Dreamcatcher Tour Journal – #3
Posted: by Henderson
Photos by Anna Lee (@annaleemedia)
Right now we’re driving to Pensacola, Florida for a show tonight at Handlebar. I’m sitting in the back bench of our van (St. Veronica, or St. Pancreas – she’s been renamed by Ben). The Better Down South Tour is getting close to the end and I’ve spent a lot of time the past few days reflecting on where we’ve been. I’ve also spent the past few days dreading going home.
This is Dreamcatcher’s first “real” or “long” tour. We’ve done weekends, maybe a week at most, but we’ve never done a month as Dreamcatcher. I’ve toured for three times the amount as a guitar tech, but this is the first tour I’ve done as a musician. For us, this is a big deal. But, this is a DIY tour. It’s small guarantees, if any. It’s been tough, but it’s been fun.
We’ve been friends with Lion in the Mane for a few years, and we made a pact when they played in Baltimore that we would do this tour. They are one of the most consistently good live bands I’ve ever heard and they’ve gotten better every night. Besides that, they’re some of the best guys that I’ve spent time with.
We met Uh Huh Baby Yeah at the first show of the Better Down South Tour in Pittsburgh. I have never seen a band like them. The energy they put on the stage is INSANE. We met Blake first and snuck into the upstairs on the Smiling Moose before it opened. We met Sean and Braboy in the venue once we were all loaded in. I’m a huge wrestling fan and so is Sean, so we hit it right off. Later that night, we locked ourselves out of our van and that’s when we met Kevin – who helped us break into it.
These bands have very quickly become part of our family. Not because we’re on a tour together, or hang out together, but because of what we’ve been through on this tour. Like I said, this is not a huge world tour with great markets and giant venues with giant guarantees. This tour was booked by a member of Lion in the Mane and promoted by the bands. There have been some nights (Pittsburgh, Nashville, Dallas are a few) that have been great. We’ve played to a great crowd, we’ve sold merch, we’ve been able to prove ourselves. Other nights haven’t been great. We’ve been kicked out of venues for UHBY’s stage antics (some venues just can’t hang), we’ve played to no one but our tour package, and we’ve made 0 dollars a few nights in a row. Some days, I don’t know how smart it is for our bands to stay on this tour.
There have been a few nights that I have walked off stage, gone straight outside, and just lost it. As a band, we’ve put everything into this. As individuals, we’ve put everything into this. We’re an unsigned band and we’ve been blessed with having a little bit of a built in fan base because of our previous bands, but we’ve put every last penny into this band. We paid for our record, our van, everything. As performers, we put everything into it every night, no matter who is or isn’t in the crowd. Personally, I live each word I sing and I go to those places I wrote about. Sometimes coming off stage is exhausting and coming off stage to no one giving a fuck hurts. It feels like you can’t breathe or think or exist. It makes you feel so worthless. It makes it feel like none of the money or energy spent has mattered. And I’ve had nights like that on this tour.
But in Dallas, I got off stage and met a fan who came to see our band, who sang every word of every song with me, who bought not only 1 shirt, but a crew neck and a CD. And then her sister did the same. I had a drink with her and she told me that she heard “June” at a hard time in her life and the song got her through it. The song made it start to feel better. Or at SXSW, when we met a band that watched our whole set and danced the entire time. Or Nashville, where we met our manager and got to play a show with some dear friends of ours. That’s why we don’t go home. That’s why we put ourselves in the hole. For that connection – for that single moment where a complete stranger and I feel and believe in the same thing. We do this because it is all that we know. We do this because it is truly, at our core, what we love. Even when it fucking hurts, even when I’m yelling at a wall, I fucking love what we do.
Dreamcatcher is everything to me. I am in a band with 3 of the greatest people I know and I am so lucky to call them my best friends. I got to bring 2 of my friends on tour, and they have kept me level. I got to meet and spend time with 2 of the hardest working bands who, like us, love what they do and refuse to give up.
A year ago I told Craig and Bryan that “next year we’d be playing SXSW and we’d be on tour on my birthday.” Last week we played 2 SXSW showcases and last night I turned 24 in New Orleans and got to celebrate with my tour family. I can only imagine what this time next year will look like.