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Rally Cry Tour Update

Photo: Rob Loud/Bob Delight

Greetings from the road. The Rally Cry tour has been underway for about six weeks now, winding through Canada and the US. The tour has been long on great times and short on bad ones. From go-karting in Cincy, playing on a train in Calgary, watching the Rangers at Madison Square Garden in New York, or not having to wear a winter jacket in Atlanta, we’ve had lots of great experiences in addition to playing every night.

It’s never always sunshine and lollipops – our bus lost heat traveling in between Calgary and Saskatoon. Overnight. In February. When it was -40. Tim almost turned into popsicle. Luckily we got the big guy dethawed by showtime. Thanks to our all-star crew in keeping the show running smoothly despite temperatures so cold they aren’t good for anyone except long underwear salespeople.

This tour has been a special one for us. We’ve had a great time experimenting with new production, stage bits and musical arrangements. We get a lot of joy out of building a memorable live show and it’s a lot of fun to see these ideas come to life in front of an audience. Thanks to everyone who’s come out to a show so far.

This week we head back to the Midwest USA – Chicago and Detroit, before making a pit stop in London, Ontario for the Junos. We’ll be recording a fresh session with our friends at Audio Tree in Chicago, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for that as well.

Next on the docket are some fun summer announcements and the western US leg of the Rally Cry tour. If you live in California, Arizona, Colorado and Portland, we’re coming for ya soon. If you have a song request hit us up on the Rally Cry hotline.

 

Nick

2018 Favorite Things: Nick

Cred: Jess Baumung

It’s that special time of year. As we gather round whatever it is we prefer to gather round, one topic that often gets discussed is favorite things from the year that was. So in that same tradition, and in case you’re looking for something to watch/listen to/read or think about during the holidays, we wanted to share with you some of our personal favorite things from 2018.

Thank you for helping make 2018 such a wonderful year for us as a band. We’re wishing you all the best for the holidays and can’t wait to see you in 2019.

Here’s some of Nick’s 2018 Favorite Things:

Song – Mr. Tillman – Father John Misty

The song itself is an airy folk-pop ballad and the lyrics are a funny and ironic story of a musician’s erratic behaviour at a hotel. Given how long we’ve been making rock and folk music, it feels fresh to me when musicians don’t take themselves or their genres overly seriously. But unlike a lot of people with funny/clever lyrics, I think Father John Misty does a great job of doing this while also being able to say something interesting at the same time – whether its about society at large (like on Pure Comedy) or about himself on Mr. Tillman.

Book – House on Ninth Street – Larry Towell

This isn’t a new book, but with the migration crisis that’s happening at the US/Mexican border I thought it would be relevant to include a book that could provide background on some of the Central American political issues that often don’t get discussed as widely as they should. House on Ninth Street is a book by Canadian photojournalist Larry Towell that tells the story of missing persons Guatemala during the 1980s and the government’s role in the events.

Albums of the Year

There were so many albums I enjoyed this year it was too hard to pick just one. But I am gonna say rap won the year. Some of my favourites:

Vince Staples – FM!
Kid Cudi and Kanye – Kids See Ghosts
Pusha T – Daytona
J. Cole – KOD
Sheck Wes – Mudboy

Sports Story – Shohei Ohtani

Ohtani’s major league debut is one of the most under appreciated stories in all of sports this year. At 23-years-old and with no major league experience, he did something no one has done in 100 years…and was really good at both. And he did it all with a torn ligament in his pitching arm. It’s like if Sidney Crosby played goalie in the NHL too. If he’s able to build on his rookie season, I think we could be talking about one of the best athletes and baseball players of all-time in a few years.

Movie – Annihilation

The movie is about a group of military personnel that are tasked with exploring an unidentified natural phenomenon called “the shimmer”. The Shimmer is causing people to disappear and is gradually getting bigger and bigger. I usually don’t love sci-fi or horror movies but Annihilation piqued my interest because of how it deals with bigger human themes and personal relationships. It was directed by the same man (Alex Garland) who directed Ex Machina and stars Natalie Portman and Oscar Isaac.

2018 Favorite Things: Tim

Cred: Jess Baumung

It’s that special time of year. As we gather round whatever it is we prefer to gather round, one topic that often gets discussed is favorite things from the year that was. So in that same tradition, and in case you’re looking for something to watch/listen to/read or think about during the holidays, we wanted to share with you some of our personal favorite things from 2018.

Thank you for helping make 2018 such a wonderful year for us as a band. We’re wishing you all the best for the holidays and can’t wait to see you in 2019.

