Hello vastness, my old friend…


the mobile production office checks in from Highway 5, on the way to San Francisco Salutations friends.

You join us around 100 miles away from San Francisco, California, as we approach the 5th show of our tour with Manchester Orchestra, and around our 12th day in a row without a break… Ouch.

So, we flew from Tokyo to Los Angeles. A direct flight, which made a pleasant change. One of the side-effects of being Scottish, is that if you want to fly anywhere significant, it generally involves at least one or two flight transfers.
We got reasonably lucky on the flight to LAX, most of us ending up in a row on our own. I’m sure I’ve explained a few times, that our touring party tends to scatter whenever we fly a long-haul flight, with most opting for window seats, the remainder for aisles.
On this trip, a lucky few managed to score the mythical middle-4 row, completely empty aside from themselves, setting them up for a peaceful overnight trip to LA, with only a little dig in the ribs from an unruly seatbelt clip.

That was also our first trip over the Pacific, meaning we’ve finally completed the full circumference of the Globe, over the course of our travels. That was quite exciting. Every previous time we’ve hit Australia or Japan, we’ve flown both ways across Asia.
It was a hellishly frightening plane ride admittedly. I’m not sure if it was being aware that there’s this massive body of water beneath, or just the fact that the plane got thrown around like a fucking rag doll. In any case, I was a little bit sick, and Simon came off looking like he was ready to fall to his knees and kiss the ground.

Upon landing in LA, we were spared any hassle at immigration, and soon arrived at the massive house we had rented just south of Hollywood, for the week. Seeing as we were about to spend 4 weeks in American hotels, we figured we’d start off with a week in a nice big house, which was incredibly pleasant. We were in LA for about a week, doing various bits of tour preparation, shooting a video, getting generally frustrated at the inability to order both a starter and a main, and come anywhere close to finishing, and working out if it’d be possible to visit Universal Studios on this trip (it wasn’t, sadly…)
An alltime highlight came in LA on this occasion, when a certain MZD came along to the first show at the Troubadour. That was a particularly special moment.

On this trip, we have decided to jettison the traditional tour bus, in favour of a sleek silver Dodge Sprinter, respendent with big comfy armchairs, and beautiful views of America, as we drive across her surface. It also has a big TV connected to an Xbox, with wireless headsets, but we haven’t even considered using it yet. Its made more pleasant by the fact that we stay in hotels every night, thus removing the tour bus blues that set in after the tenth day waking up in a dim, air conditioned tube, hunting for a shower and functioning bathroom.
One thing though, from my view in the back, the windscreen looks like the aftermath of the big battle scene in Avatar, from a distance. A complete mess of squashed insects, and bugs of varying colours and descriptions. They’ve already cleaned it once today as well. Grim.

The vibe, however, it is good.

Its made even better by the early morning trip to Amoeba Records that some of us made, which meant I finally managed to get that latest Avett Brothers record, and a proper copy of the Frightened Rabbit record, that they were kind enough to send us a copy of a couple of months ago. A beautiful album, and a very special band. I’m reticent to call them beautiful, because they’re all bigger than me, and might take it the wrong way. That same trip to Amoeba, also yielded our choice of viewing for the van, which will likely begin on tomorrow’s mammoth 10 hour drive to Portland (half tonight, half tomorrow)…

Prepare for the rush of envy, as I reveal we are in possession of the (far superior) US version of the The Office, season 1 – 5, in a rather splendid box. We’re going to start at the start, and take it to the end. Even though most of us are still watching Season 6 online.

What else has been fuelling this trip…

California Chicken Cafe, as provided by the lovely Kelly from LiveNation… everyone had forgotten how ridiculously good that place was.
Ford Coppola Cab-Sauv and Merlot… we’ve been keeping that brand afloat this week.
Light beer. The beer drinkers are revelling in the fact you can get Becks light over here.
The beach. The crew managed a quick trip to the beach, during which they almost got killed in a car crash. Thanks, God.
Albums on the stereo… so far, Use Your Illusion II, Clarity, and Lateralus have been regular appearances… As I type, Graceland is on.

We’ve been hugely enjoying watching O’Brother play every night. They are the first band on the bill, and are signed to Manchester Orchestra’s record label. They’re fucking brilliant. We’ve watched them every night so far.

More stories soon. We are just pulling in, as someone has spotted an In’n’out Burger.

tour manager neil.

ps. everything above should be considered a work of fiction, if you work at any dubious publication who might consider any element of the above as reportable news. Its all fiction, completely made up. copyright control. etc.