tour diary 1
a tasty baker’s dozen shows / 7000 miles (6/16/06-7/3/06)
day 1: portland to bozeman
our first drive was a doozy. we discussed nicknames for our new van and settled on ‘my little friend’. benjy looked semi-amused navigating MLF through the big pass of western monatana. yes–the state is aptly named. some love to the good people of bozeman: thanks for the hospitality. we got a place to stay, some random free food walking through downtown, and a lil’ shot of whiskey complements of david. also- chuck, who runs a mean board at the zebra cocktail lounge, provided us with a great recording of the show.
day 2: bozeman to billings
played with 1090 club and aida. the people were very gracious to us and the bands basically gave us all of the money from the show. crashed at sean’s (of 1090) and got a few hours of sleep before the st paul drive.
megan of 1090 club
this was the second longest drive of the tour. we left billings at 5am, almost hit a deer, and set the van on autopilot for the hauntingly straight flatness of north dakota. beautiful place. top notch rest stops. st paul is gritty and friendly as all get out. also, our fav accent of the entire tour was the thick st. paul. we hung out at the show with mr gears and soaked in several pints and the sights of drunk old timers at the bar heckling bands and grooving on the young ladies. big V’s is a really good dive bar.
day 4: st paul to chicago (travel day)
our chicago show fell through, but that didn’t stop us from having a great time in the windy city. thanks to our pal Dak and his 2 roomates we had a sweet place to stay in bucktown. have you been there? a few prominent spots from ‘high fidelity’ are in the neighborhood. we got to walk around and sample what people at nick’s are listening to on the juke box. journey. yes- journey. having only seen a little bit of it only makes us want to come back every month. chicago is amazing. it’s the freaking capital of the midwest.
day 5: chicago to kent/OH
interesting lil’ college town. interesting lil’ crowd. lots of fun. thanks to the crew who drove from toledo (emily and co.). after we arrived we walked around to tell people about the show and I handed out a couple discs—I dropped one with the record store across the street and one with a group of tuffies down at the tattoo shop. on returning from our bad dinner at kent’s ‘good’ mexican cafe, we discovered someone had sharpied and stuck a bedm sticker to the club: “boy eats dick machine. emos suck nuts”. hahahah. we weren’t so sure what to think after that. the girl who works at the tattoo place ended up making us flyers and bringing out friends. these were some cool people and despite some weirdness the show ended up being terrific.
day 6: kent/OH to washington DC
black cat is a great club. and they gave us free food after the show. DC related items we discussed: what’s the deal with ‘chevy chase’ ave.? did the cosby’s live in DC as I thought? the answers: the famous actor changed his name—landmarks in DC aren’t named after him. secondly, the cosby’s lived in brooklyn (time for me to brush up on my 80′s sitcoms…). we did our thing for a crowd of perfectly still indie scenesters. noboby moved a tad and to be honest it made us quite nervous as we are used to people dancing and/or clapping and/or showing some sign of life. after the show people said ‘good job’ whilst exiting, which was a relief- to be honest. it all reminded me of petting a cat. you first must win it’s hard fought trust then it opens up to you and allows you to touch it—ever so softly. I love cats. benjy and peter are dog people, however.
day 7: DC to chestertown/MD
saw some DC sites, including the vietnam memorial, which is the greatest work of art I have ever witnessed. travelled up to the beautiful peninsula in maryland. fun show at andy’s. there is a cool small scene in chestertown—definately some savvy types playing music into the whee hours. we got to crash on a 100 acre organic farm. our new friend and host, ben, plays in chester river runoff, an indie bluegrass group with sweet grit. we slept comfortably in a converted barn along the chester river. and there was coffee in the morning. ben: “you should check yourself for ticks before you take off.” and we did.
day 8: MD to nyc
after someone asked me for “the coolest thing” I did on tour I thought about it and quickly ansered: “I drove safely through the middle of chinatown”. seriously. if you can drive in new york you can drive anywhere (even greece or mexico). new york is overwhelming at first. it’s just so damn huge and there’s a density of people I’ve never seen before. not even at disneyland. we played a show at sin-e in lower east manhattan with the world’s greatest bartender(!) and stayed in brooklyn with friends. fantastic show. the merch muse was in attendance and helped us sell some things. and a heavy metal guy from a ‘rockin’ new jersey act looked me square in the eye before nonchalantly setting some trash onto our merch table. what a stud. we were a bit out of place. we were a little overwhelmed. we had a great time.
