Since leaving Maine we have been back and forth a lot between states. We’ve spent the majority of our time in Connecticut, strangely, but I think it’s just because it is relatively close to everything and right outside of New York City. The week started with a last minute show in downtown New Haven, which for those of you who didn’t know (like me), is the home of Yale University. We showed up to the city pretty early, so we figured we’d find some local pub to hang out in for a while before load-in. I can’t even remember the name of it, to tell you the truth, but maybe that is a testament to how shitty it was. The beer was expensive, the place was dead, and the waiter was rude– not like the intentional “I’m just going to ignore you” kind of rude, but more of a “I really just don’t give a fuck about my job” kind of rude. Whatever. We left to watch Parks & Rec in the van instead.
By that point I had decided that New Haven was way too smart for me. Constant conversations involving people overanalyzing pop culture and movie plots. Not that I didn’t get it. I totally did. But some people just look too deep into the way movie characters part their hair or what kind of shoes they are wearing in each scene. That’s my partial rant. I felt out of place, then I remembered a certain school that we were in the heart of and felt even more out of place.
But then something crazy happened.
We showed up to Stella Blues, a spacious and clean R&B inspired venue with pool tables and a skeeball machine. The place was vast, and it was early on a Sunday night. Totally understandable. We were informed that music started at 9:30pm, ended at 12:45am, and that we were the only band playing. Seeing as how this was a last-minute show on an otherwise day off, we really couldn’t complain. The venue gave us a generous bar tab, pretty great levels as far as sound goes, and the staff was super enthusiastic. About half-way into the night, the bar seemed to get an after-work rush. People started pouring in, including one encouraging music teacher and his date. During our break he chatted us up about ukeleles and different instruments that kids in school are beginning to play. He stayed for almost all of our set, and as he was leaving, he shook my hand and left an unexpected and overly-accomodating gift. No, it wasn’t drugs. But it paid for us to shower… AGAIN.
The night ended up being rather incredible and really took us by surprise. We made a lot of new friends, they bought merch, and they even closed the bar and bought us all drinks afterwards. New Haven officially changed my mind at that point. Huge thanks to Dan, Katie, Amanda, and all of the Stella Blues staff for showing us a truly great time.
The next day we headed towards Lawrence, Massachusetts and Boston to visit some of Sarah’s family. We had a bit of time, so we stopped to catch an open mic night at Greendale’s in Worcester. Again, unexpected. Sarah and I were able to squeeze in a few acoustic songs in an otherwise fully booked night. Before we had even played, a man had been listening to us talk about the band. He hadn’t even heard our music before offering to buy us all a pizza for dinner. Andrew directed his attention to the Royals game, once again encouraging the whole bar to get involved. This kid is serious about his baseball, and you can see it all in his steady gaze towards the screen. We met some very nice Worcester folks that night and even signed a few copies of our EP per request by Tom and Paul. They seemed genuinely glad to have met us and informed us that they’d be passing along the CDs to their kids. It’s the random moments like these that really make this tour. It’s also a very strange and unreal feeling to have someone want mementos from the things you love to do. If that makes sense.
So the next day we headed towards Boston. It was another night off, but I wanted to sign up for the Boston Poetry Slam at the Cantab Lounge, so we found a place to park in Cambridge. The Royals were also playing that night, so we found a cozy little sports bar called The Field. I made it just in time to sign up for the slam, but not before we all saw the Royals win the game, pushing them forward to the WORLD SERIES! YES. The slam was cool, but a bit different than what I am used to. Let’s just say that four hours of poetry is A LOT of poetry to sit through. It truly made me appreciate the Lawrence/Kansas City scene, anyway.
On the 17th we had our first of three more shows in New York City. We played at an underground club called the Lit Lounge in the heart of the East Village. A strange chain of events led us to this place, and we ended up playing with a bunch of ska/reggae bands. It’s not to say that we don’t appreciate music like that, but the promoter who booked us didn’t seem to understand who we were as a band, and it probably wasn’t the greatest fit in the world. Despite it taking over an hour to park the van before our show and someone snagging Andrew’s snare case, we had a good time in the city and even made some new friends in a band from San Diego called Stranger.
Alas, it was back to Connecticut for our favorite rest stop in Branford (ahem, we may have stayed there roughly seven times). One of the most entertaining things about being on the road is figuring out where we are when we wake up in the morning.
Tonight, it’s back to New York City to see Jimmy Eat World and work towards our last two shows into the weekend. We landed some free tickets, and JEW is Andrew’s favorite band of all time, so tonight should be inspiring at the very least. Everything always works out.