Friday, November 13, 2009

DYSRHYTHMIA Fall Tour 2009 Recap

(photo: Jeff Eber)

Greetings. Below; my brief impressions of each show during the Dysrhythmia "Culinary Maps 2009" Fall tour. In addition; accompanying visuals mostly taken by myself (click on the photos to view them larger). Credit is given under pictures taken by others. As usual I am recalling this all from the depths of memory. - Kevin Hufnagel

Wed. Sept 30 Philadelphia, PA Kung Fu Necktie
First day of tour and we're already running late to the Philly show as Colin was having issues with his bass guitar. He's really put that thing through Hell since joining this band. We ended up lucking out and finding a music store near the venue (DiPinto Guitars) right as they were about to close. Problem solved. It's always enjoyable to start in Philly; our old home base. Many of our friends still live there, including the two other bands (
Knife the Glitter, and Satanized) we were sharing the bill with tonight. Alex Nagle (Satanized) in particular is a longtime friend of mine and his old band xthoughtstreamsx did a split 10" with Dysrhythmia back in 2001. He's one of the most forward-thinking guitarists I know. Playing tonight felt a bit rusty... not a surprise since we hadn't performed live in months. In addition, I am using an entirely different guitar rig this time out and my sound isn't quite there yet. We slept at Colin's parents house and in the early afternoon went to Monk's Cafe for an amazing lunch and some fancy Belgian beers. I also got up super early beforehand and walked around Philly; visiting the various neighborhoods I had lived in from 1994 through 2005. I still can't believe Taco House is gone.

Basement storage area of Kung Fu Necktie

Satanized summon Satan

Alex Nagle (R) and the infamous "Party Steve" (L)

Thurs. Oct 1 New Brunswick, NJ Jackie One
My buddy Ron from the band
So Is the Tongue helped set up this show last minute, on Rutgers campus. It was basically a house party, which nine times out of ten are more fun to play than standard bar shows. For this tour Dysrhythmia has printed up t-shirts listing the itinerary on the back, but instead of the venue names next to each city and date, we put the names of all the restaurants we were going to eat at. Since we've never been to New Brunswick before, we took a recommendation to try what the locals refer to as the "Greece trucks" or "grease trucks". At around 1am, Dysrhythmia and most of the other bands that played tonight (Biclops, A Fucking Elephant, So is the Tongue) journeyed on down to where these trucks park and serve what they call "fat sandwiches". In particular I tried what they call a "Fat Daryl"; a sandwich stuffed with fried chicken fingers, fried cheese sticks, french fries, marinara sauce, and other stuff. I felt proud to say I tried it once, I suppose. Upon looking around me at the swarms of college kids lined up in front of these trucks, I got the impression these sandwiches must be part of their regular diet. God help them. After that adventure we drove back to Philly again and enjoyed breakfast the next morning at a place called Honey's Sit 'n Eat. It was there that I ended up having the best Huevos Racheros of the entire tour (From here on out I ordered Huevos Racheros at every opportunity I got, in a quest to see which city would have the best.)

NJ house party

Fri. Oct 2 Baltimore, MD The Talking Head
Stopped in Catonsville, a small town just outside of Baltimore. This is where I lived from birth until 2nd grade. Not much has changed since then. It's actually a very cool little place. There are four guitar shops within a two block radius here. I walked by the old house and envisioned myself as a youngster again running around the driveway collecting bugs; like I used to do. Picked up some tasty Indian food at Indian Delight before driving over to Talking Head. Tonight we were hooking up with our buddies Hex Machine (who would be joining us for the next three shows in a row), and The Wayward; two fantastic bands I recommend you lend an ear to and especially an eye to when they come to your town. Scott from Hex Machine and I discovered we shared a mutual love for early 80's goth and experimental industrial music. I don't know enough people I can talk to about stuff like that. Anyway, both bands killed it as usual and the crowd tonight seemed to enjoy every band equally. That always makes me feel good. I can't stand cliquey crowds.

Trevor of Hex Machine (wears his sunglasses at night)

The Wayward, destroying young minds and ears with pure individuality

Sat. Oct 3 Richmond, VA Plaza Bowl
After the B-more show we drove to northern VA to stay at my parents house. Since we didn't have a long drive the next day; Colin slept until 4pm, Jeff and my Mom played wii, and I went for a run. We got into Richmond with just enough time to eat first (at a Thai place called Spicy Bangkok, where we actually overheard people asking for their dishes to made "non-spicy") and to check out Plan 9 Records. It's sad to see all these hip, old-school record shops doing so poorly these days. In the rear of the store were piles upon piles of NME (New Musical Express) and Melody Maker back issues dating from the early 90's. I occupied myself with those for quite awhile, as they made me nostalgic for the days of bands like Slowdive, Ride, Lush, Curve, and all those dreamy UK pop bands I still adore. The show tonight had been moved three times, so I wasn't sure who was still gonna come out. The venue it ended up being at was a bowling alley on the outskirts of Richmond. The intense, flashing neon color scheme was quiet a shock to the senses upon entering... I then proceeded to crush my cell phone under Colin's amp by accident as we loaded in our gear. Not a huge turnout but a totally fun show. It was sweet to see my old and dear friend Karen there as always. We got to get some duckpin bowling in before playing. The opening act tonight was a man by the name of Frankzig, who played some exotic flamenco guitar. We crashed with the always hospitable Greta (she of 80's hardcore band Unseen Force) at her house afterwords.

