Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Hot Mess Express Tour: Episode I

Today is Tuesday, November 8th and we have a day off in Fort Collins.  We're a little under halfway through tour at this point, so I though I'd take this opportunity to take a look back at the shows we've played so far.  We wrote a little blurb and a haiku poem for each show.  Enjoy!

10/21:  Fort Collins, Colorado.
In no plausible universe should I be charged with remembering the events of this truly fucking crazy night, let alone describe it to someone who wasn't there.  Alas, here I am.  This pig was probably the best hometown show we've ever had.  I remember doing 5 shots on stage and playing for more than an hour.  The show ended with me crowdsurfing and then falling on the floor during “It's Alive!”  We're calling the tour “The Hot Mess Express,” and this show set the drunken standard. 

hometown show, oh shit
hoggin and chestbumps fer real
the hot mess express

Left to right: Tim, Brian, Joe, C-Love, Garrett, Plastic Jesus, GB

10/23:  Kansas City Missouri
Arrived at the Stache to meet up with Bent Left. Raided their garden and made spaghetti that shamelessly raped all of my tastebuds. Headed over to Buzzard Beach to play the show – hearts were filled with hope that this club would be METAL AAAASSSSS FUUUUCK, but instead of haggard mullets, acne and iron maiden t-shirts from the '91 tour we were met with something more dated and tried – skinheads, adorned in facepaint, trying to unite a bunch of hopeless drunks and induct them into the working class – thank you for reminding me I have no job to go home to. The PBR kept flowing and we were able to stand on our feet for the set.

first show of tour
KC leaves change bright with fall
never drink again

Looking good in Kansas City next to what we're told is the tallest freestanding structure in North America

10/24:  St. Louis, Missouri
After stuffing our faces with what had to be the most unhealthy pizza ever conceived by man (courtesy of Darron from The Haddonfields), we headed to The Heavy Anchor.  Now apparently, there was some sporting event called the world series happening before the show and the St. Louis Cardinals were playing.  The venue had a large projector screen for a backdrop with rows of movie theater seats lining the dance floor.  The sparse but rad crowd of show attendees stood slack-jawed as their hometown team fell to some other team that escapes me right now.  Point is, the Cardinals lost, I was getting drunk and mouthy, and I felt it my absolute duty to talk some shit on stage.  Pretty cool show.  Bent Left and The Haddonfields slayed.  After the show, saucy and stumbling, we made our way to Lemmon's, which is a rad bar a couple blocks from the venue.  I played an acoustic set to a peanut gallery of smart-mouthed drunks, the most hilarious of which was a hippie-type guy who asked repeatedly if I would play Led Zeppelin.  After my initial refusal, I recanted and told him I would play as much of Stairway to Heaven as I could remember if he would cut off his largest dreadlock.  He agreed, and I played the first verse sporting duder's dreadlock held to the side of my head by my glasses, all Canino-esque, to the absolute chagrin of onlookers.  Good times.

Baseball is boring
Why the fuck is the stretch song
God bless 'Merica?


Joe being a Menzingers billboard.  Yuckers.

10/25:  Memphis, Tennessee
Mike from I Hate Punk Rock Records was added to the party after kindly putting us up in what would be a restless night thanks to GB's “BBQ alarm” going off every 10 minutes.  After washing the Tequila stench from our bodies, we headed south toward Memphis.  Stories of great food, blues, and quotes involving Memphis preceded our arrival.  The city did not disappoint.  We had some surprisingly good BBQ tofu sandwiches at a place called RP Tracks, Chris Love had a chicken burrito.  That southern hospitality was beginning to show as we found ourselves in the midst of nicer and bigger people.  The show at Murphey's was a blur of beer, great sets, and very attractive show-goers.  The band, Deal Me In, finished off the night with covers that had us all the more excited for Fest.  Back at their house, a final round of stories and then dreams.

Yeah, we walkin' in Mephis
Cake, darts, and tag-team
Oh!  BBQ bukkake!
(7-5-7 for the backwards south)

This girl at the bottom left is stoked!  Or scared shitless maybe?

10/26:  Houma, Louisiana  
Pasta salad, veggie burgers, and cold beer greeted us in the heavy air of Houma courtesy of Tucker and Todd at the Boxer and the Barrel – a punk rock bar and soon to be American grill seated amongst the rusted fishing boats and pealing brick buildings of a this old gulf town, a refuge for the oil workers and seamen that can't find resolution in the Christian outdoor acoustic shows and eerie late night joggings of downtown. Our set ended heavy with crotch soaked pants and opened stage for Bent Left building camaraderie in a crowd moving speech concluding with “No, we're not educated either.” After the show both bands set course for New Orleans where we then set course for drunk, proudly flaunting our beverages in the air while walking because it's somehow legal there. A stop at a bar called the John acquainted us with a bar tender named Jerky who heavy handedly sent us stumbling on our way through a night followed with assisting folks breaking into a car, trying to break up a really awful domestic dispute, and ruining fellow tourists beignets over a loud breakfast at sunrise.

