Monday, July 7, 2014

Kansas City

We apologize. The intro is closed today so the employees can spend time sharpening their saw.

I try to be cognizant of the fact that at any given show we only see a very small part of a given town, and that to make a sweeping judgement will only make me look like an asshole. Take for instance Denver. Our first show there was in a part of town that was not bad but a little rough, on a big street without a lot in the surrounding area to fix it in our memories. Then of course this last show was in the SOBO area and everyone fell in love with it. Similarly I don’t feel like I got much of a sense what kind of town Kansas City is, although to a one everybody we met was super nice. I think I need to look at maps more. It bothers me to not know where we are in the context of the larger city.

I should back up unless I want to write a “Time’s Arrow*” kind of post. The drive to Kansas City is kind of depressing. It’s like the country decided to just cut you off cold turkey after the beauty of the mountains, deserts, purple majesty etc. with a soul crushing homogeneity. I liken it to an experience such as this. Imagine you are sitting on a chair which is on a moving sidewalk. At the beginning of the sidewalk is a naked woman with chipped nail polish, tattoos of birds, quietly reading “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” while at the other end of the sidewalk is your Grandmother. Also naked. The sidewalk stops and you’re just sitting there staring at your Grandma until you say,
“Uh, Hi Grandma.”
“Are you OK?”
“I’m fine.”
“Not cold?”
“I’m fine thank you.”
“Good good. “
“So…. How’s Grandpa?” 
“He recently decided that colostomy bags had gotten too expensive so he switched to brown paper bags.”
“So I left him. It’s not the Great Depression anymore. And honestly, he’s been a pretty lousy lay for the last 40 years. There’s no point to Viagra if you don’t know what to do with it.”
“Grandma – please stop.”
“I mean you can’t just drop a worm in a lake and expect to catch a fish. You know what I mean.”

That’s what driving east out of Denver is like.

We were to play a club called the Record Bar, but before I comment I need to issue the caveat that I felt like shit this day. Woke up more tired than when I fell asleep. My stomach was a mess. Feeling like crap has seemed to jump from one person to the next on a given day. Which actually goes to show how much better we’ve done physically this tour. Things don’t really get ugly until feeling like shit reaches a critical mass among band members. Regardless, today was my day in the hopper. We went to a delightful smelling barbecue place called something starting with a "Z", because that’s what you do in Kansas City. I will give this to KC, it is one of the better smelling towns. Periodically, just driving down the road you get big whiffs of hickory smoke. Anyway, as a vegetarian it was a dinner of sides for me, and for whatever reason my body said, in the upper class English accent my intestines usually use to speak, "I say old boy, would you mind very much if I just rejected this meal out of hand? Right then, no whimpering. Sweaty stiff upper lip and all. Oh, and do you remember that dream you had of Margaret Thatcher riding a horse bareback in slow motion? This will be worse." I felt like I was going to die like either the guy in “Alien” or the guy from “The Meaning of Life.**”

The Record Bar is in a strip mall right next to a Dollar Store. When I walked in I immediately smelled natural gas or something like it. Joe smelled it too so I wasn’t being entirely fussy. He went up to the door guy and asked about it. The door guy took a big sniff and said he smelled nothing. I guess you get used to it. Lisa had family in town so the rest of us sat outside near some suspended wagon wheels and looked glum. I went in to the Dollar Store and bought a whoopee cushion for Chuck, a dart gun, and some Brim’s Brand cheese doodles. The cushion has been a delight, the gun never worked, and the doodles tasted like Styrofoam.

Opening up for us was a duo called Schwervon, whom Chuck and Lisa had opened for in Cincinnati. They had been telling us ever since how delightful they were as people and just as wonderful as musicians. Unfortunately I just couldn’t take the smell so I missed their set, which I regret because they really were sweet, funny folks. I mean, I kind of love them both. Regardless, I had to get out of there. I went for a walk, found the entertainment district where all the young people see how the social skills they learned in college will fair in the real world. I heard more than one person exclaim, “There’s nothing going on tonight.” I wanted to tell them there was a middle-aged band up the street singing songs about regret, but none of their eyes were haunted so I left them to their Coronas.

I ended up at the Westport Flea Market, which is a pretty great place. Apparently they make great burgers, but I love the combination of a flea market with a bar. Plus, they had some sweet vintage arcade machines. I sat on the patio and read until time to play. And it really was a great club to play. Some of the best onstage sound we’d had all tour. We had a crowd of about the size you’d expect for a town we’ve not really played in often before. I really enjoyed playing, proving that it is possible to find joy even amidst the very real possibility of expelling organic matter at high speeds in a rather sudden and unexpected manner. And the crowd was so sweet. One guy brought his 13 year old son who seemed appropriately, but not overly bored. Several people said they were going to drive to St. Louis to see us there too. I still think there’s a gas leak but no one died, so it’s all win.

Tomorrow is St. Louis.

* “Or the Nature of the Offence”
** I'm kind of exaggerating here because it's fun to write in the voice of an intestine. Really, I just felt gassy and uncomfortable.

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