magic. One of the things I love most about The Iron Roses is that we give the same energy to a room of 20 people as we do a room of a thousand, and in the U.S, we as a band are in our infancy and working to build our name and our brand. It’s been a wonderful re-birth to get on the road and earn our place.

Things to miss about Europe

The thing I missed most was the people. There are many friends and familiar faces I am excited to see again after so long – I haven’t gone without a visit to Europe this long in my entire career, and I’m looking forward to being back in that energy. I am also VERY excited to finally introduce the rest of The Iron Roses to my Euro fans in person. It will be our first tour there together, and I’m excited to experience everything as new again from their eyes.

The upcoming European run

I truly can’t wait to bring the experience of Iron Roses shows to Europe. We have organically developed such a unique show that is less of a concert and more of a shared celebration of healing. Between high energy dancing and joyful reclamation, there are often nights where there are intense moments of co-regulation where we are reaching out into our audience to deliver a hug or validation when we can see that they are deeply moved. We have fun, but we also offer people a place to be seen, heard and validated. It makes for a special evening, and we would have it no other way.

Nathan Gray tour

We are really also truly excited to be hitting the road with Clowns, and (our label mate) Joe McMahon of Smoke or Fire – these events are going to be such a journey for everyone involved.

Cities to be most excited about on this itinerary

Cologne, Munich, Stuttgart, Berlin!

Favorite European artists and bands

Shoreline and Lobsterbomb.

Thoughts on the war in Ukraine

I can find no reason in my heart to take the lives of innocent human beings. War is the game of egotistical, heartless, cruel narcissists, and my heart breaks for the people of Ukraine.

Catch The Iron Roses live in the US at their upcoming Eastern US tour in October.

Check out our recent FUGAZI special with Nathan – GO HERE.

Nathan Gray tour

Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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