“Vicious Ears” out on Friday!

Hey folks!

We are super excited to finally be releasing some new material. It’s been just over a year since we stepped out for our first tour, and a lot has changed since then. New member, new songs, new gear, new city… All good things. We had the pleasure of teaming up with producer Justin Mantooth from Westend Recording Studios in Kansas City, Missouri for a few tracks, and we are anxious to get it in your ears. Be sure to visit http://vigilandthieves.bandcamp.com on October 2nd to stream and download “Vicious Ears!”

See you soon!

-Steph

Connecticut (again), Boston, New York

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.

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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.

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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.

Branford rest area

MAINE

Believe it or not, Maine is probably one of the greatest states ever. They support equal love, they are as organic as it comes, they have some of the best beer we’ve ever tried, and they have pretty much pushed out all major corporations. The place thrives on art, nature, and small businesses.

We were pretty anxious to get back to Maine after visiting earlier this year. Andrew’s birthday happened to be on the 7th, so we took advantage of that and used it as an excuse to have a mini mid-tour getaway. Of course we had a few shows, but our stay in Maine lasted  about a week.

The first night was spent at the welcome center in Kittery. It was quaint but clean and smelled like pine. Every time we had to go to the bathroom we passed this creepy Smoky the Bear statue. Not so funny in a place that more than likely actually has bears. We thought it would be funny to watch Welcome to Mooseport before bed, not realizing that it took place in Maine.

The next morning we got up and drove to Portland. Both of our shows that week were booked in Portland, so we figured it would be a good time to scope out the city and find some local food. We went to this place called Wild Burrito. Sarah and I both ordered these awesomely huge veggie burritos. Andrew got a slice of pizza. Who gets pizza at a burrito place?! Anyway, we wandered around a bit and found some weird second-hand book stores. There were a few badass music shops as well, which is always nice to find. But back to the whole anti-corporation thing. I’m not sure if it was just a coincidence, but we could only find one McDonald’s in all of Portland (yes, we’ve been playing Monopoly), and it just so happened that they could only accept cash. Unheard of. So rather than chicken nuggets that night we found this amazing little Thai-Vietnamese restaurant called Little Saigon. It was a total feast. You know a place is good when they have a golden cat statue on the counter waving his paw back and forth. Not to mention free tea is always fantastic. Around 9pm we went to an open mic poetry reading at Mama’s Crowbar, which is a hotspot in New England for touring poets. We ended up meeting John Sinclair who is a legendary jazz poet and had a song written about him by John Lennon. He was old and humble and awesome.

John Sinclair at Mama's Crowbar
John Sinclair at Mama’s Crowbar

Andrew wanted to spend his birthday at a casino, as he is a semi-pro poker player, so we drove about thirty minutes to Oxford Casino. That place was a freakin’ party! The excitement of senior citizens standing in line for the lunch buffet was almost too much to bare! In reality though, it was cool. Sarah was literally the youngest person in the place, just beneath me and Andrew, but we got all the free coffee and soda we could drink.  That night, we shared a bottle of blueberry wine, watched Family Guy and finally got to shower. Success.

On the 8th we finally had our first gig in Portland at Flask Lounge with the three nice gentlemen in Battery Steele– a raw punk trio to the likes of The Lawrence Arms.

Battery Steele outside of Flask Lounge
Battery Steele outside of Flask Lounge

We met a handful of interesting New Englanders that night, and the venue was super inviting and comfortable.

October 9th and 10th are a bit of a blur. I got food poisoning, and we were all just exhausted. We spent a good portion of those days resting, and we even found some time to visit Old Orchard Beach. Sarah created a mini time-capsule and buried it in the sand with an “X.” Andrew got to eat a deep fried Twinkie, and I found a cool rock. The end.

The 11th was our final day in Portland, and we played at a badass venue called Bayside Bowl. It was a classy bowling alley with a delicious menu, and everything seemed brand new. They fed us and let us watch the Royals game in its entirety before we played. A band called JeffBeam opened, and they were a laid-back, mostly instrumental rock group. Nice guys, though they didn’t seem to stick around long.

