I recently had the opportunity to hop on tour with my good friends who play in a band called Texas In July on their Canadian run with Intervals, Northlane and Structures. I met the guys in TIJ almost four years ago when they came to Canada to play a few shows and I ended up going with my best friend Colin to the show in London, ON at a bar called Moon Over Marin. Before that, I hadn’t brought my camera to that many shows before and I was just starting to get into the “scene” if you would call it that. The guys loved my photos I took at that show, and we have been friends ever since. This was my third time going out on tour with them. The first occasion was their tour with August Burns Red and Set Your Goals which I was just out for the weekend, and the second time was also with August Burns Red, but also with Silverstein and I The Breather and I was fortunate enough to be out that time for 10 days. But anyways, enough history, onto the good stuff.
I managed to grab a ride with my friend Warren and his buddy Jacob to the first show I would be shooting in London. We arrived at the venue around 6 p.m and I quickly dropped some of my things off and went to grab a bite to eat at Smoke’s Poutine. Although when we got there, the lineup was massive so we decided to hit up a local pizza spot near the venue instead. After getting a bite to eat, we walked back to the venue in the pouring rain and by the time we got there the doors had just opened.
The venue that the tour was playing at that day was called Rum Runners, which is located inside the Music Hall. Usually these types of tours play in the lounge part of the Music Hall, but it was closed because they are currently renovating it. I had only been inside Rum Runners once before, so I was interested to see how the lighting would be. I finally got a hold of Jimmy, Texas In July’s tour manager, and he came outside to meet me and give me my pass to get in.
I walked through the venue to the green room to say hey to the rest of the guys and introduced myself to a few of the other people who were in there. A band I really enjoy listening too, Intervals, were on the tour and I was really excited to hear their live set, and because the lighting was that great at the venue, I decided to just hang out and watch. As expected, they were incredible live and I was excited to watch them every night for the rest of the week out. Once they were finished, Jimmy and I walked over to the McDonald’s to grab a bite to eat.
After hitting up McDonald’s, we walked back to the venue and Northlane was about half way through their set. I had only seen Northlane live once before and they were great, but even since seeing them last, they have grown so much as a band in such a short period of time. Once their set ended, it was Texas In July‘s turn to take the stage. The great thing about being good friends with them is that I actually enjoy their music and I was a fan before I was a friend, so it’s a treat to see them perform each night live. I took some photos of their set from beside the stage and also on a balcony off to the side to try and get some wide shots of the whole stage.
Texas In July
After shooting a song or two of the guys, I walked over to front of house and snapped a few photos of Jimmy. Along with managing Texas In July, he also mixes sound for them and also mixed for Structures while on this tour. He truly makes the guys sound great every night and is really awesome at his job.
Jimmy mixing Texas In July
After the guys finished up, I walked out to the van with Ben, Jess and Jimmy to drop some of my things off in the trailer.
On our way back to the venue, we saw someone dressed in a Batman costume on the rooftop of a building near the venue, which was really odd. We all stood there for a little while admiring what they were doing, and to prove I am not making this up, I took this photo of him on the rooftop.
After he saw us all admiring him, he came down and I took a quick photo of Ben, Jess and Jimmy with this mysterious Batman.
Ben, Jess, Batman and Jimmy
After all the commotion outside, we went back inside the venue and I took a few photos of Structures set. I have worked with Structures in the past and they are all really nice, down to earth guys. It was awesome knowing that I would be able to watch them live every night for the next week and also hang out with them a bit.
After Structures finished up, it was time to load everything out. I helped the guys load some of the gear out near the trailer then took a few photos of everyone hanging out.
Christian and Chris
Music Hall parking lot
London shows always seem to turn out awesome, no matter what bands are playing. We stayed the night there and woke up early to make our way to Kitchener for the next show at the Chrysalids Theatre.
We arrived at the venue at about 3:30 p.m and our load-in time was 4, so we made great time. I got out of the van and walked around the venue to check out the stage and where I could potentially shoot from for the show. It was a pretty nice venue and the stage was huge compared to Rum Runners. It was a big open theatre-style room with the few first rows of seats taken out for a floor/pit area.
Alex and Jess lounging inside the theatre
Brendon from Structures’ pedal board
Me being from Canada, I get service and data anywhere regardless if there is wi-fi or not. The guys are all from the states, so every day is a constant hunt for wi-fi and when the venue has it, it’s a huge bonus for them because they get to talk to their friends, girlfriends and family. Below is a photo of Christian, who plays guitar for Texas In July, sitting in the lobby of the theatre in order to get onto the wi-fi and have it work.
Adam, Texas In July‘s drummer, was outside in the loading area setting up his kit. I helped him put on a few cymbals and took some photos of him in the process.
While Adam was busy setting up his drum kit, Alex was giving Nick from Structures a quick haircut before he had to go in and soundcheck.
Alex of Texas In July and Nick of Structures
I headed back to the green room to see if any of the guys were there. Ben, who is the bassist for Texas In July, was in there trying to fix their broken “guitar boat” with some gaffer’s tape. For those of you who don’t know what a guitar boat is, it’s a case in which their guitars and bass guitars sit in so they are easier to grab from side stage. If something were to go wrong with a guitar or bass guitar during their set, they can rush over and change guitars a lot faster that way.
Guitar boat fix was a success
Chris, who is Texas In July‘s other guitarist, was also in the green room working hard on some pre-production stuff for the band on his Macbook. Even while on the road, these guys work really hard on coming up with new jams constantly.
Some of the guys were getting hungry, so we ventured off into downtown Kitchener to find some grub. Jimmy and I ended up just getting Mr. Sub, but Ben and Alex ended up finding a local eatery that had poutine. To clarify, we ate a LOT of poutine while on tour, well at least I did anyways! There was a Smoke’s Poutine close to almost every venue we played, so it was hard to pass up when it was available.
Jimmy, Alex and Ben
Alex and the rig.
Alex, Jimmy, Ben and Adam
When we arrived back at the venue, Northlane was just getting started. I hung out in the green room for a little bit to photograph the guys getting their gear ready and warming up. The green room at this venue was great for photos because of it’s size. Sometimes it can be hard getting different angles in really small rooms, especially when there are 3 other bands on top of the one you are trying to shoot hanging out.
Ben, Chris and Christian
The stage lighting wasn’t the best, but I have shot in worse before. Essentially all there was were two big flood lights on each side of the stage, which makes it extremely bright in some spots but very dark in others. I just shot a few songs of the guys set and just watched for the rest.
Texas In July
Along with shooting some of Texas In July‘s set, I thought I would hang around and try to take some photos of Structures as well. One of the lights got unplugged about half way through their set due to Nick accidentally yanking the power cord out, but it made for some cool “silhouette” style images.
After Structures finished up, a few of us were hanging out in the green room packing up our things to get going. Alex walked in with a mini poster that someone wanted all of them to sign and it happened to be the insert of their “I Am” vinyl which is six photos of the guys I have taken over the years. I thought that it was really awesome someone wanted them to sign my photos, so I took a photo of Alex holding it up.
That was a wrap for Kitchener and all of the bands sounded great in that theatre. My next blog post will consist of photos from the Newmarket and Toronto dates, so keep checking back to see more photos from my time on tour.