Saturday, July 12, 2014

St. Louis

Animals: Kildeer

Quotes: “Drink that bottle like it’s got a vein in it.”

SIARPC: Spoon Weatherwax

I love being from the Midwest. I love being in a band that is so apparently identifiable as mid-western. So I don’t know if it’s the familiarity of my home region or it really is boring, but west of the Rockies watching the world go by is a continually enchanting activity. East of the Rockies is rather more spare in its physical enchantments, like Anne Ramsey making out with Ernest Borgnine.* Kansas to St. Louis I barely even looked up. Plus, the hotels in both KC and St. Louis were in fairly faceless, nondescript locations. It was like that in Oakland too, but there was major easy to use public transportation. Not so here. I’m not judging, Cincinnati’s the same way. Add to that the much shorter drive distances which have us arriving at the hotel around 4:00, and you’ve created the first real boredom of the tour for me. Nothing to walk to, no realistic way to get to a museum or some such, yet not enough time to swim or get in a good nap. I got caught up on the blog and that was about it.

It’s the 4th of July and we were playing a club called Plush. We flat out love Plush. Because the usual things that make for a great venue: great sound, stage, and staff, but also, and I think I wrote about this before so I’ll keep it brief, they feed us and let us hang in a huge, super cool apartment/green room upstairs. It’s like Wussy family time. We watched Dr. Steve Brule videos, ate delicious food, and wondered whether anyone would show up. Holiday shows can be sketchy. Especially summer holidays because it’s such a travel/family time. Add into it that St. Louis also puts on a big fireworks jobby over the river near the arch, and there you go, cricket city. As an aside I love fireworks. I grew up in a state where they are illegal so of course they were like ‘splodey gold. We tried to synchronize the launch of multiple bottle rockets so as to lift various payloads, but that never worked. We lit snakes off on people’s porches and then rang the doorbell and ran. I had one possibly sociopathic friend who one time put an M-80 under a can, thus creating a spray of shrapnel that should have sent us to the hospital.  He was the kind of kid who would chase you around with a lit Roman candle. On the plus side he frequently stole his stepdad’s Playboys and I think the first alcohol I ever had was in his basement. (Peppermints Schnapp’s – so gross) God we loved our fireworks. And then when I was older I had a job helping to run sound for the Akron Symphony Orchestra’s summer concerts, which took place in parks around the area during the 4th of July season. At the end of the ridiculously truncated 1812 Overture there would inevitably be a fireworks display. Some of the guys would try to wrap cables in the dark but I would lay on my back and let the charred bits sprinkle around me from the best seat in the house.

Of course we were completely blocked by buildings and could see nothing but smoke and the occasional flash from the St. Louis fireworks. I went for a walk seeking a vantage point but was thwarted. Still, surprisingly, we had a pretty good-sized crowd. And while I’m aware that I go on a bit about how wonderful and enthusiastic our crowds are it’s true. We got called back for a second encore for the first time of the tour. As in the crowd didn’t budge and kept on hollering. It was wonderful. After a bunch of unprofessional hem-hawing we decided to take a crack at Acetylene. I love playing that song and hopefully we can get to it more often. This was one of those evenings where I could’ve played for another hour.

I like St. Louis a lot. KDHX has supported us from way back when, and the Twangfest people are awesome. I like the town though too. Delmar is cool, I’ve only been once but I loved the public market. Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, all seem to have a similar Midwestern, industrial, brick building vibe, but also great down to earth art scenes as well.

Tomorrow is Lexington, the last show of this the longest toe of the tour.

*with tongues

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