4/6 - Bowling Green, Unexpected Whimsy

I tie up work from the day and feel like I need to meditate to connect these distinctly different experiences I’m about to cross over between. I never get to meditate. Gabe and Aaron have my car loaded at their house though, which is fantastic. Pete and I are gonna ride separately in a little car.

Pete makes delish vegetables in the oven, but he’s runnin’ late (as he does) so he takes the whole tray with him in the car. He shares. It’s delish, as I said.

Pete and I pass by a dreary Nashville and talk about the mundane. “It doesn’t feel like we’re about to go on tour at all.”

“Yeah man, it sneaks up on you.”

Pete and I listen to Narrow Stairs and Transatlanticism by Death Cab for Cutie while immediately entering the tour sentiment, talking about just LIFE stuff you know. “Okay NOW it feels like we’re on tour.”

We get to the venue and the owner tells us he’ll hook us up with food and drink and that “we can even toke up upstairs if we want, man.”

We get in and it’s a really awesome stage, really kitschy and warm vibe. Feels very promising!

 A Frame = Bae Frame

A Frame = Bae Frame

We hang around and drink free beers and meet some of the other dudes. All nice and great. Opening the show is Penny Sheets, a solo side project of a dude in a pop punk band who’s also dabbling in making children’s music. Really good stuff, and really great dude. YORK gets up next and it’s like this circusy zappa-esque whimsical rock and it’s sick as FUCK.

Then we get on. About 18 people in the crowd, eh. I guess in Bowling Green people get really home-y when the weather is even a little bit uncomfortable. It was pretty blustery out but nothing major. Who knows. We sounded really super good, I was blown away by how comfortable we were. This was our first show with Gabe (drummer) in like 6 months, and it was unsure how quickly he would pick it back up. It was like he never left! Definitely a fantastic performance.

The guys at the venue comp us for the taco truck across the street. Aaron and I fuck around and eat these super messy tacos. Pretty good. We start to load out.

Then two guys came up to me on two diff occasions. During the set I was asking people what my song “Regal Sprint” sounds like as a scenario. Like, what picture it paints for them. So these dudes came up and told me their rendition of what they saw. Here were the three from that night:

1. A panda bear instructing an aerobics class in a cheerleader outfit

2. A bunch of sentient peeps in a microwave all struggling to solve the same Rubik’s cube before they all melt together into a bulbous blob

3. A cheerleader dates a jock. But a zombie wants to date the cheerleader. So he hits on her. The jock defends himself and tries to kill the zombie, so the zombie obviously wins. Then the zombie gets the girl. But, then the jock turns into a zombie, and so they have a threesome.

Really good stuff.

We get in our cars when Jared, aka Penny Sheets, gently knocks on my window

“Hey man, it’s only $20, somebody take this.”

He donates his $20 to us. Jared is...a very illuminating soul.

Gabe and I barrel to Louisville after the show listening to Crying and Radiohead and Cende. We get to our AirBnb at 3am because we crossed over into EST. Our place is above a garage in a backyard where there is a Koi pond and a lot of cool landscaping.

We pass out.

4/7 - Louisville, the “Worst” show

I don’t sleep well, and I forget why. I was sleeping on an average sized bed with Gabe, so maybe that’s part of it.

We get ready for the day and Pete is super excited to have a full day to go for a run and grocery shop. He loves Kroger, the rest of us don’t really get it.

Gabe and I get in one of the cars with Pete and we go to Kroger. We all feel very good even though I’m dead tired. It feels like this tour is more proper and empowering.

In Kroger, Pete struggles to obtain almond butter - or rather - the machine struggles to produce almond butter for pete. So, I walk for a while with Gabe as we assess snack foods. I make my first instagram story which features a derpy stock photo. I learn Kroger sells Poke Bowls.

Gabe and I buy a donut, each.

We return to the airbnb and laze around. Aaron is practicing on a percussion pad because he has a big show upon returning from tour. Gabe instagrams and watches hockey highlights. He watches hockey highlights a lot. Pete occasional does a sun salutation on his yoga mat.

We get to the venue, Monnik Beer Co., and our name is on the marquee. That feels very neat.

 Lowest draw show of tour = most fabulous signage of tour

Lowest draw show of tour = most fabulous signage of tour

Management is respectful and shows us upstairs where the show will take place. It’s kind of a neat place, if not a little confused with itself. There is a stage, but also banquet tables, and it feels like every crevice of the room was made with wood. I guess they do a lot of comedy nights up here or something.

