Road Blog: Thursday October 19, 2017 - Huntington, WV
Road Blog – Huntington, WV
October 19, 2017
We left our hotel in Birmingham, Alabama at 8am sharp, an hour that hits pretty hard when you're on the road, but we had at least 8 hours of travel time and would also lose an hour when we returned to the Eastern Time Zone, then an early load in in Huntington, WV, so we had to deal with it. I was at the wheel with Patrick riding shotgun, Gabriel in the back, and a Tom Waits playlist I'd assembled on the stereo. I like to take on the long hauls, not sure why. Pat was still reeling from the food poisoning he'd taken on the night before, but he procured coffees and scones from a nearby café, because there's nothing more rock and roll than scones. We made a quick stop for gas and drove northeast through Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. We hit a little traffic in Nashville and Lexington, but the drive went quickly, except for Pat, whose stomach was going through waves of sickness that eventually started to spread out. It was beautiful country, especially once we got on the Bluegrass Parkway south of Louisville, then east of Lexington as we approached the Big Sandy River and West Virginia.
We checked into our hotel just east of Huntington, West Virginia, and Pat wasted no time locking in on an episode of Little House on the Prairie, because there's nothing more rock and roll than Little House on the Prairie. I had to touch-base with Jeremy from Flat Tracker (the local band who booked the show), and also send Gabe (who was in a different room) an update, so I texted both...then realized that I'd sent Jeremy a text that said "Pat is watching Little House on the Prairie" that was intended for Gabe. Shit! I barely even know this dude and now he knows that we're watching Little House! Oh well, I owned it, and we texted a couple HaHas back and forth.
In full disclosure, I was engaged in the show too. Pa was caught up in some local political turmoil and being talked down to like some country simpleton, and the press was being manipulated by the railroad company and skewing the facts to suit their agenda, but Pa ain't no simpleton, and was speaking out loudly for the common man. Meanwhile, his oldest daughter Mary was engaged to some douchebag working for the same paper and Pa had that to deal with too. Somehow, despite the quagmire of chaos, everything ended up copacetic and things were ok on the farm. Then, by the grace of God, we got a second episode right after, but alas, we had to head into town for our show.
We drove to the venue, loaded in, met Jeremy and had another laugh about the Little House incident, and did a soundcheck. The V Club Night Club is a really cool room that is a big square with a bar in the middle, booths along the back wall, and a big stage in the corner. We met the owner/booker, the sound engineer, and our bartender Sierra. After that it was a quick meal at the Sheetz across the street – a glorified party store with made-to-order food that was actually decent. I guess it's the regional equivalent of Wawa on the East Coast. I got a burrito and it was really good! Back at the venue I changed the strings on my main Reverend Guitars because after a couple shows they get nasty and are more prone to break. These strings had at least 4 shows on them, and that's too many.
Jon Bassin and his band went on sometime after 8pm to a pretty thin crowd. He has a bassist and a dobro/strat player, and he played the acoustic and sang. He's a younger guy but has a big voice and the material was strong. They did some great originals and a couple classic covers, my favorite being Big Iron by Marty Robbins. Jon and his band (sorry boys, can't remember your names! HMU!) were super nice guys. He's from Grand Rapids, MI, so we bonded a bit over that after their set.
We played next and went up to just a few patrons who were glued to the bar, but as our set went on people were coming in and after a couple songs we had a decent bunch of faces in front of us. The sound was fantastic, we played well, and had a good time. The crowd was really appreciative and gracious. We finished up our set, tore down, sold some merch, and settled in to watch Flat Tracker. They took the stage to a pretty decent crowd and really tore it up. They had a bit of a Drive-By Truckers vibe, but that’s not to Pigeon-hole them. There was a good diversity to their set, with lyrics dealing with regional Appalachian themes and a cover of The PIXIES "Where Is My Mind." Jeremy is a great singer, no slouch on the Peavey Electronics guitar, and his band was totally solid and tight. We don't get to play with bands of that caliber every night, especially ones who are in our wheelhouse as far as style and genre, so it was a real pleasure watching them work. He threw us a jab from the stage about going back to our hotel and watching more Little House, and we got a great big laugh about it. Great dudes, great band.
After one more whiskey, some good conversation with several locals, and some more merch sales, we loaded out and headed back to the hotel, stopping at the Sheetz nearby for our second trip to that well, where I got the popcorn chicken with Spicy Asian sauce (on the side) and a 16oz Fat Tire ale. Gabe came down, we watched a little TV (no Little House), and eventually crashed out.
The night got a slow start but it picked up just fine and ended up being super fun. We made a lot of good friends, and I'm sure we'll be seeing these good people again. Chalk another one up and get ready for Newport, KY tonight, where we'll play with Lost Coast and Ben Knight and The Welldiggers at the The Southgate House Revival - one of the coolest venues in the Midwest. Hope to see our Cincy friends!