Road Blog: Saturday May 13, 2017 - Mankato, MN
Saturday May 13, 2017
We arrived in Mankato unceremoniously to the sounds of RATT AND ROLL 81-91 (Ratt's best of). Patty tolerated it, but didn't care for the fact that the tempos and drum patterns were identical on every song until about track 11. First stop was our AirB&B. We had the bottom half of a house with our own entrance, 2 bedrooms, our own bathroom, a small fridge, microwave and coffee maker. It's in a nice safe neighborhood south of downtown with a short drive to the venue.
We headed into town and went to Tune Town Records where we met the owner – a nice guy with a good knowledge of the local music scene. The store was deceptively large with a good used and new vinyl section and racks of $1 CDs that kept us amused for a while. I picked up the new Chris Stapleton LP after getting sucked in by hearing that new single every time I turn around. I still can't find the new Cory Branan on vinyl anywhere. From there we stopped into the Pub 500 to check it out. It's a big room that's really more of a restaurant than a music venue, but they have lights and a stage and the staff was really friendly. We took a look at the PA (we had to run our own sound) and discussed logistics with the manager and then headed back to the Air B&B for a couple hours of chill time before load in and dinner.
Gigs like this can be strange for a band like us. Our comfort zone is punk dives and single, 45 minute sets with another band on the bill. Last night it was just us, from 9-12, doing our own sound, in a nice restaurant/bar. On the other hand, it's nice to put yourself outside of your element occasionally and these gigs make us a better band. Still, there are some factors in play that make them more challenging.
We learned early on that there was a big country music concert downtown by this pretty guy Josh Turner, so that could have a positive or a negative impact on the night as people would be partying hard before and after, but it might also affect how many people were at our show. We've been up against big shows before (last time we played Minneapolis Kenny Chesney was at the baseball stadium, lighting up the sky with fireworks while he pretended to play a guitar that wasn't even plugged in), so this was no big deal. Doing our own sound was a bit tricky, though. Gabe knows his way around a PA fairly well, and Patty can chirp in with some knowledge too. I just sit back and complain about the EQ once they get it running. The board seemed basic enough, but it was buggy and had shorts in the power supply and one of the channels. The staff helped us fire her up and we were soon checking mics. It wasn't long before we realized we were one mic clip short (duct tape to the rescue) and one of our cables was bad (no solution for that) so Gabe wasn't able to sing. That was a bummer, but we pushed forward.
We started around 9:30 to a crowd of diners and drinkers, some there for the food, some there for the music, some there for the socializing and alcohol. The sound was pretty good, but we had a hard time getting our shit together and the first couple songs were a little messy. Around 3 or 4 songs in we were starting to click and have some fun. The crowd wasn't great, with some people coming and going and some staying put and attentive, but there were enough hooting and hollering to make it fun. We played until about 10:30, took a short break, then played again until about 12:15. Around 11 traffic increased as the concert let out and by the end of the night we had a decent room taking it in. After our second set we chatted it up with the staff a bit, had one last beer and shot, loaded out, and headed back to the Air B&B. It was relatively early – 1:30am – and the level of partying at the show was a bit less than normal, so we were able to get a good night's sleep before our long drive back to Detroit this morning. The staff at Pub 500 was all really nice to us and we felt very welcome there - we hope to come back next year!
I got up around 7:15am to find Patty awake and dressed watching highlights from last night's Saturday Night Live. I took a shower, had a coffee and Gabe followed shortly after. We're in Indiana now, approaching the Michigan line. The drive has been relatively painless to the soundtrack of Aimee Mann, Sugar, J. Robbins, King Crimson, Minutemen, Beastie Boys, Meat Loaf and more. Chicago was less congested than the last few times we've come through, the skies have been blue, and there's been a new hunting hawk circling above every few minutes the whole way.
Big thanks to everyone who was a part of this short run. We made a lot of new friends and got to connect with some we don't get to see very often. Our next few runs are going to be south and east, so we may not get back this way for a while. And happy Mother's Day to the moms out there! Especially my mom Francie and my sister Kristen.
Thanks for reading! See ya again in a couple weeks. Be good to each other. Xo – JP&T