I’m writing from a train to Leeds where I’ll spend a few days unwinding, and thinking of things other than the musical structures I’ve been touring around for the last six weeks. Myself, Andy and George had an excellent adventure in the USA (both coasts), Canada, back over to the European mainland for some German shows and one in glorious Bratislava, and then concluded our journey with a brilliant and encouraging two week stretch of the UK (and one Irish festival show in Dublin). Tacked onto the end were two very different but no less worthwhile shows: one in the Netherlands and one in Belgium, where we finished our six weeks with the sun in our eyes (literally) and a surprisingly energised spring in our step. This was one of the longest and most varied solid blocks of touring I’ve ever been involved in and it was an enriching and beautiful experience. It was not without its lows for all three of us, but even those days and moments afforded us some emotional perspective from which to learn, and allowed us to progress as people and as a touring party.
Contrasts between countries and audiences were wild and dramatic, but it kept the whole thing from sinking into stagnation. For the USA and Canada, this was our first proper tour and one of the things that our small but dedicated audiences kept asking after the show was why there weren’t more people in attendance. Well, these things take time. Audiences don’t grow overnight, at least not for us. We continue a slow-burn into recognition or popularity through hard work, even if that means playing to three or four people in a room much larger than that (such as San Diego and Philadelphia – the bookends of the tour, respectively). North America, we look forward to coming back to your rich and varied lands, and growing a little more with each appearance.
As for the UK shows, it was inspiring to be able to play to some of the most energetic and engaged audiences I’ve ever been in front of. Particular highlights were Norwich, Glasgow, London… ahh, all of them really. The stark contrast between two consecutively sold out shows – London and Ramsgate – showed that whether you’re playing in front of 750 or 120 people, the experiences can be just as exciting even if for completely different reasons. Indeed, Ramsgate Music Hall is one of the finest – if not the finest? – small rooms in the country, and it was our pleasure to end the UK leg there.
Europe, we’re not quite done with you yet. We have various festival shows booked over the summer, and while our coverage of muddy fields and hedonistic crowds is more selective than the previous two years, we’re no less excited to bring our noise to your tents. Excuse my flitting between the first person singular and plural form but as many of you will by now be aware, though it’s only me performing on stage, none of these shows would be possible without Andy and George’s continued presence, perseverance and friendship. Thanks guys.
Special thanks also to Dan Tombs and Marcus Williams for their help with the visual experience at select dates, Hannah Peel for supporting us and being brilliant company and an exceptional talent on the UK tour, and most of the promoters and venues for being accommodating and willing to work hard to attract people to their rooms for our shows. To our audiences and our regional support acts, a huge thank you for making our days and nights. We hope to see you again soon.
P.S. Hope you enjoy the staggeringly unflattering photo, post-Gent show, taken in our hotel lobby, after too many very strong Belgian beers, during the eating of a huge bag of frites
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