Andy “Falco” Falkous, singer/guitarist of Future of the Left, is blogging about his band’s tour exploits for Prefix. Here is his first entry.
Our first mistake, of course, was thinking that the whole thing was about us. As Hurricane Sandy twisted and twatted it’s way up the Atlantic, newsworthiness (both in the US and UK) only increasing as it became clear that American lives and livelihoods were threatened, we watched the lovingly created graphics which predicted it’s future trail,barrelling across the East Coast and beyond.
Three of us, Julia, Jimmy and I, sat ungracefully safe in the relatively clement city of Cardiff, South Wales, so tied to the news of the encroaching storms that it began to invade our consciousness almost as much as those legitimately nervous souls who live and lived within it’s path. Our flight to Newark, New Jersey, would have landed at preciselythe same moment as Sandy’s prickish eye was expected to hit so, as expected, we were cancelled and bumped to a later flight. Still, that was no real thing. That night I went out on my usual 11.5 mile canter around Cardiff and was genuinely astounded to find myself not running through the dramatically rendered disaster zone I’d been watching on my television for the last 24 hours or so. Truly, I looked over my shoulder in abject panic on a couple of occasions, half expecting to see a wall of water heading towards Cardiff City Centre even as the silence followed me home.(*1) A holidaying Jack and his wife sat in a dramatically over-budget NYC hotel supplied with a couple of packets of Cheetos and the entertainment provided by the series of stupid trumpet noises that he can make with his big fat lips. Calmly, stoically, he sent out the longest email he’d ever written and waited for the night to pass.
Meanwhile, back in the land of constant light rain and melancholy(*2) three people (and a cat, albeit one who hadn’t packed her suitcase yet) watched the devastation unfold via mobile internet updates and decided that this tour, with Baltimore already cancelled and Boston, although sold out and going ahead, missed, was dead, expired – an ex-tour. I started searching for a new job to replace the one I’d just given up. Jimmy dyed his hair bright yellow (a standard move for our guitarist in times of great stress(*3)) whilst Julia stayed on hold with Virgin Atlantic, cowed at the financial reality of missed shows but resolutely and characteristically optimistic despite the relative tyranny of facts.
By Thursday, after much worrying for friends (and the East Coast in general) and a sequence of abortively tearful goodbyes with the cat (*4) we were on a plane headed to Washington DC and, to my huge relief, my biggest concerns were some broken headphones (damn you, Sony) and trying to work out whether or not ‘Game of Thrones’ has a compelling enough story to justify the half-assed titty waving and harrumphing in candlelit banqueting halls(*5). I ate a giant, stinking sandwich (note- not airline’s own) and talked with a lady from East London who was heading to an internship in the library of Congress. So far, so flight.
Our real concerns lay on the ground. How would we get from DC to the show in Philadelphia that night (which was kicking off three hours after landing) without the help of our van or gear (which lay, bestormed, in an inaccessible New Jersey residence) or our Tour Manager, Todd, himself on a delayed flight up from Florida? The answer, as it usually never is, is that the internet, that foul cacophony of porn and gratuitous sniping, sorted it out. Yes, THAT internet. Within about ten minutes of throwing a plea onto Twitter a guy called Mike from the DC suburbs had offered to pick us up from Dulles airport and our friend Matt had cancelled his Amtrak(*6) from Boston and drove through Brooklyn to spirit Jack and Sabrina south-west towards Pennsylvania. Throw in some grotesquely expensive hire equipment (and do enjoy dining out on that, guys) and we might just have that rarest of future of the lefhappenings – a show.
Four and half hours later and we’re stood on stage, shouting at strangers. It feels good. The headline band, Andrew Jackson Jihad, seem like lovely eggs, the venue, Union Transfer, is a (incredibly accommodating) fucking peach and the crowd a pleasing mix of the young and the not-so. It seems loud, which is sometimes the point, and the reaction is all what could want or expect given the lack of sleep and our essential unpreparedness. It’s odd to think that without Twitter or Facebook (and the second in particular is one of my least favourite things which is a thing) that the show, literally, would not have gone on and come stage-time we would have been sat somewhere near a baggage claim 163 miles away watching cabs we couldn’t afford pulling away from an airport we never wanted to visit in the first place.
Also, Amstel Light is only 45 percent as bad as the name suggests.
p.s. On the drive between DC and Philly we found out that we were playing All Tomorrows Parties, the greatest festival in the world. Rarely has lying on a van floor felt so pleasurable.
p.p.s. Thanks to all who made this madness happen. Without you we are something – but not that something.
(*1) Along with an urban fox I saw scouting me around the junction of
Woodville and Crwys Roads.
(*3) Or indeed when simply awake.
(*4) Truly, this departure had more false endings than ‘The Return of
(*5) At this stage I’m not sure it does.
(*6) It turns out, boringly, that this is just a train. I was hoping for
a giant robot.