Here’s some of Tim “Big Horn”‘ Oxford’s 2018 Favorite Things:

Favorite Piece of Tech – Google Home Max

I can’t express how much I’ve enjoyed this unit. Not only does the speaker sound great, on a whim I can ask to hear any song when linked to Apple Music or Spotify, as well as a million other things. I ask it to send me directions to my phone, use it as a timer, weather forecast, etc. Truly surprised how much I use, as well as enjoy this thing.

Favorite Drum Accessory – Tackle Stick Bag

The fine folks at Tackle have been known for making some amazing products by hand. I acquired their stick bag this year and loved it so much I bought another right away. Not only is it amazing to look at, it’s made by drummers for drummers. Time and time again I’m impressed by the practicality of it even though I was initially drawn by it’s aesthetics. Can’t recommend highly enough.

Favorite Podcast – The Rich Roll Podcast

I’ve been a fan of Rich’s for a long time but delved in extra deep this year to his podcast. There are so many hours of incredible content. Mostly a long form conversational format, the guests jump from Joe Rogan to your everyday man who has overcome a personal obstacle to betterment. Truly inspiring conversations of self betterment, living your best, most authentic self life, to incredibly inspirational, real life stories. Check it out! Rich is amazing.

Favorite (non music related) day on tour – Phoenix Az

I had the pleasure, thanks to a good friend, Ian Leggat, and new friend, Dave Kelly, to play a very private golf course in Phoenix Arizona called “Whisper Rock.” As a lifetime golfers I can honestly say, this was a once in a lifetime golf experience. The conditions are untouchable, at least in anything I’ve encountered, and the service was like no other to date. If you should ever find an opportunity and have even a mild interest in golf, you would be crazy to pass this up. Google the place if you don’t believe me!

 

2018 Favorite Things: Mike

Photo: Jess Baumung

It’s that special time of year. As we gather round whatever it is we prefer to gather round, one topic that often gets discussed is favorite things from the year that was. So in that same tradition, and in case you’re looking for something to watch/listen to/read or think about during the holidays, we wanted to share with you some of our personal favorite things from 2018.

Thank you for helping make 2018 such a wonderful year for us as a band. We’re wishing you all the best for the holidays and can’t wait to see you in 2019.

Here’s some of Mike’s 2018 faves:

Song:  Robyn “Missin U”

It’s too hard to pick an album of the year (but if you twisted my arm it’d probably be the Arctic Monkey’s Tranquility Base Hotel) but I can say the song that hit me the hardest this year would be ‘Missin U’.  There’s something about the urgency in her voice, the crystalline synths, and her longing message for human connection that really sets a perfect mood. 

New Discovery:  Bob Dylan – Infidels 

Max showed me the song ‘Man of Peace’ off this record earlier this year, and since then I’ve dove head first into this record.  Produced by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits fame, along side reggae legends Sly and Robbie on drums and bass and Mick Taylor of the Rolling Stones on guitar, this record has some real heavy hitters playing on it.  I also think that Dylan’s lyrics here are some of his best – as packed with wit and wisdom as any of his work.  Aside from ‘Man of Peace’, I’m also loving the tracks ‘Jokerman’ and ‘Neighbourhood Bully’.

Book:  Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart

This novel tells the story of a hedge fund manager on the run through America with nothing but a greyhound ticket and a suitcase full of vintage watches.  Woven into this ‘On the Road’-esque story line is a cutting analysis of the absurdity of the ultra wealthy, with a dark wit that’s legitimately laugh out loud funny. I read this while on tour and loved the way this book has a sense of constant motion with amazing little details about life on the road.

Movie:  First Man

I’ve loved the history of space travel since I was a kid, so this movie is right up my alley. It’s able to reflect the sober reality and humanity of Neil Armstrong and his family, while also capturing the intensity inside the Apollo spacecraft in a way that felt so vividly real. Amazing cinematography, especially during the dead silent *spoiler alert* moon landing scene. 

Radio Show:  Time Crisis

Hosted by Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, Jake Longstreth and resident number cruncher (and fellow Canadian) Seinfeld2000, this zany Apple Music radio show has become one of my favourite podcasts/internet radio shows.  These guys have way too much fun deep diving on topics such as the tasteful palette of the 70’s, corporate food history, the Jokerman font, cold brew coffee and much much more.  Each episode ends with a the crisis crew’s hot takes on the top 5 songs of today and the top five songs from some point in music history.

2018 Favorite Things: Max

It’s that special time of year. As we gather round whatever it is we prefer to gather round, one topic that often gets discussed is favorite things from the year that was. So in that same tradition, and in case you’re looking for something to watch/listen to/read or think about during the holidays, we wanted to share with you some of our personal favorite things from 2018.

