Oh hai, everybody. We still have tour reports to finish posting, don't we? Hrm, let's get on that...TWO MONTHS AFTER TOUR ENDED. Oops.
IfIHadAHiFi/White Wrench Conservatory “Search for Snufflegus” Tour, Vol. 3
In Athens, OH, photographed by Dixie Jacobs
9.30.08: Andyman’s Treehouse, Columbus, OH w/Lollipop Factory and Swiss Army Mouth
Right about here, on a Tuesday night, the concept of a well-attended rock show pretty much runs out of steam, as it often does when no one in a strange town knows who you are and suckas gotsta work in the AM. Andyman’s is a cute little venue with a friggin’ TREE growing through the room where the bands play, extending upward through the roof. We play with the delightful Swiss Army Mouth and Lollipop Factory--the former an instrumental indie-prog band, the latter a sexy-as-hell two-piece playing crazy 70s proggy pop-rock over a thumping drum beat provided by standing drummer Becca, whose rhythmic stylings make this lonely road-weary drummer a little uncomfortable, if you get what I’m sayin’.
Both our bands play well once again; at this point, I’m feeling pretty confident in our two-band touring rock ’n’ roll juggernaut’s ability to deliver the goods consistently all tour. Unfortunately, on this night we both deliver to essentially the other bands and maybe a half-dozen stragglers curious about the racket. Ah well; the first four shows were so gangbusters that we were due for a minor letdown (which wasn’t much of one, since we were still hanging out with rad out-of-town pals).
10.1.08: The (Bruce) Manor, Athens, OH w/Fleshworld
Ya know, it’s never a good sign when you’re setting up your equipment to open the show, and the residents of the basement that is so graciously hosting you that night exclaim “man, this is the worst show we’ve ever had!” No, they weren’t referring to the quality of the bands, as their madly dancing asses could attest mere minutes later—they were referring to the fact that no one was showing up for this house show. Essentially, our set was played in front of the house residents, but if there’s one thing we learned from reading Get in the Van, it’s that you play your ass off for whoever’s there, because it’s not their fault that no one else showed up. Well, in this case, since these guys were the ones responsible for promoting the damn show, maybe things were a little different, but whatever. Again, we blew suckers away, causing a very large, very awesome dude named Pencil to exclaim, “this guy [Yale Delay] stuffed his entire fist in my mouth and I didn’t bite it off! I liked it that much!”
Fortunately, a modest number of people started trickling downstairs during the WWC set, and they once again ruled it in front of an appreciative, if small, crowd. Have I mentioned that HiFi bassist MrAlarm (aka The Fucking Wizard) has been sitting in on bass for a lot of WWC’s songs this tour? It’s been doing many of their already excellent songs a lot of favors, believe you me.
Anyway, the real story of this night is not the show, it’s the Smiling Skull Saloon, a bar down the street where they were having karaoke that night. DUDES. Karaoke in a city where no one knows you = license to get STUPID. In the words of Slater from WWC: “One of the last things I remember that night before I blacked out was you coming up to me and saying ‘I totally signed us up for “Straight Up” by Paula Abdul.’” The incriminating video has yet to surface on YouTube, but rest assured it exists.
The night ended with a blacked-out Rev.Ever trying to start nut-punching fights with Slater and Thom and constantly getting beaten down by them. The next morning, the Rev. and I were the first ones up, and his first words to me were “why does my knuckle feel like it’s broken?”
10.2.08: The Fire, Philadelphia, PA with NOBODY
Let’s see…the “local band” on the bill for this early “all-ages” show was actually some horrible mallpunk band from Jersey, and they didn’t show anyway, leaving our two bands to play in front of two people (a pair of Dixie’s friends from college) while the rest of the bar watched the Phillies trounce the Brewers in Game 2 of the NLDS. The highlight of this show was when it was over, as we watched Sarah Palin stumble through the VP debates. Give the Fire credit for letting us crash in the office/apartment upstairs, ensuring that nothing would get stolen from our van in the middle of the night, but otherwise, Philly can more or less eat one.
10.3.08: The Basement, Kingston, NY
You want the bad news first? OK, here it is: we chat with the owner of the Basement, a killer hole in the wall in Kingston, NY, about halfway between NYC and Albany. “So, are there any locals on the bill tonight?” “Well, if you want, we can get on the phone and see if we can rustle a local up for you.” Uh, wtf, dude. You know that pretty much defeats the purpose of a local band, right? You know…draw, promotion, that sort of thing? Milwaukee, be thankful we have clubs like the Cactus Club, where the staff bust their ass to put locals on every bill and make sure every show has a chance of doing well.
Still, the good news is that the owner immediately redeemed himself, despite not paying us any money, by saying “you guys drink for free all night.” Oh, you silly man. We’re from Wisconsin. You’d be farther ahead paying us each $100 out of the bar and giving us a couple drink tickets.
After we play a pair of stellar sets (again) and soundly kick the asses of the smallish Friday night crowd (again), we move on to lots of top-shelf whiskey and cases upon cases on Pabst. The bar staff is completely awesome. Dani is a 33-year-old rocker chick who not only holds her own with me in hair metal trivia, but remembers bands I had long forgot, like Sweet FA. Seriously, Sweet FA? We’re completely in love with the Basement and their staff and resolve to make a return trip as soon as is humanly possible. Small crowd, no money, but a great time.
Still, despite the last four nights of less then stellar payouts, we’ve somehow moved enough merch through the first week of tour to feel comfortable springing for a hotel room for our two bands. Do not underestimate the value of doing this once in a while on the road. After a week of floors and couches, a nice cozy hotel room and hotel shower can do wonders toward making you feel like a human being again.
…Even if half the people in the room still have to sleep on the floor. On to Boston!