Southern Hospitality, Texas Way!

Written by Your Favorite Enemies. Posted in Outside It's America

One last stretch to our tour “Outside It’s America – Where Dreams Hang In Wonders” took place in Texas. It started in Houston, followed by San Antonio, Dallas, and ended in Austin, where our trip also began a few weeks earlier…

Eating habits and local specialties do change when you change state, and they’re all proud of it. They say the more you go South, the more oil they use (and probably the tastier it is – I’ll leave this to the expert in the matter, no one else than Jeff). Yet, seeing a sign that so graciously did the promotion of “fat” left me a little puzzled. I mean, the sign is really inviting. But were “Happy Fatz” really the right words to use? This was the very first thing I saw on my way to the Starbucks in Houston. And I must say half of it was true. The people we met in Houston all were on the happy part of the sign, and they all did bring sun in what has been a rainy day!

We went back to the venue, where something a little different was waiting for us – fresh pastas! Not bad for a touring band, right? We’ve had a lot of sandwiches, too, and I guess that this is life on the road for us! A huge thank you to Sef and Moose who cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, making sure everyone was pleased with what they had (in other words, making sure the picky eater in me would like it, and that there was nothing Alex couldn’t eat 🙂 )

Back in the bus before the show. As funny as it may be, even though there have been green rooms / dressing rooms in most of the venues we have been to, we ended in the bus most of the time. This dear bus we’ve started calling “home” sometime along the tour. I can’t say when that happened, but I can clearly remember the moment we all realized it; when Alex said “Ah no, let’s not go out, let’s go back home instead, and let’s spend time together there. We’ll create our own fun, and we’ll give it the spirit we want”. We all looked at each other and laughed, realizing that for all of us, this bus has been home for 3 weeks…

Conrad was waiting for us inside with something he wanted us to try, a new drink nobody had tried before. Called calimocho, it mixes cola and red wine. Yes, you read that right. The wine lovers in us cringed, but we tried it anyway. Surprisingly, we didn’t dislike it, and tastes somewhat similar to sangria. Got a not so good wine? Mix in some cola, and add slices of oranges to save the night! 😉

The show in Houston was the first one of the tour, one we greatly enjoyed, and that we will forever remember! We didn’t know what to expect, really. And we were in for quite a party. It was our first time there, and people were incredibly welcoming. We could also meet with some old-time friends for the first time, which made it quite special. We often say that what truly defines a moment is what is shared with the people, and this concert has been no exception!

And then after that came San Antonio. This actually went by in a flash. It had started raining all over Texas the previous night, and it hadn’t stopped when we reached San Antonio. We decided to go to a Starbucks that was close to the Alamo, and so opted for the one that was marked in Alamo Heights. Neither did we know it had nothing to do with the Alamo at all, and that it was a very residential district…! We settled in anyway, and had a truly wonderful time. We might have seen nothing of San Antonio at all, but there’s always next time, and nothing beats a good time all together!

The show went well, very well. I can’t remember much of the show, as it was quite “uneventful”, but nonetheless a very good show. I do remember though that my highlight was the fact I managed to take a picture of Alex as he jumped at the beginning of the song “Midnight’s Crashing” for the very first time of the tour. It took me 17 shows to make one, and I must say I was very, VERY happy about it!

And then came Dallas… The second to last show of the tour. It was hard to believe that so much time had gone by already, that we had played all these shows, and that only 2 of them were left. It was great to meet with people we had seen in 2008, when we played SXSW, and some others we had talked to for many years but never met before.

We hit Austin the next morning with a certain nostalgia. I mean, the last concert of the tour would be tonight. And even though we knew, we couldn’t really feel like it. Were we tired? Yes, of course. But did we want it to end? No! We couldn’t imagine, understand, or realize that the tour was already so close to being over…

We walked the streets of Austin, remembering some great moments we had shared previously in Austin, seeing the famous Maggie Mae’s, where we played the first time we were in Austin. But all this wandering in the streets had one very specific goal: to find something we could use to raise our glasses to the end of this tour.

On our way back, we couldn’t help but laugh at how we cheer with some whisky while eating sandwiches all day long. We raised our glasses to the wonderful moment we have spent together. The tour has brought us to discover not only what was outside, America for instance, but especially what was inside. These relationships that we have all together, that we share, and that are the most wonderful things we will ever be able to discover.