Thank you for helping make 2018 such a wonderful year for us as a band. We’re wishing you all the best for the holidays and can’t wait to see you in 2019.

Here’s some of Max’s 2018 faves:

Album – Phoebe Bridgers

I know this record came out in 2017 but I didn’t hear it until a month ago. Awesome songs and  intimate lyrics – but also funny lyrics. I get a good chuckle out a bunch of lines. If you’re a fan of Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, you’ll love it. 

Movie – Beautiful Boy.

This movie really wrecked me. I usually stay away from heavy/drug movies because I know it’ll be in a weird state of mind for the next 24 hours, but I’m glad I saw this. Great performances, heart wrenching story. 

Podcast

There are so many great podcasts out there. I have a number of go-to’s that I never miss: Slate Gist, Slate Political Gabfest, The Daily, Bill Simmons, Zach Lowe. But lately I love the Dax Shepard podcast – he consistently gets great guests and has really spirited conversations. I relate to him because he ask the same kind of questions I would, with a similar enthusiasm. 

Fave (non-show) work experience 

I had the chance to talk to my favourite writer Michael Lewis on the phone for a piece I wrote for Macleans Magazine. For 45 minutes I got to ask him anything about his life and career. He couldn’t have been more open, kind and forthcoming. It was such a rush.

Concert: Bruno Mars at Scotiabank

I love Bruno Mars. He is the ultimate entertainer. He’s flawless in his execution and has a helluva fun time doing it. 

2018 Favorite Things: Anthony

Cred: Jess Baumung

It’s that special time of year. As we gather round whatever it is we prefer to gather round, one topic that often gets discussed is favorite things from the year that was. So in that same tradition, and in case you’re looking for something to watch/listen to/read or think about during the holidays, we wanted to share with you some of our personal favorite things from 2018.

Thank you for helping make 2018 such a wonderful year for us as a band. We’re wishing you all the best for the holidays and can’t wait to see you in 2019.

Here’s some of Tony’s 2018 faves:

Album – Jeff Rosenstock: POST

This album came out Jan. 1st, and I’m still loving it. You can really feel the American anxiety, post-Trump, through Jeff’s lyrics. Mix in Jeff’s extensive musical vocabulary and raw, unadulterated punk-rock vibes; it’s hands down my fav record of 2018.

Highlights are: the 7:32 minute “USA”, & “Yr Throat”.

Movie – Avengers: Infinity War

Nerd alert! I’ve been a little obsessed with the MCU films. They’re such consistent movies, and it’s dollar for dollar, action-packed entertainment. I saw Infinity War, alone, during the Frank Turner tour in the UK back in the spring and had a blast. Truly stoked for the next installment. Maybe another tour solo-movie?

Book – Naomi Klein: The Shock Doctrine

I won’t lie, I’m still working through this book, but it’s definitely been a favourite for 2018. Every time I pick it up, I get so fucking angry that I only have a ten page window to work with. If you wanna rage about injustices, pick it up!

Podcast – Bill Burr: Monday Morning Podcast

Bill’s a sh*thead, I’m a sh*thead; it’s just a fun, easy pod to listen to. Will always remain my fav.

Concert – Elton John @ MSG

Regardless of the cheese factor throughout the show, this was hands down my favourite concert of 2018. We had 2 nights off in NYC during our tour with St. Lucia, and it lined up with Elton John’s first of two nights at MSG. How could we not go?! Got very drunk & sang my ass off. Highlight of the show for me was “The Bitch Is Back”, and the epic percussionist, Ray Cooper. Dude is a SHOWMAN!

Tour Update: UK

Photo Cred: Ben Morse

Hello from Glasgow, Scotland, where the band is getting ready to play tonight at King Tut’s.

We’ve had a great time playing shows and hanging out here in the United Kingdom this week. To locals, cornish pasties, cask ales and highway rest stops that aren’t McDonald’s may be old hat – but to us Canadians, they are a much welcomed treat that we don’t get to enjoy when touring in North America. Don’t get me wrong, we love Tim Hortons, but being able to roll into a Marks and Spencer’s and get grilled calamari* to eat in the van is a pretty wonderful thing.

This week’s UK shows have been really special – we made a lot of new friends when we came over in the spring to play with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, and it means a lot to the band to see so many familiar faces coming out to see our headline shows. To everyone who came out in Bristol, Manchester and London – thank you. You’re the reason we’re losing our voices and throwing our backs out. And it’s totally worth it.

Another highlight of the tour has been being able to share the bill with Felix Hagan and the Family. FHATF are an extremely talented, tremendously entertaining band that blow us away each time they take the stage. They are also an incredibly wonderful group of people to spend time with every day. Playing with a band like them is always inspiring. We are already researching where we can purchase mass amounts of glitter back home in Canada.

