October 2015

Band on the Run

Our October 2015 feature on the Lagond All-Stars shares the students’ experiences on the road for the first time as a touring band.

While on tour, the band members were asked to make journal entries from their personal experience. We’ve added them below for you to get an idea of the trip through the eyes of the performers.

Scroll down to view videos from the All-Stars’ set at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park in Coney Island, NY.


Ethan Tardio

July 4, 2015: Our best-attended show of the tour was probably our second show at Ocean City, in which we got to play right off of the boardwalk on the Fourth of July. Getting the opportunity to play this show was an amazing experience. It was the first time I could not even see the majority of the crowd listening to us play. In addition to being very exciting, it was also incredibly nerve-wracking. Possibly a hundred or more people could see my screw-ups and that definitely had an effect on my playing. However, by the end of the set I learned to just have fun with it and forget the pressure.

July 5, 2015: I greatly enjoyed played our show in Annapolis. I feel as though that was the show that gave our band a lot of the confidence that we gained from this tour. We played in a very open public space along the harbor, without much of an actual stage. Despite this, we were able to draw a very large crowd with our set, and it ended up being the most profitable venue on the whole tour. In addition to this, we played outside without cover in temperatures over 90 degrees that day, and I think that helped to prepare us for the heat we would face when we got all the way to Knoxville and Nashville, [Tennessee].

July 11, 2015: In my opinion, one of the most enjoyable shows on our tour was the show at Madam’s Organ in Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C. While we didn’t have quite as big a crowd there as we did in Ocean City and a couple of other venues, the crowd there was by far the most attentive and participated consistently in the show. The restaurant was divided into upper and lower floors, but by midway into our performance, many of the people on the upper floor had come down to watch us, which was very encouraging. A lot of people also sang along with songs when we had crowd participation, which at some venues barely happened at all. You could really tell that this was a place that fans came to in order to hear new music and scout out new bands, and I am very happy I got the opportunity to play there.

Jessi Mason

July 2, 2015: Today we took advantage of our first day off and explored Philadelphia. Our hotel was right across the street from the famous Reading Terminal Market so we slept in and went there for lunch. There were lots of different vendors and options for food.

We also took advantage of the laundry room on the seventh floor of the hotel. At this point, everyone was in need of some fresh clothes, so I partnered up with Noah and we split a load. In true band-from-out-of-town fashion, we brought speakers into the laundry room and played some tunes. One of the best parts of the tour is being exposed to new music that other people in the band are interested in.

The gig tonight was very eye-opening in that it tested everyone’s ability to stay on their toes throughout the set. We were playing outside and there was some on and off rain, so we had to stop in the middle of the set and try to retain our audience.

The local Philly band who played after us had a really great set. They played original arrangements of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Nardis,” and “Cantaloupe Island.” The sax player is going to Juilliard next year and it was really humbling to see someone my age play at such an advanced level. We talked to the drummer, Justin Faulkner, who was extremely supportive and genuine. This was a great networking opportunity and really reflected the professional music world.

July 4, 2015: This was our second day staying at Charlie’s cousin’s house; her and her family have been so hospitable and welcoming. Staying with them has definitely added some authenticity to the tour. In real touring scenarios, bands often crash with people they know to save money on hotels. She was even kind enough to get us breakfast and dinner.

The gig at Somerset Plaza was one of our best so far. We drew in a very receptive crowd. On a personal level, this was definitely my best show so far. On my original song I feel like I’m really starting to open up and command more attention during the audience participation part. I still have miles to go before I’m comfortable with this part, but until then, I’ll keep pushing myself to grow.

It started raining right was we ended the set so I think loaded out faster than ever before. This was the first Fourth of July that I didn’t go to see fireworks, but I really wouldn’t have wanted to spend it any other way. We went home tired and fulfilled knowing our music reached so many people that night.

July 9, 2015: Nashville! I’ve been really excited to get to Nashville since the beginning of tour and we’re finally here! We don’t have too much time here but hopefully I’ll get to come back someday to explore; I’d love to see some live music and songwriter rounds down here.

Our gig last night at the Stone Fox was really quiet, but playing for a crowd do three is an inevitable part of playing music. Today we had a better crowd in the park. Jacob, our singer/keyboard/synth player, has family in Nashville who came to our show. They were so supportive and brought us ice pops for after the show.

After we packed up we went to tour the music program at Belmont University. The campus was beautiful and it was a really great experience for a lot of the underclassmen in the band. The school is particularly appealing for musicians because of its location and gigging opportunities.


“Sing” by Ed Sheeran:

“Short Skirt Long Jacket” by CAKE:

“Valerie” by Amy Winehouse: