Tuesday, January 3, 2017

SUPER ENTHUSED BLOG: Touring the United States: 2005-2006 Part II

Touring the United States: 2005-2006 Part II.......

Spring 2005 Tour - It's the Only Road I know

04/29 Marietta, GA @ Swayzes venue (2543 Bells Ferry Rd. Suite 650) w/ Burke, Roosevelt's Plan
04/30 Chalmette, LA @ Mike & Brett's Mom's House (residential address) w/ Cinema City, Sally Stitches
05/02 Houston, TX @ Super Happy Fun Land (2610 Ashland Street @ W27th Street in the Heights) w/ Over Sea, Under Stone
05/03 Ft. Worth, TX @ 1919 Hemphill (1919 hemphill) w/ Dinosaur! Dinosaur!, Cri Nobody
05/04 Tulsa, Oklahoma @ Kafe Bona (81st and Memorial) w/ The Darlings (clubdarling.com)
05/05 Wichita, KS @ the Riot Room (on the corner of West. 13th/Perry 1403 N. Perry) w/ The Mathematicians (NY)
05/07 Athens, GA @ Tasty World (312 East Broad St) w/ Boulevard, An Epic At B

During my few years as a touring musician, I visited many cities in Texas, and loved every one of them. There really is something expansive and free about Texas and it's grand blue skies... I loved to point my face towards the sky, close my eyes, and feel that warm Texas sun. What I loved most about my visits to Texas were the people... in my travels throughout Texas, I experienced only kindness, and met all variety of people who I would consider to be salt of the earth.

The first show I played in Texas was at a place called Super Happy Fun Land. Now, I had been to dive bars and punk rock venues before, and I had seen beaten up, funky, weird places a-plenty, but SHFL was a bit of a shock to the system at first. It reminded me of the Foot Clan lair from the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film. Graffiti all over the walls, ripped up, stinky couches, and crazy stuff everywhere. Total punk rock. Many of these punk rock venues look like hell, but that's the way they like it, and they tend to be managed and frequented by kind, caring, creative, talented and generally awesome people. Playing at venues like SHFL is always a treat; the audience is there to dance, rock out and have fun, no nonsense. and that creates an atmosphere conducive to completely rocking out. 

This same tour included a garage show in southern Louisiana, which of course also meant a visit to New Orleans. When I visited again post-Katrina, I saw the very same buildings we visited with the entire first destroyed, and people still living on the second floor. I saw piles of cars under highways, and rubble and debris everywhere. Over the past decade, I have visited New Orleans many times, and it was fascinating seeing the changes pre and post Katrina. Below is a 2005 photo of me playing in a garage in a suburb outside of New Orleans, having a blast and having stepped up from my first bass guitar to a Fender Jazz Bass. 

It was awesome playing shows in garages, living rooms and punk rock venues in the South. It's a very different experience from visiting as a tourist, or from more professionally booked tours. Being on the ground, dependent on locals, builds relationships in a very unique way. You are entertaining and bringing art to their town, and they are giving you a place to sleep, some food to eat, and introducing you to their town from a locals perspective. 

This particular tour began and ended in Georgia, as did many other tours, which made sense with Florida as home base. Georgia, to me, is tree-lined streets; stark contrasts; congested cities and lonesome, winding roads. It's boiled peanuts, small towns, friendly faces. Much like Florida, the people who actually live in Georgia may disagree with me, because Atlanta is a vastly different world than some of the smaller towns and cities. The place I spent the most time while touring Georgia was Athens, GA. Ten years ago, Athens was an artsy, hip college town, full of music, events and involved, engaged locals. I don't know if it's the same way now, ten years later. 

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