Saturday, August 17, 2002
Cleveland Heights, OH

Morning number three at the breakfast nook. We finished up in Detroit last night and showed up in Cleveland just after six AM. Thad's mom, worried about us being out on the road, was waiting up for us. I bet Motley Crue never had that happen.

Yesterday was Detroit, and it was great. We showed up in the mid afternoon at the house of Kenny McNabb. Kenny had set up the show: three local acts and us, one of which he was in. We piled out of the van, Jill excited to see his seven cats and the rest of us happy to hang out in his back yard. Kenny showed us where to get some good food while we tried not to make too much a mess of his house. Trouble reared its ugly head briefly when he couldn't find the keys to his van, but we loaded everything into ours and began the drive over to the club. About a block away from his house, we pass his girlfriend in her car. She tells Kenny where the spare van key is, he goes back to get the van and all is right with the world.

We played at the third street saloon in the room with the pool tables. The regulars sat in the room behind us, but I don't think that means that they escaped us entirely. After plugging in a sound system that all four bands abused mercilessly, we loaded in and played a few games of pool. Our friend Julie's friend John showed up, shot some pool and regaled us with some of his psycho tales on the road. He's been in a few bands that have put in a lot of miles, and so had some scary but funny stories. Although why any band would decide it's a good idea to pick up a hitchhiker is beyond me.

Then the music started, and that was loads of fun. The Nain Rouge (who I screwed up in my earlier stuff by calling them the Nain Lounge) were great and super energetic. The fact that the sound was kind of a wash did not stop their fury. The bassist for Ganon (the next band) and I tried to eek a few more watts out of the small sound board for vocals, but it just wasn't happening.

NR were followed by Ganon. Now, you see, this is a funny thing. Kenny had been the nicest host that we could have asked for up to this point. All smiles and 'whatever I can do to help, let me know'. His band gets up, starts ripping slow tempo terror on the place, and the guy turns into a furious screaming monster. Polar opposites. What gives? Suffice to say, Ganon were intense.

The Austerity Program was next. The size of the very springy plywood stage had just enough room for our amps, but we looked like two guys playing in front of a wall of speakers. Halfway through the second song, we tripped a breaker. The bartender comes back and resets it as everyone there gives him applause. This happens two more times throughout the set.

Now I know what you're thinking. 'You mean to tell me that you played in the big room with the pool tables to a crowd of less than 30 people, balancing on a rickety warped stage and the fuses kept blowing? That sounds terrible!' And that's where you'd be dead wrong. A small scene of people who are totally committed to what they are doing makes all of the difference. Going on after the two bands in front of us set the bar and we were happy to try and meet it. Performance wise we were pretty fluid, picking up quickly after our mistakes and plowing through. Fun, fun, fun, fun.

Local rock and rollers Diegrinder rounded the evening out, coming from a different scene than the two bands in front of us. When they were done, NR and Ganon were helpful in loading up the van, being generous with the door money and praise. I don't mean to sound too goofy, but when someone invites you to come in and be a welcome guest in the small but honest scene that they are struggling to create, it's humbling and inspiring. Go Detroit.

Matt noted that everyone in Detroit seems to be either really great or really bad. The really bad people included the drunk homeless guy that wouldn't leave Abby alone, a couple of skeezy bar guys and most significantly the scumbag who almost literally killed Matt by screaming past the van at close to 100mph as he was loading it up. Although we'll never know who it was and there's nothing we can do to give him his just deserts, I take small consolation in the fact that you don't drive like that for long and live. I only hope that he doesn't take anyone with him when he wraps himself around a viaduct support.

The drive back to Cleveland certainly capped our fatigue. Thad and I have become obsessed with the second ODB record, listening to it twice a day as we try to figure out what that guy is talking about. It's probably best that we're left to drive the van ourselves.

Pittsburgh PA tonight, my birthplace. We play at the local punk house and then drive on to NYC. Gotta get the van back to the rental place. They're going to flip when they see how many miles we put on it. Unless I can figure out how to turn the odometer back...

[ next ]

[ main journal ]

[ back ]