Every time we at youbloom put on a music festival, we are humbled and awed by the insane variety of talented acts that manage to make their way to us from all around the world to share in a few days of the celebration of independent music.
In December, we were thrilled to welcome Northern Irish punk band Foreign Affairs NI to sunny Los Angeles for the youbloomLA 2015 Music Festival and Conference. They played a cracking set, brought amazing energy to the venue – La Cuevita – and were a top highlight in LA last year.
Foreign Affairs NI have since been busy writing and playing up a storm, so pay attention, punk fans, because this band have a lot going on in 2016. When we found out they’d written a tour diary about their time in the US of A, we just had to ask if we could share some of it.
It goes without saying that we are beyond sweatin’ to have them back again for the upcoming youbloomDublin 2016 Music Summit & Festival, going down this June 1-3.
In the meantime, check out what they had to say about their time with us under the palms out west:
Day 1, First Impressions
‘Everything in America is bigger! The size of their drinks, their airports, their buildings, all of it was on a much grander scale and it would be easy to get consumed by it all and feel lost. We made a pledge to make the most of every second we had in The City Of Angels as time was short and we didn’t know when we’d be back. With this in mind, after checking in we set off on our first ever Hollywood adventure! Not realising the scope of LA we learnt the hard way that taxis are not to be used unless necessary, especially during rush hour!’
Day 2, Permanent Memories
‘We had heard amazing things about American breakfast. The stories are true, believe the hype! In our hotel we had complimentary breakfast and the ability to make your own waffles was life changing. Fed and watered we would plan our day. Not losing sight of why we were here, we all crowded round Matt and his guitar and listened and played our songs together. We had an amazing feeling for the Music Festival and we were prepared! We decided after this to see if Santa Monica and Venice Beach lived up to the hype.’
Day 3, Amazing Sights
‘Most of Los Angeles was in our sights as well as the infamous Hollywood sign. A few band photos were taken and like always, the whole trek and experience was filmed. Inside and out the observatory was an amazing sight and it was overwhelming to realise that we were there taking it all in, and that was made possible by our music. We couldn’t take too much in for too long however as we were warned at night mountain lions venture up and down the mountain and we didn’t want to find out if that was lies or not.’
Day 4, Gig Day:
‘Gig day had arrived! We were to play an amazing venue, ‘La Cuevita’. We didn’t do very much in the lead up to this as our primary focus was putting on the best show we could and remaining focused.
On the way to the gig we exited the train with a few people and we all walked together towards the same area, however we all had different intentions. The man beside us ripped down a car window and broke into the vehicle. The alarm went off and the man scurried away. LA was a different breed entirely compared to anywhere else.
We entered the venue and watched the bands perform and noticed that every artist had great energy and crowd interaction! This is something we had targeted and improved! Armed with a wireless guitar system to run about the venue and crowd interaction worked into our set, we were prepared! An overwhelming experience at the venue was that people were asking, ‘When are the Irish band on?’. Thousands of miles away from home, people were asking for us. That was a feeling we’ll never forget.
9.15 approached and it was time for us to take the stage! We launched into the opening song from our new E.P., ‘Heartline’ and there was an instant positive feeling. People were listening, clapping with us and most importantly having a good time!
Moving through the set each song went down very well. We were premiering a brand new song at the show! One we had never played before. With nerves of how it would go down, Matt announced that, ‘Pennies’ was about to make its debut and we launched into the song. Quite possibly the best reaction of any song of the set was received here. This filled us with so much pride. Our current music had brought us thousands of miles away, and where we’re going in the future has been met with an overwhelming response, it was just a surreal moment and filled us with positivity.
As our set came to a close we ended with, ‘Television’. The song that had gotten us there in the first place. It was an emotional experience and we give (sic) it everything we had! Enjoying every second of it. After the set we had our photos taken by YouBloom (sic) and had drinks with the other bands and just enjoyed the vibe and experience.
A special thank you is needed for Kittenhead who helped us out with a bass and electric guitar. Without you we may not have been able to play.’
Day 5, YouBloom Conference:
‘We had the conference to attend now where we could interact with big music industry names and make connections.
The whole conference was amazing! Armed with a notepad and pen we documented so much valuable information. Attending talks from Tom Sturges, a man who signed The Smashing Pumpkins and has shook hands with The President Of The United States because of his musical achievements was surreal. We met with him directly and he was overly enthusiastic about us and music in general. A very inspiring man.
We were then interviewed by YouBloom and enjoyed that experience. Straight after that we attend a panel titled, ‘Making A Statement’. The panel was made up of: Joe Sib of Sideonedummies Records; Marko DeSantis of a band we look up to, Sugarcult; and Don Grierson who signed Celine Dion, to name a few. Again we learnt so much and made direct contact with both Joe and Marko which was surreal in itself to meet these people and talk about our music.
The trip was worth it just for this alone.’
Be sure to check out the entire tour diary over on ChordBlossom.
*If you’re a youbloom Festival veteran and have similar content you’d like us to share on our blog, get in touch with a link in the comments below.