Welcome to Tour Journals, a Music Times segment where we ask some of our favorite up-and-coming bands to send us a dispatch from the road. This time around, we've asked Jimkata frontman Evan Friedell to keep a journal on tour with him. Last week, he brought us behind-the-scenes of Denver's SnowBall Music Festival. This week, he talks about the importance of endurance on the road and authenticity onstage. He also recounts his first concert-going experience and gives us footage from the band's performance at AURA Studios. Check back next week for more!
Week 12 on the Road:
The first concert I ever went to was the Mighty Mighty Bosstones in a gym at SUNY Oneonta. Here's what I remember: this dude in a full suit skanking and jumping all over the stage until his grey suit turned black with sweat. He was hired just to do that — to hype up the crowd. I remember shaking Dicky Barrett's hand before watching him scream his lungs out to the half packed gym and feeling that primal teenage urge to just jump around and mess sh*t up.
What I think about now is the emotional, spiritual, and physical impact that music had on me then and my role in trying to create that impact now every night as a career. How in the hell does any band have that kind of energy after being on tour for weeks, months, years playing the same songs? I've learned that a true performance is not about "performing" at all. It's about making a human connection that will create a lasting impression. It must be authentic in order to connect with people.
On week 12 of a national tour, it's safe to say we're all feeling a little road weary. Finding authenticity within yourself when you hit the stage on night 45 can be a lot more difficult than night one. Luckily, after a couple shows in Tennessee with our friends Arpetrio, we drove to Savannah to meet up with some friends including a couple of our girlfriends who flew in to meet us on our days off.
On Monday, we're driving with the windows down and sunroof open in an old 4-Runner out to Tybee Island to hit the beaches. Ted, a good friend who plays in Passafire, is showing us a remix he did of our song "Beat the Curse." He stripped it down and set it to a sort of roots-reggae beat with mostly acoustic instruments, and damn if it doesn't completely match the sunny vibe of our car ride.
We pass through miles of salt marsh, watch herons fly overhead and talk about the prospect of swimming between the islands. However, "tourguide Ted," as he's playfully called by his friends, has learned that there are too many sharks. The past couple of days, Ted's been showing off his growing record collection, amassed from multiple record shop trips on days off on Passafire tour and has clued us into an amazing app that is basically a bibliography of every sample from any hip-hop track ever.
After full exploration of Savannah, it's off to Florida to back to work. We meet up with Atlanta-based Stokeswood for a run of shows that takes us through Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando for the Florida Music Festival, and Ft. Lauderdale at the renowned Culture Room. By the end of the run, I've lost my voice and Stokeswood's drummer, due to an unfortunately cute accident while playing with his niece, has almost lost his eye. Packy does a soundcheck for him while he is taken to an emergency doctor's visit in Miami. We're a rag tag bunch.
Nonetheless, it all comes together on our last day in Florida for our in studio performance for Aura Music Festival. Even though I woke up wondering if I'd be able to sing at all, everyone reassured me that its gonna be all good. Really, how bad could it be when the day begins with a pool party? It is then that I realize what it is that keeps an artist able to have that energy every night: friends, fans, family and loved ones.
Check out live footage of "Beat the Curse" (off their latest EP Feel in Light) from AURA Studios: