Birds of Bellwoods - TOUR TIPS

Join us as Birds of Bellwoods shares some of their tips for being in a touring band.

Birds of Bellwoods - TOUR TIPS
(photo credit: Kate Dockeray)

In this Tour Tips segment, the alternative rock band, Birds of Bellwoods, recommends advice for being a musician on the road. You can check out the tips below:

Tip 1: Avoid the fast food diet. This one is huge, especially for long hauls. When you're on the road for weeks, or months at a time (especially in Canada where a lot of stops are 6+ hours away from each other), it can be very hard to eat well. Budgeting can be a nightmare, and finding a quick fix before soundcheck can compound the stress of that. But if you fuel up on junk, you'll feel like junk real quick. Even if this just means buying a full head of lettuce and hand-bombing it like an apple in the passenger seat, try to give your body the nutrients it needs to perform the hell out of every show.

Tip 2: Don't get drunk and yell at people after the show. I don't mean yelling in a mean way, but don't do that either. One of my favourite parts of the tour is interacting with fans at the merch table after we perform. Hearing their stories, learning about who they are, and how our music found them is one of the great joys. But after a loud and energetic show, when the post-performance playlist is blasting loudly from the speaker located right behind your t-shirts, it can be hard to keep your volume at a reasonable level. This is a surefire way to blow your voice out. Sometimes it's best just to listen, and if people want to hear your response they'll lean in. But after you've just poured your heart out for the last hour, it's more important that they share their thoughts at this moment. Also, alcohol will dry your throat right the F out. HYDRATE.

Tip 3: Warm up, and cool down. Stretch your body, walk the stage and the venue, and get your vocal cords nice and warm. Do whatever you have to do so that the first three songs of the set aren't you finally arriving in the space, physically and emotionally. If you're singing with others, get the harmonies on point in a nice very stairwell for extra "we're all in this together" points. Riffing on the acapella vocals from the original Halo soundtrack is a great option. I like to jump/climb around on the stage a bit before any performances so I have an idea of places I can wander to safely during the show (ASK YOUR VENUE TECH BEFORE CLIMBING ON MACHINERY). You don't want to vault into some rafters only to quickly realize they are not weight-bearing. Same with cooling down. Don't shock your system. Think of it like a plane: slow ascent, slow descent. Did I mention, HYDRATE?

Tip 4: Leave room for each other. Everyone reacts to touring differently. For some people, it's the greatest time of their lives. The feeling of hitting the stage is a dopamine rush that carries them through all the other days of the year. For others, it can be an experience that leads straight to incredible amounts of anxiety and depression. We're in the business of feelings. Yours are not the only ones on the stage, in the bus/van, or in the green room. Neither is correct, nor incorrect, so don't force your perspective on the people you're touring with. Try to be there for each other and support one another without NEEDING to be on the same page at all times.

Tip 5: No expectations. You never know what the show is until it's over. If you tell yourself it's going to be anything in particular you are setting yourself up for a nasty shock. Just be available, and let the moment define itself. I'm not saying don't plan. DO PLAN. Practice. Get it perfect. Then let go. Chris often says "plans are useless, planning is indispensable." That is where magic lives. Be present with the people you're sharing the stage with, and with the audience. Every second is a gift. It amazes me how songs can take on a new meaning every night.

BONUS TIPS: Learn your technician's names and be polite. Be present for the other acts you share the stage with. Support them, give them love. You are all afloat together in a terrifying sea with no guarantee of reaching shore, and to top that, you never know who they will become. Give everything to the show - you never know when or if you'll be back that way, the fans decide that. Oh. And hydrate.

We're hitting the road with our new album EVERYTHING YOU WANT (available February 10th via MNRK Music Group), so catch us live in Ontario and Quebec this April and see how many (if any) of these rules we can stick to.

Keep up with Birds of Bellwoods on their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Upcoming tour dates:
04/14 – Oshawa, ON @ The Biltmore
04/15 – Hamilton, ON @ Mills Hardware
04/19 – London, ON @ Rum Runners
04/20 – Kitchener, ON @ The Hub
04/21 – St. Catharines, ON @ Warehouse
04/22 – Toronto, ON @ The Horseshoe
04/27 – Ottawa, ON @ Rainbow Bistro
04/28 – Kingston, ON @ The Mansion
04/29 – Montreal, QC @ Petit Campus