day 9: nyc to northampton/MA
saw some sights in manhattan, including art at the MET, with the van gogh exhibit leaving peter and benjy speechless and out of breath. they’ve studied art. we drove up into beautiful western mass into downtown northampton, a town with an interesting mix of hard working natives and fancy pants colleges. gallery tk was fun overall. we walked around and told people about the show. a few peeps actually said “you’re playing WHERE?”. we standing in front of the club:) our new pal jillian let us crash with her and left us with a lil’ fridge stocked with beer and soda. nice. thank you, jillian.
day 10: MA to philly (travel day)
hung out at (r)evolution near northampton, which is run by star drooker, an awesome vegan food slinger, photographic artist, and musical poet. drove down to NJ and crashed at an air force base(!). 25 dollars—fancy accomodations. can’t beat that.
day 11: philly to richmond/VA (travel day)
got soggy and saw some sights in philly. yes- peter and myself had cheesesteaks at gino’s. not bad. not great. we also ate afghan food by the waterfront. much better. philly is amazing with it’s cracked bells and irish memorials. saw the original ‘the thinker’ statue by rodin, which was incredible from every angle.
day 12: VA to chapel hill/NC
we hung out in richmond a little, which is both the ‘birthplace of african american capitalism’ and the former capital of the confederation. black history museum is great. did you know edgar allen poe is a son of richmond? great museum in his honor. drive to chapel hill through the beautiful forests of NC. show at wetlands with lactose quervo. good times had by everyone in attendance.
day 13: NC to johnson city/TN
the hideaway is a great venue for seeing a band and we were most fortunate to be witness to the sweet ambiance of jc’s panzer. we had another friend to crash with, this time tim and his beautiful family. we watched the NBA draft before going down to the club and were a little miffed the blazers didn’t get ‘the stache’—but they did score some promising picks all the same (roy was my fav from the beginning, ya’ll!). johnson city is pretty sweet—the kind of place you know you’ll see again someday, hoping for it to be soon.
day 14/15: TN to omaha/NE
after staying a night in indiana (our show fell through) we drove to nebraska and finally got to see some of the culture of america’s indie rock capital. at least that’s how I like to view omaha. no lie—I found a great town with people who are into music and living large with friends. also, I dove for vinyl at a few stores and pulled in a nice haul of strange and interesting records. thanks to megan and oliver of landing on the moon for taking us in. they are a terrific band—check them out if they come to your town.
landing on the moon (oleaver’s)
adam weaver and the ghosts (oleaver’s)
day 16: omaha to des moines
our final show on tour turned out better then we could have imagined—with the aid of some kind press and a bar people enjoy hanging out at we had an incredibly fun show. I dug out a few acoustic numbers: intro A, supposed to love, indie rock killer. I would also like to say des moines has great bugs—lightening ones and big moths and beatles. I should know— I’m a junior entomologist. we left for salt lake city right after the show. GT sent us with the good will of des moines, which seems filled of cool no-nonsense people, and a trio of cans of red bull. mmmmmm. tastes like squished grape smarties in a can of cherry shasta. many thanks.
day 17/18: the drive home
as I alluded to in a previous entry, the midwest is an incredibly haunting collection of open spaces. we were all happy to be in a vehicle moving west and the 15hr and 12hr drives went down smoothly. I took a couple 6 hour driving shifts and did alot of thinking about the next batch of songs. benjy and I talked from des moines (12am) to the edge of nebraska (6am) and were witness to a sky flashing of jagged lightening. no music. just the lights. my next drive was from salt lake city to the oregon border (5am-11am)—again- no music—I did alot of humming and thinking about the songs, story and words for the next disc. it’s thematic. it tells a story and involves the open spaces of the west and mid west. we were stoked to reach portland at 5pm and took a quick trip to burrito loco on 82nd ave and quite thankful to get back to eating right. appropriately, our tour officially ended at the very spot bedm was formed some 10 months ago. and we were eating well. now that’s the important thing…
Quarky indie rock in the vein of Barsuk Records (think John Vanderslice) gets a 10-count pin-down on the electropop dancefloor. a juicy mÃ©lange
Poison control officials discover faint traces of Portishead, the Strokes, Peter Gabriel. Amazingly, nobody hurt.
-chris richards / washington post (6/14)