And then the concert! The very last one. The concert has been amazing! The guys were raging on stage. It was the last concert of that tour, yes, but the emergency they had was amazing. You could feel this tension, as if they said to every one in the audience “we were here 8 years ago already, but we’ll make sure you do not forget us and make us come back sooner than that next time”. It’s been an incredible show! I can remember seeing Alex kicking around on stage, and seeing he was getting close to the wedge, I thought “if he climbs on there, then I need to be in the best position to take pictures”. He didn’t climb; the wedge fell on me before that. But oh well, I am happy he wasn’t the one to fall down as it happened to him before in Montreal…! The concert has been a wonderful one! A true celebration with people from all over the world, sharing what we have that is most precious: ourselves.

“There’s no time like YFE music and family time!! AWESOME!!!! Only YFE ends a concert with this kind of communal explosion!!” – Elizabeth, Knoxville, TN

“I have discovered you guys 1 year ago on Spotify, and I have been following you since then. I know Trail of Dead, and I have seen them countless times, more than I can remember, but tonight, I came to see YOU guys. There was no way I would miss this show!” – Johnny, Austin, TX

“It was beyond belief. I turned around and Sef was right behind me. I hugged him really hard and cried like a baby” – Brenda, Perris, CA

“So blessed to have been part of this, it happened like a blink of an eye. I know I will see you again. Thank you for being so amazingly awesome you rock my world.” – Reyna, San Diego, CA

And it ended where it all began, in Austin, on a ranch where people became family to us. After such an intense tour, it’s been good to spend a few days relaxing… and relaxing, we did well! We played with the horses, embracing what life on a ranch is all about, went vinyl shopping, spent wonderful moments around the table eating some food; mac and cheese, Texas famous barbecue, and the ever popular tacos!

Once again, thanks to each and everyone of you. I think I can say that so far, this tour has been the best one we’ve ever had. Not because the guys played better than they usually do. Not because there were more people at the shows. But because of who we’ve decided to become; us. We all look for something in life; a better job, longer vacations, better looking clothes, cooler sunglasses. But throughout all of this, I think that everybody’s lifelong challenge is finding who they are, truly. I know that for me, at least, it has been. Being surrounded by 20 people everyday is something that is fantastic, but that can also cause you to wonder what it is you have to bring to the people around you, and what your place in that family is, wondering why you’re there. It’ll be different for everyone, as everybody leads a different life, in a different context; but we all want answers to these things we cannot understand. But as we had our last toast in the bus, I have realized that the answers to all of my questions would never be “outside”, but “inside”. And that all around me, I had on a daily basis 20 people to remind me who I was truly called to be, and countless more people, some I have never even met, but to whom I talk to on a regular basis and still call family… And for me, this is what “Outside It’s America” has been all about; finding myself through my people. And this is what I hope you will be able to do as well. As truly, there is no greater gift than the one of knowing you are loved, and be able to give love back in return.

– Stephanie

Heading South during “Outside It’s America”!

Written by Your Favorite Enemies. Posted in Outside It's America

We arrived in Carrboro early in the morning. I got up before anybody else had, and decided to head out to the closest Starbucks. 15 minutes by walk, they said. Or 45 according to my numerous stops for pictures. I didn’t expect much from the city, to be honest, as I had never even heard of its name before. But after a few steps, and after meeting an old red pick-up truck, I was under its charms! Small, quiet but lively, sunny, young… it was everything a city had to be! I was expecting something a little more “countryside”, but was totally wrong. Alex and Jeff joined me not long after, and we’ve been visited by most of the other band members until soundcheck time.

Right after sound check, we went outside, where we met with a longtime friend, Tina, also known as hippiechick! She left those notes on the stage as the band was playing, and I thought it was pretty cool to see them pop on stage from time to time. And I am sure it gave a lot of energy to the band as they played that night!

And then the concert! Alex felt a little tired that night, as everybody else did. Not only that, but his voice felt a little rough that night, and it gave the concert a whole different vibe. His interpretation of the songs has been a little different from usual, but just as soulful and meaningful. It gave me a brand new perspective to the songs. I know the album versions almost by heart, the live versions just as well, but this time, it felt like the songs were completely new. A memorable night in a city we had never heard of, but that we won’t ever forget!

