By Gwendolyn Lloyd
For French Club, going on tour was the next logical thing.
After recording an EP and an album, and years spent performing together, the Kenyon band was ready for the road.
Between Aug. 9 and 20 this past summer, the band members, consisting of Lily Zwaan ’14, Rhodes Sabangan ’14, Nick Anania ’14, Nick Stougaard ’15 and Edek Sher ’13, went on tour along the East Coast, traveling between Boston and Baltimore. Mikey Bullister ’14 and his Boston-based band Basement Beat also joined in the tour. In addition, Zwaan’s sister flew in from Texas to play drums for the group. Bullister is now a member of French Club.
The tour’s funding came from a Kickstarter campaign the band launched in mid-July. They met their goal to raise $3,200 to cover basic expenses such as food and gas.
French Club was pleasantly surprised by the number of donations they received, particularly those from the Kenyon community.
Prior to the tour’s departure, the group spent a week in New Hampshire practicing at Zwaan’s home before heading to New York City. On tour, they played a variety of venues, from clubs to art galleries. Each band member had their personal favorite venue, but generally all preferred smaller, unconventional sites, such as a converted warehouse in Baltimore.
“It was more fun to play in an informal environment,” Bullister said.
On the other end of the spectrum, the band was proud to play at Spike Hill in New York for producers and other players in the music industry.
“The best part was being able to play together and have a great show,” Sher said.
Although their itinerary wasn’t as logical as they had hoped, the band was able to spend extended hours in the car together. From their competition for who could spend the least on food in a day (Stougaard won), to running through the streets with a whiteboard encouraging people to come to their shows, the tour was more than the music.
“We got closer together as friends and as musicians,” Sabangan said.
Because of the long hours together, “We were like a traveling soccer team,” Sher said. “We all had our positions ﾅ and we all had to practice to keep that up.” For instance, with shows one after another, there was no room for someone to be sick or tired.
“The tour was really built upon the generosity of a lot of different people,” Sabangan said. Donations collected ranged from gifts from friends to contributions from alumni they had never met.
“It was really heartwarming,” Zwaan said.
For any other campus bands interested in touring: “It’s not that hard, just plan ahead a little bit and do it.”