1.) Northeast Extension
Rochester NY 5/25/18
Boston Calling 5/25/18
Harrisburg PA 5/27/18
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ROCHESTER, NEW YORK Montage Music Hall
And we're off. Day one in Rochester! Flower City! The home of the Garbage Plate and Genny Cream Ale, Eastman Kodak and Xerox. Close enough (and cold enough) to hear whats going on in Canada. We haven’t really spent too much time in Rochester and that’s a damn shame. It’s a beautiful place full of great people.
Greg, myself, and Nick Harris took a trip over to the House of Guitars. Nick tours with us as a guitar tech/fireman/stage master/dear friend. He also plays guitar in Slaughter Beach Dog. We were greeted by some very friendly people and shown one of the best collections of vintage amps and guitars I’ve ever seen, certainly the best collection of fender amps. At first glance its a surreal and towering maze-like flea-market but if you look a little closer you realize how incredible the selection really is.
In the back Nick pointed out a newspaper article on the wall, from the Scranton Tribune no less, that was about one of the founders, Armand Schaubroeck. He went to prison as a young man. When he got out him and his brothers, Bruce and Blaine, started the guitar shop at their moms house. They soon moved into a storefront. Armand went on to become a big prison reform advocate running several campaigns to be elected to office on a platform of reforming prisons and lowering recidivism rates. At one point they made a rock opera about the whole thing and were working with Andy Wharhol according to brother Bruce whom we met a little later. “He got shot, and then he was never the same, so we packed it up” he told us. They also started Mirror Records, hold the Guinness book of world record for loudest concert at 123Db AT 50 METERS. Oh, and theres that amp when you first walk in…
The first show of tour is always a trip. Know the feeling when the mushrooms start giving you the yawns and your shoulders feel as grounded as your feet and you think “Oh…that again”? No? No matter how many times we head out I always fail to remember just how great it is to play to a crowd like that. The entire world hits a wall and the room turns into a little reactor with emotions and bodies splitting and smashing and firing off into the walls. Rochester was wonderful and I can not wait to go back.
Food: Garbage Plates
Get Drunk: The Bug Jar
Coffee: Ugly Duck
Listen: Polar Bear Club - Living Saints
BOSTON CALLING CAMBRIDGE MA
The American Outdoor Festival. Its like a European Festival with 1000% more corporate sponsorship and bomb squads and 1000% less public urination, mud, and people that are certainly historically-inaccurately dressed time travelers.
We’ve been fortunate enough to have played many festivals. Boston Calling is now right up there with my favorites. Moving thousands and thousands of people around safely, coordinating massive staging construction and festival infrastructure and dealing with all kinds of sponsors and vendors is no fucking joke. What goes into these things is mind boggling.
These types of organizations seem to work off of a core culture and ethos. You can tell you’re at a great festival when everyone from the runners (ripping around in golf carts and vans all day) to the stage managers and promoters are all kind, calm, and capable.
The novelty of playing in front of thousands of people in a field at 2:00 in the afternoon has not worn off for us. I’ve spent my entire adult life playing in hot, dark night clubs. We’re damn good at it. It’s muscle memory. The festival shows are unpredictable and you’re normally playing to a lot more people with a lot less preparation. It’s exciting, shit can go wrong. It feels like there is more at stake. It feels like there is something to prove and in all reality there is.
Now one of the best parts of playing a festival: The Catering.
An army marches on it’s stomach. To this day some of the best food I’ve ever had in my life was at festival catering. One of my favorite memories was a whole section of fish on warped tour that members of Lucero had caught that morning. Catering also means lounge areas with free stuff from companies that want you to use their shit. Oh…and how could I forget our collective favorite festival back stage amenity? A giant open bar! Or…..giant open bars!
Some of the greatest hangs of my life were back stage at festivals. The touring crew and musician community is rather small and tight-knit so festivals become a place where you get to see some of your closest friends all at once and it’s a giant party with amazing music in the highest energy atmosphere. Boston calling was no exception. Most of our girlfriends were able to make it out as well as our manager Tim Zahodski and booking agent Phil Battiato. Those guys have done more for us than I can do them justice here.
Some of the highlights were St. Vincent, Tyler the Creator, Tony Hinchcliffe, and oysters.
By the end of the night we were driving down the highway and everyone was asleep accept the four band members blasting and slurring along to Hot Water Music and American Steel.
Get Drunk: Some guy spilled an entire glass of red wine on my white t-shirt
Coffee: Sustenance from a giant coffee buffalo at catering
HARRISBURG, PA H.M.A.C. (House of Music, Arts, & Culture)
As you can imagine we woke up feeling a little… raw.
We hadn’t played Harrisburg in 9 years. We played The Championship with Cobra Skulls and The Sidekicks in 2009. The only times I’ve been to Harrisburg since then have been pit stops to Neato Burrito to break up the drives from State College.
We were in the Midtown section. It’s a Pennsylvania city for sure. The way its hugged between the hazy PA-mountain/valley sky creeping-tree-filled mountains next to the enormous blue-grey Susquehanna says “Pennsylvania Template”. It looks like Scranton or Allentown or any hundreds of X-burgs and Y-ville PAs except the architecture is much more stately and lot less “we made very specific rivets for one massive company for 40 years then closed”. I was impressed frankly.
We were able to swing through Millworks for some food which is a farm to table multi-floored place with art galleries and a brewery. A nice place for sure. After that we caught wind of an arts festival by the river. Lots of people that looked like your boyfriend’s aunt from New Mexico selling glass orbs and artisan brooms. Really though it was a beautiful festival along the river. Right place at the right time.
Now HMAC is a cool fucking place. Its a multi-roomed bar/restaurant/venue/art gallery located in what was a Jewish Community Center back in the twenties. They performed Hedwig and the Angry Inch on our stage the night before. Belly Dancers filed in at the same time as show-goers for a lesson upstairs, grabbing their outfits from a rack outside. The vibes were great.
One of the owners, John (maybe Jon?) took me down into the basement to show me what their working on. It was filled with paintings and sculptures and obscure furniture. In the middle room was a giant abandoned pool from earlier last century. They are the kind of pools made completely of small white tiles with the depths written along the edges in black tiles. An abandoned pool in the basement of an abounded old building is inherently creepy. It was reminiscent of an old Resident Evil game. Having a giant tiled and rounded pit in the floor of a concrete room with high ceilings makes every sound eerie. There are bizarre new echoes, unsettling and unfamiliar. At the same time it was kind of calming. After the show some friends from back home came down with me and we creeped around for a little while.
We only had two bands on the show, Us and Don’t Sleep. They killed it. Check them out. This won’t be the last time you read about them. It’s always lovely when a good band are full of nice people too.
The show itself went off without a hitch. It felt damn good to be back in a room that size with so many familiar faces in the crowd. We’re back.
It’s going to be a great summer.
Get Drunk: Don’t know, but go to HMAC and hang out there
Coffee: Little Amps
Listen: Don’t Sleep
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