I woke up late in Atlanta. We all did. None of us went to bed extremely late, but the tour is taking its toll on us… You don’t sleep as well on a tour bus as you would home. Can I be honest with you? I was expecting to find a very desolate city. Thank you, The Walking Dead. But no. People are normal, look normal, and nobody tried to eat me. The closest Starbucks was 143m away from me – or so did that Starbucks app say. Actually, it was more like 1,000 meters considering there was no straight road between Starbucks and I… Well worth it, as I have discovered the best Starbucks I have ever seen 🙂

There’s a love story between Your Favorite Enemies and Starbucks. I don’t know if it’s requited love, or if Starbucks is only being nice to us while we’re there. But everywhere we go, we always check for the closest Starbucks. It’s like that everywhere. The vibe is most of the time better than at the venue. Let’s be honest, though sound checks are important, they’re often a pain to listen to! But hear me well, I do not mean that music at Starbucks is always good. So here’s the thing. I usually wake up before everybody else. The first thing I do is check out where the closest Starbucks is. I seem to be the designated “Starbucks finder”. That means that I have to find the closest Starbucks. But Starbucks, please, can you hear the plea of a trio that has roamed your locations across America for 21 days – or at least mine as I struggle through your app?

1) Make wifi available everywhere. In half the locations we’ve visited, your wifi didn’t work at all.
2) Can you identify which locations are actual stores and which are ridiculous stands inside supermarkets? Walking for 15 minutes in an impossible heat in Washington DC to reach a supermarket is a total let-down!
3) Could you please incorporate wine into all of your locations? Your store in Atlanta was the best we’ve ever seen – we want more like this!

But Starbucks, we love you anyway. Special kudos to Angus in Brooklyn, and to Tesley and the girl with short blond hair in Atlanta! I guess people spending time in a Starbucks from morning to evening isn’t exactly common and that we do attract attention being a pack of people, tattooed, with long hair and beards!

And then the show happened. THE SHOW FUCKING HAPPENED!!! I rarely swear when I write blogs, because I check my language, and because other people read it before it’s online, making sure it’s “legit”. But tonight was FUCKING amazing! Sometime along the tour, Alex started changing the lyrics in the bridge of “Midnight’s Crashing”, the ones where he talks about “the girl outside in the parking lot who’s thinking of jumping”. She’s stopped thinking about jumping, or maybe she has already, maybe she made that step she felt so hesitant about. Maybe she realized she didn’t have to jump. Maybe she’s changed her destination. Maybe she’s opened her eyes on something new. But right now, what she’s thinking about is “Outside It’s America”.

And tonight, as I was in the middle of the crowd as Alex sang those lyrics, I could hear people react to them, saying “Yes, this is it! This is what America is made of, this moment we are living right now, this connection we live through music… This is America. It’s crazy to think that this Canadian guy understood this better than a lot of people here in America ever will.”

You can’t deny that there is a very unique vibe to the city. I have stayed at Starbucks during daytime, and I haven’t visited much. We often joke saying that this tour is yet again the Starbucks tour – and I think that reading the above paragraph, you can’t really say that name would be wrong 😉 We spent our night on the famous Bourbon Street, where all the action is happening. From bars, to restaurant, oyster bars, cabaret, absinthe lounges, you really find it all! It’s lively, and though buildings are only a few storeys high, you get this impression of being in a very big, tall city – the noise, the action, the lights and the neon signs everywhere really add to the vibe of the city, or at least of this street.

It felt a little weird to have only 3 shows before a day off, and though we have enjoyed it, nobody could really see the necessity of that day off, especially since that day off fell on a Saturday. But we were admirably well welcomed by the people working at Gasa Gasa, which doubles as a small record store during daytime as well. A show that has been as warm and colorful as the city itself, diverse in its numerous hearts and souls.

There are only 4 shows left to the tour now, all of which are in Texas!

May 11 – Houston, TX @ Fitzgeralds
May 12 – San Antonio, TX @ Korova
May 13 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
May 14 – Austin, TX @ Holy Mountain

To get your tickets, click here.

– Stephanie

Philly, Day Off & Washington DC

Written by Your Favorite Enemies. Posted in Outside It's America

Last show of 11 in a row. It’s in a very exhausted fashion that we awaited the show in Philly. We had time to walk around a little bit, however. The venue was located very close to downtown, so we explored the city a little bit, visiting a few of the sights on our way to Starbucks. We’ve not seen the Liberty Bell, but were impressed by the city itself, and its very artistic architecture. Strolling through Chinatown, we made it downtown, where life was bustling, something you would expect of a big city. It was warm and humid, a pure summer day for us, and it felt good to have some sun to take in – some much needed Vitamin D – after spending so much time in a tour bus that’s way too cold. We came backstage just in time for soundcheck, and talked and stretched before going to enjoy the show of Pine Barons, a new band on the line-up for the night!  

