Wednesday, May 26, 2010

more talk/less pictures, but an update nontheless

05/09 - 05/10

Getting out of New York is one of the hardest things in the world to do. Not necessarily out of a love for the city, but because traffic is always terrible. We sat bumper-to-bumper for about as long as a drive from New York to Philadelphia should take.

Philadelphia is and will always be one of my favorite cities in the world. I spent quite a bit of time there the year after I graduated high school, so merely passing all of the places where I wanted to go hang out was a big tease and reminder that I need to make a leisure trip to Philadelphia. I didn't get pretzels, I didn't eat at Gianna's, and most importantly I didn't see any of my best Philly friends. That needs to change next-go-round.

The only show I had ever been to at the First Unitarian Church was Panda Bear during the summer of 2007. That was inside the actual pew and altar sanctuary area. Most shows are held downstairs, as was Toro Y Moi and Caribou's night. The sound and live experience wasn't nearly as fantastic/dramatic as my 3-year-old memories in the downstairs room, but all of the workers were extremely nice and helpful. And we got to drink beers in the pews upstairs (which feels pretty cool).

After the show, Aimee Argote (of Des Ark fame/fellow Carolinian) was kind enough to put us up in her lovely Fishtown home. Her roommate was out of town, so we got to crash in his room. We were told he played with the band Mayhem (a gold Mayhem record hung from the wall), so we were extra careful not to mess anything up and join that band's body count.

We drove to D.C. the next afternoon. Todd, as always, proved to be a most excellent host. The Rock and Roll hotel was a strange venue. I can't say much about the show - the merch table is in a separate bar upstairs where a house DJ blared terrible mashups. The speakers were within a few feet of my ear, so a headache developed quickly. NPR streamed the whole show, so I was able to listen to is later.

Staying at Todd's house is pretty epic. I was able to suppress the dork within and managed not to ask a million questions (I only asked a couple thousand). And he has the coolest dog ever.

Anyways, this post is dragging and lacking photographs. I have about another month to write about and the actual tour ends tomorrow. Maybe it will happen? We'll see.



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

that big old apple

2010. 5/7-5/8. New York City

Chaz is funny in the car. I was given the impression that he sometimes gets a little anxious when he isn't at the wheel. So far nothing even close to backseat driving has occurred other than occasional polite request. The only quirky driving trait I have noticed was after we swapped seats during a pit stop for gas outside of New York City. As soon as the traffic engulfed us, he turned into a completely different driver - aggressive, quick to hit the horn, but safe. I always find it interesting when people have the ability to quickly adapt to a new setting - whether it is walking faster or driving defensively-yet-aggressively. Adaptation is an excellent trait to have.

We parked around the corner from what we kept referring to as "the Neon Indian apartment" and what they referred to as "the penthouse". Ronnie was kind enough to take a cab over from the studio to let us in so we could drop off our belongings and relax for a bit before the show.

"The Penthouse" was one of he nicest apartments I have ever been inside. Three levels of modern Williamsburg loft, and plenty of potential for add-ons. It was like a grown up tree fort. The only downfall of this place is that they only recently moved in so while there was plenty of floor space and big windows, there wasn't much furniture (this would only prove to be a big problem when it was time for bed - I'm the only traveler who forgot a pillow, sleeing bag, and towel).

We pulled ourselves out of our "ready to nap" state and drove to the Music Hall of Williamsburg. We were a little early, so the guys went and picked up burritos while I set up the merch table. Someone from the "Faile" crew was painting a totem pole out front. Here is what the marquee looked like:

And here is a photo from their soundcheck:

Old friends were in attendance (Jen Ray, Chris Parsons) while new ones were made (Lily and Daniel).

After the show, we headed back to the penthouse. We drank what we had, then Danny split to pick up a case of Tecate tall cans. A large crowd formed, and before too long the hanging out turned into a party. Everyone got sloppy, then the party turned into a messy empty apartment.

Everyone wandered to their sleeping area. I passed out in the vacant room of a girl who was traveling, and for the first time in months I was able to sleep until noon.

The next morning, everyone was a little hungover. Ronnie fixed us all tea, then we went our separate ways for the afternoon.

The plan was to hit up some camera stores. Unfortunately, going to a camera store in New York on Saturday is impossible, so the Hollywood Diner filled that void. We got to the Bowery Ballroom with enough time for me to wander the neighborhood until I could find a place to buy a new toothbrush (mine disappeared somewhere around the time we left Toronto), and the boys fit in a nice lengthy sound check. A lot of friends/family came out too!

The show was a success, the after party seemed fun (I had tour managerial duties, aka not letting anyone break into the car), then the night took us back to the penthouse for whatever night's sleep we could get. The absent girl who's room we had crashed in the night before had returned from traveling, so my sleepingbagless state left me resorting to the old "bunch up some dirty laundry and use it as a pillow" strategy - the hardwood floors weren't as cozy as that bed was...

The next morning, I woke up (and was wide awake) after about 3 hours of sleep. I didn't want to sit around and wait for everyone else to do the same, so I decided to do some exploring. About two blocks down the road, I got a call from one of my favorite people in the world, Karen, and my new friend, Phil. They were awake, too. They took the subway over to Brooklyn and we met up for coffee. Patrick woke up and joined us, too.

