Monday, November 21, 2011

The Hot Mess Express Tour: Episode III

11/15: The Lament of Vanzig. San Francisco, California.
We awoke inside the smelly confines of Vanzig to a barely foggy and beautiful San Francisco morning. The communal mood of the band: hungover. We wandered the streets like too-far-gone Alzheimers sufferers until we found the nearest coffee shop. Later en route to meet our buddy Trevor in Chinatown, we noticed that Vanzig was making some awful noise whenever we braked. We took the van to a shop where we were informed that the rear brakes and differential were essentially kaput. An $800 dollar bummer. The mechanics at the shop were dicks in that totally rad way, where they give you shit about how awful your musical tastes/haircuts are, but they are actually completely reasonable. They said they would have the van ready the next morning, in time to make our show in Bakersfield. Good dudes, those dudes! Anyhow, we took the bus from the shop to an awesome, but creepily taxidermy-adorned bar called The Buckshot where we met Andy and Jay Nothington once more and began work on the sequel to last night's drunken blockbuster. Did I mention we hadn't eaten anything all day? So yeah, we got really drunk again. We stayed at new-buddy Sean's house after a night filled with the drunken revelry and whimsical romance that San Francisco seems to afford us.

Do we need rear brakes?
It seems like we don't use them.
Can't we just tape it?

11/16: Bakersfield, California
Excited to reach the outskirts of the much anticipated home town of Korn, we rolled along lengthy strips of neon lights and car parts retailers only to arrive at a venue tailored perfectly for us – an Italian restaurant named Sandrini's. Here we finally got what we deserved – zesty roma pesto pizzas and a selection of locally crafted beers. I chose the Belgian wheat (my personal favorite) that was delightfully served to us by a waiter that warmed the room with his smile. After our meal at this Sicilian palace we took to the stage where Bakersfield locals poured through the double doors and cascaded down the stairs complete with dazzling dresses and heals accompanied by slicked back hair and polo shirts. The audience sat in awe at our performance hanging on to every note; so moved and astounded by our musical prowess, most had to sit in the back in order to keep distance from what would surely result in tears. After each of our songs the audience, weak in the wrists from a near total collapse of bodily control, only gave a small smattering of applause. As we walked off stage the audience graced us with few compliments – obviously timid of our mind blowing performance that altered the very fabric of the golden paved, meth-free, and most musically inclined city in the world - Bakersfield, California.

This one time I went
to a Korn concert when young
Oh. Now I get it.

In-N-Out Burger.  Bittersweet grossness/awesomeness.

11/17: Los Angeles, California
After a comfortable night's rest at Matt's house in Bakersfield, we set our sights on the massive, sprawling urban bustle of Los Angeles. Before we left though, we needed to participate in a California rite of passage. I speak of course of In-n-Out Burger, where we weak-assed vegetarians enjoyed animal style fries and grilled cheese sandwiches while GB inhaled his cheeseburger with an efficiency that can only be aptly described as Wilford Brimley-esque. Mustaches encrusted with special sauce, we headed for Los Angeles. Our first stop was Venice beach, where exotic white guys The Outsiders were beside themselves in excitement to jump into the frigid waters of an overcast pacific shoreline. After watching the admirably encouraged but woefully misguided kiwis freeze their dongs off, we meandered about the totally unimpressive and hippy-stricken Venice boardwalk for a minute before heading to Neil from The Bombpops' house. There, we killed a quick case of PBR and three plates of delectable nachos before heading downtown to The Redwood for the show. The Redwood is a dimly lit, pirate-themed bar in the heart of LA's financial district. Pretty cool. Local dudes Benzene and Hands Like Bricks played solid sets, as did The Outsiders. Just before the show started, we went down to a CVS around the corner from the venue and bought about 3 gallons of various discount wine. By the time we had to play, I was a total class act. Our set went alright. About halfway through the set we were bought shots of Bushmills, which helped things on their way. The show ended well, I played a few acoustic songs in the van, and drank the rest of a 4 liter jug of wine before just totally blacking out on Kyle from Hands Like Bricks' couch.

