Tuesday, 7 April 2009

We Versus The Shark Tour Diary Part 11

Eleventh Installment: Gavin Glove (06/04/09)

I'd like to speak of a phenomenon that we've encountered for the first time on this excursion, but is not localized to any particular region. I'm referring to the tour manager. To those unfamiliar with this player in the music world, here's his gig: he drives. He settles up with promoters. He locates food and shelter. And he wrangles: through coaxing and half-stern commands, he corrals us losers at the end of the night and gets everything loaded up and out. It's everything that an indie band does on tour, without any of the fun parts.

This was, with a few minor exceptions, the first tour We Versus the Shark has ever gone on that we didn't book ourselves. We're usually armed with a binder of phone numbers and directions, and after countless hours spent on the Internet dealing with venues and promoters, the itinerary is usually tattooed inside my skull. Not only did someone else book this tour, but the ins and outs of what the hell was going on at any given moment was completely in the hands of Gavin, the tour manager hired on by Pulled Apart By Horses' management for the UK leg of the tour.

Gavin is the definition of affable, with generally unflagging patience and a thick Scottish accent; probably a few years older than us; and very gradually, with Gavin telling us when to wake up, where we were staying, and where we were headed tomorrow, I sort of felt like my brain was...losing an idle portion. Gavin was handling all the dirty work--navigating alleys that were designed with horses in mind rather than cars, cracking the whip on load-out slackers, dealing with unforthcoming promoters -- and was being compensated for his work, so I couldn't feel too bad, but...it's just very unusual. We're not used to tour being about just...playing music.

It was nice, of course, but also felt a little infantilizing--when Gavin had to search for parking for a while, leaving us at the venue, and a question came up--"what time will the sound guy be here?," for example -- we all sort of looked at each other helplessly. Plus there was the lingering question of whether or not Gavin actually liked our music. He wasn't required to, of course, but as a professional, I figured he would probably assume the posture of a polite poker face. But I feel a little disingenuous describing Gavin in those terms, because more often than not, he generally felt like one of the gang, albeit the one who always had to be the designated driver. Furthermore, he did a bang-up job. The remaining dates of the tour are being managed only by ourselves, and by "managed," I guess I mean we "managed" to keep our van from getting towed until the fourth day. Like I said: it's good to be back on the circuit.

Jeff Tobias, We Versus The Shark. Blog courtesy of Flagpole Magazine: Colorbearer of Athens, GA Star Power!

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