We load in via a looooooooong staircase. Not too bad, but incredibly long and narrow.

I have to run door tonight, so I get set up. I can tell it’s gonna be a rough night with not a lot of turnout. It shows in my body language. Someone comes in that knows of me because of my ads! She brought two friends. That’s when I started to feel a little better. Also, she and her friends made it a draw of 20, which was just enough to cover the production fee, so I was relieved to break even.

 Me running door. I hate running door!

Me running door. I hate running door!

We get on stage and we have to rush because there is a hard stop at 11p and we need to leave room for the next band to play. The room sounds like ass. There are miscommunications.

But, 5 people in the audience are going nuts. That helps.

I tie up the show and talk to everyone. I go to close out our tab. As I lean against the bar, I see 3 sensitive dudes talking to each other about girls. It immediately feels and sounds exactly like conversations I’ve had.

We get back home and I’m happy to sleep, so I do.

4/8 - Columbus, Surprisingly Great

I wake up and feel very good since I actually slept. We stop in a jank coffee shop, and as we walk toward it I note the beat up buildings that populate the street and I remember being in Philly last year. I remember seeing similar buildings and feeling really insignificant and uncelebrated. This time it didn’t feel like that, it felt powerful, like we had places to be and things to do, and it wasn’t just some silly thing we were doing.

I get an americano that’s good as fuck. Pete and I listen to Haim - they ain’t bad.

We also listen to some Paul Simon, and then a 20 minute Yes song, which Pete thanks me for (It was Close To The Edge, btw). We talk about the golden ratio.

We get to our airbnb in Columbus and it’s kinda great. It’s a townhouse and we almost all get our own rooms and beds (Aaron and Gabe had to share one).

 Nice Beds For The Boys!

Nice Beds For The Boys!

The venue is Woodlands Tavern. It’s a tavern, and I remember on google street view, it was in like...a strip mall. But, Buckethead often plays there, and all sorts of amazing bands have played there, and the pics of the stage looked crazy. So I was really confused by what it would be.

It was kind of exactly that, though. Amazing stage, amazing sound, amazing lights, in this weird little bar in a strip mall.

We eat great food there. We soundcheck. The sound guy Russell is legit as hell. It’s a leisurely process and it sounds really awesome up there. “You guys all like the lead vocal at the same exact db level!”

There’s a green room which is such a luxury. It has water, hummus, beer, crackers, cheese, coffee and tea...and an arcade machine...and leather couches. Amazing. It makes feel kinda loopy crazy and I start running around and screaming and fucking with the guys. I start yelling about how we’re not gonna make any money. “We’re gonna play to no one!” “Oh you GUYS I can’t wait to OWE THE VENUE money!”

I say this because I’m not confident people will show, obviously. I guess I didn’t really know the deal, but you can kinda feel these things out.
But, people do show up. I played to about 20 people and it was fantastic. They were all very attentive and responsive, they were laughing, clapping, cheering. It is a Sunday, so there’s not a lot of standing or dancing, but the crowd just feels really...understanding.

We play an amazing fucking set and the lighting guy Nic is SO on point.

I rush to the merch table. I sold so much merch at this show!! I must have had like 15 people come up to me with really distinct comments. One girl comes up and tells me it’s her FIRST CONCERT EVER.

“I love seeing all of the emotion play out, how you all get into it, and how you’ll get lost in a passage or get really enthusiastic.”

That was one of the coolest things to hear.

I meet a guy from one of my ads - W - and he’s so so good. These kind of connections that become validated at the shows are a really big deal. Had a couple of those in Louisville, too.

 Aaron fine tuning some shiz on this really nice stage

Aaron fine tuning some shiz on this really nice stage

We load out and we start bro-ing out hard with the other band, Spirit of the Bear. We loved each other’s sets and immediately start talking about all of the theoretical shows we will play in the future. Start acting really goofy. Talk about all of the music we both like. It’s super down to earth and immediately bonding.

We actually hang around at Woodlands with these two girls, who I’ll just call A, and A. We just get to know each other, and they keep saying they have early classes the next day, and homework, and have to study, but they keep hanging out with us.

At this point we started doing this thing - I have historically done this, but when I ask people questions that I know will have a long answer, I hold a theoretical microphone to their face as if I’m interviewing them. We all started doing this and eventually Aaron had 3 microphones on him and we started flashing our camera flashlights, emulating the cameras of the paparazzi. Super funny.

