Tour Diary – Baltimore To Hamilton

There’s been an absence of tour diaries from me recently. I apologise. This is because I recently discovered the “serial” podcast and any time spent in the van when I usually write a diary entry has instead been spent engrossed in the case of Adnan Syed. For those who don’t know, “Serial” investigates the case of a murdered teenager in a Detroit suburb 16 years ago. The crime gets pinned on the girls ex-boyfriend (Adnan) but there are holes in the case and many believe that he was wrongly accused. It’s been a brilliant way to kill a long journey. Just as I finished the last episode, we arrived in Baltimore, where it all happened. Spider – or Spidros as we call him (Real name – Stewart) had also listened to it and, as we drove into Baltimore, discovered that there were tours of all the locations discussed in the story. Had we had a day off today, we would have jumped on it but, like travelling salesmen, we’re rarely in one place for any amount of time. Finding ways to distract yourself from the endless hours of travelling or hanging around at venues on tour can be a challenge. Before each tour, Paul and myself often discuss what our plans are. These have ranged from seven minute workouts in hotel and dressing rooms (this has happened) to enrolling in an open university course (this, unsurprisingly, hasn’t). One thing I’ve been doing on this tour is to get up in the morning and go for a run. I bought myself some sexy running shorts back in Indianapolis and can now be seen jogging through parks and around hotel parking lots looking like a cross between Jack Sparrow and Forrest Gump. One thing we have collectively been doing on this tour is to start writing Album 3. Our phones are full of ideas we’ve recorded over the last few months and we’ve begun to collate and sort through them. A while back, whilst in Syracuse, we spent our day off in the venue we’d played the night before, working on new material. It was a productive day and exciting to hear new songs taking shape. I’m not going to give too much away but by the end of the day we had smiles on our faces.

We’ve played some cracking shows recently. Boston was a highlight as was Washington D.C. and Ashbury Park, New Jersey. Last nights show in Baltimore was an interesting one. Obviously we want all our shows to be packed to the rafters and when they’re not, you might imagine that it could be disheartening. Last night the turn out wasn’t great. Admittedly, it was a pretty large room so it would have taken a lot to have filled it and it’s still relatively early days for us here in the States but whilst the crowd was small in number, they more than made up for it in passion and enthusiasm. It was a great gig. I was talking to a young lady after the show. It was her forth show of the tour and she explained that she’d been having a rough time recently but coming to our shows had given her a reason to smile and something to look forward to. This was the most touching and motivating thing I’d heard. Anyone attempting to do what we do for the money would be fucking mental. It’s very hard and very expensive to try to break a place like America. It takes steely determination and a fair amount of personal sacrifice to to do it with absolutely no guarantees it will pay off but when you hear from someone that your music has made a difference to them and made their otherwise difficult lives more bearable, it makes the investment seem more worthwhile. Thank you, you know who you are.

We’re now on our way to Canada where we’ll be for a week or so before crossing the border back into the U.S. Hopefully we’ll get to stop at Niagara Falls which eluded us earlier in the tour. Matt says he’s going to attempt to go over it in a barrel. I’d be impressed not so much by him surviving the attempt but by actually managing to fit all six and a half feet of himself into a barrel.
Till next time…

– Nick

2016-09-30T11:40:13+00:00September 30th, 2016|

Tour Diary – Hamilton to Syracuse

At one point, it looked as though our set in Hamilton, Ohio was going to be rained off. As we arrived at the festival site, the sun was shining but some very ominous clouds loomed on the horizon. As our set time drew nearer, so did the clouds and loud claps of thunder announced the arrival of rain and lightning. Not ideal weather for an outdoor stage with just a token gesture of a roof. As people scrambled for cover, we devised an alternativeplan to perform some acoustic tunes in the hotel lobby next to the site. It panned out eventually however that the storm passed and the stage was mopped up sufficiently to set up and play some music.

A few tunes into the set, we had to temporarily abort as, what began as a small plume of smoke quickly became a thick grey cloud belching from somewhere behind us, completely engulfing Damon. Like Kurt Russell in Backdraft, our heroic backline tech, Spidros (no – not his real name) came charging onstage, waving his arms frantically to evacuate the stage. Turns out, it was just an over enthusiastic smoke machine that had unwittingly been covered over by a tarpaulin but thanks Spidros, nice to know you’ve got our backs!

All in all, it was a short but great set and we we’re thankful that we got to play. The festival is organised by Dave Shaw – singer of the Revivalists whom we are currently supporting. Hamilton is his home town and only in its third year, the festival has become a well attended and much loved event. It’s inspiring to see musicians being pro-active and making things happen. Nice one Dave and thanks for having us.
After saying goodbye to Hamilton, we actually got to say “Hello Cleveland”. We didn’t have a show on our first night there so, after a couple of tacos and a good strong margarita, I took myself off to the cinema with Spidros (pronounced speed-ross) comfortable in the knowledge that, in the event of a fire, I’d be in safe hands.

So after a thoroughly enjoyable show last night at the Beach Ballroom in Cleveland we’ll shortly be arriving in Syracuse to play the Westcott theatre. Look forward to seeing all you sexy Syracusians later.
Thanks, by the way, to the kind souls who helped us load out after the show last night – it’s a shit job but made a lot less shit by your help!

– Nick

2016-09-14T12:47:26+00:00September 14th, 2016|

Tour Diary – First show Buffalo

Loved that gig last night at Town Ballroom. The Revivalist boys are cool. Their live show has a lot of country swagger. They’ve got brass and pedal steel. Man. There’s seven of them on stage. Good people. It’s good to be back on tour.

Our show last night started in sound check. Everybody ran out of time before doors and we had no choice. Helped us relax though. First show. Always a bit weird. Love that venue. Played there last year with Blackberry Smoke.

Matt White wanted to go to Woodstock while we were in upstate New York but we’re going the other way to Detroit. He wanted to see Levon’s studio space there. HERE is a great link of The Band rehearsing King Harvest:

It’s one of my favourite pieces of footage ever, their whole detached-cool aesthetic one of the main influences on the Temp’ when we were getting together. Their greatest legacy is attitude. It’s a timeless thing.

Lot of Bob Dylan on this run. He breezed in late one night in Philadelphia last time we were over few months back. It was around 2am and we’d all just eaten out first Philly cheese steaks and we were tired at which point ‘Boots if Spanish Leather’ breaks the silence sending us to that twilight place where you know everything’s going to be alright.

Shout out to Detroit… We’re heading your way now. Can’t wait

Phil xx

Tour Blog

2016-09-09T11:53:07+00:00September 9th, 2016|

We’re heading back on tour

As we make our way to the airport for our upcoming North American tour with good friends The Revivalists and The Sheepdogs, we thought we might reflect on this session we played at the City Winery in New York last time out – full session here: Can’t wait to be back in USA and Canada and to see you all.

All dates and tickets HERE.

2016-09-06T17:38:24+00:00September 6th, 2016|

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