My last trip to states felt like a bit of a blur. Sometimes on tour, you get confused about which venue is which and in which city. On some tours there are time when you have to think twice about what city you’re in. My last tour of the states supporting Foy Vance was like this.
1) Grimey’s, Nashville
My Nashville friends tell me that it’s legendary. It’s run by a guy called Grimey who owns a record shop above. It’s basically an old vaulted basement turned into a bar. When I played there, I got a sense of the American optimism, which maybe isn’t as prevalent as at home. Notoriously everyone is a musician in Nashville and it was evident. The place was packed and there was a respectful dead-silence for the music. Any interactions with them were encouragements, and any time they sang along it was in harmony.
2) The Bowery Ballroom, New York
While comparing the States to home, the Bowery Ballroom reminded me of Belfast. Not just because I’m from here or in a mawkish home sick way. Genuinely. There was the coolness like what you get in a bigger city where you’re exposed to a lot of entertainment. But it was combined with a sense of enthusiasm and happiness to be experiencing live music. This reminded me of what you might get in a smaller town maybe like Belfast on a good night. An unusual combination of very cool but very welcoming. An old music -hall-style building. Shepherd’s Bush meets the Belfast Empire.
3) Jammin Java, Vienna, Virginia
Located in a retail park, this venue was situated beside an industrial sized pet shop. It was by however by no means lacking in vibe. Run by enthusiastic people, with upright piano as standard this was a special night playing to people who had travelled perhaps longer distances than might do at home, to come and enjoy music.
4) Holy Mountain, Austin, Texas
Austin is a very cool city and the venue was in an old garage workshop type-space. The show had a laid-back, perhaps Southern feel and in a good way, was much more rowdy than other places I’ve been in the States. I’m looking forward to visiting Austin again this year at SXSW.
5) Unknown, Seattle, Washington
Last on my list is a venue somewhere in Seattle. I can’t actually remember it’s name. I remember a grand piano, medium sized hall, and a burger place next door. The main thing was the energy from the crowd, the enthusiasm, and unique moments with a unique audience. A venue is essentially just a room; it’s the moments that fill it that count.
RAMS’ Pocket Radio is the alias of Northern Irish performer Peter McCauley. A multi-instrumentalist, RAMS’ takes inspiration from sources as varied as Beethoven and brutalist architecture to construct smart pop songs with a sharp progressive twist. His debut album Béton – (French for concrete) – is a solid statement built on several years writing, performing and growing. Catch RAMS on tour this March.
03-08-14 New York Webster Hall (with Duke Special)
03-10-14 SXSW Northern Irish party O/S 10pm
03-11-14 SXSW UKTI Great British Breakfast, Parkside
03-12-14 SXSW British Music Embassy showcase O/S 2.50pm
03-14-14 SXSW Full Irish Breakfast, BD Rileys
03-14-14 SXSW Official Showcase, BD Rileys
03-25-14 Ruby Sessions, Doyles, Dublin
03-29-14 Strand Arts Centre [All ages], Belfast