Jeff vs. Mrs. Hufnagel wii tennis match

Karen!

Bowling shoes of illumination

Frankzig

Trevor, with a different pair of shades each night

Hex Machine not takin' any shit

A hair raising performance (photo: Steve Herndon)

Might as well jump (photo: Steve Herndon)

Sun. Oct 4 Raleigh, NC Volume 11 Tavern
Greta took us to a great breakfast spot called The Black Sheep. The Huevos Racheros was really delicious here as well but perhaps just a bit too customized (It was served with cheese grits, queso blanco, mole verde, pineapple salsa, jalapeno sour cream, and buttered toast. Whew!). Afterwords we headed down to Raleigh. North Carolina has never been a good state for us. We've played around 15 different towns and cities in NC over the years but never Raleigh until tonight. The venue we were playing, Volume 11, is a huge rock club and here we were on a Sunday night. Honestly, our expectations were low. We were pleasantly surprised when the show actually ended up being a success. I was psyched as always to see my childhood friend Joshua and his wife Rachel. They never miss a show any time we're in the area. Also played with some cool bands including The Kickass, and a band called Spirit Molecule (their bassist put on a memorable show for Dysrhythmia in an apartment complex laundromat in 2001). This was also the last night of our brief run of shows with Hex Machine. We'll miss those dudes for sure and look forward to jammin' with them again. After the set I got to chat a bit with some of the guys from the bands Confessor, and Loincloth. Quite cool since I am such a big fan of their work. Very nice guys too. It started to rain tonight. The rain would continue to follow us from here on out for almost the entire tour, except for the southwest and CA, and final 2 shows. Crashed at Motel 6 and watched some VH1 Classic.

Breakfast @ The Black Sheep

Greta starts the van...

...Colin and Jeff fear for their lives (j/k)

Soundcheck @ Volume 11

Ghosts abound

They could've taken this down for our show

My friend Josh (R) with Shawn (ex-Confessor/Loincloth)

Tannon (Loincloth) tells Colin how it is

I found a friend in the parking lot, and saved him from being squished (photo: Colin Marston)

Mon. Oct 5 Atlanta, GA Drunken Unicorn
Ate at El Dorado (Huevos Racheros, what else?) in Raleigh before heading out. On the way we stopped at a Peach Farm stand and stocked up on various Peach-flavored items including ice cream, hot sauce, jams, and more. We didn't have much time to do anything once we got to Atlanta other than to load directly in and remain at the venue until it was time to perform. We played with two other instrumental bands tonight (Vegan Coke, and 13 Day Mission) and would continue to play with many more throughout the tour. It's kind of great how many more instrumental acts there are out there now compared to even just 4 or 5 years ago. No longer are we the perpetually out-of-place band on every bill. However, in reality, our kind of instrumental rock does not bring out the masses and tonight's crowd was sort of slim. Jarboe ventured out to see us and graciously hosted us at her mysterious abode. Once inside I felt as if I had entered a museum of sorts; there were so many strange and beautiful things to look at on the walls. She showed us some old live photos of Swans and we all told stories of touring, music industry frustrations, and struggles. I greatly admire her strength, persistence and determination, and consider her a personal inspiration.

Peach-infused mania

Wicked awesome

Jarboe shows us around




Tues. Oct 6 Memphis, TN Black Lodge Video
Black Lodge Video is a regular stop for us now on every tour. It's hands-down the best video store I have ever been to... especially if you're into cult or bizarre cinema like I am. They also host shows on the second floor of the store from time to time. Co-owner Bryan Hogue is one of the kindest and most generous individuals I've ever met, always treating us like family. The film crew of Slap Productions were setting up multiple cameras when we arrived, to capture tonight's set. There was a great vibe in the room and afterwords we spent hours talking with the people that came out to the show. Another sweet aspect of playing at Black Lodge is you can sleep in the same room you play in; conveniently avoiding the need to kill ourselves loading out after the show. We saved that for the morning.

The bible was later found in the toilet

Indeed he is

Slap Productions setting up cameras before the show

(photo: Bryan Hogue)

Black Lodge crew relaxing post-show

Wed. Oct 7 Fayetteville, AR George's Majestic Lounge
Wasn't sure what to expect for Fayetteville. The last and only other time we were there was in 2006 with The Dillinger Escape Plan where we played some backwoods, Christian rock-friendly venue and ate (?) the worst Chinese food known to man. Yet tonight was to be another pleasant surprise. The promoter for the show was a big fan of ours named Joel and he went out of his way to make sure we were happy with everything. That kind of hospitality is never lost on us and we always remember those people. It rained heavily all night. Load in and out was a nightmare because of it. We crashed at Joel's house and he made us breakfast in the morning. On the way to Mississippi we stopped at a coffee shop called Jehovah Java. We ain't in NYC anymore.

