The Big Horse
SKWERL: We loaded into The Big Horse a little after 8 for the 9 PM show. The place was fucking empty. There was a really obnoxious door guy handing out flyers on the street (and our name actually made it onto them, despite the show being booked on short notice), but I think he was doing us more harm than good. He was so fucking annoying, and he was wasting all the flyers on Dick & Janes, and basically any female with a nice ass. 98% of the people that took a flyer just did it to shut him up, as these were people that would never in a million years come to (let alone enjoy) one of our shows. I grabbed a stack of flyers while some still remained, and Bob and I walked up and down the street actually talking to kids, hitting record stores, trying to find our crowd. A couple people that had heard about the show through one of my sites showed up to see us, and that was cool. They said they got charged $5 at the door though, while we were told the cover would be a punk rock $3. I went up to the guy charging and asked him what was up. I said, "the fliers say "$3." He goes, "yeah, well it's more." I said "oh ok. Well, are the bands getting paid more?" To which he simply said "no." So I say "awesome." And I walk away convinced we'd be leaving empty handed.
We ended up playing third because apparently one of the other bands didn't want to have to wait to start drinking. Juicehead played first, and then Eggroll Willie; two local bands. I thought they were pretty good. Juicehead sounded a lot like Social Distortion, and the musicianship was there to validate. Eggroll Willie was way faster and closer to our kinda thing. I wasn't really feeling their vocalist, but he turned out to be a really cool guy, so more power to them. During these first two sets, the place started to fill up a bit with a standard bar crowd. They were getting into it more than the Speakeasy crowd last week, but we saw what we were in for.
When it was our turn, we took one look at the small, high stage, and decided to change the game a little. Rather than try and bring the crowd closer to us, we played closer to them. We set up the drums and amps on the front of the stage. The other bands' drummers got shoved into this closet sized space at the back of the stage, but we gave Bob some room. Then we got down and used the whole dance floor as our stage. We kept it fucking Philly real.
Before we went on, my bass got knocked over, and fell pretty hard. This, plus a damaged E string, may have contributed to the annoyance of my bass dropping out of tune by the end of every other song. We had to retune like 4 times during the set. This was just one of many problems though. First off, the sound guy was the fucking cook. So after the first song, rather than wait for him to finish a burrito before coming over to turn the mics down, I had to put down my bass and walk over to the board. Luckily I knew the mixer they were using, found the channel quickly enough, and set us straight. But goddamn man. During Plague, my bass strap came off, and April had to get the hook back through the duct tape while I played in that awkward invisible chair stance, in time for the breakdown.
The shitty crowd, and all the stops and problems had us all in a really bad mood. By the time we were done, the obnoxious doorman had transformed into really drunk shirtless crude obnoxious doorman, and was really pushing his luck making appalling gestures at the girls. April doesn't stand for that shit, and we all had more than enough negative energy on hand to murder the guy with if he asked for it. The guitarist from Juicehead stood next to the four of us ready to pummel the bastard, and I don't know if he knows how close he came to a hospital visit. All 5 of us took turns pushing his obnoxious ass across the room when he'd come at us with his bullshit, and he's real lucky he didn't push back or take a swing.
We stuck around long enough to check out Dead Americans, and they were pretty cool by me. Definitely cool guys, and I appreciate them putting us on the bill despite everything. At the end of the night, we made a few bucks off the door, and then Eggroll Willie gave us their share. That was so awesome of them. We stuck around for a bit talking to all three bands, trading road stories & demos, recommending cities and venues, bullshitting... And we found ourselves smiling and loosening up a bit. We still couldn't have hit the road soon enough, but at least we met some awesome people before doing so.
BOB: I had a bad vibe the moment we rolled into Chi Town.. I don't know why. But the feelings I had weren't false... This show was bad. The crowd were a bunch of idiotic mouth breathers who I would never give the time of day let alone break a sweat playing for.
The door man was a complete jackass who was handing out fliers to anybody walking down the street, mostly women he wanted to bang... By the end of the night he was drunk and even more obnoxious and me and the group almost had to lay him out a couple times... AND, the sound guy was the cook.. So, when we needed the mics turned up, he was off somewhere in front of a grill... But I did like Lake Michigan... All in all, FUCK CHICAGO.
APRIL: Well, the Chicago show was a bit of a let down. It just wasn't the right crowd or scene for us. Chicago was one of the places I really was getting excited about, but it wasn't anything I expected it to be.
My "aunt" (godfather's sister) offered us a place to stay when she heard we were touring out that way, so we were all about that; comfortable beds, nice hot showers, a place to cook our ramen. But when we got there, there was no answer on her phone, no answer at the door. I left her a message, but when I called back later, the phone was busy. Her neighbor told us she was "out for the night," meaning sleeping! So what she did was heard my message, and I guess didn't feel like helping anymore, so she took her phone off the hook! Can you believe that!?
So of course when I let Dad know, he flipped, called her & his jerk cousin, who also wouldn't take us in, and gave them a piece. Anyway, we're putting that behind us and moving on to (hopefully) better times.
We got into Wisconsin this morning. The rest stop was really nice, had a water fountain and all. We were able to get a nice big breakfast at Olympic Diner.
When we got to Milwaukee, we found the house that we're playing at tomorrow. It's gonna be the first show at this place, I just hope we have a better experience than we did in Chicago.
Now we're in downtown Milwaukee, at Mocha, some cafe. Free internet access and a nice big private bathroom. We have good feelings about this one.