CINCINNATI - We were late to this show. If we loaded in, we would have missed our set time, so we just brought my guitar, Steve's keyboard, and my computer up to the stage and worked with the resources available. What we came up with was something simple and surprisingly effective. Brad played on a borrowed drum set ...a real one! I played through a real guitar amp too for a change. The simplicity made the show so fun that we couldn't help but rock our hardest and people had really good things to say about it. Kevin even posted about the set on the punkrocks.net tour journal.
To backtrack slightly, when we arrived at the show we pulled up and opened the RV side door and in walks this tall man with long curly hair and a goatee. His demeanor is very excited. "HEY GUYS!" he said to us. I was thinking "Oh great freakin' weirdos walking into our ride." Then he goes, "Hi my name's Jimmy. I play guitar in Andrew WK's band!" Need I say more? We had a short friendly exchange and when he left, all of us in the RV shared a silent and mutual "Holy fuckin' shit!"
At 6:00PM it was decidedly Time to Party. Pretty much every band on the tour, every member of production, and every other facet of the tour were on hand to see the miracle of modern rock that is Andrew WK. The show was every bit as amazing as we had hoped for with the only drawback being some drunk meathead getting a little too rowdy in the pit and a disgruntled skinhead breaking his nose to teach him a lesson. What an amazing day just because of one incredible band bringing up everybody's spirits.
ATLANTA - Back in the dirty south. We stopped at a Waffle House on the way into town to remind ourselves of life down here. Grease never tasted so good. Hotlanta lived up to it's nickname and we sweltered in the heat. We ended up playing first which was a blessing in disguise. Although there was hardly anybody in attendance at the show yet, we wanted to leave early back to Gainesville to spend some time in our hometowns with our homes, and friends.
This may have possibly been our best set ever and its too bad only 15 people saw it. The singer from The Used was one of those in attendance and he even got a shirt from us. Extremely cool of him. I really like his band too, so it makes it all the more meaningful to get that kind of support. As I like to plug all the bands I like in here, try and check out The Used if you get a chance. This tour has been a lot about finding out about new bands for me and coming into it I was admittedly a little closed minded and figured I wouldn't like much of the music at all. Not the case.
Adam from FBR came up to Atlanta for the show and I rode back to Gainesville with him. A/C sweet A/C. It was also nice not to drive for a change and on the way down I introduced Adam to his first encounter with Fazoli's (Italian fast food chain). I think he approved.
Just before we left, Jimmy from Andrew WK joined us in the RV for a second time. We talked about life and philosophy. Very interesting guy. Their set that day was yet again amazing. I really like their new song, "We Want Fun."
ORLANDO - Fuck all. First of all, this show is in Bithlo, which is pretty much the trashiest town in the country, but they do have the world's fastest school bus. It's housed at the Bithlo Speedway, where this concert was held. This venue was pretty much the worst ever. All the guys who had been on the whole tour even agreed that it was by far the worst venue. The equipment had to be loaded half a lap around the track on an incline because of the banked angle of the track. The middle was just solidified mud with some grass on it.
This was what we would definitely consider our hometown show. Steve and I went to high school in Orlando and know a lot of people there. We also had a lot of enthusiastic people come up to our table early on in the day asking when we'd play. Things went to shit, however. I mean why would anything good happen to us anyhow? About 1 hour before our set time, during Ozma's set, it started to thunderstorm. I took shelter under the stage while Ozma played the Tetris song. I returned to our stage to find that it had begun to be disassembled. The first show that we didn't get to play on the whole tour and it was in our hometown where people were actually excited to see us. A bummer indeed, but we're trained to expect the absolute worst now and anything good on top of that is just a bonus.
We loaded out our gear without getting to play and to feel like we did something productive, Brad, Gavin (who is with us for Florida), and I worked serving dinner at catering. It was actually very fun and we got to eat some free dinner.
One thing that was cool is James from Bithlo Mullet Revival, Daniel from Ozma and I went to Rocky's Replay, the best arcade in Orlando. It was a total escape from the waste of a day we had on tour. Daniel kicked our asses at pop-a-shot. I fared pretty well at air hockey.
Oh, I failed to mention the humidity. It was at about 400%. This state is ridiculous. Where's my high 40's San Francisco weather? The storm turned the infield of the track into Woodstock '99. Lots of mud wrestling and slinging. Fuck all.
POMPANO BEACH - Still rocking it with Adam from FBR and it's good to have him with us. Just our luck it looks like rain again and since we'd been helping with catering, Gavin and I were moving in some tables full of food from outside into the catering room. Mind you this is at the start of my day and this table weights a good 100-200 lb so there's a person on each corner and I'm in sandals. Well yeah, I let the table fall on my big toe and slice a good gash in it. Well I got that cleaned up but hell of a way to start the day.
