Dienstag, 1. März 2011

Josef is drunk.

Lawrence, Kansas- a place that initially looked like something out of a horror film- turned out to be charming and full of friendly people. After spending WAY too much time in Starbucks, we went to SuperTarget, got some swim-trunks, and went swimming at the Lawrence Aquatic Center. It was good to get some exercise in (or if you’re Josef- to fall off of a 3 meter diving board…), but we really just went there to shower. After a thorough wash, we got dressed, ate at Subway, and drove to the venue- the Jackpot Music Hall.

Well, we got there about 5 hours early, so Joel caught up on his sleep in the van while Marty, Josef, and I continued to maintain our (loose, but nonetheless) alcohol regiment with a couple of beers. Just as a side note: Beer and touring just go hand in hand. It doesn’t make you an alcoholic. “That’s just the way of the road, buddy”, as Ray from Trailer Park Boys would say. Anyway, after spending many hours waiting, it turned out that one of the bands we were supposed to play with weren’t able to make it to the show. Still- Elevator Action showed up shortly after 8, so we began gearing up for the night. Elevator Action is a group of young musicians who (like us) are approaching pop music from a more experimental angle. Watching them play was very enjoyable. We played our regular set after them, and talked about all things music for several hours. The show itself was fun, but rather poorly attended. I guess playing a concert on the night of the Oscars Ceremony isn’t exactly the best idea, but those who were there with us had fun nonetheless. We went back to the band’s house, watched some Metalocalypse and called it a night. The next day (after E.A.'s singer showed us a priceless poster of his....)

we walked around downtown Lawrence visiting an incredible Burger restaurant (The Burger Stand- if you’re ever in Lawrence, get yourself a Kobe Burger with Truffle Fries. Your arteries will hate you for it, but not your taste-buds), a local record store (one I was particular fond of because the owners have a cute cat that runs around the shop), and a T-Shirt printshop for which Elevator Action’s drummer works. We eventually shook hands with our generous hosts, said our farewells, and headed out to Glenwood, Iowa where Joel’s grandmother waited for us patiently.

After a short three-hour drive, we arrived in Glenwood (population of 4,000 people). Joel’s grandmother has to be one of the sweetest people in the world. Her house is small with a narrow staircase leading up to two small bedrooms where the four of us eventually spread out and prepared for sleep. The walls in every room are covered with family portraits, paintings, and stereotypical, “middle of America” decorations.

Standing in her home feels like being in a movie in which the main character is a young college student visiting their extended family for Thanksgiving or Christmas for the first time. There is a warmth filling the house that can only be described as love. She set out milk and cookies for all of us and hugged us goodnight. We each took to our rooms, watched a movie or an episode of a TV show on our laptops, and eventually fell asleep.

We woke up, ate breakfast, and listened to stories about Joel’s family. His grandmother received several phone calls from relatives expressing excitement over meeting us. She gave us a tour of the house including the basement, which she set up as a safe-haven of sorts in case of tornado threats. One could tell how much she enjoyed having us around. Again- a woman whose heart and home is clearly filled with love.

After a lovely lunch with Joel's grandmother and her siblings, we drove up to Ames, IA for our next show. We arrived and were notified by Laura (our booking agent, close friend, and Mom) that one of the other bands would be at a cafe nearby if we wanted to meet up with them. We didn't have any other plans, so we made our way over there. We weren't sure if they were actually in the cafe or not, but eventually Josef decided that the only other group of young guys who looked exhausted must be the crew we were looking for. So, we shook hands with the boys from Walking Oceans and it hit off immediately. This was a trend that seemed to evolve throughout the rest of the night. Again, discussions about music, equipment, and touring ensued as we all geared up for a short and intimate show at the Ames Progressive. I won't go into detail, but suffice it to say we were both very fond of each other's music and live performances. We marveled at each other's performances, bought each other's merch, traded numbers, and wished we had more time to pound a few beers together. Unfortunately, that wasn't in the cards, but (as it turns out) they will also be in Austin for SXSW, so the farewell wasn't quite as disappointing as we'd thought it might be. Below is a video of Walking Oceans destroying. Notice the incredible light rig their drummer built for them...wow.

This pretty much brings us up to speed. We are currently in Minneapolis with our dear, dear friends, John and Katie, waiting to play at The Cause tonight. It's beyond ass-cold in this city. It sucks. (to get a taste of how much it sucks, view the 2 second clip of Josef below. Yes, it's Josef and not a homeless person.) Anyway.... The shows leading up to today have been fun and worthwhile. Still, the things I remember the most so far are the small moments in which everything seems to come into focus; moments in which I am reminded of what life is all about. Joel’s grandmother said it best: “We all only have one day when you think about it. Live it like it’s your last and you’ll be fine.”


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