 A & A took this photo, btw.

A & A took this photo, btw.

A and A suggest we go to Dirty Frank’s for gourmet hot dogs, so we do. On the way over I sing crazy parody lyrics to Dirty Projectors and Aaron LIKES it. Dirty Franks’ logo is a hot dog with sunglasses and a baseball cap and a big mustache. Looks totally like Kenny Dennis.

I order like 4 scoops of homemade vanilla ice cream accidentally and everyone else orders dogs. We talk about whatever. It’s really cool to have an authentically social moment with new people. These are the kind of romantic, idealized things you envision tour being but they don’t actually happen. But it did, and it ended up being thematic for me at least. Very cool to make two friends from the show.

We head back and I get my own bed, which was awesome and needed.

IMG_0080.JPG
 The likeness is uncanny! (This is Kenny Dennis)

The likeness is uncanny! (This is Kenny Dennis)

4/9 - “Relaxing” in Pittsburgh

Today is our rest day.

We wake up in Columbus, and everything just feels...appropriate. Like we did what we came here to do. It’s also snowing gently. I didn’t necessarily think this wouldn’t happen, but I’ll just say I scheduled this tour to happen a month later than last year because I thought it would be warmer.

Gabe leaves his card at Woodland’s so we have to wait for it to open at 3p to go get it. So, we all hang out in this coffee place for a long ass time - but it’s really nice. Columbus is a total college town, it turns out. Everyone seated around us sort of starts to reinforce our experience last night, what with ending up at Dirty Franks and yadda yadda. I guess I didn’t realize how vibey Columbus was.

I take walks through the flurry and feel out the overcast sky. I look at my passing reflections. I feel self conscious of them on the first pass - but then when I reach the end of the block and turn around, I like my reflections more. Maybe my right side is my “good side”. Maybe my emotions adjust to the meta-narrative of me wondering about why I was self conscious of my own reflection during the first pass.

I think about how I was bred in this kind of weather and it conditioned a real emo sensibility in me that I really wasn’t feeling on this tour any more. The weather tried to oppress, but it didn’t work. That’s not to say I was jovial or anything, just, at peace.

 This is the block I walked up and down. This is also Gabe takin a pic of some weird thing.

This is the block I walked up and down. This is also Gabe takin a pic of some weird thing.

We eventually get going. Aaron and I listen to one of his old records from a project called Early Bird and he examines and explains every little piece of music for me. I also put on Skylarking by XTC which I think I have listened a minimum of once a day since I discovered it. Yea, one of those…

We get into Pittsburgh and the environmental quirks are so immediate. It’s rainy, it feels a little foggy, there’s a lot of cracks, the turns are seemingly random, there is a ton of topographical variation. It feels agitated, but not...bustling. Unique feel for sure.

We get right into Trader Joe’s because Aaron and I are buying ingredients for dinner tonight - Aaron will make the dinner - my friend is hosting for us. Aaron formulates what he will make on the spot - which is a veggie pasta dish along with a watermelon salad and then some general noms (hummus, namely).

It starts to get to that perfectly “in-between” level of day and night. Almost like, dusk’s dusk. The street lights are on, but the sky is still illuminated a bit. I guess it would be twilight? In any case, it is still legitimately raining, so it’s that dark, thick overcast - but you can still feel the last layer of light behind it.

We roll up to my friend’s place and I prepare to see J once again. Aaron and I get buzzed in and go “all the way to the top!” where J is there to greet us.

We get in, and are careful about where we put our shoes. Aaron gets right to work, and J and I awkwardly settle into our dynamic, which has been out of practice for a year.

Some intense conversations happen!!!

Eventually Gabe and Pete meet up, and soon we are all eating around a dinner table, which feels weirdly rare anymore. I guess it is, isn’t it…

 Sitting down for an actual dinner, J's classic yellowish home lighting.

Sitting down for an actual dinner, J's classic yellowish home lighting.

J is loving our bro-ish dynamic. But, she has to go to sleep since it is 10:20p.

We go back to our place, and Aaron ruminates on whether he should shoot to the craft beer store in the 32 minute window he has before they close. He decides to.

Gabe and I drink PBR in my bed and start going through my old phone photos and also get obsessed with saying “Damn.” as it is sung in the opening line of “God Save Our Young Blood” by BORNS. We keep saying it more sexually and it keeps getting funnier.

“Dzzzaaaaammmmmnn”

Aaron shows up with a STOUT from the upstate NY brewery near our hometowns.

