December 9, 2017

On Tour With Icarus The Owl: Day 11

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Friday, December 9, 2017

Laying on the top bunk you honestly never know when you’re going to fall asleep. Sometimes you’re out immediately and that “teleportation” feeling happens and you wake up in a new city. Those are the good nights. Other times you have a hard time falling asleep. You lay on your side only to be jolted across the top of the mattress when you hit a pothole. Those are small sleep cycles of roughly 45-60 minutes that are always casually interrupted. Then there’s your perceived sleep. The sleep you hope the rest of the van notices so they don’t bother you and you can actively try and get some rest. For example, this is a veteran move when it’s 4:00am and it could possibly be your driving shift after a night of small sleep cycles. Jake bit the bullet and drove for 15 minutes before we released something was wrong. A creeping squeaky noise coming from the trailer. At best it’s just the trailer hitch. At worst, we would be in for a long day. It’s tour; there’s no such thing as best-case scenario.

The wheel bearings and hub from the van were completely shot on the trailer’s right tire. We scoured the internet for 24-Hour mechanics in a small gas station 90 minutes outside of El Paso. We were in no-man’s land. Just far enough away from a big city that the closest help would still take 45-60 minutes to get to us. After several phone calls we weighed out the pricing options and time tables. We settled on a mechanic about 25 minutes out who would tow the trailer to his house with the hopes of replacing the broken pieces without too much hassle. This was an adventure itself. His name was Ja (we believe) and he lived in a quiet community that overlooked the gorgeous mountains of West-Texas. We had clearly gone to a local mechanic and even he was puzzled we found his phone number online. Ja’s place had 4 dogs running around, cows, horses, chickens, sheep, abandoned trailers, trucks, shacks and even an old school bus where he stored his parts. This was obviously not what we had in mind, but we were lured in by the price and time he could save us.

We all sat in the van while Ja worked away; defeated. Hour after hour went by seemingly with no solution in sight. Was he just taking his time to jack up the cost? It was difficult to tell since it was a house shop and maybe he didn’t have the right parts. The venue was still over 7 hours away. Every minute that went by was a minute closer to not playing the show and missing out on a sold-out venue. We prepared for the worst and figured we would not be able to make it. It’s a helpless feeling not knowing how the next few hours will pan out. Ja finished up with enough time to give us hope. Icarus was set to play at 8:15 and the GPS had us arriving at 7:45. Could we really pull this off? We would have to really push it, but we were determined to make this work.

After just two gas station stops we were able to roll in to the venue at our expected arrival time. We unpacked guitars/amps and Rob’s drums as quickly as possible. Wolf & Bear kindly let us use what we needed on stage to save time. I had to barrel my way through 1,500 people to get to merch and set up. We had no time to prep or replenish our inventory so I knew a couple trailer trips to get more would be expected. There was a steady stream of fans purchasing our material all night. They read about our van troubles online and were elated we were able to make it to the show and rewarded us handsomely for it.

Pure adrenaline took over for all of us. Icarus played their best show yet. The crowd was energetic and clapped and moshed the 30-minute set away. We felt victorious. Joey was in such a good mood he bought us dinner to celebrate. The show went by so quickly it felt like we were barely there. By far the most surreal show of the tour. The plan was to drive to the outskirts of Dallas and stay with a friend of the bands that night. However, our premature celebration was marked with tragedy. Joey started the van and immediately the engine started knocking. Our oil had burned up. We weren’t sure if it was a sign of a larger problem or a quick remedy. Of course this is tour though, you know how that goes.

We carefully drove the van to a nearby hotel to settle in for the night. To make matters worse, this hotel was run by a man who seemingly had no ethical basis to the way he conducted business. He requested $100 down payment in cash for room incidentals and pointed to the camera behind him as “digital proof” of the transaction. Joey had to argue for 5 minutes to let us just charge his card instead. The night just kept throwing punches our way and they were landing hard. Our fate was out of our hands for the time being. Jake and I opted to sleep in the van with that lovely 20 degrees Texas weather and make sure nothing else happened outside this seedy hotel. Hopefully in the morning we could strike a balance between the best and worst-case scenario.

Written by: Patrick Marion

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