Sign inside Bayside Bowl
Sign inside Bayside Bowl

Overall, we collectively decided that Portland seemed like a place where we could belong. At least temporarily…

Vermont

The drive up was stunning. We cruised through hills and spent night 1 at a rest stop, where we awakened to an animal charity who had made baked treats and picnic lunch items for donations. We talked with a volunteer and we all fed for $5

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The view from the picnic area was beautiful and that was probably one of the healthier things that we have gotten to eat thus far.

That night we found a cheap motel because we were desperate for a shower. It was kinda crappy, and ran out of hot water, but we got a dominos pizza for $5 and found a pub within walking distance for Karaoke later. This is where I met Stranger of the Day #2.

The venue we played was in Montpelier called Sweet Melissa’s. There was a 80’s cover band filled with older individuals, who were the house band once a month from 5-7. The lead singer was very sweet on stage and i guess hires all the musicians she plays with.

The crowd was older, same as everyone we had seen in the town that day. Anywhere we went I was easily the youngest person in the room, so maybe Montpelier is a retirement ish area? it was very quiet with the exception of Sweet Melissas and maybe one other bar, cuz after all it was a Saturday Night.

The house sound man insisted we use their drum set, amps, and piano. He was not especially good at his job as he simply didn’t give a shit. As a result he turned the amps down so quiet that I couldn’t even hear my own amp from 5 feet away over anything else. Instead of just playing quieter Andrew ended up playing SUPER SLOW. so our set ended up mellow, and fairly out of character. But it sounded good and the crowd must have thought so too because pay was based on donations and we did VERY well for a 45 minute set.

I must be spoiled with Lawrence bars, because the rest of the world pays 6-9 bucks for a well drink and that just doesn’t fly with us, so we drank their cheapest $4 draft beer. Which at the end of the night, due to a bartender error we ended up getting for free. Shoulda been ordering top shelf whisky all night instead!

After our set was another house band called the John Daly Trio. Featuring A hippy esque front-man who reminded me of manchester orchestra, and every other raspy indie band thats hot right now. They were a mellow you-guessed-it three piece sporting two acoustics and an electric bass.

Vermont 1 vermont 2

Brooklyn NY

NY skyline over a graveyard off Brooklyn Bridge
NY skyline over a graveyard off Brooklyn Bridge

 

BROOKLYN 

So driving in NYC was a huge pain in the ass. We had to use the Lincoln Tunnel because they don’t allow trailers in the Holland Tunnel. The toll was $28 so that sucked, and then we got randomly searched before they let us drive through. The tunnel spit us out in the middle of time square during rush hour where we became stuck in an intersection because people felt like it was a good idea to run in front of our car. like “oh this car looks slow and slow to break, I’m gonna cross my fingers and run” We didn’t even care that we were being honked at by at least 15 different cars. We took a picture.

We arrived at Trash Bar just in time and ended up having almost no trouble parking. Previously we had realized Steph’s amp had been busted. The input box on the inside came loose and knocked the ground wire off the speaker. I decided I could fix it, with little knowledge about these things I did surgery. SOO PROUD OF MYSELF. I noticed that the connection for the ground wire had been broken off by the weight of the box that came loose and decided to re-wire it to make the other speaker the ground. And it freaking worked. AGAIN, little to no experience fixing amps. A+.

The show was in a back room in a place called The Trash Bar, which at one time was named the best punk bar in NYC. The sound guy was great and offered to record our performance live. Which sounds pretty good, I am gonna do a little editing and cutting and post the whole thing on BandCamp within the next couple weeks. EVERYTHING is ridiculously hectic these days though so timeline may be pushed.

ANYWAY the place had an open bar for an hour which was free for us and $7 for everybody else, which drew a decent number of people, not to mention it was a Thursday night.

First band, called McBride. Were amazing. Their lead singer/guitarist Danny was incredibly talented, old school rock and roll with a bit of blues tossed in. We all very much enjoyed their music. And Danny was generous and cool to hang out with as well.

mcbride
mcbride
mcbride
mcbride
mcbride
mcbride

 

Next was a duo called Barelyon. They had a vey pretty R&B ish feel to them crossbreed with some indie folk. One guitar and two vocals and they nailed a cover of Creep by Radiohead.