The venue itself was a very beautiful one, very artistic, with a vibe befitting “Underground Arts” & “Black Box”. It had a somewhat hippie vibe to it, and the walls were all painted black… The concert has been amazing. Never you could have thought that night after night, for 11 days in a row, the guys would have been raging on stage like they did. And yet again, they got off stage ecstatic – really happy about the show. So happy in fact that Alex, so high from the show that had just ended – almost demolished amps as he was trying to “help clean the stage”. After which Ben gently suggested that he would take “a few minutes to come down from the buzz of energy he is on after a show”, because after all, if equipment breaks, we’re still only halfway through the tour 😉 

And then it was over… the first 11 shows of the tour were finished, and we could expect our first day off the day after! And believe me, it was a day we all were waiting for! Not only us, but everyone, including the guys from Trail of Dead and Boyfrndz, with whom we are touring this time! We took our time backstage, had a few shots to cheer to the first half of the tour that was now over, and continued on the bus. We had more than one reason to celebrate and be happy about, as today’s concert has been simply mind blowing! We carried the party to the bus, where Alex took upon himself to walk on the ceiling… 😉 Ended at 5am, the party left some marks on some of us… 😉 

We all woke up pretty late, after a night that didn’t do much good to anyone. Some people may think days off are glamorous, but the reality is in fact very, VERY different. For half of us, it consisted in a laundromat party, while for the other half, we invaded a Starbucks to write blogs…! Inspiring in a different way than most people could think of, I should say! At night, though, we decided to go out and explore the city a little bit! I mean, there was no way we could be in Philly and not eat any of their famous Philly Cheesesteaks (and pretzels!)! 

From the Starbucks where we all gathered, we walked down through the historical district, to see the Liberty Bell (which I thought would be much bigger, to be honest!). Surrounded with blooming tulips, I thought the scene was very poignant nonetheless. We walked down the street of a wonderful neighborhood, and then made it to South Street. Filled with bars, restaurants, and terraces, this is where we stopped for the famous Philly Cheesesteak! We chose Jim’s as our go-to place, being one of the original places that served the famous sandwich filled with what we less famously know as Cheez Whiz. We all had half of it, except for Jeff who had 2 whole sandwiches, and Sef, who decided to have hot peppers, because after all, that’s what they eat in Texas where we were. Yes, Sef, sure thing…!

We came back to the bus early, where we wanted to watch the baseball game. Without a proper internet connection, it was however a lost cause. We then decided to watch a movie, and opted for Interstellar. After some major TV problems and having to rebuild the TV mount in the bus, we managed to make it work like we intended to, thanks to YB and Ben, and Conrad holding the thing all together… 😉 We also took advantage of the night off to sip on some IPA beers we cannot find back home!

We arrived in DC quite late, to be honest, later than we would have loved to. We took the time to visit the venue before going anywhere else. Large, spacious, several floors on which spread the stage, the back rooms for the bands (1 for each band – true luxury when you think we are 13 sharing one same bus every day), with newspapers clippings glued to the wall, all about music. There are frames everywhere. Guitars with wings suspended from the ceiling. And there are enough mirrors to make sure you won’t ever have a dead angle and can see at 360 degrees at all times! The Rock And Roll Hotel is an ex-funeral parlor turned venue. A lot of the venues we’ve played at during this tour seem to be “ex-something” turned venue, which I think is pretty cool and tells a lot about people’s desire to turn “what’s dead” into something that’s alive and that will become a place of gathering, where music will be at the center of it all.

And the concert… WOW! What a blast it has been! Simply mind-blowing. People have been incredibly into it, giving us the kick we needed to be back on stage in a city like DC itself, a city so meaningful to all of them! It looks like the band totally took the city by storm. Once again tonight, something bigger than words took place, something than cannot be described with words but felt only, something that will forever live on… A night that was alive and incredibly inspiring for the rest of the shows to come… 7 down to go, as we are headed to Carrboro in North Carolina tonight! 🙂

Make sure not to miss the rest of the tour, and come meet us at one of the gigs!

