Back in February, Erik Hall – a.k.a. In Tall Buildings – released the superb Driver (available at Western Vinyl store, iTunes, Amazon, and eMusic). His sophomore album was in some ways a labor of love, taking four years to create as Hall fine-tuned every detail and nuance. The result is an album filled with 10 gorgeous tracks, highlighted by the album’s closer “Pouring Out” and “Bawl Cry Wail”. Personally, Driver is one of my favorite albums of the year, echoing of the loss innocence heard in indie music circles of the late ’90s and early ’00s, particularly the music of Death Cab for Cutie.
Hall just finished the first part of his tour in support of Driver. During his journey through parts of North America, which included stops in Montreal and Toronto and Hall partaking in a Canadian tradition called coffee at Tim Horton’s, he took the time to share five essential items he must always have with him when touring in the spring. And while summer is just around the corner, musicians touring in the fall or next spring might want to take some notes. The lesson to be learned from Hall – always be prepared for any situation.
5 Essential Spring Tour Items
1. Jackets – I’m currently on my first ever solo tour around the eastern and midwestern US and Canada, and I’m traveling in my own car. This provides me with certain liberties I’ve never really had before on tour, particularly with regards to the number of personal items I’m able to bring. One area in which I chose not to cut corners was jackets. On this tour, I’m prepared for all types of weather with a miniature, haphazard jacket wardrobe of sorts in the backseat of my car.
2. Shoes – Same reasoning as above. Boots, loafers, rubber soles, leather soles, Bean Boots, you name it.
3. Soda water – The other day I was at a grocery store outside of Philadelphia picking up a few things when I decided to grab a soda water on my way out. In that moment it dawned on me that I can buy an entire CASE of soda water cans and grab one any time I want. I’ve been on the road with bands for many years, and somewhere along the way we all mutually realized that soda water is a remarkably more pleasurable beverage than regular old still water in a plastic bottle. We started seeking it out in gas stations, asking for it in green rooms, and, sometimes, buying it up by the case to have in the van.
4. CDs – My car is not equipped with a 1/4″ auxiliary jack, nor is my phone a device I use to listen to music. Instead, I have a wooden crate full of CDs on the floor of the passenger seat in my car and a 6-CD changer on board. The thing sounds fantastic, and I have enough music to get me through weeks of travel. I love my CDs!
5. Coffee Rig – I know this is pretty unoriginal at this point, but I love my travel coffee rig. I’m not the strictest of coffee enthusiasts, and I’ll drink the hotel room coffee just as often as I’ll scrounge for locally-roasted beans and hot water for my Aeropress. But I realized at some point that merely having the ability to brew truly excellent coffee at any location at all is simply a quality-of-life issue. A no-brainer, really.
Photo provided by Erik Hall, working the Aeropress at a gas station.
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