Road Blog: Friday October 13, 2017 - Kansas City, MO
Road Blog – Kansas City, MO
Friday October 13, 2017
Yesterday we drove through Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri with Patrick at the wheel, Gabriel in back, and me riding shotgun to the soundtrack of The J Giles Band, Broken Muse, The Clash, and many more. Somewhere in Illinois, we were approaching a construction zone and traffic was slowing down when some dipshit in a white SUV decided they HAD to be in front of a semi before the lane was completely closed down. It was too tight. He flew past the truck on the left side and just before he absolutely had to merge he clipped a barrel with his mirror and tore it all to hell. Jerk off. We passed him a couple minutes later and laughed as his wife was reading him the riot act. He didn't look happy. I hope that 12 seconds of time he (maybe) saved was worth it.
It was a long day on the road, about 7 ½ hours, before we finally hit Kansas City. As we started to see the suburbs I put on The Get Up Kids, who are from KC, and then played the song Kansas City by Wanda Jackson. We got through rush hour traffic to our hotel and checked in. The 816 Hotel Redial is a really nice place. We have a room overlooking an Asian massage parlor and the Westport district, which is where our venue is, and is historically the spot where the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California trails all crossed during the expansion of the American West. We got a couple drink tickets for happy hour and bantered with the super friendly front-desk staff about the show. The venue is a couple blocks away, so we dropped off our luggage and headed over to load-in and check it out. Travis was tending bar as there was a matinee show going on, and he was super nice. The bar is a long brick room with paintings of old country music stars on the wall. It has a very Nashville feel to it. We loaded in, parked the van, and headed back towards the hotel for a beer and dinner.
We chose the restaurant next to the hotel because they supposedly have the best burgers in town for the last 30 years or something. Gabe and I had to try them. Patty got a salad and some chili and was not impressed. I guess "mixed greens" are actually supposed be green. The burgers were decent, a notch above average, at best. The Buffalo wings were cold and gross. Not a great meal. In fact it was a debacle. Chalk one up in the "something to avoid next time" category. There were great looking restaurants all over the place and we regretted our decision. Somehow, we had to find a way to get past it. After a short while, Gabe and I headed back to the venue while Pat chilled at the hotel, quietly seething about the shitty meal that shall henceforth be referred to as "The Kansas City Iceberg Incident." Thoughts and prayers, please.
Brody Buster's One Man Band was on stage for the 8-10 slot. He is a one-man-band, playing a guitar and harmonica while singing and thumping on a kick drum and snare. Sometimes this setup gets a little tedious after not too long, but Gabe and I were way into it last night. The dude can play – his guitar and harmonica chops were especially on point, but he's no slouch as a singer either. He did some super cool and unexpected covers too, including Highway to Hell and Seven Bridges Road. It was a great set. When he was done we had a quick chat, and it turns out he manages the bar we're playing tonight in Lawrence, Kansas, but that debacle is for tomorrow's blog.
After Brody, Joe and Vicki Price Blues, Blues, Blues took the stage. Joe is an old blues guy who's in the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame and has a list of other credits to his name. The dude just wails on guitar, and it was a bit of a clinic to watch him play. After a few songs Vicky joined him, picked up a guitar herself, and off they went on to 90+ minutes of great music. I thought to myself, damn, if I'm doing that when I am at that age I'll be able to die a happy man. I also thought for a second, I need to get TrooperGirl a guitar so she can start preparing to be the Vicky to my Joe. Anyhow, the room was filling up and people were having a great time, hooting and hollering, and the smiles on the stage told the whole story. It was shaping up to be a good night. I talked to Vicky for a moment, and neither us could remember exactly where or when, but we had crossed paths somewhere before, because we have their CD.
Before the show I also met Robbyn and her boyfriend (?) who stopped in on their way from Nebraska to Chattanooga, Tennessee for some music. We talked venues and exchanged information so we can get up there sometime, then they we're off, hoping to make St. Louis before too late so they wouldn't miss a wedding today. Then there was this dude, let's call him "Bill," which isn't his real name, but maybe that's best for now. Bill was having a good time early on, wearing his Chiefs hat and pounding Coors. He is a huge fan of live music and was stoked to see us. We talked about the city, his aspirations to start up a food truck, and some of the great shows he's seen, and how he can tell by the photos that were taken that he had a great time, though his memory of the actual nights is a bit….blurry. More about Joe in a minute.
We went on around ten after midnight to a good room of dancers, drinkers, onlookers, and other characters. It got rowdy and fun pretty early on, and was not the kind of show I was expecting. We were prepared to play more of our twangier, countryish stuff, but we quickly started mixing up the setlist as the people were clearly into the faster stuff. I had a feeling that might happen when I saw The Goddamn Gallows sticker on the wall. Before long it was a super fun, sweaty mess, with plenty of banter back and forth with the audience, many rye whiskeys placed at my feet, and no shortage of high-energy rock and roll. Even Bill was having a good time, though I was a little disappointed in his (lack of) dance moves when a beautiful girl dragged him out to the floor. We played pretty well, which was a relief since we did a lot of our B-list material, and I broke a string during the last song, but no worries, I picked up the other Reverend and we did three more to close out the night.
By now it was 2am and it was pretty clear that most of the patrons were annihilated. We sold a little merch and talked to people for a while as we casually tore down the stage. Bill ran past the merch booth towards the door with his hand over his mouth, but couldn't help but to barf on the floor before he hit the exit. We chatted outside and I think I eventually convinced him that it wasn't entirely unreasonable that they weren't letting him back into the bar. He disappeared shortly thereafter, and I truly hope he got home safe. We loaded out, said our goodbyes, and headed back to the hotel. That was a great show in just about every sense.
We threw the guitars in the room and headed back out to hit a food truck. It was 3am by this point, and the Westport District was finally starting to thin out. Pat and Gabe got fish tacos and burgers and I just went along for the walk. We met some nice locals - Rachel and Marco there, and had some good conversation. Marco and I talked about Cheap Trick and Uncle Tupelo, while Rachel lamented the fact that her Philly from the food truck lacked peppers and cheese. Some wasted guys came up, and one passed out in the grass next to the truck. We said farewell to our new friends, exchanged information, and went back to the room where we crashed out somewhere just south of 4am.
What a night! I was up early, writing the blog, checking in on all my news and messages. I scarfed down a couple nasty, leftover chicken wings and got an early run in out to the river and back, through a nice park. There was a light sprinkle, but it was great to get out and get some fresh air and exercise for the first time since we left. We're off to Lawrence soon, but it's a nice short drive and we'll hit a couple record stores along the way. Thanks to Kansas City, The Westport Saloon, and to you for reading!