May 7 – Carrboro, NC @ Cats Cradle
May 8 – Atlanta, GA @ Shaky Knees Music Festival
May 10 – New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa
May 11 – Houston, TX @ Fitzgeralds
May 12 – San Antonio, TX @ Korova
May 13 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
May 14 – Austin, TX @ Holy Mountain

Get tickets to shows here!

– Stephanie

As far as the eye can see…

Written by Your Favorite Enemies. Posted in Outside It's America

With every city we visited during our time in the United States so far (and let’s not forget our only Canadian stop in Toronto), we’ve had to open our eyes to reality we didn’t expect at all, that we didn’t know existed, or that were very far from what our preconceived ideas were…

Just arrived at the Thalia Hall, our venue in Chicago. An old theater turned into a venue, not without reminding us of our own home, an ancient catholic church turned into a studio (and so much more). We’ve had a wonderful time speaking with the owner, who’s explained us how much work they’ve had to do on the place before it could really be used as a venue. Again, not without reminding us how much work we’ve had to put in the church we now own. Sometimes, what looks ordinary – or worst, a lost cause – can become a place to call home, with only a little bit of vision and faith. And I guess that this venue, along with our church, is a perfect representation of who we are as people as well… When all hope is lost, we all only need but a little spark so that our eyes can open to something that’s totally new…

Chicago is a city we all were excited to see. But in between the load-in, the interviews, and the obligatory stop at Starbucks (for some wifi, and for some more than necessary coffee!), we couldn’t wander the city as much as we would have wanted to. We traveled the roads of the city in a van, snapping a few pictures and images of the architecture and of its essence. It’s only later, at the show itself, that we would be able to grasp the city’s essence fully though, when we would meet with the people at the concert!

And then came showtime. We spent a wonderful moment backstage, taking in the spirit of the venue and the high energy we all had that night. Talking about the different moments that happened through the day, and talking about the people we couldn’t wait to meet, some old friends we’ve known since the MySpace era but that we had not met yet…

And what a concert it has been! It’s been truly wonderful! Maybe it’s because the venue made us feel home. Maybe it’s because we knew we had family cheering for us in the crowd. Or maybe it’s just because we wanted to make sure this would be a moment turned to eternity, and decided to make sure it would happen that way. The guys have been phenomenal on stage, truly wonderful. Every time I see them, they get better and better. And when you think “this has been their best show EVER”, they always find a way to prove you wrong by being new kinds of stage beasts…!

Fetesha, our longtime friend, wrote a review about that show, that you can read here.

The next stop after was Detroit, Ferndale to be exact. The venue was a new one, with a green room in a corner, plants covering the walls from floor to ceiling – something truly breathtaking! It was totally different from what I expected Detroit would be. With all the stories we hear about this city nowadays, we found a peaceful oasis in The Loving Touch.

Alex took the time to write a little more. This time, his “daily journal” came as an open letter to the city of Drummondville, after the organizing committee of the 200th anniversary of Drummondville decided to exclude YFE from their celebrations for “fear of seeing sensitive ears flee the celebrations”. Though it is unusual for Alex to answer such things, the sight of “Your Favorite Enemies” and “fear” together in the same sentence made him react. You can read his open letter, “When Fear Comes To Celebrate Uninvited” on the SFCC here.

And then the concert itself… WOW! What a blast! I’ve got to tell you a certain story about this concert. Howard, a longtime friend we were seeing for the first time, decided to come to the concert. The road should have taken him 3 hours. But along the way, he had to push his car as it broke down. For 5 miles he did that, getting a flat doing so, until he reached an exit, where they repaired the flat tire, allowing him to push the car down to the next exit where there was a repair shop. In total, 10 miles of pushing a car down the road. Arrived to the repair shop, he told his story to the guys – who decided to loan him a car for the night! “You can bring it back tomorrow morning”, they said “your car will be repaired by then, and you can still go to your concert tonight”. All in all, I think that no matter how eventful the day has been, it simply proves that there are things in life we are meant to do, places we are meant to be, and encounters we are meant to have! It was also a pure pleasure to meet Shandee and her father again – 2 truly amazing souls! Shandee’s father, who’s seen us a fair amount of times by now, said that this has been Your Favorite Enemies’ best show so far – something I can only agree with! They are truly getting better and better with every show they play, I am telling you!

