Road Blog: Wednesday October 12, 2016 - Cleveland, OH
October 12, 2016
Beachland Tavern, Cleveland, Ohio
We met at Gabe’s yesterday afternoon, all revved up and full of piss and vinegar in anticipation of this run of shows in the northeastern USA. The sun was out and we have a new van that’s gonna make this run more comfortable than our previous trips, so we were in high spirits as we loaded up and headed out. We almost got killed on our way to the freeway when a little white Toyota decided to cut us off and turn with no signal or notice on the Southfield Freeway, but Gabby was responsive and we avoided disaster before even getting out of Wayne County. Then, an hour later, on the Ohio Turnpike, a huge bald eagle flew over the van – an awesome sight, and an omen that it was a good day. Patty wasn’t impressed.
We pulled into The Beachland Ballroom and Tavern for load-in and met the manager on duty. He took us around for a tour of the bar, green room, etc, and gave us a quick rundown of the logistics. This is a top-notch venue, run very professionally with no detail left unattended. The Ballroom is a bigger hall I played with Clashback in 2003, and last night we played in the smaller Tavern, connected by a hallway.
We loaded in and Patty and Gabe set up their stuff while I walked a block up the street to one of my favorite record stores in the country – Blue Arrow Records. I picked up a DIO 12” single with a couple cool live B-sides and a small Christmas present for someone who might be reading this, so I won’t go into details, but I’m excited about it. Back to the Beachland where I set up my rig and we had a nice soundcheck (a rare luxury). It’s a small room, which can be a challenge for a band like us, but the sound engineer knew his craft well and it sounded fantastic on stage and out front. The van provides us the additional luxury of bring more gear, so I am traveling with 2 2x12 cabinets (for you guitar geeks) which allows me to run a half-stack when I want, and Patty can go 6x10, 4x10 or 2x10. What a treat!
We got some great pizza across the street at a little wood-fired joint called Citizen Pie that came highly recommended by some of the staff at the Beachland. One of the opening bands, Skim The Reason, joined us and it was good to hang with those dudes a bit over some amazing pizza! I went for a short walk, keeping an eye open for a liquor store, but came back empty handed. People were starting to file in, and I said hi to my pal Gina from the other local – Dutch Babies – before I ordered a drink and waited for showtime.
We were up first and played to a decent Wednesday night crowd. A couple guys drove in from a small town about an hour out to see us, and that was awesome. They’ve been to a couple of our previous Cleveland shows at The Happy Dog and are really supportive. It was great to see them and honor their request to play Josh. We played pretty well, a couple hiccups, but overall no complaints. After us was Skim the Reason – a sort of psychedelic, classic rock, Americana band that reminded me at times of Pink Floyd. Cool ambient sounds and smart original songs. After them were Dutch Babies – my favorite Cleveland band. They are probably best described as punk, but there’s more going on than that. They have great tunes and put them out there right in your face. The rhythm section was different from last time we played with them a couple years back, but they were as tight as ever. Their guitar player is a blast to watch, riffing on his SG through a wah pedal. I love that band.
We loaded out, finished our beers and headed to our hotel in Akron, about an hour south of Cleveland. We are staying here for 2 nights because it’s also convenient to our show in Canton tonight and a lot less expensive than staying in the city. It’s also nice to have a single base for a couple nights. Gabe was at the helm and Patty put on the new Lydia Loveless record for the drive. We’ve got a chill day to relax and maybe hit a record store or 2 before the show tonight. It will be our first time in Canton, Ohio, at the Buzzbin Art & Music Shop.