The ‘damn…’s ensue until it is time for bed. Aaron and I share a bed.

4/10 - The Venue is a Punk Coffee Shop Next to the Police Station

Awake.

The house is very drafty. I feel alright, but not great. I am awake before everyone else and sitting in the living room when I hear some conversation outside. It gets closer and I get a little nervous. Eventually it turns into a knock.

“What do you think is the key to happiness, sir?”

Me: “Assessing where your love lies, and following it.”

He reads a scripture that is such a platitude I don’t even remember it. But it had the word love in it. I wonder if he was expecting me to be much less on the ball. Either way, he doesn’t take up much of my time. It was actually kind of nice.

“Well I hope you’ll think on these things and take them into your community as you go about your day.”

I wish everyone who was audacious enough to try to push a belief door to door knew to keep it brief, and general, and relatable, and nice.

Everyone else wakes up and Gabe makes impromptu pancakes. We have coffee. We debate going somewhere or doing something, but mostly we watch Mark Zuckerberg get interviewed by Congress. Whole thing was kinda dumb. He did good though.

 Gabe enjoys the fruits of his labor

Gabe enjoys the fruits of his labor

We arrive at Black Forge Coffee after shitloads of traffic. It’s such an interesting area. The elevation of the neighborhood is super high, and feels like it just keeps going up. It feels a lot like Ithaca, NY, actually, but grungier.

 Note: police car

Note: police car

Once inside, I assess the stage. It is small, but the sound system is really legit. I express nervousness that we might potentially be too loud for this place.

“What’s the worst thing that happens if we’re too loud?” - Aaron

“They ask us to turn down.” - Me

“And we’ll adjust.” - Aaron

I believe it was at this point in the trip where we solidified Aaron as “Dad”.

I learn that I have to run door, which I hate doing, but I get started. The other guys go around the corner to get food, and they say it’s amazing. The owner must have loved them because Basic Printer gets tagged in a FB post from the restaurant saying “Thanks BP for coming in” which was cute.

I’m unsure that we will make the production fee. Two people turn away once they realize there’s a cover. Eh...It gets going though.

The Alfomega starts, and they are this sort of experimental jam-ish band with plenty of electronics, a drummer, and a bassist. It’s really good stuff, and the bill makes a lot of sense. In fact, this show got booked because they saw one of my Facebook ads and we got to talking about how I needed a place to play in Pitt. Really cool and good stuff.

J and her roommate G show up, which is appreciated. Last time I went on tour, I played in J’s town and she slept through my concert. A lot of the songs are about her.

 Us crammed on the Black Forge stage. Shortly after this shot, Pete says "Gentlemen, let us destroy this dive."

Us crammed on the Black Forge stage. Shortly after this shot, Pete says "Gentlemen, let us destroy this dive."

I get to one about her called “Asleep” and I say, “this song is called Asleep, but hopefully it’s not so sleepy that you sleep through it.”

The set feels really, really good, and we weren’t too loud.

We deconstruct and I actually sell a bunch of merch and get some really good comments. The sound guy is this rushed dude that kind of looks like Eric Koston, the skateboarder, mixed with Tom Morello. He’s neat. His name’s Ivin. I’m settling up with him and he talks about how he really dug us. Our record for sound guy compliments is 100% this tour.

J and G head back to our place with us, and it gets really fun. We’re just sitting around and talking and drinking whiskey and beer, and it feels like the conversation takes every angle possible. It’s sympathetic, it’s enthusiastic, it’s over-the-top humorous, it’s intellectual, it’s lauding, it’s personal. It’s how every hang should go.

J expresses hunger and Gabe just gets to making pancakes again. Except, the only way you get served your pancake is if it is lobbed onto your plate, from the pan, successfully. If it hits the floor, then that’s your problem.

Some hit the floor. I think 66% hit the floor or something.

 J, Gabe and I displaying a floor pancake.

J, Gabe and I displaying a floor pancake.

It starts to get more sentimental as it gets late. G leaves, and J shortly after. I walk her out. It’s fairly cold, we say a faint goodbye.

I get back inside and we’re a little tipsy and so I freak out doing the dishes. We make some basically silly boomerangs that I actually feel strangely connected to for some reason. But, I’ve always been an indiscernible sucker for minor aesthetics and slightly personal moments.

We go upstairs to sleep, and Gabe is consoling Pete because his heart is aflutter, as it does for 25 year old men that are all on tour together. Yeah, didn’t think touring was like Judy Blume, eh? It really is.