And then came Toronto. After a long but uneventful passage at the borders, we came back to Queen City, a city we had never truly liked. But honestly, we didn’t have to try hard to like it this time. Since 2015, it feels like this city has taken a whole different turn. Before, every time we visited Toronto, it was business oriented, and we always had that pressure of proving who we were, of proving we were worth it. But this time, everything was different. And this is what we were talking about “backstage” – read: in the tour bus because there was no backstage – before getting on stage! Somehow, this city is becoming more and more of a meaningful one, and whatever bad experiences we’ve had associated to it are now slowly fading away, being replaced by truly positive ones.

Some people from the YFE HQ even came to see us live! Marjo, Momoka, Kosho and Kanu made the trip to TO, wearing their t-shirts from the collection “Outside It’s America”! Proud representatives? I think it’s fair to say so, yes! 🙂 And they were in for quite a show, believe me!

We also had the privilege to meet with Paul, whom we met during the Juno Awards Press Conference in TO last January. Knowing we were true baseball fans – Giants fans – he even brought Jeff a little gift at the show. It now proudly stands in sight on our tour bus! 😉 Go Giants! Paul also reviewed the performance of the band and published the pictures he took for The Canadian Music Scene, and you can find it all here.

Alex also had a challenge to accomplish, to take a picture with the SFCC flag in Toronto. We had the privilege of doing it with the family members who had traveled all the way to see us, most of them as a surprise! It’s been a wonderful moment… I will always remember his reaction when he picked that city during the last Encore (that you can watch here).

And then the concert itself… What a truly wonderful moment! I think everyone is unanimous – the guys give a show that’s unforgettable! Whether they had heard of the band before or not, everyone is left with an everlasting impression… 🙂

Jeff, Miss Isabel and Moose also did a very inspiring interview just before getting on stage! Watch the interview below 🙂

The night following would be a strange one, knowing we had to cross the borders again. There’s been a lot of nonsense said that night, from no other than Sef (of course, who else could that be?!)! Curious to know what he talked about? Alex will share it all with you in one of his tour journals on the SFCC – and believe me, that’s something you do not want to miss!

And then we arrived to our venue in Pittsburgh, a city where everything was gray and brown. This venue was a former church (across the street from another church). It looked like it was still in construction somehow, and everything seemed cold at first sight, a little offset from everything else. It might have been due to the weather, to the colors of the buildings, to the fact that there was no one in the streets to bring any colors to this part of the city…

We had a toast backstage, a toast to the colors of the invisible, and to giving our own colors to what surrounds us, no matter what. A toast that was befitting the vibe we’ve had from the city so far. A city that was not remarkable in any way, but where people defined every part of it.

These have been our “tour essentials” so far. The Johnnie Walker Black for the toasts we have sometimes before/after the shows, and the “salsa con queso” to go with the chips. As much as we try to eat healthy on tour, it’s not always easy, and after a show where you’ve given more than what you thought you had, that yummy branch of celery doesn’t compete with the chips 😉

The show was a little bit to the image of the city… Somewhat cold, and distant. It was nonetheless a very good show, despite this lingering impression that something lacked… It was all quickly washed away when we gathered backstage and shared our favorite moments in the songs, looked at the pictures and watched some of the videos that had been filmed that night!

The day after, we woke up in Brooklyn. This place has become meaningful to us, as this is where the album “Between Illness And Migration” has been mixed, become an important standpoint in the history that this journey is. It is also where we usually stay whenever we go to NYC – a place that’s meaningful in more than one way. There are people everywhere here. And coming back to NYC, I think this is what I thought the other cities so far had been missing… people, as far as you can see. You can be in a shady alley in the middle of nowhere, you’ll still meet people. And this is where the real life of the city resides; in its people. All so different from one another, all unique, all bringing its own colors to a city that’s already vibrant. And instead of being a mess, it all blends in a very harmonious way…

We always stop by the Rough Trade Records, and by the park that’s nearby, giving us a view on Manhattan. No matter how often you’ve seen this view, you can’t help but be in awe. Yes, New York might be the city where everything is possible… Although the success you may find there might not be the one you envisioned, you can’t help but admit that everything is possible. That whole city defies what “possible” is, and when you look at it from the outside, it’s easy to understand why. From the outside, NYC looks like it has been built by lego blocks, its makers roaming the streets in search of something bigger – until they realize that the height of the buildings has nothing to do with what they are truly looking for; what they are looking for is buried deep inside of them.

