Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Wild Wild Midwest Part 2
Our second winter voyage to the midwest began agonizingly like the first one had ended; at the Philadelphia airport car rental lot at 5 in the morning. We have still not found a reliable van worth our hard earned band money and so with this tour already booked and all called favors fallen short, we were forced to rent. Of course our reservations were screwed up and instead of the minivan we expected we ended up with the brand new 2010 luxury SUV you see pictured above. Fully loaded, we were equipped with On Star, a camera for backing up, and a keychain that could start the car from 100 yards away. An hour on the road and a food-poisoned Joe had already spit up out the window and all over the side of it. By the time we reached the first show we had already doubled the miles on this beauty. First up was Ferndale, Michigan at the No Bummer Zone on Leroy Street; headquarters of the aptly named Leroy St. Records. We received a friendly greeting from the most instantaneous of instant friends, Scott. The line-up was almost identical to our show in Michigan last month so I was aware the music was going to be top-notch but halfway through the show came the most incredible thing I have ever witnessed in DIY house show history. The back door swung open and in between the crashing waves of drunken boys and girls rode a knight in shining black polo shirt armor to deliver 20 pizzas! These were gone in a matter of minutes but the benevolent act of god bestowed an unprecedented sense of bliss that would send this show soaring into house show hall of fame.
TGIF and we are hanging out at the Monster House in Columbus, OH with Ryan and Austin from Delay and about 50 other awesome residents. This is a place that you visit and turn green with envy of everything they are accomplishing unless, of course, you are the type who is inspired and encouraged by that kind of scene. I desperately subscribe to the latter. The energy soared as the bands played beginning with the Ground Is Lava who were added as they arrived to enjoy the show and played on borrowed equipment. Steve from the Sidekicks killed it by himself while the rest of the band were held hostage in other parts of Ohio. The twins from Delay formed a 2 piece band called Lightning Yin-Yang to create unprejudiced music amplified through the guitars and drums they play. The result is an energetic and eclectic mix of pop punk, hardcore, and rock & roll. Carefully selected tape samples also enlightened their audience to a number of important topics. Lots of great conversation followed. In the morning we toured the town and ate falafel. I dearly missed this place as soon as we got on the highway.
It's pronounced loo-a-vill Kentucky or something like that. The important thing is that this is a home away from home and I was feeling awfully homesick. Rolling into town presented us with the problem of who to call first. We first located Jake Philly from Mountain Asleep who leaped into our moving 2 week old car and spilled coffee all over himself and the interior. Our show was at Skull Alley which is definitely the coolest venue in this part of the country. Jamie from Bright Skull Records opened this place and has been running it for about 2 years in memory of his younger brother. It has done wonders for a scene that definitely deserves it. This was our third show at the Alley and Wise Blood's first show. They sounded great and their Smashing Pumpkins cover of Zero sounded more like Ink & Dagger song. Mountain Asleep has gained a reputation and seeing them in their hometown was awesome. Rowdy sing-a-longs and crowd surfing were no stranger this room. They also played a number of new songs that were short and super sweet. And afterwards, you know there was pizza and you know there was beer. For the first time at Spinelli's, a local Philly style pizza place, we traded a CD for a pizza which is an offer open to all touring bands. Why did no one tell us this before! Alarm clocks woke us up much earlier than we would've liked from our drunken hibernation so we could make the 7 hour drive back to Pennsylvania.
We arrived in Johnstown just in time to load in and start playing. 709 Railroad is a cool community arts center that open a couple of years ago. Unfortunately we missed most of the bands and our visit was short but it was nice to get out of the car and stretch our legs before the last 3 hour drive home. The town has some creepy vibes and a guy in a gas station parking lot offered me to come "party" with him but I explained that we were on a tight schedule. Then I explained I didn't have 2 dollars for him either. We made it home safe and sadly waved goodbye to our favorite touring vehicle. Tank got some sleep before class and Joe blinked before he hopped on the train to go to work. No matter where our bodies ended up our minds would be elsewhere.
Posted by Algernon S. Cadwallader at 7:32 PM