Tour Diary: Foy Vance (Part 1)

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Tour Diary: Foy Vance (Part 1)

Northern Irish singer/songwriter Foy Vance is on tour in the U.S. this month, playing shows with both Michael Kiwanuka and David Gray. This is his journal.

What to say about the week so far? So much has happened, it’s hard to know where to start. Flights, night drives, new faces, old friends, new places, making amends, five guys, rope swings, songs under a subway bridge, songs in a kids playhouse, songs in a forest and generally a lot of songs, full stop! I’ve enjoyed every gig on the tour with Michael Kiwanuka, but I think my favorite gig so far was in a forest singing to eight kids all under 10. I met my friend’s triplet girls at a Bruce Springsteen concert (we’ll come back to that in a second) and I promised them their own private gig, and a promise is a promise, right?! It was great. I was half-tempted to just set up camp in the woods and have people travel to me for the gigs from now on. Although I then realized that such a gig would make for one very empty forest!

One of the girls made me a card with a drawing of me on it, and a note that simply read: “This is what you look like. You don’t have any hair but you have a moustache. From Madi” She’s clearly a woman of few—articulate—words!

So the Boss! It’s clear to me now, why he’s called the boss…because he is the Boss! Watching him deliver his show made me feel like the assistant to the assistant janitor. I laughed, I danced and I cried. He was outrageously good…disgustingly good actually. I’m pretty sure it should be a federal offence to be that good. I had never seen him live before. Neither had I been to a stadium concert before. I also popped my tailgating cherry that day. What a great idea. The air was filled with barbeque smoke for as far as the eye could see. I had a walk about just to soak it all up. Everyone I saw was in such fine tune that I reckon I could have just rocked up at any one of their gatherings and joined in on the fun. Having said that, there were a couple of folks who I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have seen eye to eye with. Still the whole event felt familial and light-hearted—that is until Bruce came out and gave all our hearts a good tugging about.

So the first leg of the Kiwanuka tour is over for me until I join them again on the West Coast. Between times I’m on tour with David Gray. We did our first gig last night in Delaware in the Grand Theatre. A beautiful place filled with bubbly people, as far as I could tell. It was good to see David live; I’d never seen him before. With people like David Grey, it’s easy to forget quite how many songs he’s written that are etched in your memories! My particular favorite is “This Year’s Love,” It’s such a simple and evocative song!

Turns out I know the guitar player in David’s band from a few years back. He’s one of the McCalls who seemingly, are all effortlessly talented and he’s no exception. I was pleasantly surprised to see him. We got another surprise last night, but I’m afraid it wasn’t quite so pleasant.

I’m not a fussy guy…I’m genuinely not. Well, at least not when it comes to bedding down for the night. I’d happily sleep rough with nothing but the clothes I’m wearing as long as the moment’s right. Last night I was tempted to sleep rough irrespective of how right the moment was (and for the record, it wasn’t!). When you arrive at a motel that is manned by an old, loose-tongued and cantankerous security guard WITH A GUN! …WITH AHHH GUN! … know the moment is most assuredly not right. I could deal with that in the end, as in fact it turned out he wasn’t quite the wildcard that he first appeared. I suppose he was just cranky and bored.

Anyway, we walked into our room, or rather we attempted to walk into our room but tripped over the funk that lay heavy on the carpet. It smelled like someone had been in there boiling onions in their dirty socks and the hotel manager tried to cover it up by painting the walls with nail varnish. The beds were covered in cigarette burns, the room was freezing as the warm-air blower was broke, some of the lights didn’t work and the whole place felt damp. However, possibly the most startling thing about this room was that someone had taken the time to leave a comments card. Can you believe it? A comments card! There is more-than-likely some old girl cleaning those rooms in her track suit with a big streak of yellow hair from a cigarette that she only touches when removing it to replace it with another one while she plods around throwing comments cards in the bin and half washing the room with a damp dish cloth that’s never been washed itself!

Livin’ the dream eh!

Still, it made me appreciate my shower, the warm sun and a cold soda this morning!

Onwards and upwards, eh brothers and sisters: onwards and upwards.