Road Blog: Saturday July 08, 2017 - Ithaca, NY
Ithaca NY – July 8, 2017
We left the cozy confines of our rural motel in Cohocton, NY around 5:30pm and drove the 90 minutes south to Ithaca. It was a beautiful drive through woods, mountains and valleys. Before long we were in the city, pointing out the crappy hotel we stayed in last time and the neighborhood of our previous show there. We parked in a ramp and walked over to The Nines – the venue for last night's show. It's a pizza place/college bar that sits at the edge of the Cornell University campus. It's a long wooden room with a good stage at the end, a pool table and a patio out front. We said hi to the manager and then went for a walk over to the campus. After a bit we ordered some food, did some people watching, and met up with the local support – Stranded with a Kiss. They are great dudes we played with last time we were in town and we were all looking forward to seeing them again.
After load in we each went our own ways for a little while. I took a walk through the neighborhood, called home, and checked out some of the scenery. The area the club is in is elevated above the city so there were some cool views of the valley and the sunset. We eventually gravitated back to the bar, ordered up some beers, chatted with the Stranded guys and the staff, and waited for show time. It was fairly evident early on that it was going to be a slow night. We got a lot of "Summer is tough around here" and "It's a lot better when the students are around." so we knew early on it was going to be thin. Before the show started, a friend of a bunch of my Canadian friends, Jim Hynes, showed up and we had a couple drinks and stories over the course of the night. He roadied for The Nils, one of my favorite bands ever, in the 80s so I loved hearing about those days and the time he spent with their front man Alex Soria. It was great to meet him and I'm certain we'll cross paths again.
Stranded With a Kiss went on around 10:30 and played a killer set. They have riffs for days and great vocals and a super solid rhythm section. We were glad to get a copy of their new CD and can't wait to check it out. We went on after them to a small audience that fluctuated in size a bit as the night went on. There were some technical issues with the sound, and also with my pedals, so it wasn't quite as clean as we like to be, but the sound engineer did a great job sorting it all out and things ran more or less smoothly. After we finished, we sold a little merch, had a nightcap, said our goodbyes and headed back north for the 90 minute drive to the sound track of The Dirty South by Drive-By Truckers. Back at the motel we crashed out pretty quickly somewhere around 3am.
We hit the road this morning at 10:30, opting to come back through Pennsylvania and Ohio rather than Canada. Google maps said it was about 25 minutes longer, but factor in the potential delays at Canadian and then US customs and the slower speed limits and it was at least a push, so we decided to avoid the hassle. The first hour or so was along state roads that passed through some beautiful country with very little traffic. Eventually we hit the expressway and drove through Jamestown, Erie, Cleveland and finally Toledo before landing at Gabe's place to unload gear.
It's a weird run when the Thursday show is your best one, but Friday and Saturday weren't complete washes. We made some good contacts and we're confident that the next time we hit Rochester and Ithaca will be a lot better. We also got our music into the hands of some friendly people, ate some great food, bought some cool records, had a few laughs and adventures, and saw some beautiful country.
We're off the road for 2 months now, which will be nice. I've got a solo-acoustic show in a couple weeks then we're playing Detroit with our pals Dany Laj and The Looks from Montreal on my birthday in August. We'll be wrapping up the mixing and mastering of our record and spending some time with our wives while we gear up for a busy fall. Thanks for reading – come back in September for more!