Inside above the front entrance

Colin texts upon his Majestic throne

(photo: Angela Hackstadt)

(photo: Angela Hackstadt)

It exists

Thurs. Oct 8 Hattiesburg, MS Thirsty Hippo
We hadn't played Hattiesburg since 2003 but it kicked ass back then so I couldn't help but anticipate the same for tonight (no matter how much I try to fight expectations in general). It was a fun show for sure but I was predicting the room would be fuller. I was told later it was Fall break that week, so that could have had something to do with it. Either way, no complaints here. Thirsty Hippo is an excellent place to play. Looking forward to coming back again, and sooner than 6 years from now. We played with a cool progressive band called Malamute, and Leopard Sound Barrier (ex-Collapsar (RIP)), who were both on the bill for tomorrow night's show as well.

Colin a pickin' and a pluckin'

Sneakin' up on Malamute

Fri. Oct 9 Lafayette, LA Cafe Cottage
Before heading to Lafayette we stopped for lunch at Brownstone's in Hattiesburg. A brutal storm arrived out of nowhere while we were inside eating; blowing tables and chairs all over the place. It was awesome. Once we got into Lafayette we walked in the rain down to Zeus Cafe; this wild Greek and Lebanese restaurant. They have sword-wielding belly dancers twirling about and obnoxiously loud dance music blasting at your head as you sit and eat. It certainly makes for an "experience" but the food is quite good! This old man, probably in his 70's, started dancing around the room with this lovely younger woman while balancing a full bottle of beer on his head. Meanwhile, men from the back kitchen came out and started banging on drums. Colin and I were cursing ourselves for leaving our cameras in the van. The show tonight was OK. Again I sort of expected more crowd-wise for a Friday night, but so it goes. There was this completely wasted man in his late 50's who was talkin' my ear off as I set up to play. During the quiet, ambient part of "Lifted by Skin" (a section that always seems to make the drunks in the crowd irate) he suddenly began shouting "Hurry it up!!" and "I'm falling asleep!!", then stormed out of the room. I was told later that man was a member of the old Boston hardcore band Gang Green (who had albums like "Older... Budweiser" and "Another Case of Brewtality").

Once you run out of napkins, you see this

Jeff gettin' percussive outside Cafe Cottage

Sat. Oct 10 Little Rock, AR Downtown Music
There are two cities on every tour that we can always rely on for being quality shows despite typical tour obstacles like competing shows, shitty weather, Monday nights, etc., and that's Austin, TX and Little Rock, AR. After arriving and loading in, we were greeted by this peculiar man that admittedly is on various hallucinogenic drugs at all times. We've run into him before and he always says bizarre things to us about himself...so bizarre that you believe they might actually be true. Tonight was a blast, a good turnout as always. Maybe people were slightly more subdued this time compared to most of our past shows there... I didn't notice as much rowdy hollerin'. Took our time loading out and hung with some of the locals. Afterwords we stayed at the sketchiest motel ever, just outside of Little Rock. I had a sickening feeling our van was gonna be broken into all night and hardly slept.

Someone films Colin warming up

"Heineken? Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!"

Little Rock friends

Load out

Clean up

Sun. Oct 11 Dallas, TX The Phoenix Project
I have to admit I was a little skeptical about this show when we rolled up. The venue looked like an abandoned building and it appeared to be half burnt down. Moments later the two promoters for tonight arrived and brought us homemade Mexican food, which was delicious. One of them I remembered, as she had hosted a show for us in Dallas last year at the now-closed Bar of Soap, and was way-cool to us. Any concerns were pretty much moot at that point. The show ended being a whole lot of fun. Very enthusiastic crowd and a nice, diverse lineup of bands. There was a zombie crawl going on earlier that day, and many living corpses were lurking in the audience. We played with a band from TX called Baring Teeth. Anyone into the more off-the-wall albums by bands like Gorguts or Deathspell Omega should check these guys out. I was quite humbled by watching their guitarist Andrew. Afterwords we loaded out in the perpetual rain and went back to one of the promoters houses to crash. We stayed up late devouring leftover Mexican food and beer. I slept in one of his roommates beds since they were supposedly gone for the evening. I'm always psyched to get an actual bed on tour whenever it's available but also sort of amazed when hosts offer up their roommate's bedrooms just because they're not around. I've had at least two instances in the past where said roommates have indeed come home while I was in their beds and wondered what the fuck I was doing there. I was safe this time.

Outside

Inside

Zombie

Baring Teeth

Euronymous portrait

Mon. Oct 12 Houston, TX Walters On Washington
Made sure to stop in Cafe Brazil before heading to Houston. It felt nice to eat a salad after downing so much egg and grease the past few weeks. Once in town, we were all super bummed to notice our favorite local eating spot, The Daily Grind, had shut down and been replaced by a generic sports bar... crap like this is happening everywhere. The promoter for this evening brought us pizza, and a fruit cup for Colin. He seemed mystified by the idea of vegetarianism. He kept staring at the fruit cup as it sat unopened on the table. There would be a question followed by a long pause and then another question. It was both odd and funny. Not a big crowd tonight but these people that come to our shows are pretty intense about our music. It truly means more to me to have a following like that than people who are into us because the media tells them it's hip to like at the moment or whatever. I can recall seeing a lot of my favorite bands back in high school and being only 1 of about 5 or 10 people there, while thinking to myself: "This is great, they're playing for me!" but later reflecting: "Wow.. I feel bad for these guys.. What the hell is wrong with people!?". So I'm sort of on the other side of the fence now. I also try and be understanding to those that might come up to me awkwardly or nervously because I was like that as well when talking to my underground heroes back in the day. Anyway, I digress. Our friend James Love came out tonight. We first met him when we toured with Dillinger in '06 and he was their fill-in 2nd guitarist. We crashed at his house and rocked out to Overkill while I did some mandatory laundry. I don't know how I didn't notice this before but James has a large tattoo of a red Jim Dunlop Jazz III guitar pick (same ones I use) on his forearm. Now that is a man committed to his choice of pick.