I kick Aaron out this time and he sleeps on the couch. I’m joking, he offered.

 Really great view from the bnb tho

Really great view from the bnb tho

4/11 - Loveffalo

I awake earlier than I would have preferred, and it’s ‘cause of the whiskey and beer. I hate when that happens. I don’t do well with little sleep, so the 1.5 hours I missed out on by waking up simultaneously is a real thing for me to try to avoid.

In any case, I use it as a time to visit J so we can actually have a one-to-one conversation. I head to her place. G has made coffee for me which is very nice as I am an addict, and I don’t really mind that I am.

J sits in a wooden chair and I sit in an armchair and we talk about sentimental and important things as we are known to do, and it was very nice.

We hug bye and head to meet the rest of BP at Gepetto’s Cafe, which is a crepe place.

J snickers at our group dynamic, and Aaron carefully outlines all of his possible choices and then strategizes how he can pick his crepes and split them in a way that he can maximize his experience. The crepes were nutso good.

We explain to the waitress that we’re on tour. On our way out, she says “good luck following your dreams!”

Gabe and I get and one car, and Pete and Aaron linger around the neighborhood for a bit. Pete goes into the guitar store. Aaron goes into the craft beer store.

Gabe and I listen to drafts of his beats that he’s going to put out soon (PS he makes beats under G Mills on spotify and it’s craaaaazy). I feel tired, and take an instagram selfie, and don’t like my hair. So I move it to the other side, and it helps.

 Gabe drives my tired and self conscious ass to Buffalo

Gabe drives my tired and self conscious ass to Buffalo

We arrive at Mohawk Place and had plenty of curb space to ourselves. The front of Mohawk is unassuming, but really classic looking. We head in and look at the room, the bar, etc. It’s really neat. We get settled in and I take a boomerang on the stage. Aaron realizes he has time to sneak in a buffalo wings session, so he takes a car and goes off to do that. The rest of us get tacos around the corner.

I head back sooner than Pete and Gabe because local press wanted an interview with me, which I did on the street. It’s really neat to have that happen, and I’m surprised that I wasn’t more giddy about it. Years ago, I would have viewed this as an enormous leap forward, which I suppose it is. It always intrigues me how you don’t really “feel” growth. When you keep your head down and keep moving forward, everything just starts to feel normal.

I set up the merch table, and I catch up with Corey from dreambeaches, who is this lovely, passionate man. He helped me put together this show.

One of my best friends Ed is there, he will end up following us on tour for the next few days. I love him. We immediately get to the humor and love.

 Humble Braggers is a Good Band and Mohawk Place is a Great Venue.

Humble Braggers is a Good Band and Mohawk Place is a Great Venue.

We eventually get to playing and the crowd is big, and the sound is great, and there’s lights, and everything feels incredible. I think this was my favorite show we played. I see familiar faces in the crowd.

I’m hanging at the merch table when I actually get a -line- of people who want to buy stuff. Crazy. My friend T from college ends up being there, we talk about how connected we’ve always felt to each other even though we don’t keep in touch. It’s this kind of romantic stuff that starts embedding itself in my experience this trip.

“Hey, your ads brought me here! I checked it out and I thought, ‘jeeze,’ he’s only playing for a few bucks? Of course I’m coming!’”

Tickets were $7. People are scared to charge $5, usually.

A dude doesn’t have enough cash for a T-shirt, so he pays the rest in the form of a beer, that was nice.

 My childhood friend B came to the show!

My childhood friend B came to the show!

My friend J shows, I haven’t seen her in years. As the show winds down, Ed asks what we’re doing next and I said that technically I was supposed to go to Syracuse right after the show to get a head start. And Ed got sad and mad. So then I talked to the rest of the band to see if they couldn’t go to Syracuse without me, and Ed would deliver me to Binghamton the next day, since he was intending to go.

So that’s what we did.

So then Ed, J and I went to Ed’s house, drank bud light, wine straight from the caraffe, and listening to dirty projectors while saying “sheeesh!” over and over. J massages my road-worn wrist. (She is a massage therapist).

J heads out and so tipsy Ed and myself go to “Jim’s Steakout”. I get fries and he gets a sandwich.

Shortly after, we fall asleep in Ed’s bed.

 This is Ed in his (literally) custom upholstered houndstooth chair.

This is Ed in his (literally) custom upholstered houndstooth chair.