We also had the privilege to meet with John Agnello that night. A wonderful guy, who’s not only mixed the album “Between Illness And Migration”, but who’s helped us open our horizons on sounds we had never thought possible…

The concert, despite being a very late one (we got on stage past midnight), was a pure display of intensity. Alex did crowd surf, the drums ended in the crowd, and you can see sweat in most of the pictures above 😉

And then came NYC, and Le Poisson Rouge. This scene is one that happens very often before sound checks/shows. Jeff, Ben and Alex are all together. Jeff is dealing some business on his phone while he has to put it away before the show. Ben is giving the insights on what will be possible and what won’t in terms of recording the show or having our own in-ear mixes for the stage, and Alex is taking in the vibe of the venue…

This was the 9th show of 11 in a row. To say we were exhausted at that time would be an euphemism. It was beyond that. Yet, a lot of people had made the trip from the HQ, and some others came to surprise us from Quebec & Ontario too. Plus, that show would be broadcasted live online on the SFCC. And this only idea got the guys on fire for the night that was to come. And what a show it has been! I have never seen the guys like this before. They were not only on fire… the blaze that was living inside of them was something totally different from what we had seen before. And they were awesome! Anybody who was there at the show can testify, as much as anyone who’s seen them online via the SFCC!

You can also find some more pictures by other photographers here and here – you will have to scroll down a little to reach the pictures ;).

And then came Boston… A city that came to me as a very colorful one, where all the cultures was mixed together… Bethlehem was actually a Korean restaurant, Oppa (a Korean word) was a sushi restaurant, and they spelled “kebabs” with an “o”, giving “kebobs”. One thing that wasn’t mixed though was everybody’s love for the Red Sox. Everywhere you looked, you would see the famous red “B” on a cap, on a t-shirt, on a hoodie, even on a dress – there was no escaping it nowhere! After a little stretching in the very hot and humid backstage room that was above the stage with a view on it, it was time for the guys to get on stage themselves…!

The concert has been awesome. Literally. The guys are most of the time happy of how the shows go – and it’s easy to tell when they’re not. But this time, they all were on FIRE! And everybody was unanimous; even though we played as long as any other show, it felt like it went by way too fast, for each and everyone of us! Those 50 minutes went by in a flash. And I think, that for as long as I can remember, it’s the first show to which the guys found no “negative points” – nothing to correct, to improve, to change. It seemed like it was a perfect score – and we sure lived it like this!

This blog is already a pretty long one, but I wanted to show you as much as I could. Next one will be in a few days, and will cover the show in Philly, our day off here, as well as the show in DC! 🙂 Look forward to it! 🙂

– Stephanie

From Austin to Indianapolis…! :)

Written by Your Favorite Enemies. Posted in Outside It's America

The tour started in a very funny way. We were in the middle of America – or of Texas, should I say. Because Texans are Texans. Those we’ve met so far do not consider themselves Americans. They are Texans. And this is why this state is also called the Lone Star State. Somehow, as we were hearing about the different stories of Texas and their cultural identities, it felt home a little more – their story, though different, is somewhat similar to that of Quebec.

We woke up the morning after in a place that felt like it was from another world – so far from our own reality! Outside, we could hear chickens not far from us, and 2 horses were running around, almost free. Bowie and Sue immediately became friends with everyone. I think giving them carrots helped, if only a little! And then we’ve met those cute little puppies, 3-weeks old little puppies who were just discovering what the world was all about.

We unloaded all the gear, made sure the equipment worked and that nothing was broken. Despite a chip (and a quite major one) on Jeff’s green Duesenberg guitar, everything seemed fine. Now to one last problem: the car broke down, and we needed to drive downtown to pick up Moose’s drum. This thing is huge. Like massive. A charitable soul managed to pick it up for us. And believe it or not (we did not believe it at all!), the drum kit, plus a carpet, and an amp all fit in a Fiat. Yes. You read that right…!

And then the day went on, with its fair share of soulful discussions about life, about letting go and holding on, about believing in life’s own magic, about the evidence of things unseen. We had just arrived in Austin, in America, yet already, we knew we fitting right in. “Home is wherever your heart is”, they say. It might be because we are traveling a bunch of people together that I feel like this, but I never feel like I am far away from home. Maybe it’s doing what we love with the people we love. Maybe it’s never being in a place that’s really away from home. Home is a concept in itself, I have understood over the years, that relates strongly to family. It doesn’t need a building or a specific place, just like family doesn’t require a relationship by blood. Home is where you carry your heart – where you find your purpose. A place where you can find security but that ain’t safe. A place where you can be yourself, but where people won’t let you be comfortable with who you are, knowing – better than yourself sometimes – that there is so much more awaiting you. And where sometimes, people around you help you redefine your concept of brotherhood, just like Sef helped Alex on that day… (And don’t forget he’s been bugging Jeff all day, too… you can read about it in Alex’s blog on the Secret Family Cult Club!)