Psyched

Cafe Brazil

Biding time before the show with digital chess and a good read

Look out, Jesus Monkey Car comin' through (photo: Colin Marston)

(photo: Colin Marston)

(photo: Colin Marston)

Posing for my imaginary Hot Licks instructional video front cover (photo: Colin Marston)

James: chillin' (photo: Colin Marston)

Tues. Oct 13 Austin, TX Red 7
In the morning we went over to Rockin' Robin music store where James is a repair man. He did some more work on Colin's bass, and totally hooked us up with discounted musical supplies. Before leaving town we all ordered Huevos Racheros at House of Pies. Got into Austin somewhat early and met up with Jeff's sister Marjorie, and our good friend Jimmy Pancakes. Ate some Thai food at Mekong River but not before stopping into Tears of Joy to stock up on some various hot sauces. Our buddy Josh, who used to play in a band called Exit the King, was doing sound for us tonight. Red 7 have since moved all of their shows to the much larger outdoor stage since we were last there. It was pretty rainy and humid all night. We played with Baring Teeth again and they ruled. Their drummer works at a bakery and was thoughtful enough to bring us a huge box of various cookies, which ended up lasting to almost the end of tour (thanks man!). Despite the less-than-ideal weather, Austin was still a good time. After packing up we went to Starseeds Cafe for some late nite dining and crashed at Marjorie's place.

James fixing up Colin's bass @ Rockin' Robin

Something is wrong with Lars

Triple order of Huevos Racheros @ House of Pies

Colin @ Tears of Joy hot sauce shop

Pre-show soundcheck under rainy skies


"Fuck you, I'm eating." (photo: Marjorie Eber)

Wed. Oct 14 Off day
No show today because we had a 13+ hr drive to Albuquerque ahead of us for tomorrow, with a load-in time of 3pm. We got a late start heading out of town because Austin rules and we never want to leave. On the list of things to do before we left (besides getting some Migas at Kirby Lane diner ) was to stop by our friend's home brewery to sample some of their various batches. The Hefeweizen might've been the best I've ever tried. We drove as long (and fast.. hence a speeding ticket) as we could tonight before crashing at some random cheap motel. I miss the days of being able to sleep in the van.

Breakfast @ Kirby Lane

Beer tasting session

Leaving Austin

Thurs. Oct 15 Albuquerque, NM Launchpad
Had the worst breakfast ever in the morning at a Flying J truck stop. On the way to Albuquerque we passed many ghost towns and abandoned buildings. I wish we had the time to stop and explore some of these places. We did however manage to pause for a little bit in Roswell and check out the town. I took plenty of alien photos, but no real ones were to be seen. Tonight we were playing a free, early show during Launchpad's happy hour. After our set, at the same venue, was a late show featuring the Japanese instrumental band Mono, as well as Maserati. We ended up hanging around to watch their show; drinking and enjoying the fact that we were done early and could just relax. (On a personal note: I was saddened to hear of the recent death of Maserati drummer Jerry Fuchs. I only met him briefly that night, but it was instantly apparent he was an outgoingly-friendly and talented man). Jeff did an interview for some guy's blog. I can't wait to read it if it ever comes out because Jeff has never done an interview for us before and even I'm curious to know what he had to say. More late nite Huevos Racheros ensued at Frontier Diner. It seemed appropriate that earlier that evening I picked up a "Huevos Launcheros" shirt that they were selling at the Launchpad. We couldn't find anyone to crash with so we got another cheap motel.

Repulsive breakfast @ Flying J (please note the rock-solid French toast and regurgitated home fry)

Gift shop shelf somewhere in New Mexico

Roswell street lamp

Roswell Hair Salon

Roswell music store

Roswell alien store

Mono

What else would we be eating?

Fri. Oct 16 Phoenix, AZ Jugheads
In the morning we headed to a diner called Grandma's K&I that I had read about before; their reputation being based on the quantity of their portions. All three of us ordered the Huevos Racheros and were stunned when the plates came. They must have weighed around 3 pounds each, no joke. It seemed to mess Colin up pretty bad and made me reconsider my original mission statement. We got off the highway at the Continental Divide and bought two cacti for the van, which seems to be a tradition for us now. I was skeptical about tonight's show... our original gig was canceled and we were added to a bill at the last minute with infamous "shock rock" band The Mentors at this dive bar I had never heard of called Jugheads. I was picturing a hostile environment but we ended up going over swimmingly and the promoter was buying us shots by the end of the evening. Exhausted and impatient, we stayed at the first dirtiest, most decrepit motel we saw. It seemed to fit with the themes of tonight.

