In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, the alternative rock artist, Jess Locke, shares one of her stories from being on the road. You can check out the story, after the break.
Back in 2012, I did a tour of South East Asia. My friend, who was very involved in the DIY punk scene, had hooked me up with some people over there who put together some shows, mostly playing with local hardcore bands. I was playing what was essentially acoustic folk music at the time. I was quite used to feeling out of place on line-ups, as well as playing in unconventional spaces like parks and cemeteries. A lot of house shows too. That was a big part of the Sydney DIY scene back then. Basically, anything that wasn’t a conventional music venue was the ideal place for a show. And the more mismatched the line-up the better (I once played a completely unplugged acoustic set right before a grind-core band called ‘Grannyfist’).
The Southeast Asia tour was the epitome of that DIY philosophy. Along with my friend ‘Virginia Sook’ from Brisbane and a German band called ‘Pete The Pirate Squid’, I performed in a waterslide park in Malaysia, a rehearsal room in Ipoh, and a beachside restaurant in Borneo. The first night, we flew into Kuala Lumpur and played in a DIY warehouse space. After the gig, at about two am, we had dinner (it was so hot that two am dinner was the norm), then our new friends Kimi and Fahmi drove through the night while we slept in the tour van. We woke up on a barge on the way to Penang.
Penang was one of the most memorable shows of the tour. The gig itself was on a roundabout in the middle of a fairly busy intersection. There was a man asleep on a bench next to me. I don’t know whether he enjoyed the music or not, or even noticed it was happening. We played a few songs and then the owners of an Indian restaurant next to the roundabout invited us in to jam with their in-house band. They offered us drinks and I think we all sang ‘Stand By Me’, or something like that. It was more like a strange holiday than a tour but I’ll always remember it and the kind people that drove us around let us sleep on their floors.