Ferry horn cuts through
dense wet air and French pastels
oh shit, it's morning.

Mason jars full of vodka weaken Tim's already weak inhibitions in New Orleans

10/27:  Tallahassee, Florida
After waking up sweaty and thoroughly hungover in the half liquid New Orleans heat, we set course along the I-10 for Tallahassee, Florida.  Once there, we got really awesome burritos at some restaurant that probably over-advertised how down they are with pot.  We played with a band called Run, Forever and they ripped pretty hard.  I took a muscle relaxer somewhere between watching Bent Left rock the small show space and watching some girl expel a second self of vomit onto the living room carpet.  By the time our set started, I felt like a flapping piece of rubber.  Pretty neat show, I think?  We left after the show for Gainesville, anxious to see about 5,000 of our closest friends.

Beer and Spanish moss
Falling to the kitchen floor
House shows are the best!

Where did those stupid mouse ears come from?

10/28-10/30:  Gainesville, Florida
THE FEST!  This was our second outing at the fest and my fourth year in attendance.  Enough cannot be said about the magnitude of good times that were had.  We played Friday, which is awesome because it meant that after our set we were free from obligation for the rest of the weekend.  One of the bands that was playing with us at 1982 dropped off the show, leaving all the bands with a 40 minute set time.  We were set to play second.  The first band, Go Rydell, ripped up the stage for 20 minutes and then ended their set.  We were next, and the stage manager asked us if we could play for longer to fill the gaps.  We obliged, and played a rollicking one hour set to a packed house of buddies and soon-to-be-buddies.  It got so crazy for It’s Alive that Garrett just stopped playing drums and crowd surfed on the mass of people who rushed the stage.  One of the best shows we’ve ever played for sure!  Our buddies Steve-o and Rob from The Holy Mess and Garrett from Red City Radio joined us on stage for various songs, which would set the tone for our later weekend shenanigans, which included 3 hotel room shows, getting utterly obliterated drunk with 20 crazy Scots and all kinds of other shit that I’ll never remember.  Truly a weekend for the ages!

Sweat and beer soaked jeans
Scottish made us drink too much
Motherfucking fest!

Kudos to all who weathered our entire hour long set!

10/31:  DAY OFF!
The brisk Gainesville morning greeted our hangovers like commercial jet liners against skyscrapers.  The various hotel rooms/vans that we found ourselves waking in looked like sets from the made for TV version of The Stand.  After a delicious breakfast and goodbyes with all of our closest buddies from Fort Collins, Chicago, and New York, we headed to the Spanish Gamble estate for some rest.  I played a few acoustic songs at our buddies Andy and Sam’s wedding at the No Idea house.  They came from Scotland to be wed there by Franz Nicolay.  Erika from Rvivr played a few songs as well.  After the super short ceremony, we all headed down to Boca Fiesta for lunch.  Another round of goodbyes and we were back to Spanish Gamble’s house to sleep off the FEST-pox, or whatever you want to call it.

No haiku today
My head is packed with gross snot
Shit, I need to sleep

11/1:  Wilmington, North Carolina
When last we were in Wilmington, we played Rad Fest and had a total blast!  We were expecting the town to retain at least some semblance of the spirit we encountered there last year.  Unfortunately, we arrived in town to find that our show had been cancelled without our booking agent or us being informed.  Bummer!  Luckily enough, we were offered to play down the street from The Soapbox at a cool bar called The Whiskey.  We met a lot of cool folks there and played to essentially nobody except our buddy Dylan.  The kindness of Wilmington saved the day!  We headed to Durham that night for what was sure to be a shit show.

Cape Fear’s getting cold
And we don’t have a show now
Oh wait, yeah we do

At least Einstein was there to watch us in Wilmington

11/2:  Durham, NC
We awoke at Jonny’s house in Durham after some much needed sweat-through-sheets-style fever sleeping.  Durham is home of Death To False Hope Records impresario Scotty Sandwich, so we knew we needed rest if we were going to survive the night.  We were playing with The Slow Death and Almost People, who covered an old 10-4 Eleanor song called “I Think I Just Pissed My Parachute Pants.”  Sets were great.  Bellies distended with delicious spaghetti seasoned with Colin from Spanish Gamble’s hot sauce were further bloated by generous waves of vodka and whiskey.  The night ended with Mikey Erg playing wasted kitchen songs to a very insistent punisher.  I passed out in a hallway after being chased out of the bed I claimed by what had to be Pokemon’s own Snorlax.

Scotty gets us drunk
Like so drunk that we can’t play
Then we play anyway

Coolest sound guy of the tour.  The Hessian creeper.