Motherfuck this traffic
Let's go back to Venice beach
Sublime henna tats!

Kiwi dinguses Stu and Kitt attempt to swim back home.

11/18: San Diego, California
I'm just going to start this entry with a note of appreciation for the people at Bar Eleven, who must have realized at some point that drink tickets that only count for PBR or well cocktails are bullshit. These people gave us drink tickets that counted for absolutely anything at the bar. This is a great move on your behalf, guys. After some beers and hangs at Dylan from The Bombpop's abode and some seriously unfuckwithable burritos at La Casita's, we headed to the bar. I had a large glass of nice scotch and a massive grey goose and red bull while watching what was definitely my favorite lineup of bands on the tour thus far. The Getdown played a really awesome blend of Off With Their Heads and Propagandhi-esque punk rock that ruled hard. The Outsiders and us were greeted by friendly and energetic crowds that made for great sets. Madison Bloodbath closed out the night in style with their Dillinger Four/Jawbreaker styled punk. It was a very fun show. The next morning, we met up with the very friendly Davey Tiltwheel, who took us to a vegan mexican restaurant called Rancho's for a burrito experience that was mind-destroying. The vegan surf-n-turf burrito that Garrett, Joe and I ordered was among the best we've ever had. I've got a food boner just thinking about it.

Burrito's galore?
Awesome bands and nice liquor?
There must be a god.

Totally rad flyer for the San Diego show.

11/19: Tijuana, Mexico
Lightning tore the dark red sky of Tijuana touching down atop the pinnacles of evil cartel shanty castles that loomed over pharmaceutical shacks and donkey shows. As we crossed the border carrying only minimal gear one decrepit old Mexican with no teeth laughed maniacally while warning us of our impending doom “Eheheheehe, this city is no place for white boys like you! Eheheheheh!” Shivers ran deep in our spines as we cautiously emerged onto the streets – vicious cock fights in the middle of what once were streets, people keeping warm around flipped and burning school buses still full of children, cops huddled around and eating the entrails of the scavenged now cooked children of the said school bus. We set to walking to try and meet our promoter but were quickly recognized as the only white people in all of TJ. An abrupt frozen silence fell over the surrounding area as the dirty, eyeless, and mostly naked people sharply turned in our direction. The grunting instantly became deafening as we ran to avoid the wave of rabid Tijauanins. We darted through the needle strewn dirt streets chased by the creatures waving swords over their heads yelling “behead the gringos!” but our gear weighed us down so we had to trip Joe. Joe let out a deathly shriek as they grabbed a hold of his body, tore him open, and stuffed him full of cocaine. This only gave us a little bit of time but fortunately we had run all the way to the venue, which was a cave, so we had to do the only thing we know how to do – rock. We quickly set up our gear and began to play. The rabble was stunned by our slick riffs and impressive drum fills as they collapsed and exploded one by one. We barely escaped with our lives.

Just kidding. Tijuana was awesome and had some of the nicest and most helpful people we ever met. Both boarders took minutes to get through and we didn't have any of our gear searched. The craziest thing we did was sing karaoke at a bar and semi-accidentally eat pork rinds. $1 chile rellenos street tacos were a great compliment to all the $3 40oz mugs of Modelo. The show was in a freshly painted to be coffee shop and put on by a rad dude named Rene. Check out a band called DFMK. For any band or person out there debating the validity of the hearsay regarding Tijuana – people are idiots. Don't skip it!

bright hillside painted
with colorful sheets drying
in warm taco breeze.

Joe, GB, and Garrett stroll across the border into Mexico, rock devices in hand.

This was the opening band.  I believe they are called Radio Bastard.  Yunguns!