4/12 - Technically Home

I awake to several Ed’s alarms that he forgot to shut off since he took off work this morning. I struggle to fall asleep in between them. When I finally get to sleep, I wake up to the sound of “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness.

I check my phone and see several ticket sales (woah) and a long text from the venue owner. I call him. We work out a lot of kinks and prepare for the show tonight. I have a lot of social media-ing to do as a result, so I do it. This show is gonna be wild, evidently. I keep selling tickets every few minutes.

I shower and come downstairs and see that Ed is pretty much ready. I don’t feel too shabby, but I can’t tell it won’t last.

Ed and I get moving and go to Paula’s donuts, where the donuts are fucked-up amazing. I get a red velvet one. He gets a breakfast sandwich. We both get much-needed coffees.

We start laughing really hard about various inside jokes that we fill each other in on. We listen to Scenes From an Italian Restaurant by Billy Joel, which is an amazing song.

“Hey, why did ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’ come on this morning?”

“Oh. I was just scrolling through /r/music and it came up and I...I just had to listen to it”

We arrive at Mario’s, which is my family’s old restaurant. I see vitally important characters to my Binghamton life. I eat a spiedie, it’s delicious.

I meet up with a guy, M, who wants to interview me for his podcast. We do that, and we have a really great conversation - though throughout it I feel fatigue and sleep deprivation setting in. I’m interested to hear that podcast though - M was a great dude.

Ed and I depart Mario’s to visit our old living quarters at the college we attended. We buy queso and chips before doing so. This is because we have a tradition...when I was a junior, during my second semester, Ed moved into my suite to replace our friend Ian who went abroad to Spain. That semester was so good that it was forever deemed the Golden Semester. During this semester, a jar of queso was broken on the floor, and our friend Matt cut his foot on the glass. Every year after graduating, we visit the current residents of the suite within which the Golden Semester took place, and deliver a jar of queso to commemorate the good and bad times that occurred during the Golden Semester and hope that the residents will carry the torch of goodness onwards.

We did that. It was very bland. The residents didn’t care much.

Ed and I walk through the rest of Cayuga, the building where we lived. It has changed somewhat, but not majorly...it’s very unromantic. I’m surprised I wasn’t more affected by it, I’m a criminally nostalgic person.

We head down to the venue, where we load in and start to sound check, and it’s kind of a needless nightmare. But, we have lots of headroom before showtime so it’s not really a problem.

I am fatigued to a dangerous level, and my mood starts to seep out and affect others. Aaron notices and secretly alerts Pete and Gabe...Gabe finds a coffee and brings me one. Dude :’)

 Stage/lighting and Gabe the angel sitting on a weird interview chair behind the instruments

Stage/lighting and Gabe the angel sitting on a weird interview chair behind the instruments

I feel bad because Ed is pretty much just sitting off to the side during all of this. People start showing up and I don’t have a ton of energy to offer them. Really getting to the end of my psyche.

PS - M - the guy who did the podcast earlier - he’s a sound guy tonight. Hah!

The opening band starts and they are lovely and neat Binghamton University students. There are tons of people here.

 natural born kissers!

natural born kissers!

We get to playing, and as soon as we step on, 78 people rush forward to the stage. It’s crazy. I’m so tired and beside myself that I don’t even feel like I’m playing a show, I’m totally out of body.

We start playing Child Grows and I see someone singing the lyrics...someone I don’t know. That was really, really amazing.

We keep the concert rolling when I finally get to Ironface, and I mention it - I hear some yells from the crowd. When I play this song, I usually retreat reallllly far into myself to make sure I get the right, deep-seated emotional voice for the performance. I finally open my eyes halfway into the song and see C. The song is about her, I didn’t know she’d be here. That was really something powerful. We finish the song and I make eye contact with C.

We finish our show and I run to the merch table where I sell tons of shit and talk to all of these old high school and college people. Three people come up, one of which is the guy that was singing my lyrics.

“We’ve been listening to you since we were in high school, when you were releasing your original demos. It was our introduction into weird music...we thought we’d never hear about you again or ever see you again.”

That is INSANE.

 Shitloads of peeps at Binghamton

Shitloads of peeps at Binghamton

My friend M is hosting us - he has a DDR machine in his basement. Yup. We gotta head to his place. We step out of the venue and I see a scattering of drunks...it’s kind of a jarring sight, and really juvenile. It’s amazing to think about how I used embed myself in these scenes weekend after weekend a few years ago, and they felt beautiful to me, not trashy. I don’t think it was a trashy scene necessarily, but from the outside looking in, it’s really something. In truth, I used to stumble too.