Got to see the Flashing Lights today. Great band from Canada. I've listened to their stuff before and it was great getting to see them play live. Unfortunately, the sound guy wasn't as impressed with them as I was and decided to go on break during their set.
Our set today was kinda "ehh". I don't think the playing lacked. It just didn't feel right. South Florida seems like a place for us to avoid. This and our one Miami show a while ago were kind of weird. I am sure we won't be rushing back down here.
Our RV was totally blocked in by one of the drive-thru busses and somehow Adam from Homegrown was able to maneuver it out of the tight space. Special thanks to him and at the same time bitterly ironic?
TAMPA - We took the long way here. We didn't have real directions, so we kind of just got there the way we knew would work. We actually got to the venue late and missed our set but the awesome people of punkrocks.net moved us to a later slot. They have been so accomodating to us and we really appreciate it.
It was really hot. Like really, really hot. We tried hanging out in the production area with the a/c, but ultimately, we all had things to do and so we weren't able to stay there. This one band was taking up a whole table with merch in the punkrocks tent and weren't all too stoked on sharing either even though we had set up our own table and shared it with punkrocks bands all throughout the tour. Well, we didn't want to hold them back from anything so we just set our stuff up ghetto style and let the dude with the Insane Clown Posse tattoo (yes, for real) do his thing.
Unexpectedly ran into Joey from Lagwagon while out to dinner with my friends Haven and Marissa. He was a really nice guy, I had never spoken with him before, but he recognized me from the tour. If you're ever in Tampa, stop by Jason's Deli to get a cup of really good vegetarian french onion soup. It's rare since the soup is generally beef based.
BRISTOW - Well, as you can probably tell by the fact that the entries skip Jacksonville, Charlotte, and Virginia Beach... we didn't play any of these shows. We convinced the people who sold us our deathtrap on wheels to take it back and refund the last leg of our trip. In the meantime, we had some work done on our own van that took a few days to complete. Sorry to anybody who was looking forward to seeing us play in the above listed cities.
We left Gainesville at 7 PM the night before the DC show and I drove straight through all the way to the show. I made it just fine, but it was extremely draining. When I got there my friend Kevin was there and we got to hang out all day. I gave him a bit of a taste of my life on the tour by taking him first thing when we got there to work in the catering line.
We went and watched Ozma's set which was cool. They have been getting shafted on their time slots from Warped Tour but today actually had a decent slot and in turn a good sized crowd where people knew the words and would sing along and clapped on the beat. It was great to see. The guys told me that today they had resolved to try and bring up the energy at the show and it showed that they had. It also inspired me to do the same.
We played on a decent sized pre-built stage with lots of scaffolding etc. Steve was definitely going off during the set as much as somebody anchored by a keyboard could. I didn't see Brad much as I was busy trying to work up my own mayhem. I ran up and jumped up on the borrowed half stack I played through (sorry Anthony!) and then proceeded to climb the scaffolding and play guitar upside down hanging by my legs. Quite possibly the most fun I've had playing a show yet and I'll be looking for more trouble to get into in the future.
Steve had never seen Washington, DC and so after the show we went there and walked around to the different buildings and landmarks. It's always amazing to see them no matter how many times you've seen it all before.
Having not slept since we left from Gainesville, we drove to the nearest rest stop outside the city and went to sleep.
CAMDEN - Well we had no clue how to get to this show at all, but we got lucky and found it. All the way there I didn't feel that great and when we got there I had just enough energy to watch Recover's set and then I wandered around looking for a place to escape the music that had no people around.
I found what I thought to be an abandoned hallway and laid down on the tile and fell asleep. I'm not sure how much later, but eventually the hallway saw lots of use. People were tapping me telling me to move, that they needed to get carts through etc. I was so tired it was hard to respond but i was able to roll aside. After some time a guy and girl came in the hallway and I heard him say "Yeah, I just found him here. I think he fell and hit his head." The lady woke me up asking too many questions and I was confused in my tired state. "Are you ok? Did you fall? Have you been drinking? Are you on anything?" All I could pretty much do was wave my arms and say I was fine. She led me down the hall and showed me a couch and I laid down there.
Five minutes before our set time Brad found me and got the keys to unload our equipment, still locked in the trailer of our van. We started 20 min late and it was more or less completely my fault. The set still rocked though. Steve somehow ended up on the floor with his keyboard and while throwing the guitar around, I sliced up my finger pretty good making for a bloody finale. Luckily the big flap of skin didn't need a stitch but we did super glue it back together for the NYC show.
Brad's mom made it out to this show and we were able to stay the night at her house. She pampered us with food and drink and an excess of VH1 Classic. Easily the best channel on television right now. I had never seen it before this.
Only 2 shows left.
The online version of the Tour Diary does not have the last few entries, which you can still only find in Road To Acceptance. You can get a copy at www.punkmusiconline.com.