We started Tuesday at PA's Lounge in Boston (Somerville). Very cool space. We had a few hiccups playing out the first night, but possibly nothing anyone noticed. People were up and moving by the end of the set. Big thanks to Martin & James of Boston's Plumerai for coming out (we have plans to work with them on a project later this summer). Props to the opener Academia – we've been listening to their CD in the car, and really been digging it. Great album.
Wednesday we were in Cleveland for a fantastic show with local and touring band Hot Ham & Cheese. Cleveland floors us every time – we've never seen an unimpressive band there, and they may take their flat-out rock shows the most seriously of any city we've seen. The opener: A Slight Chill, who by Cleveland standards are crazy young and just starting out, but can still outplay a whole heck of a lot bands we've seen elsewhere. We played 2nd and got a bit better groove on than the first night. Again by the end we had people up and pushing & shoving in front of the stage, which we love. Then Hot Ham & Cheese played, and man, do they kick ass in every way (as we're learning, the very best bands manage to be powerful bookers, promoters, planners, and stellar players all in on e package). After the show, a bunch of people got our new T-shirts, and we got lots of great compliments on the closer “Motherfucker”. Exceedingly cool audience in Cleveland, we can't say enough about them. HHM will be in NYC on Aug-24 at Arlene's Grocery (with The Natch!), we'll be there to see that.
We left Cleveland and actually drove non-stop all night and day to get to Des Moines, Iowa for a Thursday-afternoon show at Vaudeville Mews. That one was kind of a blur. As it turns out, we were actually onstage playing when the news that Michael Jackson died came out – it's the first thing the next band told us when we finished and stepped backstage. I don't have much more to say about that, but this: We'll always remember exactly where we were when we heard that news.
Friday night we were in St. Louis, which is another town we've sort of fallen in love with, they treat us so well. This was at the Way Out Club, right in the downtown area, put together by Moe from Scene of Irony. Moe is like this hurricane of energy, booking and promoting shows, supporting every band who shows up, shout-outs to everyone in the room, and singing his guts in his own awesome punk band. If I lived in St. Louis, I'd ask to mentor under him, because the guy's in a whole different league. Every band was excellent – Girl Jimi (all-girl trio, sounds a bit like the Donnas to my ear, completely have the fire to get up and rock out), Vindell (5-piece from Pittsburgh, jaw-droppingly talented, I'm sure they'll go places fast), us in the 3rd slot, and then Moe's killer Scene of Irony. Everyone we meet in St. Louis is nice as hell, we rapped with the other musicians all night long. Free pizza and drinks from the club.
The other thing is that we were really wired excited by our own performance in St. Louis. Partly it's being inspired by other stellar performances, partly it's working out our kinks and getting a chance to try again night after night (and it's partly getting an XXL large cinderblock to sit behind my kick drum). Frankly, it was one of our best shows to date – we really, truly kicked ass. I think that the folks that saw us really got our best possible output that particular night, and that's a good feeling.
Here's a couple of random anecdotes:
- Tuesday morning before we left NYC I had to get to Sam Ash in short order for new drum heads. I was literally sprinting across 7th Avenue against the light when I almost got run over by Collin, who just happened to be bringing the car around to our practice space at that very moment. That would have been the shortest tour ever.
- Everybody really likes our new T-shirts, which it took us a while to get. We've heard it often, but it's still a real eye-opener that the merch/ apparel gets more traction than anything else. It's also mind-blowingly awesome that 2 bands so far have said they'd wear our stuff at their next gigs. We'll try to return the favor!
- I got a GPS mapping system for my laptop that we're using for all our driving routes, rest areas and restaurants, etc., which is totally great compared to what we've done in the past. I'm thrilled that I can use $50 billion in military hardware in outer space to pinpoint exactly where my next bathroom target is with laser-precision.
- I also got new shoes before I left town (kick drum action tends to bust my shows apart), and holy god are these the most comfortable sneakers I've ever worn in my life. I can be practically crippled after a set, but I get up and start walking away and every time say, “Wow, my feet feel great!!” (Collin's really sick of that at this point.) Converse, call us, I can give a really fantastic endorsement right now.