We get to M’s house, and it’s kind of a party. We eat Eggos and hot pockets. And of course, we play DDR. Well, M and I do. I set aside my extreme fatigue to do so, and I’m surprised with how well I do.

I count the money from the night and get to sleep.

4/13 - Hopin’ NYC Would Be Easy

We awake, and Gabe and Pete leave ahead of Aaron and I, because Gabe has an errand to run in brooklyn - he lives there now, actually.

Aaron and I gather our things and talk with M and other members of the house about music and whatnot. We shoot off to Manni’s donuts and get a half dozen. We did this last tour, too - we like split half a dozen donuts and try 6 distinctly different flavors.

I forgot to mention - a few days before now - the airbnb owner in Louisville asks us where a certain blanket went, and I realize we totally took it. So after Mannis, I had to mail a damn blanket to Louisville. We do that.

We start heading down to NY, and it’s kind of warm out. We eat away at the donuts and listen to Birthmark’s ‘The Layer’ which is one of my favorite records - I would put it on the record player on early overcast mornings when I was training to be in RA at Binghamton University. I think back and realize that’s the reason music is what it is for me and others. (And, at current, I am listening to Flower Slides by satanstompingcaterpillars, loosely holding back tears, so there’s also that evidence. Double PS - in Pittsburgh, I was very close to buying a rare CD version of that exact album from one of the people who made it - Power Pill Fist - never came to be. But, I’ll get it somehow. Tl;dr - music is binding and fixed deeply in how we feel everything).

For the rest of the trip, Aaron and I mostly just chat passionately about lots of things.

We great a great spot across the street in front of the venue, right on the waterfront. The weather is perfect. Our friends J and J show up and we eat this amazing woodfire pizza. Damn.

 Part of how we got the great spot - it said no parking, but it was actually an expired notice. :)

Part of how we got the great spot - it said no parking, but it was actually an expired notice. :)

We start setting up at the venue. It gets warm and hectic in there very quickly, I start to get agitated. A lot of people are grabbing me, trying to talk, but I can’t really settle in.

Long story short, we finally get on stage and our set gets started late. There’s a hard stop at 10:50p, and every second we waste setting up is cutting into set time. My keyboard won’t power on, my microphone keeps drooping, there are monitoring inefficiencies, my volume keeps randomly rising, and I’m racing the clock the whole time...definitely my least comfortable show.

I guess no one else agreed though, because everyone told me they loved it, and the rest of the band felt like they had good performances, so…

A lot of people were there though - almost 90 - and most of them came for us <3

 Pic of this huge crowd

Pic of this huge crowd

We deconstruct and I hang around with old friends - a big group of us are all congregated there, and it feels great, if not a little loud and sweaty. I’m really glad I was able to get in this time though - with touring, everyone assumes you’ll have all this time to hang, but you never do, and I’m never at ease because my mind’s going a million different directions regarding where the rest of the band is, what time we need to wake up, if our gear is stored in a safe place, etc…

Nonetheless, I’m always impressed by the support and warmth my friends consistently offer me, I feel not worthy of it. NYC is in a way a reluctant home of mine, now. I have a very back-and-forth relationship to it.

We are staying at our friend Luke’s house. We = myself and Ed - yes! He came to this show too.

We uber to his nice apartment, along with two other friends of ours, since Luke’s apartment is closer to their train. We all huddle up in Luke’s little room, and laugh and talk about things. We eventually move out to the fire escape, where it’s really bonding.

Eventually, Luke and Ed and I are all laying sardine style in Luke’s full-sized bed. We fall asleep punning the phrase “pickle back”, which is a kind of whiskey shot and pickle juice chaser. Obvious one is “Pickleback, that pickle band that everyone hates.”

4/14 - A Painfully Tired Epilogue

I wake up on Luke’s bed and am impressed by how alright I feel. I take a shower. Pete wakes up (he was there too, by the way) and also showers. I play Luke’s left handed guitar as if it were a right handed guitar and we examine how fucked up the songs sound.

We walk down to a bagel place, and in typical new york fashion I am forced to order very quickly because I am within the radius of the ordering counter and he says “next!” so I can’t hesitate or else everyone around will be pissed at me for delaying the system even a little.

We CHOW it down, and walk back to Luke’s to get our stuff and generally depart.