Third was Surf Rock is Dead. Another duo that sounded a lot like The Cure. I wasn’t too happy with the fact that they used a drum machine, but they were fun to watch and very good with their FX. They were atmospheric and dancy, and their stage presence made it very clear that this is what they want to do forever.

Surf Rock is Dead
Surf Rock is Dead
Surf Rock is Dead
Surf Rock is Dead

 

We were last, sometime nearing midnight. Unfortunately we cannot take pictures of ourselves, although it would have been nice if somebody wanted to come on tour with us to sell merch and document and adventure… Next time around I guess. We played mostly very well except for Andrew adding our newest song “Hate” to the set and then playing half a verse and quitting and making us restart. Overall the reaction was good, we got rid of some CD’s and we mostly drank for free. It was a decent first show in NYC, and hopefully the next one will be even better. Keep an eye out for the live tracks in the next week or so.

At the end of the night we hit the road towards Vermont, or should I say Andrew did, while Steph and I slept in the bottom bunk.

Randi? Brandi?

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HAHA HAHA HAHA

Buffalo NY

So this character approaches me at an open mic. Says were great bla bla bla, buys us drinks bla, bla, bla, tries to hook me up with her friend bla bla bla, and then it happens. She tells us she was on some show called “Rock of Love” and she really didn’t like that I had no clue what that was or who she was. Then something even better happens. She tells me she won “Charm School” with Sharon Osbourne. This i find freaking hilarious because its a show where they take really trashy, rude, arrogant, bitches, and try to turn them into model citizens. I will absolutely have to look for this because it is not anything to be bragging about. This women also tries to tell us how she’s gonna ‘pass our music to her people’ and continues to ask questions about our ‘tour bus’ even though we kept repeating that The Jolly Rodger is in fact, a twelve passenger van with a trailer attached (whom we dubbed ‘Smee’) So after this encounter her friend starts talking to me and she was telling me also how Randi? or Brandi? didn’t quite catch the name was on this show and I say out loud that I had no idea what it was and she left the bar offended

 

haha i did a quick google search. its Brandi. please enjoy the picture. hahahahaha A plus.

Buffalo NY

The Forvm

Buffalo was not quite what we had expected.

Night One: We checked out Niagra falls and Steph and I played an open mic at a place called Duke’s Bohemian Grove. I think this is becoming one of my favorite things to do on tour. Just finding open mics, acoustic, full set or half of both. This was acoustic and we decided to play two guitars. Even though we could seriously use a new acoustic. Steph’s been using the ovation and it just does not sound very good plugged in.

We got to play 4 songs and we got half price food and drinks. I thought that was very generous. We met some interesting people including a strange woman named Randi, or Brandi? Who was apparently on a show called “Rock of Love” and was very offended that I didn’t know what that was or who she was. She also was on Charm School with Sharon Osborne. Which I find HILARIOUS because that is a show for the trashiest, rudest women in America and they try to turn them into “ladies” And then she tried to hook Steph and I up with her friend. And then some girl in a beanie who was worried about “looking like a dyke” asked us if we knew where to get her some crack. So then we left, and watched a red box movie, August Osage County and let me tell you that movie was freaking awful, and of course it was because Steph picked it, and she’s terrible at choosing things to watch.

So our show at the Forvm was interesting.

The openers were these 16 year old kids with an overly enthusiastic dad who thought he was their “producer” which was funny.

The sound guy was great and quirky and made us sound good. But not for very many people, on account of he choose the locals and they must not have promoted or had any fans.

One of the bands decided it would be a good idea to dribble a basketball while singing. NOT such a good idea. It bounces off something, and onto our merch table. Where it breaks our donation piggy bank, which we had just gotten and decorated the night before. [defect-pig] the idiot who threw it apologized but didn’t offer to replace her and must have been embarrassed because they left immediately after that.

Our set went really well, we played very well, we got a lot of positive attention especially from the employees and a specific group of girls there to see the show. BUT Stephs amp wasn’t working, the input jack on the inside was just dangling… that amp has been trouble and I’ll have to try to fix it soon because we are on our way to play in Brooklyn tonight.

