Road Blog: Friday October 20, 2017 - Newport, KY
Road Blog – Newport, KY
October 20, 2017
We had a beautiful drive yesterday between Huntington, WV and Cincinnati along scenic highway AA. This is the route that our bartender in Huntington (Sierra) suggested. The road skirts the Ohio River and rolls, twists, and turns through West Virginia, then back and forth in and out of Ohio and Kentucky. The leaves were at about 50-60% color and the sky was blue. We haven't seen rain since we were in Kansas a week ago. Gabe was at the wheel as we listened to the new The Replacements live album, among other things. Spirits were high after the fun night in Huntington. Patrick was feeling better and we had nourishment from three consecutive meal stops at Sheetz.
Somewhere after Birmingham, Gabriel lost a leg for his kick drum. It's the metal rod that helps the big drum stay stable and prevents it from rolling away. We noticed it was gone as we were setting up in Huntington and had to shove a big flannel jacket under there to help keep it in place. It's not ideal, but it more or less does the trick. For these last few shows we're backlining the bass rig and drums, which means that all the bands use our drum kit, except for the cymbals, kick pedal and snare drum, and our bass rig, except for the bass guitar and pedals. We really want to have a solid kit to share, but it is what it is and we're managing. We hit Cincinnati around 3pm and went to Sam Ash Music, then Guitar Center in search of a replacement leg. No luck, but we fortunately got to hear a couple young metalheads work on their RUSH YYZ riffs at an ungodly volume with excessive treble, and a big hippie dude getting his Chili Peppers on with some crappy, ugly guitar. He looked longingly at his bored stiff girlfriend, who was feigning interest in his doodling, longing for her approval to lay down the $399 for that slab of Chinese plywood. We left before the verdict came in, before the drama unfolded, before the hammer came down. My guess is he left as empty handed as we did.
We checked into the hotel where we had an hour or so to kill, so I jumped in the pool in an attempt to get the blood flowing. It kinda worked for a while. We cleaned up and drove south, across the Ohio River one more time, into Newport, Kentucky and had dinner at Hofbrauhaus Newport – a giant German beer hall that is a franchise of the original in Munich. I got one of the pork Schnitzel dishes and it was pretty awesome. Patty made friends with the hostess. Gabe got some German beer sausage and a big mug of amber beer.
We got rock star parking at The Southgate House Revival and loaded in against the worst set of stairs we've seen in quite a while. There's not much that sucks more in this business than carrying amplifiers up flights of stairs. Actually, there are a few things that suck worse, but it's not fun. Patty likes to quote my wife TrooperGirl22 when I start whining and says "burn a calorie dude!" so I shut up and did my job. Our pals NP Presley & The Ghost of Jesse Garon ere playing the big room downstairs, opening for the Flaming Groovies, and we ran into NP Presley out in the parking lot. Big Kentucky hugs and war stories all around as we finished loading in. We set up, ordered whiskeys, talked to the local bands, and I went down to catch part of Nate's set before our show started. I saw Heather and Chandler and said hi before I got to hear their first 2 songs. Nate dedicated my favorite song – "Only Time Will Tell" – to me, which was super cool. I've never seen them in a room that big and they sounded HUGE. Heather's voice was absolutely powerful. I wish I could have seen the whole set, but I had to get upstairs.
There's three rooms at the SHR – the big room Nate and the Flaming Groovies were playing, a small lounge off to the side, and a small hall upstairs where our show was. It's a huge old church that's been converted into this entertainment complex, and has a very cool vibe. A few years ago it was the Thompson House, which is where the original Tommy Guns were made, but they split off, moved, and started the Southgate House as a separate thing. It's got so much character, really one of the coolest places.
Ben Knight and The Welldiggers went on a little after 9pm to a small crowd. They play some country/Americana with lots of space and great grooves. They did a cool cover of Neil Young's "Are You Ready for the Country?" We all enjoyed their set. We had a table from northern Ohio drive down for the show (thanks Dawn & Dan!) and a few other people there for our set, and we were beyond thrilled to see them, but after that it was a disappointing turnout for a Friday night show. Still, the sound was great, the stage was really cool, and the room sounded fantastic. We played pretty well and had fun up there. We knew that Dawn was coming so we learned her favorite song, "Barely All the Time" from our first record. We haven't played it since before Pat joined the band, but it was fun to dust that one off and it came out pretty good. Nate and Heather came in for a few songs, Chandler and Whitney too. After us, Lost Coast played a set of great rock/roots originals sandwiched between cool Tom Petty and Big Star covers. Their singer Josh plays a 12 string which gives them a nice jangly sound.
We loaded out, down those horrible stairs, settled up with the venue, said goodbye to the other bands and Nate and his band, and drove back to north of Cincinnati where our hotel is for the last two shows. We were disappointed in the turnout, but the Southgate House and the other bands treated us really well. It's a total class joint and these bands are great people. I talked to the booking agent there for a long time about the show, the venue, Detroit, and various other things. We hadn't met before. She's really sweet and we discussed how we'll handle the show next time. Still, no regrets – a fun night.
Tonight we're in Lexington for the last show of our tour. It's our favorite city to play, with a million friends. We're playing with Nate tonight, which will be a real treat. Best Friend Bar is a new venue for us. Can't wait!!!!