Pete and I look at each other tiredly as we catch wind of all of the potential options of brunch, seeing other people, subway-ing to other neighborhoods to visit friends, and...we just feel like we want to get a move on.

We say a final goodbye to Jason and co. - Jason sang with us the last two nights, and sings with us whenever he can. We’ve been in a bunch of musical projects together over the years.
I text a bunch of people and let them know we’re actually leaving, but I love them all.

Pete and I barrel to Philly and I feel probably worse than I ever have, physically speaking. It’s like in Catcher in the Rye, towards the end of the book when Holden is clearly getting sicker, and getting broker, and losing sleep, and drinking too much, and smoking too much, and that is a parallel reason for his rising depression that he doesn’t really take note of.

 Pete and I stop at a gas station that sells high end watches,

Pete and I stop at a gas station that sells high end watches,

We arrive at the airbnb, and it’s kind of big and empty. It’s late afternoon and kind of sunny, and it’s making me sad for a reason I don’t really understand, but it’s always happened to me since I was like, 10. Something about this time of day rocks me. I hear kids from a nearby playground, but otherwise everything feels very still, and quiet, and warm. And I feel my anxieties rising. I try to nap loosely, and sleep kind of sneaks up on me...I’m only asleep for about 5 mins when I stir awake in this anxious moment. My breathing is a little rushed and agitated and I sort of have to come back to earth. It was a really weird moment, I felt like my body was forcing me to shake off some brain baggage since it’s been so “go go go” up to now.

Pete comes back from a run and there’s such an attitude of finality in everything. We pick a place to get salads, ahead of the show, so we begrudgingly get ready to do so.

In the process of this, I get a $26 parking ticket...still need to pay that!

Tonight we’re playing a house show. We get to the house...the neighborhood it’s situated in is super varied. There’s a vietnamese restaurant on one corner, a bustling 4 way intersection nearby, some historic buildings, a frat house….each little crevice of the neighborhood has its own distinct vibe.

The house venue is really warm and welcoming and safe. The residents give us tea, and we work out the schedule for the night. We get to loading in through a very narrow staircase that is literally wrapped in a mural. Very cool. The basement is a basement, but they have a great little stage set up with a sound system and tons of resources gear wise. And dedicated sound peeps.

It feels like the night will be a little scant, but it’s not problematic - in fact it kind of feels like this appropriate end credits to the tour, this soft, safe little house show.

A handful of good and unexpected friends show up, which makes me feel really good.

The opening artists play - boosegumps is very lovely as they play soft, sentimental indie ballads with some surprising musical tinges. Loadcard blows all of BP’s mind - Cam, the dude, puts together these mathy borderline hardcore passages that have this big sense of whimsy to them. It’s totally a companion to BP.

We get on and get our sound going and we feel really adept, it’s like business as usual. I don’t feel great, physically, but I definitely feel more at peace and calm relative to earlier. We play. There are a decent amount of people watching...we finish the set and that’s it - no confetti, no actual rolling credits. We deconstruct and kind of just sigh out the whole tour. A lot of friends come up and give me really amazing empowering comments. It feels very celebratory and supportive. Zena, who runs the house venue, says

“Pru and I agree that your music high-key slaps.”

Which has been repeating in my head since they said it, what satisfyingly worded affirmation. “High-key slaps” is like the best friggin phrase i’ve heard in a long while.

We continue to deconstruct as Russel the Leaf plays - they’re just so so great and I’ve heard of their music for a long time now. Turns out we have some mutual friends, too! Which we talk about.

We load out up the mural stairs and finally get everything sort of finished. I look around at the soft living room/kitchen and see my new and old friends, and it really feels like ending credits now. I wrap up merch. Hug bye to lots of people. We take a pic on the porch.

 The House Show Porch Pic I Was Talkin' About

The House Show Porch Pic I Was Talkin' About

We load up the cars. Pete is heading off to his friend’s house tonight, and Gabe is getting a bus home. So in a way this is our last moment as a band on this tour.

Pete walks one way, Aaron takes Gabe to the train station, I head to the airbnb.

I walk in and it feels brutally dark. I push through to my tiny little room that contains no more than a cot and a vintage 70’s drawer set. I look at the scattered change, credit cards, and tea bags that are the only thing that mark my identity in the room. I think back to a Dirty Projectors insta that had crumbled up dollar bills and a mcdonald’s french fry cup and I feel like I get it now.

This is really the end of the story. The next morning, Aaron and I wake up and drive home.