In case you're wondering, the "Travis special" is a gigantic burrito with a mountain of french fries piled on top of it

Absurdly large and heavy plates of Huevos Racheros... getting close to burning out on them at this point

OK


The bar @ Jugheads. Note: fliers on the ceiling

Oh, hello there drunken pit bull sitting on the bar stool next to me...

(photo: Elliott Thomas)

(photo: Elliott Thomas)

(photo: Elliott Thomas)

(photo: Elliott Thomas)

The Mentors.
Here I think they were playing either "Heterosexuals Have the Right to Rock" or "Wine You, Dine You, Sixty Nine You"


A gorgeous view from our motel window

How about some AC?

Sat. Oct 17 Off day
We couldn't get a show for this date so we decided to head to LA early. Before leaving Phoenix I met up with a childhood friend of mine I hadn't seen in 20 years. It was sort of surreal to reconnect, catch up on things, and find out what some of my old friends from middle school are doing now. You might think a situation like that could potentially be awkward but it wasn't at all. We stopped at this interesting rest area near California that had tanks on display and a religious shrine. Our friends in the band Intronaut were playing a free show tonight in LA at a place called The Mountain Bar, located in Chinatown. We headed straight there upon arriving in the city, later staying with Colin's brother Mac. Danny from Intronaut recommended we try an amazing restaurant called Vegan World. It was fantastic. At the end of the evening we were watching the bands load out down a huge, steep flight of stairs and across a shopping complex, while thinking aloud to ourselves: "Man, that sucks for them. Glad we're not playing here tomorrow."

Me with my friend Caleb who I had not seen since 1989

Jeff samples various desert hot sauces




Amazing dinner @ Vegan World

Intronaut

Sun. Oct 18 Los Angeles, CA The Mountain Bar
How ironic that I wake up the next morning, check my e mail and find that our LA show originally scheduled to be at the Relax Bar had been canceled the night before. I called the promoter to see what we could do about it. Long story short; we were able to save the show somewhat by moving it to The Mountain Bar (the place we saw Intronaut at the night before.. you know, the place we were glad weren't playing) about 4 hours before it was to begin. Seriously though, I was glad we were able to still play. Though bummed that it surely meant a lot of people were going to miss us due to the last minute switch up. It ended up working out about the best it could for such a situation.

I need new shoes

Just a tortoise walking down the street, keep movin'...

Chinatown LA


Mon. Oct 19 San Francisco, CA Thee Parkside
On the way to San Francisco we got off the highway to hit our favorite fruit and nut stand (Tired of me talking about food yet? Get used to it.). Stocked up on jalapeno cashews, coconut almonds, wasabi peas, and other snacks. I had never been to Thee Parkside before but thought it was a really hip place. We played with some interesting bands tonight as well (Grayceon, Say Bok Gwai). My friend Rachel from NYC was there with her cousin. It was nice to see a familiar face from home halfway through the tour. Tonight, Jeff broke his bass pedal in the middle of "Room of Vertigo". We tried to play it off, but failed miserably. Jeff walked off the stage in the middle of the song to try and find a pedal to borrow. I eventually stopped the song. We never do things like that but it just wasn't going to fly without the drums. Eventually, Jeff was able to procure a pedal from the drummer of Grayceon (thank you!) and we picked up where we left off, but my concentration was a bit throw for the rest of the set. At the end of the night we went out for burritos with Weasel Walter. Not only is he one of the sickest musicians out there, but he also possesses a most brutally-dry and sharp sense of humor.

Fake butter, fake bacon, fake cheese, and fake eggs have never tasted so good. I can't remember the name of this restaurant.

Mandatory fruit and nut stop

Ominous skies loom as we approach San Francisco

Thee Parkside front entrance

Rachel and Mark

Weasel and Colin

Tues. Oct 20 Portland, OR Rotture
11 hour hell drive. We got to Portland just in time to load in before the first band started. A band called With Eyes Abstract played and they were really fascinating. Their guitarist Ryan was doing some wild stuff I'd never really seen anyone do before; technique-wise. They gave me a copy of their new record "Fire at The Library". I recommend people pick it up. Rotture has a weird atmosphere. It's very dark and spacious. It's a bar that feels like an enormous attic. Thankfully, everyone who was there came close to the stage to watch, so it still felt like a big crowd. There was this one woman standing in front of me throughout our set who was just going wild... screaming at insanely high pitches. At times I thought the screams were feedback squeals coming from my guitar. It was kind of neat but also a little disorienting. Afterwords she mentioned to me that tonight was her first "metal show" ever... interesting that it would be to see our band of all bands. At the end of the evening we crashed with Ryan from WEA, picked up some fancy beers at a killer corner shop and passed out.