This week’s shows in Leeds and Brighton are sold out (but there are still a few tickets left for Wednesday night in Birmingham at Hare and Hounds). It means a lot to come all the way across the ocean and get the opportunity to play to a room full of music lovers and we are already chomping at the bit to get back the the UK again in 2018. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, we’ve still got a week’s worth of gigs before we have to head home so hope to see you soon!

 

Nick

 

 

 

*I know this is weird. Everyone else gets those sweet pre-made sandwiches and salads but come on; you’re not going to not get calamari, right?

Tour Update: Germany

Today we’re heading to the UK after a great little weekend in Germany. Our time was filled with all our favorite German things: bicycles (props to Germans, who are tough enough to bike on 4 degree days in November), Milka bars, mustard in tubes, mulled wine and in Mike’s case, Club-Mate. Club-Mate is a carbonated ice tea that we don’t get back home. Try it. Given we had three different shows in three different parts of the country, we didn’t have enough time to get to a German Christmas market, but rest assured we are still very much getting into the holiday spirit.

This European tour marks the first of the band’s Rally Cry headline shows so we’ve been playing plenty of new songs every night; and getting to revisit some seldom played old songs too – we pulled out Cynical Bastards last night in Hamburg and Ballad of Hugo Chavez on Friday night in Cologne. If there’s an oldie but a goodie that you want to hear, get Max’s attention on social media. He’s an easy sell.

As much as we try to stay on the road, it had been two long years since we’d been to Deutschland and we were long overdue to get back. Thank you to everyone who came out to see us in Cologne, Berlin and Hamburg this weekend despite the lengthy layoff. It really is a treat to play in such wonderful cities in such a great country and we hope to be back sooner rather than later.

This week we’ve got shows all over the UK in Bristol, Manchester, London and Glasgow. See ya on the island.

Nick

Tour Update: DC

Photo Cred: Ashton Garner

Last night we kicked off the final week of the St. Lucia tour in Washington at the legendary 9:30 Club. On the eve of what feels like the most important mid-term elections in recent memory, we played had the opportunity to play at one of the capitol’s most beloved venues.

The 9:30 Club is constantly outdoing itself when it comes to hospitality and it’s treatment of touring bands and crews. Whether it’s the homemade cup cakes they leave in the dressing room or the onsite laundry (because we can only turn our boxers and socks inside out so many times – don’t judge), the 9:30 Club is one of the friendliest places to play in the country.

We’ve been road-testing songs from the new record on this tour and in honor of being in the American capitol, we decided to debut Company Man – one of the record’s politically inspired jams. Playing new songs can feel a bit like Bambi trying to walk on ice, but we made it through and despite the initial tepidness, it’s always a fun challenge to take on as a band. We’ve also been experimenting with a new cover or two to drop on ya. Keep your ears open for that at our upcoming headline shows.

This week we finish up our dates with St. Lucia in Philly, New Haven, Jersey and Boston and then it’s off to Europe for some headline shows in Germany and the UK with our dear friends Felix Hagan and the Family. Hope to see ya at a show soon!

Nick

Tour Kickoff

Photo Cred: Ryan Magnani

Rally Cry is officially out in the world. And the is band officially out in the world on tour supporting it.

Before we hit the road, we celebrated the record release at Union Station in Toronto. We had a great time meeting some new friends and printing some new shirts. We also wanted to give a special thanks to everyone who donated clothing to New Circles – your kindness and generosity is much appreciated.

We’ve managed to stave off Canadian winter for a few weeks while we’re on tour in the southern United States with St. Lucia. This past week we played shows in Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma and the great state of Texas. We plan to re-introduce vegetables to our diet as soon as we get outta barbeque country. We’ve had some fried okra here and there but that sure doesn’t count. 

St. Lucia have been the best hosts you could ever ask for and it’s been a real treat watching them play every night. And speaking of new records, their new record Hyperion is required fall listening. The live show is even better. 

This Friday we announced some Canadian shows for early 2019. We should be announcing some additional 2019 USA dates soon too. We’ve been road testing the new songs and watching our favorite artists’ shows all year long. We’ve been taking notes and we’re excited to integrate all of the fun into our own headline shows. You can grab tickets here. If we have sold out, and you’re frustrated with paying over face value to get into the show – we completely understand. We promise that we will be back again and we don’t want you paying inflated prices for our tickets – whether it’s on Stubhub or Ticketmaster. But for now, that is a problem for another day. There are still some tickets available (although not in all sections) for the Canadian tour. Grab em now so ya don’t have to deal with scalpers later.

Happy Halloween!!!

Nick