The Trouble With Norman

April Smith & The Great Picture Show have been forced to cancel this week’s shows – and it’s all Norman’s fault. And who is Norman, you ask? Why, he’s none other than the band’s loveable, and oh so mischievous RV.

The following dates have been canceled because of mechanical difficulties with the tour vehicle:

Last night’s scheduled gig at Off Broadway Nightclub in St. Louis, tonight’s show at Schubas Tavern in Chicago, Wednesday’s show at Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland and Thursday’s performance at Club Café in Pittsburgh.

Photo: Gypsy Davey /
Turner Hall, Milwaukee, Wis.

Norman is such an integral member of the band that he has his very own Twitter account.

Sample tweets include: “Last night I blew a headlight switch at 2 in the morning…just for fun. I am the Chucky of buses! muwahahahahah!” and “It’s raining & I hate rain. I think I’ll create some trouble in my dashboard gauges & make the band even LATER for their show tonight! HA!”

On Monday Norman tweeted, “I am starting to get the feeling that my days are numbered …” Unfortunately he may be right as a statement from Smith and co.’s representatives says that Norman’s latest mechanical antics “may be the last nail in his coffin. Creative ideas for destroying a recreational vehicle are welcomed.” In all seriousness, the band apologizes to their Midwest fans and regrets the last-minute cancellations.

The band (with or without Norman) are set to return to the road April 3 with a performance at Hollins University in Roanoke, Va., followed by an April 10 gig at Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park, N.J. and an April 11 show at Creative Arts Theatre in Morgantown, W.Va.

Esquire recently listed April Smith and the Great Picture Show as one of its “10 SXSW Bands to Add to Your iPod Now.”

“What do you call a female Brooklyn songwriter with a smarmy, witty lyrical edge, a band that plays as if they’d just stepped out of the Brill Building, and a voice that’s got the squeaky charm of Gwen Stefani‘s? Howabout: the next Lily Allen,” Esquire wrote.

Smith and the gang performed at this year’s edition of SXSW March 19 at the Ale House in Austin, Texas.

Rolling Stone pegged the band as one to watch, recommending Smith if “you still have a soft spot for the Squirrel Nut Zippers songs where Katherine Whalen sang lead.” The magazine added that, “this Brooklyn musician turns out sultry updates ragtime and swing, pouring her rich voice over tight guitar strumming.”

April Smith and the Great Picture Show released its latest album Songs For A Sinking Ship on February 23 with help from the band’s loyal fanbase.

Without the right label to back the project, last summer Smith turned to fans through the artist fundraising site with the goal of raising $10,000 to fund the new album. Two short months later, 224 fans and supporters chipped in a total of $13,100.

The band’s site describes the album as being “informed by the ’30s and ’40s, juke joints and cabaret, the Andrews Sisters and, of course, [Tom] Waits.”

Click here for April Smith and the Great Picture Show’s site.

Click here for the Esquire piece.

Click here for the Rolling Stone story.