With Eyes Abstract

Jeff warms up backstage

No hippies

Wed. Oct 21 Seattle, WA Studio Seven
Before leaving Portland we ate breakfast at Doug Fir inside the Jupiter Hotel. The coffee was the best I had all tour and the food was superb. Portland is such a beautiful city. I can easily see myself living in this area at some point later in my life. Once in Seattle we ventured on down to Pyramid Ale House, the closest place we could find to eat near the venue. It was rather crowded. I was quite amused by our waitress who took us to a table where two older folks were enjoying themselves, then kicked them out because she said they were annoying and she'd rather seat us instead. I'd never witnessed anything like that before. She moved them to a standing table next to us. We then had to feel their glares of hatred upon us. Tonight's show was at this mammoth rehearsal studio/venue called Studio Seven. Folks had been constantly telling me that people don't like to come out to this place, and some downright boycott it. They pay us well each time we play here but it's still sort of a bummer because people really do seem to hate this venue. Indeed, it is on the outskirts of town and way too big for a band like us. Anyway, it was still a decent show. We played with our friends in Lethe, who had just relocated to Seattle from Lawrence, and used to set up all our past shows in Kansas. After loading out we drove to North Bend, WA to stay with a friend of my Dad's. He lives with his wife in a beautiful, secluded wooden lodge; one he helped build with his father. We stayed up for awhile watching "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" before getting a silent night's rest.

I would eat here every morning if I could (Doug Fir Lounge in Portland)

Band photo

Leaving Portland

This is where you wanna be if you're a bird, I guess


Train tracks behind Studio Seven in Seattle

Thurs. Oct 22 Boise, ID Gusto Bar
Stopped at Twede's in North Bend on the way out (otherwise known as the "Twins Peaks diner"). The promoter tonight was concerned about our show because the band Pelican was also playing right down the street. Fortunately, we were able to start our set after theirs was over. Quite a bit of the crowd from that show came over to ours. It didn't hurt that one of the bands on the Pelican bill (pun intended) called Sweet Cobra came over and played on our show as well. The last time we were in Boise we had a now infamous experience with a "promoter" named Kimra that basically set up a show for us, signed a contract agreeing to pay us, then proceeded to split before the end of the night taking all the money with her and basically fucking us over completely. Karma is a bitch because the next day she ended up walking into Guitar Center with some of her friends, and we just happened to be there as well. I spotted her and bolted after she began to run away. Long story short, we made her cash her paycheck (from Hot Topic) and give us all the money. Anyway... it was amusing to me that when recalling this event to some of the folks at this show, they all knew immediately who I was talking about and said she'd since split town. We crashed with some dudes from the first band (Jumein) and fell asleep to the sound of people puking in a toilet.




(photo: Colin Marston)

Check out those biscuits

Idaho gas station


Sweet Cobra

Fri. Oct 23 Salt Lake City, UT Club Edge
Tonight felt like a weird dream. We played this humongous venue that must've held a couple thousand people. Apparently, Club Edge is normally a gay nightclub, but they sometimes let other people host metal shows there. The place was large enough for us to drive our van directly up to the stage and unload and then leave parked there if we so desired. One of the promoters tonight, named Nicole, was extremely professional and gracious. The other promoter was a gentleman named Kory, of a band called Nine Worlds. He did a Salt Lake City show for us last summer and it the first time ever in our existence that we had a good show in that city. We were glad to be working with him again. They gave us a backstage area with beer, bottled water, dinner, additional snacks, private bathroom, internet, towels, everything! We are not used to such basic hospitality, and even feel strangely guilty when treated in such a way. Nevertheless, in our minds tonight was already a success before we even played. However, when it was time to perform we probably had one of the worst sets (musically and technically) of tour. The PA only had six channels, and in a room that huge you really need to have everything miked, and monitors to hear what's going on. We sounded like chaos (more so than usual) and I fucked up a lot. It happens. Jeff accomplished the amazing feat of playing so hard he BROKE HIS METAL CYMBAL STAND, not just the cymbal (which he seemed to break every 3rd show) but the actual metal stand! Now that's the kind of drummer I wanna be playing with! Some kid from a local newspaper interviewed me after the show and asked: "So, what do you sing about?". I thought he was joking, but he wasn't. I guess he was hallucinating while watching us play. Stayed with some friends from the show but didn't have time to get much rest. Another hell drive was ahead of us.




Awkward band photo moment (you can see one of the promoters beginning to enter the room, probably wondering what in the heck we were doing) (photo: self-timer)




Sat. Oct 24 Denver, CO Hi Dive
Hi Dive is by far the best venue we've ever played in Denver. It's the perfect-sized room and the staff treat bands with respect. And then there is the amazing bar/restaurant connected to it called Sputnik; where they let bands eat for free. I got a vegetarian Vietnamese sandwich. Quite a number of people walked by and wanted to know what I was having. The opening band tonight threw in covers of both "Power of Love" by Huey Lewis and the News, and "Frankenstein" by the Edgar Winter Group. Not what we typically hear coming from the stage at most of the shows we play. I wanted tonight to be great, but it wasn't for me; performance-wise. Fatigue was beginning to set in. A cold and equipment problems were also rearing their ugly heads. Stayed with Steve from Cephalic Carnage at his girlfriend's place and watched South Park.

Vietnamese sandwich with sweet potato fries from Sputnik... so good

Beware the keytar

Warming up downstairs

A private shitter for bands with a door that actually locks? Very rare.

Sun. Oct 25 Lawrence, KS Replay Lounge
The hell drives continue. Drove through some snow in Colorado. The van we've been renting for this tour needed some tuning up, which took longer than expected. As we waited around in Wal-mart for what felt like an eternity, we feared we might not make it in time to play. Thanks to Replay catering to a late crowd in general, we ended up getting there just in time after all. Replay is a cool dive bar/arcade. We've played there at least 5 or 6 times throughout the years and it's always fun. Some folks drove over 4 hours tonight to see us. For a Sunday; this was a killer show. One of the best and loudest crowd of tour too. Cheers Lawrence!