11/3:  Richmond, Virginia
The short drive between Durham and Richmond agreed well with the hazy, writhing pain of a very hungover Thursday.  We arrived in Richmond and spent a few hours at Joe’s aunt’s house, where she fed us delicious brownies.  Before heading to the show at Empire bar, we stopped at Brett from The Riot Before’s seriously swank house for delectable homemade pizzas (mascarpone apple pizza?!  carmelized onion?) and we left well fed and satisfied.  Dude is a seriously good cook.  The show was awesome.  The Arteries tore it up!  Landmines blazed through only a few songs before a PA explosion resulted in the absence of vocals from then on.  They played some Avail covers, which was rad.  After we finished loading out, we drove out to Joe from Smoke or Fire’s house north of downtown, where we enjoyed still more pizza and leftover Halloween candy to the tune of acoustic jams and American Steel records.  Excellent accommodations, even more excellent people!

Over the James again
Everyone here is so nice
Pizza is the best!

C-Love looking just as fine as ever.

11/4:  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
After a lengthy drive through the beautiful autumn tinged hills of Maryland and Pennsylvania, we arrived in the hilly labyrinth of Pittsburgh.  The city is a beautiful, winding topographical nightmare.  We ate at an awesome bike-themed bar that had half-off vegan seitan wings on special.  Bonus!  We headed to 222 Ormsby, where one of our favorite shows of tour took place.  Great sets from Shady Ave, Breakfast, Bridges Burned, and Homeless Gospel Choir set the tone for our set.  Tons of people I have never met were singing along and dancing.  Everything about the show, from the truly awesome venue, to the great local acts, to the crazy fun audience was just absolutely perfect.  After the show at 222, we were asked to play another set across town at a bar called the Rock Room.  We arrived in time to see sets from a killer band from Slovenia called Insane, and rad Pittsburgh punk band Westboro Bastard Chruch.  We played a short 5 song set and said our goodbyes as we set our course for Chicago.

Brickwork tumbles down
Narrow Pittsburgh roadways like
Winding spaghetti

Why the fuck is this Pennsylvania Style lager made in Wisconsin?

11/5:  Chicago, Illinois
As Vanzig’s wheels came to a halt in Andersonville, there was an air of excitement and of worry among us.  Chicago is a second home to us, and we were beside ourselves in excitement to hang with some of our best friends in the country, if for only a day.  The worry came from the anticipation of the impending drunken depravity that would inevitably take place, and how that would bode with our lingering Fest illness.  Caution thrown unashamedly into the wind, we started drinking at 9:30am.  Cans of Old Style seemed a fitting breakfast with our buddies Matt and Rachel at their apartment.  As soon as the clock struck 11, we made haste for Art of Pizza which, for those keeping score, is the best deep dish pizza joint ever.  After gorging ourselves, we headed to Wrigleyville for coffee and hangs at The Gingerman Tavern, where Chris from The Lawrence Arms proceeded to fill every untouched inch of space in our bellies with vodka.  We headed for Pancho’s in a wine-ish swagger that nicely framed the tone of the evening.  The show was spectacular, as it always tends to be in Chicago.  Great sets by Reaganomics, Costanza, and The Big Leagues.  Pancho himself, the proprietor of the bar, joined us on stage for a ripping sax solo at the end of Aphorisms.  Great times!

Chicago finds me
Stumbling and slurring my words
I wish I lived here

Pancho adds some much needed pizzazz to Aphorisms! 

11/6:  Omaha, Nebraska
The last time we were in Omaha, we met a bunch of dudes who dug our band who had all recently passed the bar exam.  After the show we went over to their house and watched episodes of Jeopardy over beers.  We began our stay in Omaha exactly as we left it last time, with the 5 of us huddled around the same TV shouting our answers over one another.  After watching a few episodes, we headed to the venue; a place called The Sandbox.  A really cool DIY spot that The Faint apparently used to practice in.  We met up with Tom from The Menzingers and the dudes from Luther, and we all played energetic sets to a thin but awesome crowd.  We left Omaha that night, anxious to get back home to Fort Collins for a day and a half in our hometown.

We have this bottle
Of gross whiskey we can’t drink
But Tom May steps up

Crazy circle pit in Omaha!

11/7:  Fort Collins, Colorado
Surfside 7 is essentially home to us.  I can’t think of a bar where we feel quite so comfortable.  We played with Otem Rellik, which is a local hip hop artist who does some very rad circuit bending and instrumental stuff with a bevy of random electronic doo dads.  The crowd was very fun and energetic for our set, and it made us feel great about being back home.  Of course, Fort Collins sits at the highest elevation we’ve been at in the past two and a half weeks, so naturally we were all pretty boozed up and sloppy.  Everyone seemed to be having a good time, we got free pizza, and Fort Collins is just as beautiful as ever.  All is right.  I’m going to cherish this one night that I get to sleep in my bed.

I love the mountains
Every time we leave I can't wait
To see them again
(I know that one sucks, but I'm tired)

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