photo by Ed Harris
The members of London's Dignan Porch have been on the right side of the road in the U.S. for awhile now. Tonight, they play in Omaha at the Middle House on 38th and Farnam, and band members said they don't quite know what to expect from Nebraska. Bruce Springsteen is their only source of Nebraskan knowledge.
Dignan Porch originally consisted of lead singer, Joe Walsh, as a solo project in 2010. After releasing his first album, Tendrills, Walsh brought on his brother, Sam, along with Haley Akins, Ben Goodwin and Stephen Keane, who now make up the Dignan Porch. The five-piece released Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen, their first full-length album as a full band, in September.
We spoke with Joe about their most recent album, their ongoing tour in the states and what they expect from Middle America. Dignan Porch plays tonight at Middle House, starting at 9 with Adult Films and Gordon opening. Cover is $5.
Hear Nebraska: So this is your first tour in the U.S. How has it been going so far?
Joe Walsh: We started in New York, played three shows in CMJ Music Festival and have been on the road since. We’re going to Seattle today after being in Vancouver last night. We came through the border last night, which was a bit scary. They sort of gave us a slap on the wrist because we hadn’t declared our merch.
We brought our friend with us, and he’s doing the majority of the driving. We hired a van, which is kind of nerve-wracking because some of us aren’t 25, but eventually the guy took pity on us and let us have it. We haven’t got tons of money, but we’re doing OK. We eat a lot of Denny’s.
Last night we played in Vancouver and there were tons of people and prostitutes on the corner near where we played — it’s a pretty wild place. When we first arrived we were, like, “Where the hell are we?” but it ended up being really fantastic. The most nerve-wracking thing is driving into town and saying, “Where the hell is this place?” but nine times out of ten, it’s completely fine and everyone’s really nice.
HN: How has driving on right side of the road been?
JW: It’s OK. We haven’t had any trouble so far. We’re finding it quite easy to get around. The road system is very good. I’m one of the drivers, but I actually haven’t had a go in the van. I don’t know whether it’s because they don’t want me to take the wheel or something.
HN: How has playing in the States differed from playing at home in England?
JW: The reception here is different everywhere we go. We play to different-sized crowds — we’ve done some amazing ones like New York, Baltimore, L.A. San Francisco was especially amazing. It seems like those towns know about us. Other places like New Orleans was a bit quieter because people didn’t know us as well, but that’s not a surprise.
I had no clue how well-known we were or not, and it was cool when we went to L.A. and people had our records there and wanted us to sign them and stuff. Captured Tracks is quite a well-regarded label and some of the popularity comes from the label. On the whole, we’ve been very pleased in terms of how it differs to England.
HN: Are people enjoying your shows here, even though they aren’t as familiar with your music?
JW: In a few places, people seem to be dancing a lot more — maybe because they’re a little less reserved. English crowds tend to be reserved, especially in London. People are, I think, a little cynical, and maybe we’re a bit spoiled. The people in Baltimore went absolutely mad. We just played in this crazy basement venue and there were loads of people there. I’ve been impressed by the DIY scene in a lot of places and how passionate everyone is about music.
HN: What have you heard about the Midwest music scene, and what are you expecting from your stop here?
JW: To be honest, I only know about Nebraska from that Bruce Springsteen album, Nebraska. I don’t know what to expect. That’s one of the great things about being on tour, not knowing what to expect. We don’t have a clue, so that’s quite exciting.
Bridget McQuillan is a Hear Nebraska intern. She is helping book a special event in the first week of December we're looking forward to telling you about. Reach her at email@example.com.