Reno failure Posted on Saturday 21 November 2009

Well, we’ve done shed loads since the last update, so I’ll mostly gloss over all the great shows, excellent fun and all-round good times we’ve been having and focus on the moments of exasperation and near disaster.

Rooting around my feeble memory banks I can’t recall much of note from the Seattle show, apart from Amos being charged $3 for a single tomato in the adjoining pizzeria. Oh, and that that fine set of singing beards better known as the Fleet Foxes came down to watch us play.

Next was our first Canadian show, Vancouver to be precise. The border crossing went pretty smoothly despite our tour manager getting flagged up as belonging to a white supremacist movement. But hey, nobody’s perfect. (This actually allegedly related to an abuse of power by a border guard many years ago when his travelling companion kicked off after being refused entry…at least that’s his story and he’s sticking to it). Anyway, Vancouver gig was easily one of the best so far, due mainly to the incredibly enthusiastic/hammered crowd.

Portland was the next port of call (see what I did there?) and the place we were playing was the Doug Fir hotel, venue, restaurant complex. Our van got broken into and Simon’s laptop and passport were stolen. I had a nice piece of trout.

Justin presents a compelling counter-argument

It was always going to be right old shlep to Reno, but after getting the grumblings out of the way we hunkered down for the 14-hour drive. The semi-arid Oregon expanse soon segued into the Nevada winter wonderland of blanket snow and fir trees. The atmosphere was upbeat, enough even for an impromptu snowball fight (in which a perfectly aimed headshot from Cameron almost blinded our driver).

However, conditions gradually deteriorated as night fell and our vehicle was soon struggling to climb the slippery roads. We might have been ok if we weren’t dragging along a trailer the size of a London bus, but it was too much and before long found ourselves churning snow, and sliding worryingly backwards. The band jumped out and managed to push the van enough to get it moving in the right direction again, but after a little while we were stuck again, properly, unmoveably immobile. Even the whole band sitting on the back seat of the van synchronised bouncing didn’t afford enough traction, though did provide some welcome comic relief. Thankfully before too long a highway patrol came to our rescue with spade-loads of grit, which did the job nicely, the grit lorry even escorting us for the next mile up the road.

The combined might of Fanfarlo

We limped to the nearest service station, little more than a shack stuffed with cured sausage and confectionery, glad to be on the move again but uncertain as to the journey ahead. However, some local enforcement officers in tight kaki and cluttered utility belts warned us that the next pass to Reno was even more treacherous, and advised us against attempting it. So that was that. Sorry Reno, we did our best, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Leon x