After we finished our coffee, we headed back to the penthouse for last minute hanging and goodbyes before we packed it up and headed to Philadelphia.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

into the U.S. and over the hill

OTTAWA > MONTREAL > BOSTON. 2010 5/5 - 5/7

After rushing out of Canadian Tire, we made the drive to Montreal and ran through the doors of La Tulipe just in time for the boys to give it a quick sound check.

The set started smoothly, but during the second song, Patrick's bass cut out. Chaz swooped in and covered the low-end on his synth, but that technical difficulty definitely shook things up a bit. La Tulipe is a 700 capacity venue and the show was over-sold. The fact that they were relying on a Behringer direct box blows my mind. Hopefully an upgrade was made after that incident.

After the show, Chaz's former tour buddy, Jamie, let us crash at his place. It was neat - neighborhood cats would come inside and hang out with you. His place was cozy, and he is an all-around nice, mellow guy.

The drive to Boston the next morning was by no means the shortest, but as soon as we were welcomed back to the United States by the policeman at the border a sense of relief came over all of us. It is not that we didn't enjoy our first Canadian portion of the North American tour (on the contrary). There was just something magically patriotic about our GPS working again, reading our speed in miles-per-hour, and the anticipation of passing a slew of Starbucks, McDonalds, and maybe even a Wal Mart.

We arrived to our host's apartment in Cambridge. He left us a key under the door mat so we could all pile out before the show. We did just that. Middle East was a pretty cool venue and in a pretty cool neighborhood.

As usual, both bands slayed. But something was different on that night... when the clock struck midnight I turned 27. My brand new age was greeted by our host, Adrian, and Patrick bringing me a Reeses brownie (which was delicious). The rest of the post-show evening was spent chatting and playing with a certain little beast named Henry.

Fortunately, a good night's sleep was had and we were well rested and ready to move onward to New York City.

Oh, and here is a picture of Patrick biting into a big slab of meat:

All of these pictures were taken by me. Do not use them without my permission. Thank you!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fixed Gear Ford Focus (no brakes)

Ottawa - 2010. MAY 4-5

After Toro Y Moi played the monsterous Phoenix Theater in Toronto, the Babylon in Ottawa was a comfortable return to what they were used to - a bar. Though it was smaller in capacity, there were sofa's, arcade machines, and a ping pong table in the green room. It also didn't hurt that they gave us a very generous meal buyout (other venues should take note and make sure to feed the supporting acts - it usually results in a better show).

The show went well - Toro Y Moi played an amazing set with great crowd response, and Caribou looked like seasoned veterans pummeling their instruments powerfully and flawlessly.

Throughout the post-show hang out, various girls stood beside the merch table, looked around the room anxiously, then disappointedly departed until finally Chaz came over to see how the merch sales were going. We had planned on beginning our drive to Montreal and finding a hotel room to maximize our time in a city that might actually feel like a foreign country (Toronto and Ottawa kind of feel like American cities with a Canadian accent). One girl chatted with Chaz for a bit, and offered us all a place to stay. It seemed like a good idea - sleeping on a floor is free. Since the first day of driving, we agreed that it was in our best interest to avoid hotels as long as we could find somewhere to sleep. Moments later, our potential hosts flirting began to turn awry, so Chaz assured us that we were going to begin our drive. We let the young lady know that we were kindly declining her offer and I started packing up the table. As she walked off, two more girls came over and began talking with the band - they seemed very mellow and nice. Then we found out they were roommates of the girl who had offered us a place to stay. We re-weighed our options, and the kind offer for a roof down the street had way more appeal than driving into the middle of the night. Our verdict to begin our trek was reversed.

We drove away from the Babylon to the soundtrack of crunching brakes - not a good tune at all. We knew that we would have to fix this problem before driving to Montreal (no one in the car speaks French, and finding an English-speaking mechanic might be more difficult than in Ottawa). Our plan for early rise was pushed even earlier. We drove to the house hoping for bed time. Instead, there was a party in progress. People, pizza, wine, beer, weed - all the essentials. Energy? Nada in camp Toro.

We toughed it out as long as we could. We made the rounds, conversed, and hung out like anyone else would at a Tuesday night rager, but after a several hour drive earlier that day and a long night at a bar one can only exert so much additional energy. We called it a night. To our benefit, the walls in this house were paper thin, so we fell asleep to the soundtrack of girls talking about how boring we are.

The next morning we drove to Canadian Tire. The person who took our keys at the register told us that the job would take approximately an hour and a half. Three hours later, we were told it would be another hour and a half. Another hour and a half later, we were told it would be at least another hour and a half... in Canada it takes six hours to change brake pads. Six hours in/around Canadian Tire resulted in the following photos:

All of these pictures were taken by me. Do not use them without my permission. Thank you!

Friday, May 7, 2010


Karen sat with me at the merch table at the Toro Y Moi show in Toronto on 5/3. I hadn't seen her since 2007, so it was so nice to remember how great of a friend she is. I snapped this picture of her, and I thought it turned out really nice.

I'm in Boston now - 4 shows down, 4 shows sold out, 30-something more to go. I am having a blast, and am loving spending so much time with Andy, Chaz, and Patrick.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

5/5/2010 - Montreal

Thusfar, the quote of the tour:
Girl in Ottawa: "Par le vu francois?"
Patrick: "Huh? Awww, fuck no!"