It seemed like many of you enjoyed our HateSong feature with Future Of The Left's Andrew Falkous, so we thought you might enjoy his exclusive U.S. tour diary as well—its sentiment is actually kind of perfect for Thanksgiving. Only available here! (For now.) The band is just finishing up a U.S. tour, with dates remaining in Dallas (tonight, Nov. 21), St. Louis (Nov. 23), Buffalo (Nov. 25), Hoboken (Nov. 26), and Brooklyn (Nov. 27). We've got a pair of tickets to the Brooklyn and Hoboken shows, so just send an e-mail here with "Brooklyn" or "Hoboken" or "either" in the body. And now, the tour diary.
Friends. Romans. Countrymen. Let's have a look at those - in order.
Friends, firstly. They may come (sometimes literally, which will probably cause problems later) and go, they often dance, die and disappear, buffer, weaken, celebrate and slink like snakes from the merest hint of battle but they are always (until they are not) friends, support structures and cells, anecdotal evidence of our existence and ability to socialise through the darkness of our times.
I've got a few, by my tally, and lost more than that. Standard. Line 'em up before birthdays and bolster your self worth with a nice goddamn uncomplicated gathering. Perfect. I guess … well, we'll come back to this. Uh-huh.
Romans. Well, I've been to Rome (if that's what you meant) and a rum fucking do it was (the show, that is). A painfully quiet sound-system with no bass frequencies and a stage so high it would have been suitable for altitude training intensified the feelings of acute disappointment we had felt upon the realisation that we had been provided with a full case of Peroni without any adequate means of refrigeration. Also the city itself appeared to be entirely under construction, which is a shame as I’ve been allergic to most forms of scaffolding since childhood. (*1)
Now, Countrymen. As an Englishman living in Wales for the past eighty-five thousand years (*2) I've become largely disconnected from any notions of patriotism beyond watching our cricket team fuck up in warm countries or on the rare occasions when I've actually got time to sit down and watch the stupid sport. International football? No thanks.
Watching England play football is like watching an arthritic elephant being sexually assaulted by a troop of balletic dormice. Flags? Pah. I need some new jeans, Bubs, not this unflattering collision of primary colours and unpleasant, sometimes outright racist, implications.
Besides, a man needs pockets. I mean, where do you put the demo cds if you don't have pockets? Tape them to your fucking forehead?(*3).
But, I digress or rather, I ungress, because Romans, although lovely and adorned with a fine, colourful past (particularly to military history hobbyists such as this eternal eight year-old), are largely irrelevant to this barely-wrought tale and Countrymen, as essential as they are to the fabric of our day-to-day lives and sporting disasters are more ballast of circumstance than choice. Friends though, those unmitigated fucks, are accepted by degrees slow-quick, quickered and quickerest into the slops and glories of our lives on a largely consensual basis, only pausing their insidious integrations by acts of growing up, having children and showing the temerity to move cities, die prematurely or by beginning other friendships without as much as a by-your-leave, the DICKS.
The exceptions to this rule, I suppose, would be the relationships we establish are by work, of which touring is a particularly enjoyable though intensely exhausting example. mclusky(*4) never really toured with anybody with the exception of Oceansize and yourcodenameis:milo who were all thoroughly lovely chaps (*5) and in some cases became firm friends, resplendent in their natural habitats and available for telephone conversations and meets in far-flung cities, some of which have running water and toilet facilities. Future of the Left (*6) have cut a slightly more complex path (as in - I can't possibly remember all the bands we've toured with) but again - these people, these
(deservedly) much feted and (also deservedly) much derided musicians are mostly good sorts who, the occasional sexual indulgence and fondness for recreational drugs (and TALKING about recreational drugs) aside are exactly the kind of people you'd want to be trapped with in a sequence of dressing rooms and parking lots and load-in bays and Swiss squats and roadsides next to crashed vans and hotels and Canada.
We just had a similar experience, traipsing with furious discharge through most of the continental USA with Andrew Jackson Jihad and their friend (and now ours), Jeff Rosenstock beginning in the crash and fuckup of Hurricane Sandy and ending, just a few hours ago, in the relatively salubrious climate of Phoenix, Arizona, a place where longer term fans and/or readers may be aware that we encountered a personal tragedy some eight years ago when the trailer was removed from our van and vanished into an ether of debt and silent recrimination. Our arrival in Philly, as previously documented, was fraught and facilitated almost entirely by the (no sarcasm alert) wonders of the internet and from that time on, great shows aside, the usual tour problems mounted - broken down vans, fucked throats. minds and instruments, hearts and hyper-literate livers all adding to the happily tossed woe. Great venues, Neumos in Seattle, Slims in San Francisco and The Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix amongst others came and went as did their less complete but no less enthusiastic cousins(*7).
Y'know, touring. You've heard about it, I suppose. Driving, soundchecking, eating food, drinking, smoking (not me), shows, new people, old people. EXCITEMENT. PROBLEMS. THE TRIUMPH OF THE HUMAN COCK/CLITORIS/SPIRIT. The usual.
I'll get to the point now, thankfully, for time is short and my beautiful wife-to-be wishes to catch up on The Wire (*8). Music works for me, mostly, when you can watch a band play and their whole personalities, as opposed to solely the parts of their characters they would seek to advertise, are thrown unfiltered into the room and the air and onto and through the heads, faces, ears and hearts of the crowd, if the amount of people present at the time deserves that name.
For better or worse, I think (and pray) that we have that (for we have little else) and in the opinion of this witless scribe, our tour mates, whether every song works for you or not, bring the full force of whatever-the-fuck-it-is-that-they-are to the stage in the form of their fun, their love, their frailties and yes, in Sean Bonnette's case, their 'creep' to the act of standing there and playing a bunch of songs about growing up and darkness and (in Jeff's case) who-fucking-knows-what-you-crazy-spitting-maniac. It genuinely has been a pleasure, doubtless for us viewed through the prism of how open-minded to our shit most of AJJ's fanbase was, but a pleasure nonetheless.
Right, that's enough positivity for the day. Back to The Wire and arguing with people on the internet. Heaven, in other words.
ps. by the way, I was just joking about Canada. I like Canada just fine.
(*1) I'm being VERY flippant. Rome is magnificent but hell, there is A LOT of scaffolding.
(*2) guess author's own.
(*3) I'm joking, kids - I love receiving those demo cds. Just don't be too needy, eh?
(*4) still all small case when you can help it, chaps.
(*5) oh, I do recall a short British tour with a band called Reuben who again were nice humans and, er, Jarcrew. Oh yes. Them, the amazing scamps.
(*6) and I'm yet to decide on a definitive case for this band name, people.
(*7) with a couple of exceptions that I'll keep on the DL for the moment for the sake of my narrative flow, amongst other things.
(*8) she's just onto Season 2 so no spoilers, please.