SOO in the meantime the Kansas City Royals were playing the wildcard game vs the A’s. It was an amazing game of baseball and it was difficult to be onstage away from the TV for 45 minutes.

After all the music was over we loaded out REALLY REALLY FAST, and continued to get the entire bar rooting for the Royals and the owner kept the bar open till the end of the game. It was a good time getting strangers invested in a baseball game between the Royals and the A’s and I thought it was kinda funny cuz everybody kept saying how they don’t care about baseball because Buffalo is a hockey town.

As you should know the Royals won 9-8 in the 12th inning.

Pittsburg

pittsburg

We had the other bands in Cleveland cancel on us last minute so we ended up with a few extra days of Pennsylvania. LETS TALK ABOUT THAT! Pennsylvania absolutely sucks. horrible!

These days off were brutal. For several reasons

  1. The roads were terrible. They were narrow and up and down hills, difficult to get anywhere, confusing, and congested
  2. there was nothing to do
  3. THE COPS!!!! we had three run-ins with police in Pennsylvania. once: I was smoking a cigarette in a walmart parking lot and he approached me and asked if I was okay like 3 times. second. We went to a state park and were working on our laptops on official business, when some lady playing with a kid must have called the cops because blond girls with iPhones are dangerous. Cop shows up and asks what were doing and how we found the park and why we were parked there and that we couldn’t stay there all day because “residents might scratch their heads when they see a van in the parking lot” like WHAT?! and third: we parked by our friend Matt’s place after our show for about an hour and a half around 2am. Parking was a disaster so we ended up parking pretty close to the post office curb. When coming back to the van there was a cop writing us a 97$ ticket for parking within 3 feet of a delivery zone.
  4. LIQUOR?BEER?BARS? Pennsylvania has some DUMB liquor laws. you can’t buy beer at the same place as liquor. and you have to buy beer in quantities of 24 or more at a beer distributor, but you can buy six packs at bars, just can’t take more than two out at a time. wine and liquor stores are state owned and close early. finding a bar was a pain in the ass

The Smiling Moose

The venue was really cool. The area of Pittsburg was also cool, it was an artsy-hipster district filled with hippy shops, tattoos, and greek food. The venue was a downstairs-upstairs bar/venue.

Something a tad strange though was that there was a show from 6-9 that was upstairs before our show even started. We were allowed to watch and all of the bands were very good and the venue was pretty packed, halfway with young kids as it was all ages and because its Pennsylvania, you can’t bring beer upstairs.

They ended late and took FOREVER to load out making our shows start time change from 10 to about 1130. This understandably upset all of the employees and other bands. And it was frustrating because a lot of the crowd started to leave when it took to long to get everything ready.

The sound man was very nice and very good at his job, which is always exciting. I very much appreciate a stellar sound guy. It makes everything better for EVERYBODY.

We were playing with our friends The Daily Grind, who you should google and listen to because they are great and we always enjoy watching their set.

We totally killed it tonight in every way. We played very well even though Andrew forgot transitions and I spilled my beer after stealthily putting it down once my piano required two hands. As soon as the song was over I stepped back and kicked it over. SHOULDA USED MY CUPHOLDER.

I wish we had more pictures for you, I promise we’ll get better at that.

Canton Ohio

Buzzbin
Buzzbin

Upon arrival to Canton we found a bar with tentacles growing out of the top of the building.

Earlier that day was Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so we were pumped to play music. We spent some time at the tentacle bar, where we met the artist he kept buying us drinks.

We get to Buzbin where we were playing and meet a guy named Mike, who buys us a round of beer, and we shared some pizza with the bartender.

The venue is really cool, and the stage is open to the street. Literally open, like you could jump off the stage backwards and be outside.

We played with a band called ROM. they were a bit older but super talented. I think they were from DC. They were also very nice.

Sometimes I wonder where venues find their sound person. Cuz this guy just really didn’t give a shit. We couldn’t hear anything on stage and Im pretty sure nobody listening could hear any of my vocals, because I could not at all. Therefore I believe we played pretty poorly. We hung out  a little while, but then left and headed back on the road.