We left Austin at 3am, and got on the bus where we met with Trail of Dead. A great friendship has formed between the 2 bands, and though we had seen everyone just months before (and Conrad a few days only as he came to the church to record his solo project). And it really felt like we were reuniting with dear family members once more!

We hit the road to OKC, and then to St. Louis, and then Indianapolis. 3 cities in which we have played the 3 first shows of the tour “Outside It’s America”, over 1,000 miles of travel… 3 different cities, all part of what’s called “America”. And so far, I can say this tour is simply a great reminder that we should never judge a book by its cover. OKC was filled with rundown buildings everywhere we looked around; it looked like nobody had lived anywhere in there in decades. Our venue, the Conservatory, was a 1-storey building, spread wide, with a black facade. Everything, absolutely everything, was painted black. In front of the venue, what used to be a neon sign was standing tall, empty, and with no colors at all. St. Louis, colorful with its street art absolutely everywhere, was however just as run down as OKC was. An attempt of revitalisation was going on everywhere I laid my eyes. It might be because of the unstopping rain that was pouring down that day, but everything seemed brighter than it should have. From the painting on the walls to the bursts of laughter we could hear coming through the doors of nearby cafés. The colors and the laughter clashed against what seemed to be “the real life” around that place, making them even more beautiful to my outsider eyes. And I wondered, do they still see it this way? Have local people, the ones I hear laughing, painted this themselves, in an attempt to remember life is more than your circumstances? Have people from the outside painted that as a message to tell the people living here they weren’t alone and that life wasn’t only a display of black and white? I don’t know, I will never know, and the answer probably doesn’t matter either. Indianapolis, standing tall with its high rise buildings, seemed to be a brand new city. Though some buildings did keep their historic side, most of the city seemed to be sparkling. Yet again, that was only if you looked up high. Looking down, you could see a lot of homeless people, sitting down, asking for money with card board signs in their hands. Despite the cloudless blue sky and the sun that was shining, it was still a little cold outside, and one of them sat just beside our trio at Starbucks. A nice man, with lots of conversation and a desire to connect – not for money, but from the bottom of his heart. And the smile he had was warmer and brighter than anything else I had seen so far. As I walked around taking pictures, I heard someone yell at me. Or at least I thought it was at me. I turned toward the origin of the scream, and saw someone waving from the other side of the street; not someone I knew. I looked behind me, and saw yet another homeless person, slowly standing up, looking at that man across the street. With black pants, a white shirt, a white overall that was clearly dirty and a white hat, there was no doubt, the guy was a chef at the restaurant he had just gotten out of. He yelled yet again at the homeless behind me, this time, with words I could clearly grasp: “Come here, we’ve got food for you. It’s cold outside, so come on in as the restaurant is closed. The homeless lady behind me finished standing up, and made a few hesitant step towards the man, her eyes filling up with tears… I walked away as she limped across the street…

And meanwhile, inside all of these venues we’ve played at, life was abounding with passion like rarely we’ve seen it before. From the band members themselves, jumping on the stage with sheer passion, to the audience, completely on fire from beginning to end, sometimes with only a nod of the head, sometimes with a massive headbanging.

“I have seen shows in my life. I live for music. But you guys… I have never seen anything like you before. Thank you for those emotions you’ve given me. I live my life for gigs, and you’ve given me another reason to live tonight.”

“Absolutely sick performance from Your Favorite Enemies tonight. You know it’s good when the band tosses their equipment into the fucking pit to play. Thank you for a killer show! You’ve got a new fan, I’ve got a new favorite band.”

“What are you guys? Beasts? There’s no way normal human beings can put up a show like this! You’ve totally killed it tonight!”

“I am not an expressive people. I never demonstrate my emotions, especially not during concerts; this is not what I am there for. But tonight, you guys had me nodding my head and stomping the floor with my feet for almost the complete show. I’ve got to see you guys again before this tour ends.”

Yes, it’s America outside. And dreams hang in wonders. But we are the artisans of these dreams, making sure that they do not only fly to the wind as a flag would, but that they are truly embodied…

– Stephanie