Mon. Oct 26 Chicago, IL The Empty Bottle
Much like Denver, tonight had all the makings for a perfect show. Empty Bottle is a great venue with amazing sound, comfortable stage, and inviting atmosphere. Tonight was a packed house to boot. But I had equipment issues again and tonight's set felt like work to get through. Bummer. At this point we discussed that for the next tour we need to route our dates differently so we're not always so burnt out by the time we reach Chicago. The people here deserve to get 100% from us and I feel like we haven't been able to deliver the past two times. However, STATS and Lord Mantis both sounded amazing tonight. STATS are a fellow instrumental trio from NYC and we are finishing out the last week of tour with them. We've known those guys for awhile and it was exciting to have friends along with us for the rest of the trip. We crashed with our good buddy Bruce Lamont, and indulged in Chicago-style spinach-stuffed pizza and beer from the bar. A satisfying way to finish out the evening.


Downstairs band room

STATS

LORD MANTIS

(photo: Andy Dixon)

Bruce and Colin

Late night bro-down

Chicago style

Tues. Oct 27 St. Paul, MN Big V's
Before leaving Chicago we made certain to get up early enough to stop off at Kuma's Corner for their now legendary "metal burgers". I got the Darkthrone this time, and I was full for the rest of the day. Big V's in St Paul was one of the most solid sets we've played, musically. I felt we were bouncing back from some less-than-stellar performances the few previous nights. We've been lucky so far to play with mostly good to great bands every night. It certainly was not always like that when we did our own tours in the early days. It really helps keep spirits up when you don't have to sit through a bunch of crap before going on. We stayed with our friends in the band Guzzlemug after the show. We played with them last year on our summer tour and again tonight. They've really come along way since then and I'm looking forward to seeing where they go next. Back at their house, in the basement, was a Moog synthesizer. I had never played one before and was completely enthralled by it. I could easily see myself sitting in a dark room for hours spacing out while playing one of those things. So much fun. We were offered to check out the "3-D Machine" in the backyard, but I was just too tired. I think it was after 5am at that point.

The burger menu at Kumas. Too hungry to bother trying to focus the camera

Darkthrone burger

Colin takes a Decibel reading


Guzzlemug

The calender for upcoming events at Big V's provided hours of amusement in the van. Check out some of these band names: Hungerbone, Burger Thirst, Tips for Twat, Jesusaurus, Rape Door, Thanks, Cemetery Rapist, The Gorphanage, Fester Fuck, Meth Tooth... it goes on...

4am Moog jam





First song from our St. Paul set. Jeff temporarily leaves the band at the end.


Wed. Oct 28 Dubuque, IA 180 Main
Second best Huevos Racheros of tour was had that morning at Hard Times Cafe; an all vegetarian restaurant run by punk rock kids in Minneapolis, MN. Tonight's show in Dubuque was at this small, rustic Irish Pub formerly known as The Busted Lift, but now renamed 180 Main. I really like playing here and tonight was fun. The most bizarre moment of the evening happened at the end of our set when I was working our merch table and this guy with spiky, black-dyed hair, eyeliner, and leather jacket comes up and starts gushing to me about how much he loved our show and grew up listening to bands like The Boredoms and Mr. Bungle. I stare at him for a few seconds and say "Are you the the singer in Papa Roche?" To which he softly says "Yeah...". Apparently, they played down the road earlier that evening and somehow ended up in the bar our show was at. Weird! As much as I don't like their music, I did think it was cool he watched our set and appreciated our music when he probably could've been wandering around looking to get laid, score coke, or whatever you're supposed to do when you're a famous rock star.

Superb Huevos Racheros @ Hard Times Cafe Minneapolis, MN

Are you qualified?

Camo cat and cacti keep an eye on the road

Viking truck stop

Back entrance to 180 Main

Hanging out with STATS post-show, probably still talking about Papa Roach

Thurs. Oct 29 Lansing, MI Macs Bar
Michigan is a depressing state. It's always grey and gloomy and flat. Of all the cities we've played in this state, Lansing is one of the few worth coming back to. On our way to Chicago to record 'Pretest' in 2003 we broke down in Lansing and had to spend 3 days here, so we got to know the city fairly well. Tonight there was this completely wasted old man that was dancing around on and off the stage while STATS played. At first it was kind of awesome but then he started doing it during our set.. Right off the bat he fell into Jeff's drum kit and knocked down the mic stand, which then knocked my brand new Gibson SG off the stage. I kicked him in his side when I noticed that happened, but it didn't seem to faze his drunk ass. Finally, about halfway through our set the bartender threw him off stage and the crowd all moved to the very front to block him from getting back up there. Dysrhythmia and STATS both spent the night with a friend who was at the show, and got buzzed on his homemade hard cider. He also cooked us an amazing vegan stew and had two friendly cats that seemed to like to crawl on top of my head all night. Hank from STATS was proposed the tempting but always risky offer of sleeping in the "roommate-who's-gone-for-the-night" room. Right after Hank put his things down, said roommate came home with his girlfriend. Hank was not to be as fortunate as I was back in Dallas.