11/20:  Mesa, Arizona
Upon the realization that Mesa is in the mountain time zone and not the Pacific, we were roused from slumber at Dylan Bombpop's compound into a frenzy of "Oh Shit" style hustle.  We made haste across the arid landscape of eastern California and western Arizona.  Eventually arriving at The Nile Underground, we played to a thin but awesome crowd alongside rippers Come On Die Young and Bear Awesome.  We were treated exquisitely by the promoter Tim, the bands, and the surprisingly existent group of AZ Elway fans.  Among them was a strapping young lad named Chris, who allowed us lodging at his large and comfortable college party house in notoriously chlamydia-ridden Tempe.  He and his roommates had a party the night before, and the house was stocked to the ceilings with nice beer and liquor.  We got Arizona State fucked up (apparently several tiers above the meager intoxication levels of Colorado State) and did what naturally ought to have come next:  We got into the VIP section at the finish line of the Phoenix Iron Man competition.  We arrived in time for the final hour's worth of victors to arrive after a staggering 2 mile swim, 120 mile bike ride, and 27 mile run.  Professional jocks finished hours ago, what we were witnessing were the average Joes and Janes' triumph over what would certainly kill the shit out of me.  Highlights include:  Watching a woman with an artificial leg finish the race, watch another woman make it across the finish line with only 3 seconds to spare before the disqualifying 16 hour time limit, getting free beer, getting free wine, getting free chips and salsa, and getting free churros.  We returned to Chris' house and promptly and uniformly collapsed like it was the plan, all WTC7 style.

Nile basement ruled
I drank probably fifteen drinks
I'm an Iron Man!

Elway <3 sports!

 A sumptuous playground that leads to hangover city.

Pumpkin spice liqueur and whipped cream vodka.  Don't you dare hate! 
Go random lady, go!!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Hot Mess Express Tour: Episode II

11/9:  Missoula, Montana.
We started the brutal 13 hour journey to Missoula from Fort Collins at about 11pm on the 8th.  The wickedly cold temperature, close calls with deer and coyotes, and scary infrequency of gas stations along the Wyoming I-25 corridor all seemed somehow worth it as the sun came up over what has to be one of the most beautiful parts of this country.  A staggering, angular congregation of granite giants aptly called The Crazy Mountains jutted out of the Montana prairie as we made our way across the I-90.  We arrived in Missoula at 1pm and spent the next five or six hours exploring the small mountain college town.  We ate at a totally decent taco shop, scoped out a cool record store, climbed a mountain that overlooked the city, and did a small bit of video poker gambling.  The show took place in a screen print shop turned DIY space called Zoo City Apparel, and turned out pretty cool.  We were extra stoked for the show when we found out that we'd be playing with In Defence, who naturally didn't disappoint with their short and hilarious set that included a circle pit in the neighboring porn shop.  After show drinks took place at The Golden Rose, where we were told that in Seattle there's a vegetarian restaurant called In The Bowl that bests our current fav The Grasshopper in Allston, Massachusetts.  We shall see!

You simply can't have
Too many taco options
So quit complaining

We Coloradoans easily summited the meager peaks of Missoula.  JK, that shit was HARD.  GB is not pictured, he's at one of the bars down there in the background.

11/10: Seattle, Washington.
The drive through Eastern Washington had an unfortunate similarity to the drive through Kansas in it's mostly featureless wheat fields. Unlike Kansas though, the droll landscape in Eastern Washington gives way to some seriously gorgeous mountain vistas that made pleasant the long drive to Seattle. Once we arrived in the city, we drove straight to the capital hill district's In The Bowl, the vegetarian restaurant aforementioned in the Missoula entry. While it was a totally decent restaurant featuring convincing and flavorful meat substitutes, it certainly isn't better than our reigning champion The Grasshopper. The show was at a rad little bar called The Galway Arms. Local bands Ol Doris and Random Orbits both seriously shredded through their sets. Our set was pretty rad as well. We made a bunch of friends and drank tons of Olympia and Fireball whiskey. We crashed in Ol Doris' practice space on maybe the most comfortable mattresses ever made by human hands.

Fireball whiskey
and ginger ale with a dash
of bitters. Hooray!

 Who better to guide us through the hilly enigmatic gridwork of Seattle than Jesus?  Probably just about anyone...

Tour soup:  1 part oriental flavored Ramen coupled with 1 part canned vegetable soup.  Enjoy!

