June 16, 2017

On Tour – 2nd Edition – Part 2

2nd entry 2

It has been 8 days since my last entry and already so much has happened. Here are some obvious facts: we are now 1,800+ miles further along our journey, we’ve consumed more V8 Energy drinks than I ever thought possible, and of course, we are catching up on a much-needed laundry day right now in Durham, NC.

Texas was an absolute blast. We dreaded Texas the last time around because of the sheer vastness of it. However, when you have 4 shows scattered throughout, it’s not so bad. Texas came out to party and we are so glad they did. The first stop was right along the U.S. border in El Paso. I’ll frankly admit I didn’t have high expectations for this town. You hear the stories of violence, corruption and rampant drug use, but our experience was far from that. We saw a spirited downtown. The locals were kind, generous and full of laughter everywhere we went.

I took the night shift drive to San Antonio. A 7 ½ hour drive (with the loss of an hour due to time zones) in the sterling heat of the night. We arrived a few hours early to get our tourist fix in. We cultured ourselves with the history of the Alamo and walked margaritas in hand through the Riverwalk in downtown. San Antonio has made a strong case for my favorite Texas city (Austin is losing ground). The venue was jam packed all night. The crowd went wild for Comrades and even more wild for Strawberry Girls. I sat alone at the bar fixated on the NBA Finals Game 4. When you’ve already seen the show a handful of times, you don’t feel bad about skipping a night here or there.

Dallas brought that same enthusiasm. The local acts were impressive. They stayed all night to talk about the current scene in Texas. We were beginning to understand why the shows were so packed: Texas loves their rock’n’roll. AJ treated us to our first hotel as we relished the opportunity for a real shower and beds. I like to think we truly mean well when we say we want to get a good night’s rest, but falling asleep with a beer in hand watching It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia doesn’t exactly prove my point.

Houston was a riot from the start. Just on the outskirts of downtown, AJ and I spent our free time roaming around the deserted downtown on Sunday afternoon. The show was packed with enthusiastic fans who made us feel quite welcome. Despite the slight hiccup of forgetting Joe’s base during load-out, the night was full of surprises. We hung up our hats at one of the local’s houses just south of the city. What was meant to be a night of rest turned into finishing off our leftover liquor and talking way too much about Taylor Swift.

houston cpf

Texas truly spoiled us. Everything from the venues and crowds to the food and history, we were all on board with the Lone Star state.

It’s rare to be out on tour without encountering a rainy day. Unfortunately, our rainy day hit us in New Orleans. Not all was lost though, as we found comfort in our first Yuengling’s of the trip; a true East-coast treat we all enjoyed throughout our time there. Orlando was the next stop and one of the longest drives of the tour. 9 hours across the bottom of the country and into the eastern time zone. I volunteered to take the first leg of the drive again. Joey did his best to stay awake with me as he politely entertained my pop-punk heavy playlist. I stand by my choices of Alkaline Trio, Jimmy Eat World and Seaway.

One word I would use to describe Orlando would be: overwhelming. The venue was surprisingly packed for a Tuesday night. The band’s old friends drove up from St. Petersberg and offered their house for the night. This was the same place we stayed at last time in St. Pete where we spent an afternoon swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. It was a 2-hour drive south (the opposite direction from our next show) and we would be swimming in the ocean at 3:00am with only about 3 hours of sleep before we had to leave for Atlanta. The decision was unanimous. How can you pass up on late night ocean swimming?

Atlanta felt like the big time. A load in dock, catering, a beer cart? This was paradise. Despite a little trouble with the sound, the show went smoothly and we took full advantage of relaxing in the green room throughout the night.

2nd entry 3

We had no idea what to expect with Chapel Hill, NC. We arrived early in town with the hopes of getting an oil change before the show. This proved a little harder than we thought considering our trailer attachment. After some deliberation, we decided to follow my friend’s suggestions on some local bars and breweries and explored the town. Chapel Hill was beautiful. The show brought in some die-hard Strawberry Girl fans who were anxious to talk and hangout throughout the night. They drove 4 1/2 hours to see them play. That band truly has some draw.

Richmond, VA is our next stop. I keep forgetting that today is Friday. It’s remarkable being able to go weeks at a time without thinking about the actual day it is. I do my best to pay attention as my job demands it, but luckily, I don’t work weekends and we are playing Philly on a Saturday (a good time to let loose).

Tour rolls on with days/nights full of laughter from Snapchat stories, bad southern accents and a general admiration for Yuengling beer. The small annoyances of the lack of charging ports, bug bites and inconsistent van sleep pale in comparison to our overall attitudes. Being back on the road makes me feel alive in ways few other things can.

Until next time,

Written by: Patrick Marion

Posted by in Editorials and tagged as