The Travelling Band on the road, part one

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

We'd been cruising south for a couple of hours before our drummer Nick had said a word. 'Cotton Box', as we lovingly call him due to his wiry buffon, suffers from a useful strain of travelling narcolepsy. When not drumming or sipping on beer, he will sleep at any given opportunity until awoken by sudden breaking or a rare epiphany.

"Argghhhh, nooooo!!!!"

"What mate? What's wrong?"

"I left those [dratted - ed.] Burger King vouchers at home!"

He was genuinely distressed at his loss. Even with the mildest of estimations, it's likely that Nick will eat 25 to 30 burgers, at least, over the next six weeks on the road. He's just turned 27 and may be the first rock'n'roller to die at the famously cursed age of a beef induced coronary. At least he won't die hungry, though.

It was exactly five years ago that a loose collective of young musicians (us) from Manchester calling themselves The Travelling Band began making their first album in Brooklyn, New York. If it was good fortune that got us all to the Big Apple, then the time since has been a lesson in hard work and dedication. The music industry was always been a bit of a mess but now it's a mess without all the money.

Putting records out on our 'not really a real record label' DIY label Sideways Saloon was the only way we were going to get ourselves heard. Playing here, there and everywhere, making friends and fans one by one. Paying our dues if you will, or some of them, anyway. This year things have picked up for us and the hard work is beginning to pay off. We released our second album 'Screaming is Something' in the summer and it has just come out in Europe too - and we're embarking on our first tour of the continent.

Crossing the Channel into France turned out to be a joy. Most ferry journeys I've ever taken have been bleak and miserable, typified by hundreds of crying children on board domino vomiting from seasickness, overpriced meals that induce strokes, and the constant worry that you've left the handbreak off. Thanks to the bizarre heatwave we had last week, we left Dover with the white cliffs bathed in Indian summer sunshine. We rolled off the ferry and made it to Lille before 11pm french time, 10 hours door-to-door from Manchester.

Our accommodation was a quaint little house about 15 minutes from the venue, which turned out to be on a barge. We were all pleasantly surprised and enthused to the bar manager who in turn thought us a little stupid as the venue's name, La Péniche, is french for, errr, 'the barge'. This wouldn't be the first time i got frustrated with how much my french has regressed but it was the least of our worries. The support band told us there was a serial killer on the loose and a body had been recovered from the river the night before. We decided we should probably stick together just in case, as getting murdered was not in the tour itinerary. It was a sweaty gig on a tight stage played to a packed crowd. A great start.

Despite all our best intentions to take it easy on the first night, we all woke up the following day with stupendous hangovers nevertheless. We had zigged-zagged all the way from the bar to our hotel so what should have been a 15-minute stroll took an hour. Our heads throbbed and we couldn't quite work out why our ribs were hurting so much either. Lille is France's fourth largest city and the east part of it borders Belgium, which might explain why the beer seemed a lot stronger than in other french cities i've visited. It's similar to Manchester with a high frequency of rainfall and by all accounts, a passion for hedonism too. They certainly knew how to party.

With the sun still beating down we journeyed to Paris to play L'International in the 11th district. By sheer coincidence our mates from Brooklyn, This Frontier Needs Heroes and Zachary Cale, were playing a block away so we got to hang out after the gig which was a lovely treat. I was desperate for everyone to come with me to my favourite Parisian restaurant 'Le Tambour' which serves traditional french food until 4am every night. After the show, the drunk and tired among us dispersed and Nick and I went for rare steak and a late night booze with our tour manager Gonzo and our semi-kidnapped host Clemence.

"It's no DOUBLE WHOPPER, but it'll do" Nick said, with a mouthful of entre-cote, sans ironie.

The Travelling Band are currently on tour across Europe and the UK. New album 'Screaming is Something is out now on Cooking Vinyl.



Arts and Entertainment

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment
V&A museum in London

Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'

Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper, Alessandro Nivola and Patricia Clarkson on stage

film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Kitchen plays Christopher Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt will be starring in Dominic Savage's new BBC drama The Secrets

Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
art

‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project