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April 16, 2012 Great Scott, exploring the Atlantic states!

By now, I’ve accustomed myself to running up and down the East Coast for two weeks every few months or so for tour. I’ve done the the run from North Carolina to Maine quite a bit in the last four years, but I must say, this most recent jaunt was the most fun I’ve had touring since heading out West in 2009 (mmm…those were the days…). Maybe it was the group we had going this time around (Lee White joined us on bass for the fist time), maybe it was the new songs we were playing (“The Curious Weights” translated to guitar is by far our new favorite to play), or maybe it was just getting out of town. Whatever it was, after the mess of the robbery in February, and my ensuing misery, it was really nice to hit the road and get my head out of the ground.

Our first few shows went off without a hitch- and it set the pace for the rest of the tour. In Charlotte, we met new friends from The Bear Romantic in Charlotte. Thank you Emily and George, and their amazing grey bengal cat Wesley, for their last-minute hospitality in putting us up. I haven’t had to book a hotel room once in all these years of touring, and we came as close as we’ve come before they offered their couches and floorspace. Not to mention they had oodles of vintage equipment for us to drool over. TWO Space Echos? That is unheard of.

By day two, I realized Durham is beginning to look a like Asheville with its coupled breweries and food carts, and Thomas and Jeremy began to perform a solid repertoire of 1980s pop culture references that proved that I needed to watch Ghostbusters and Back to the Future again. They were making me feel old. Note: upon returning  from the road, I have watched both and they are still brilliant films.

The most dangerous places to go with this group is either music equipment stores, or record shops. The past 2 tours I’ve nearly avoided them because keeping vinyl in the car is so tricky when we’re already fully loaded with our gear. This time we said fuck it. Thomas proved to be the most trigger happy vinyl shopper- he started compiling a stack the first day at Lunchbox Records in Charlotte. I waited til Providence¬† to spend the money I didn’t have- Analog Underground had me at hello with its surf record $5 finds. Not to mention the owner, Dave, was neither a dick or a snob- rarity these days, I swear. Lee bought two Molly Hatchet records for the album artwork alone (he’s a graphic designer and a metalhead- a sublime combination).

In Jersey, I swam the frigid sea, as per usual. Jeremy’s parents treated us to home-cooked meals on our day off.

Returning to Northampton, MA felt a bit odd, since it was now officially my ex-future home. But I still love it there, and in return it gave me a new hemp backpack (I was berated for this purchase by my bandmates despite its functionality, and my need to shed my long-faded man purse). We re-animated the Baystate at the Sierra Grille that evening, once home to the long-closed and much-adored dive bar. Lee’s Southern charm proved to be invaluable at the merch table. New fans were made. Morale was high. The Fawns let us into their home with my old friend Jose from A Severe Joy (and formerly of Spouse), and we stayed up late trading stories.

By this point I had consumed many pints of Arnie Palmers, my new favorite road beverage, and at least one hemp tea which both smelled and tasted of pot. Were we in California? No, too cold. Must be Vermont!

We climbed mountains and waterfalls there and had a rollicking good time with my dear old friend Tristan, whose band, Villanelles, unfortunately had to bail out of the Burlington show with us at the last minute. Nevertheless, we rocked the Monkey House til it shook out all its clientele, made friends and enemies alike, and learned that, despite whatever the drunk girl in the front row says, Thomas is not her cousin. No sir.

Portland is always a peak of the tour in many ways, and this time we had the pleasure of playing a benefit for some fire victims in Fort Kent (wayyyyy Northern Maine) and as a result, we played to a bunch of new ears. They loved our short but empassioned set, though it was tragic to not be able to play our Manic Street Preachers cover. There were actually people in the audience that night that might have known the song, for once (educate yourself). Somewhere we have a recording of this show, we’ll have to dig that up soon.

On our next day off, some of us metal detected and some of us took it easy and played drums. I drove up the coast a little and said hi to my mum and my hometown. As it always is this time of year, Maine was cloudy and grey, but it felt good to be there nonetheless.

In Boston, the band convinced me to eat at Chipotle and we found kindred pedal souls in the band Drifterswift. They have 3 Eventide pedals between their two boards…yummmmm. That night we actually had to break the streak and stay at a motel because all our Boston friends live in tiny apartments. Strangely, I do love Boston, but things like that make me realize that I do not miss living in a big city.

We realized near Mansfield that we had yet to eat a cheap diner brunch. We stumbled upon a 60 year old one that fit the bill and we devoured some watery eggs and brown bacon. Quantity not quality! Then we fished our way down to NYC (without a single toll, ha!) and played to a very attentive audience at the Living Room. My patience for New York is extremely limited (as I have blogged/bitch about before), so much to my delight we were in and out of the city in less than 8 hours. No tolls or tickets- that’s a first.

It rained, it sunned, and then it rained again. We played Ithaca on a rather mellow note, but were treated to an $80 tab paid for by a stranger. We connected the dots between the small worlds of Asheville and Ithaca, and downed as many kombucha cocktails as we could, before settling into root beers for the drive to the next motel (yup, another…dammit). The drive back to Asheville was long but not as long as we figured, and then we were back home, feeling surreal and spun as one always does after visiting 12 places in 14 days.

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  1. Sounds like an awesome time! You guys sounded great per usual. And now that you’ve left Maine, the sun has returned again. So please stay away.

  2. That was awesome to see you when you came to Topsham. So glad you called and wanted to meet up. Can’t wait to see you again. xoxoxo. -Joe (not too cool)

    • Haven’t been to Topsham since December, foo! I’ll hit you up when I get up there this summer. I will admit I am frightened of friends’ children though.

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