Chris greets all the crew at the top of the soundcheck in West Palm Beach with a schoolmasterly, “Welcome back everyone, hope you all had a nice summer holidays”.
A six week tour break has been a real treat indeed. Everyone is looking rested, relaxed and rejuvenated. We’ve also flown west, which means that although there is a little jetlag to contend with, we’ve gained five hours. After the timezone table-tennis that this year began with, it’s a pleasant boost. Not unlike pulling on an old pair of jeans and finding some cash in the pocket.
Inevitably, after a long break, everyone feels a wee bit rusty. The soundcheck is a long-ish affair as everyone slips slowly back into the well worn groove. It’s not like we’re doing anything wildly different, but a long break can mean it takes a little while to feel comfortable in your environment again. The afternoon then, is spent spraying our scent about the place and marking territory.
This tour-leg is almost all “shed” venues. These seem unique to the States. They also seem to represent the American summertime like little else. The stage and the first portion of seating is under cover, but there is a huge “lawn” section up at the back where folks sit on the grass having a drink and a damn good time. Many people start early, “tailgating” in the car park. This involves hanging out in the parking lot before the gates open with music blaring from the car stereo to get the party started. I didn’t manage to venture out into there for a look, but I wonder how many had already downloaded the live album and were giving that a blast?
The live album has been a great success, it seems – not without its teething troubles, but then, this is something that is pretty much brand new territory. It’s truly an exciting time to be involved in music – lots of different artists are starting to try new things and nobody knows what’s going to happen next. I read a comment from Mike Skinner of The Streets the other day on Twitter saying that we were living in the midst of a revolution in popular culture equal to the sixties. What do you reckon?
Ah yes, Twitter. It’s just about the most perfect way to combine iPhone ownership and spare time that exists. As many of you have doubtless noticed, Mr. Berryman has dived in with typical unbridled enthusiasm. Being another new phenomena, we’re still finding the best approach. Some, it would seem, can’t get enough. Some want it minimal and all business. I think it’s great. The real time aspect is astonishing. The fact that we can open up a little window into our world so easily and instantly is really exciting.
Right then, it’s gig two and Howling Bells have just finished. Pete Yorn’s crew are giving it the “one two” and I should really be buzzing about making ready. It’s nice to be back folks and I have a feeling that this is going to be another extremely pleasant few weeks.