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October 29, 2011 emblemTour notes: full dispatch

Throw 4 men in a minivan and we’ve got a tour on our hands, traveling the familiar route of Chapel Hill, NC, to Portland, ME and back. Our borrowed minivan is packed to the gills but still allows for ample elbow room and akimbo napping positions (and we’re free from our jobs for 2 weeks) so let’s roll.

By day 2, I’ve already renamed everyone with useless nicknames. David’s shaved head makes for the cruelest remarks. Through these and other elementary strategies, we manage our many hours together in harmony, and learn a few things in the process. For example, Jeremy “Rearranger” Renner, responsible for the delicate and precise Tetris renactment that is the loading in of our gear to the van, apparently knows a band that travels with several half stacks but only uses them for show. This seems BATSHIT insane to me. There are bands out there voluntarily renting extra vehicles to carry amps that they use only for the aesthetic of being a heavy rock band? I’ll stick to my Twin Reverb combo unit thanks!

Local 506 is still one of my favorite places to play, and it’s a great start to the tour. Visit with good friends Corbie Hill (of many a fame) and Andrea (from Birds + Arrows) and through imitation, the band decides the best way to start a show is to throw one’s guitar around your shoulder and yell obscenities before the “1,2,3,4” is even finished. That’s what the headliners did, and it sure was entertaining.

Onwards. Though we stumble through a few unsavory venues gigs and I throw my voice out trying to sing through their childsize PAs, we thunder up the coast with a remarkable consistency of playing. For only a month together with this new band, we sound damn comfortable with each other and these songs. I’m terribly excited to have these guys on board. David and Thomas have never toured before, so having that energy is refreshing, and it does us jaded touring folk good. We listen to new music all over the map. Marnie Stern keeps popping up and wowing us with her finger-tapping prowess, and we keep telling Modest Mouse to cheer up, but not so much that they Float On. If they could just stay somewhere in between.

College gigs are the greatest. Hotel rooms, free meals, and generally a guaranteed crowd. Binghamton, NY reminded us of the comforts that are out there (we are heretofore called Fresh Towelitude). The crowd went crazy:

By the time we hit Jersey (Jeremy’s homeland), we had discovered his inner road rage had reason (“yell once, and then I’m over it,” he says in his defense). David can’t operate the GPS and so every right becomes a left, and meanwhile I jump at the chance to go swimming in the Atlantic. Thomas caved in after some light taunting from the water.

In Philly we see great bands that don’t have records out (Ben Cady, get on it!) and dedicated wives that learn drums in 3 weeks for their husbands in need (wow!). We were truly sorry to go through all of New England with only one show, but Portland, as always, was a terrific latitudinal and energetic peak to the tour. Empire is the best venue I’ve played there and everything was tip top except the weather and the prostitute deals that scared Jeremy and David back into the venue. Boston and other Northeastern destinations, we will definitely see you in 2012, I promise.

NYC for CMJ promised to be a clusterfuck as something like 1200 bands descended upon the boroughs to celebrate…themselves, and occasionally each other. Our showcases had at least one half-interested celebrity figure and the badges that allow you to go to any and every gig certainly make you feel like you’re important, but man, the pedal expo was pretty much my favorite part. Got to try out a bunch of Eventide pedals that will soon be featured on our pedalboards, methinks.

The contrast of our opinions on NYC couldn’t be better demonstrated than the look on my face in Times Square (shown below), and David’s infectious love for the city (he opted to stay another day after we left).

There’s just something about this city that makes me want to…leave it. Every time. Makes me feel like a country boy, but it’s just too much for me. Too many people!!! Must stay focused on the positives: e.g., we actually found a way into NYC with not a single toll. I didn’t think it was possible.

In Manhattan, the boys searched for a Chipotle while I looked for an escape route. And not too long after, we actually escaped; unharmed, with no speeding tickets and a day off on the Hudson River.

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October 16, 2011 emblemMidway Moment

Hey everybody,

Greetings from Binghamton, NY! Home of posh surroundings, apparently. The University treated us quite nicely last night and we’re off to Philly for a show tonight. Everyone’s super excited to be on the road and I can safely say this is the best the band has ever sounded- by far. Thomas, David, and Jeremy are the best live band I could ask for and these new songs are really coming into their own. Will write more once we rest in Jersey tomorrow. Hopefully we’ll see you out there one of these nights…


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October 12, 2011 emblemTour starts today, and more CMJ showcases

Our East Coast tour starts today in Chapel Hill, NC!

…and we’ve added 2 more shows in New York while we’re there for CMJ Music Marathon. For some reason, we are not listed on CMJ’s site but we are indeed a part of the festival.

October 20th @ Rebel (*official CMJ showcase)

October 21st @ Bar 4, Brooklyn, NY (*unofficial CMJ showcase)

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October 9, 2011 emblemEast Coast tour and CMJ

Starting this week, we embark on a small East Coast tour, with a stop at CMJ Music Marathon in New York City! This will be our first time touring as a quartet, and we’ve got a bunch of new faces in the band too. Come by and hear us! Click on the gigs below for the individual Facebook events or see the tour page. See you out there.

October 12th: Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506

October 13th: Washington D.C. @ Dynasty

October 14th: Baltimore, MD @ Joe Squared

October 15th: Binghamton, NY @ Binghamton University

October 16th: Philadelphia, PA @ The M Room

October 19th: Portland, ME @ Empire

October 20th: Boston, MA @ TBA

October 21st: NYC @ The Living Room (for CMJ Music Marathon)

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October 8, 2011 emblemWhat will carry us to Maine?

This tank will!

There’s a reason they call it a Grand Caravan. Yeah, it’s got power locks. Thanks to Chad Noteboom for renting it to us! Let’s roll.

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