Thursday, 14 August 2008


The food and drink at The Bear's Place in Bloomington was one of the best meals I'd ever eaten. I had a giant quesadilla that lasted the whole evening and then breakfast from a doggy bag the next day as well!

There was a label summit in town that evening, so we met and played to the owners of Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar, Asthmatic Kitty among others.

The cats at Ben's house were amazing!

Thank you:
Daniel, Eden, Cyrus, Ben


After spending a lot of the journey to Chicago arguing, we were happily surprised to see that the Empty Bottle lived up to the huge reputation that preceded it. The city of Chicago was sadly far too big and spread out for us to see in our short time there (as is generally the nature of tour), and so we had to make do with just the venue and its immediate surroundings to satisfy our tourist needs.

The show was a lot of fun; we really enjoyed hanging out with Oceans, and a visitor from Manchester was our only British-English speaking guest until our friend Luke from home (visiting his friends HORSE The Band) arrived at the show as well.

Trevor, from our former show-buddies, Pelican was doing the lights at this show; it was a very pleasant surprise to catch up with him!

Thank you:
Matt, all of Oceans, Jeanine, Trevor, Luke, Nora.

Dayton, Ohio

We drove around the same block in Dayton about 20 times trying to find the venue. Mathilda the GPS kept stopping us by a disused diner with a silver deco design. Turns out the Pearl was that disused diner. Despite this, however, the show was a lot of fun. We really enjoyed the other bands, and they were great fun to hang out with.

Even though Dayton is a strangely ghostly town, 5th St. Deli and Gem City Records were both awesome finds. I spent about a week's worth of tour allowance in the latter, and bought the biggest sandwich I'd ever seen at the former.

Thank you:
Chris, Kyle, Yiye, all of Grizzzzy Bear, John and the guy who flew from Atlanta (I've forgotten your name, sorry!)

Saturday, 2 August 2008


I'm currently writing en route. I'm supposed to be working on my MA thesis whilst on this tour, which is pretty stressful, but so far it's been far more fun to update this blog instead of writing essays.

Jason - our tour manager - is steely eyed, dodging giant trucks and paying close attention to Mathilda the GPS' directions. Oli (the stand-in violin player) and Olly are singing along to Cursive; Jack is reading a "modern Australian classic"; Mike (guitar tech) is staring blankly at nothing is particular; Brendan is complaining about his blocked-up nose and I am trying to figure out how we're gonna get from Mississippi to South Carolina in one day, which we'll have to do later on in the tour.


Another late arrival, again because of the luggage on the roof rack. This should be the last time this happens, though. We spent lots of money on freight-quality ratchets to firmly brace everything to the top of the van and hopefully not fling it around the roof on every corner.

The venue was beautiful, a fourth-floor art gallery with multiple rooms and high ceilings, and (thankfully) an elevator.

We played with Soporus, a Saxon Shore side-project led by our friend Matt Stone. That band is awesome; really sleepy, gentle drones with backing visuals. Matt is helping out a lot with this tour and we're so grateful for everything he's done.

The show was quite fun, the vocal harmonies carried really nicely and people were really enthusiastic about it. We spoke to a few guys afterwards over the merch table and they were great; welcoming and friendly and I'm glad we were able to play for them.

We stayed at Matt Stone's parents place after the show, which was a hand-built (!) house at the top of Mt. Gretna and - despite being terrorised by Morgan the dog at 5am - was beautiful.

Thank you:
Matt, Scott, Tim, Megan, Denison, Sarah, Mr and Mrs Stone.


About 20 minutes into the drive to Williamsport almost all of our luggage nearly fell from the roof rack of the van, so we had to pull over by the side of the interstate alongside two absolutely-obliterated deer carcasses. The speed and size and weight of the freight trucks driving by evidently causes some serious disfigurement of the unfortunate wildlife that crosses their paths.

We arrived at the show late, because of the luggage disaster, and were all crammed into the van with suitcases on top of us, but the venue was amazing - a converted factory with a giant stage area. We missed the opening band, Black Marble, but its members were all lovely folk and we enjoyed hanging out with them.

After the show we went to an awesome bar called the Bullfrog, where all the beer is brewed in house and has amazing titles. Apparently one of them used Kentish hops, but we didn't recognise the taste, and then we had a big argument about the Happy Mondays. That I won. Take that, Jack.

Thank you:
Rich, Alex, Lee, Leena (happy birthday!), Colin and The Bullfrog

Philadelphia II

We played at the M-Room in Philadelphia - our first show in the United States of America! We were warned about the difficulty of touring in the states before we left, and having spent the last few tours and shows being catered and hoteled, it's nice and quite satisfying to get back to the "old style" of sleeping on floors and buying lunch at service stations. Hard work, but fun nonetheless.

Our good friend Scott - who runs Burnt Toast Vinyl - lives pretty much in Philly, so was looking after us well. We drank fine American beers and ate fine American cheesesteaks.

Thank you to:
Scott (times a million), Matt, Joe and everyone at Village Green, The Blue Dog (and Christa, Stevie and Beth).