The band name that will never be spelled right

Drunk can dance

STATS

(photo: Travis Toner)

(photo: Travis Toner)

(photo: Travis Toner)

(photo: Travis Toner)

(photo: Colin Marston)


Fri. Oct 30 Lincoln Park, MI Floyd's
Well there had to be one, and this was the one. I'm talking about the worst show of tour. We arrived in the pouring rain to find we were playing the basement of some seedy bar, while crappy cover bands played upstairs. We were last of 6 bands...the first 4 being locals who all looked like they were still in high school, and then STATS of course. It seemed like it might be alright at first but as the night wore on it was obvious no one at this show gave a shit about either of our bands. As each band played and finished, they would immediately pack up and leave along with all of their friends (and parents... I actually witnessed parents "moshing" with their kids). Unlike pretty much every other show on this tour, there was no sense of community or enthusiasm. We played at around 1am to 3 people. Thank God those 3 people were there to see us otherwise we would've had loaded in and waited around all night for pretty much nothing. After the show we stayed with one of the those 3 people; a nice fellow named Zak. We watched "Office Space", a movie I've seen about 100,000,000 times but never get tired of. His place was clean and quiet and I actually got a somewhat decent night's rest.

NO PICTURES WERE TAKEN THIS NIGHT

Sat. Oct 31 Cleveland, OH Now That's Class
Cleveland used to always suck for us until around 2006 when we played a show with a band called Clan of the Cave Bear. Since that show we've played with them every time we're in town. Their drummer John was the mastermind behind tonight's shindig; a mini-fest of sorts with 7 bands playing in various parts of the venue one right after the other. Considering how small the venue was, the night ran super smoothly. Oh yeah, it was also Halloween. Before getting to the venue we met up with Colin's girlfriend Vanessa and her friend Mary and ate at the West Side Market, then explored an abandoned Coast Guard building on Whiskey Island. We figured we'd dress up a bit for tonight's show. We found Jeff a wig, Colin donned a mustache and corpse paint, and I bought a handlebar mustache and yellow Kanye West-style shutter shades. We were all excited to be playing tonight with Cleveland's own Keelhaul. They went on after us and totally ruled. Watching them reminds me of what it might be like to watch us. We are both bands that play fairly involved music with tons of energy and sometimes that energy gets the best of us and their are moments of near train wrecks, musically, but somehow we get back on and that probably keeps it exciting for the audience to watch. I used to get bummed out pretty hard when I felt like we played a sloppy set, and probably still do, but I'm finding in my older age that I get bored watching bands that are too perfect, too well rehearsed. Clocks went back an hour tonight so we stayed out pretty late, and we had a long drive back to Brooklyn for the final show of tour.

Inside West Side Market

Jeff buys more hot sauce

Whiskey Island



"Look, a tree!" (photo: Vanessa America)

(photo: Vanessa America)

Last minute costume shopping at Target

Better costumes were found at Big Fun

STATS tear up the bar

(photo: Vanessa America)

(photo: Vanessa America)

(photo: Vanessa America)

(photo: Vanessa America)

(photo: Vanessa America)

My "costume" fell off my face within the first 30 seconds, unfortunately (photo: Vanessa America)

(photo: Vanessa America)

WTF?

Clan of the Cave Bear performing as Lightning Bolt

Keelhaul !!



Sun. Nov 1 Brooklyn, NY Union Pool
Stayed overnight in Cleveland and didn't get much sleep before we had to wake up and start driving back to NY. Union Pool is pretty much the perfect room for us to play in this city. The sound is good and we always fill the room. One of the most interesting things to me about all our NYC/Brooklyn shows these days is that with the exception of a few die-hards, there's always a new crowd of people checking us out each time. Tonight we played with Jeff's cousin Mike Eber's new band called The Smother Party. They really blew my mind, and I find what they are doing to be really ballsy; conceptually. The two guitarists in the band tune their instruments a quarter tone off from each other; giving everything they play a hauntingly eerie and dissonant sound. Despite this technique, the music is actually quite beautiful. The drummer is at once loose but completely tight. I recommend anyone reading this to check them out, especially live... the demos on their myspace page do them no justice. STATS played a crushing set as usual. I really enjoy their approach to writing instrumental rock. The bass and guitar play off each other in slick and intelligent ways. They clearly write for the "song" and not to wank about. There was a positive vibe in the room all night long and things moved quickly. Before we knew it, it was time to play. We were all completely exhausted but everything flowed just fine. We loaded out at around 1am and said our goodbyes to STATS. I hit up the Taco shack outside on the patio while walking to the van. No Huevos Racheros tonight.

Hipsters roasting by an open fire

The Smother Party

STATS (photo: Justina Villanueva)

(photo: Justina Villanueva)

(photo: Justina Villanueva)

(photo: Justina Villanueva)

Taco Shack

STATS and Dysrhythmia say farewell (photo: Maya Dean)

4 comments:

  1. Awesome!! That's really about all I can say!

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  2. That must have taken forever to write!

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  3. That was a really great read Kevin! Cheers and hope all is well with you guys-I will be sure to check out some of the bands you mentioned!

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  4. Constantly kicking myself in the ass for missing the show in Los Angeles...fucking economy...

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