!!!11/11/11!!! Portland, Oregon.
Veteran's day in Portland brought more excitement than just free downtown parking. Tim, armed with an acoustic guitar and a knack for verbose blasphemy, soared over the airwaves of PSU's radio station and won the hearts of dozens. In the meantime, the remainder of Elway made a run across the river and conquered a bakers dozen of Voodoo Doughnuts. Not to be slowed by countless calories, Joe ripped it up (got in the way) at the world famous Burnside Skatepark. How could any day be better? Add booze and video games at Ground Kontrol, that's how! After defeating X-men, securing Area-51, and with a few Ms. Pacman high scores in tow we headed to our show at Fuckette's/Jurassic Park. The small, dirty living room was packed with kids eager to crowd surf, sing along, and dance. The show was testament to the energy, excitement, and inclusivity that DIY house shows bring to punk rock.

Portland is a town
Of unfuckwithable charm
And great vegan food

 As far as I'm concerned, if someone's crowdsurfing in a living room, you're doing it right.
Just imagine the smell!  It's a little like what I imagine the sewers in Friday the 13th part IV smelled like.

11/12: Berkeley, California
After a long day's drive down the I-5 through Oregon and northern California, we arrived in the bay area just in time for some hyper-shitty traffic.  All the same, the seas of tail-light red and the trammels of rush hour traffic couldn't derail our excitement to play at the legendary 924 Gilman.  Before we loaded into the venue, we ate at a truly amazing vegan soul-food restaurant called Souli Vegan.  Highly recommended!  Our buddies/label-mates/former label-mates Cobra Skulls and Nothington were playing across the bay at Thee Parkside, which left us with little hope for a decent crowd, but by the time we kicked off our set, there was a pleasant and sizable crowd of about 60.  We played on the floor in front of the stage and, after ironing out some microphone-related kinks, had a great time!  Great sets from Bastards of Young, Only an Island, and Build us Airplanes made for a really fun night. Super special thanks to Danielle for putting the show on!

Better than Green Day
Here longer than Op Ivy
Still somehow shitty

Demon eyed crowd attendees and a floating orb, perhaps the ghost of Jessie Michaels.  Oh wait, that dude is still alive?
We were the first band that a couple of Australians had ever seen at Gilman, that sits right with me somehow.

11/13:  Sacramento, California
After waking up to a delicious apple pancake breakfast and hanging out at a neat little flea market in Berkeley, we headed towards Sacramento.  The show was at a place called Luigi's, and was totally deece.  Free pizza, free beer, great sets from local heartthrobs Bastards of Young, a road-ragged The Outsiders, and especially Dead Dads, who put on a hell of a show for only being around a few weeks.  We got pre-show drunk with a couple of real nice folks named Dennis and Erin, who provided us with a flask of whiskey, all cloak and dagger style.  We were given even more pizza after the show, as we retreated to the Bastards' estate for some much needed drunken sleep.

Secret whiskey flask
Made for what I assume was
Our best show ever

Garrett Carr:  Working hard at hardly working hardly hard... work?

11/14:  Day off in San Francisco, California
To say merely that this day entailed getting astronomically fucked up would be the understatement of the year.  We arrived in San Francisco and hung out at Baker Beach for a short while before heading to our new buddy Andy's place to meet up with Jay Nothington.  The ensuing drink-a-thon carried on all through the evening until our stammering animated corpses for bodies found the comfort of Vanzig's sleeping quarters.  Andy's band does an acoustic night at a bar called Club Deluxe, just a half block from the intersection of Haight and Ashbury, and they were kind enough to let us play a couple of drunken songs.  Among the (very) few who were in attendance to see the shit show were a nice couple of folks named Jay and Shantay, who are opening a microbrewery called Pine Street in San Francisco.  Enough can never be said about just how awesome these people are.  We were wined, dined, chatted up, and all around made incredibly happy.  The night ended in what can only be described as a fog of stumbling, drunken lunacy.  Even as I write this, I feel like I might either throw up or... worse.

This is Asian Scotch?
Doesn't that mean it's not Scotch?
I really like Scotch.

GB tantalizes all the senses from this sexy East Bay perch.

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)