Autumn is a restless season. This time last year, I packed up an apartment’s worth of cocktail frocks, five-inch heels and tattered back issues of the New Yorker, and prepared to uproot myself from east London. After seven years as a fashion magazine managing editor, I was about to begin a very different life, as a manager – strategist, financial planner, event organiser, driver, PA, mother figure – for young bands.
Today I set off on tour with a magnificently talented group from New York, The Loom. Like every other band facing a music industry that appears to be teetering on the brink of financial collapse, we budget carefully and travel modestly.
A rented 15-passenger van sounds spacious, but will in fact be packed to the gills with seven people and their instruments, luggage, pillows and blankets (for the inevitable floors we will encounter, intimately, post-show).
Some days we will drive for nine or ten hours straight, stopping only where we can find food, petrol and loos in one fell swoop. We will become obsessed with rest stops and toilet humour. At some point, we will pass Maryland House on the I-95, beloved by touring musicians for its classy red-brick façade with sparkling white trim (and its equally sparkling bathrooms), and in our sleep-deprived delusion, we will gaze at it as though it is a beacon of hope and civilisation and not just another place to buy giant bags of crisps and gallons of Fanta.
But we will also experience some of the most inspiring behaviour human beings can muster. The indie-music universe runs on strong coffee, Red Breast and sheer force of will, but certainly not vast amounts of cash, so that extreme generosity is the rule rather than the exception.
We will be offered beers and home-cooked meals and spare rooms by kind strangers, whose passion for music and compulsion to support it is as great as the band’s compulsion to create it. We will come home with stacks of new records from fellow musicians and fans, and some of them will eventually become our most cherished. We will forget more names than we remember.
And we hope to meet you. Perhaps at one of these shows? We’ll be posting regularly from the tour diary on LLG, and our dates are below. If not, then someday, somewhere, soon.
5 November: Velvet Lounge, Washington DC
6 November: Troika Festival, Durham, NC
7 November: Kings Barcade, Raleigh, NC
8 November: The Camel, Richmond, VA
9 November: The Garage, Charlottesville, VA
10 November: The Bazaar, Roanoke, VA
11 November: The Raconteur, Metuchen, NJ
12 November: Danger Danger, Philadelphia, PA
13 November: Bowery Ballroom, NY
Photography by Sarahana Shrethsa