Road Blog: Saturday September 22, 2018 - Mankato, MN
September 22, 2018
We had a super chill day at our hotel in Rochester. We had the luxury of using the hotel as a base for both Minnesota shows, which meant we could just lounge all day, and we’d be an hour and a half closer to home on Sunday, but also meant that we’d have a 90-minute drive after the Mankato show back to Rochester. David and Patrick ran a couple errands with the van, I went for a good run down a great bike path to a nature preserve, we hung out the pool some, and got some rest and relaxation. We were a bit sluggish as we were preparing to head towards Mankato for the show, so I cranked up the Ozzy channel on SiriusXM and Jusdas Priest, Sammy Hagar, and Black Sabbath had us motivated in no time. We hit highway 14 West and arrived in Mankato around 7pm.
The Pub 500 is a nice bar-restaurant right in the heart of downtown Mankato. We played there a couple years ago and, while it’s not our typical comfort-zone venue, it’s a good stop for a few reasons – great people and food, good hospitality, and a college-town bar that is supportive and welcoming to road bands. The stage is a small, carpeted riser in the corner, and they have tables there during the day, so we got some food and waited for the area to clear. The owner came over and chatted with us for a while about this and that. He was well aware of my bathroom photo series #rockandrollrestrooms and made sure to remind me that they were the first bar in the world to offer a pregnancy test vending machine in the women’s room. It’s all around reducing fetal-alcohol syndrome, and they’ve received press from all over the place and some national TV coverage about it too. He arranged with our server to get me in there for my photo when the coast was clear. The food was great, my favorite part being the poutine appetizer with pulled pork.
Before long we loaded in and set up. Like I said, it’s not our typical type of venue so we had to keep the volume a bit in check. Once again my Spaceman Saturn V boost pedal was giving me fits and it looks like I’m for sure going to have to get it serviced now. I had to play the set without it, which was a bummer, but would have been a much bigger deal in a bigger room. The crowd was thin for most of the night but there was some fluctuation and we had faces in front of us for the duration. One lady, Jean, was a transplant from the Twin Cities, and she was front and center and loving it, and at one point a bachelorette party came it so we played our song Wedding Day for the bride-to-be. Kinda ironic if you know the lyrics to that one. Anyhow, the response from around the big room was good and we felt good on stage and had fun playing to the people who were there.
After our set, somewhere after midnight, we loaded out, did a shot with the staff, and said our goodbyes. Just as we were leaving, a couple people who were at our Rochester show on Friday showed up, disappointed that we’d already finished. It was nice to see them and to hear that they’d been rocking our CDs all day. Patty contemplated some slices for the road but I talked him out of it, saying we’d hit Taco Johns on our way back to the freeway. If you don’t know Taco Johns, it’s a sort-of variation on Taco Bell, and we passed on one in Ames on Thursday, and I’d had the hankering ever since. Well, the sucker was closed so poor Patty had to go bed hungry, not letting me forget that I owed him a slice. I’ll make it up someday. The drive back was uneventful, but a bit longer than you’d like after playing for three hours. A straight stretch through corn fields and dairy farms under a three-quarter moon. Patty did good, I fought the nods, and we had a few laughs.
Lights out around 2:30am, with a 7:30 lobby call, and those few hours of sleep went by fast. We wanted to get home at a decent time to see the wives and kids and also because I’m flying out to Europe tomorrow for some work stuff. We gobbled down some hotel buffet breakfast and coffee and hit the freeway out of Rochester, through Lacrosse and Madison Wisconsin, Rockford and Chicago, Illinois, and we just crossed the Michigan line a couple minutes ago. I got us to Indiana and Patty had to disable his Allstate Good Driver App while I was driving because the thing was lighting up like a Christmas tree with all of my violations. We stopped or gas and Patty took over at the wheel and as soon as we ht Michigan the roads turned to shit and we’re doing our best to avoid potholes and craters. Please forgive any typos as this keyboard is a moving target.
It's been a good run, some fun shows, and good times. It looks like Gabriel will be back on the drums for our UK tour coming up in a couple weeks, so we’re saying so-long and big thanks to David, who came in on very short notice, learned three hours of music, played his ass off like he’d been in the band forever, and was loads of fun to travel with. It wasn’t long before we were telling dirty jokes and carrying on liker dudes in a van will. We’re obviously really happy to welcome Gabe back, and no one deserved to be on the UK run more than him, but Dave really gets a lot of accolades for taking time away from his family and helping us through these shows and making it pretty much painless. Cheers buddy – we’ll be seeing you around for sure. Xo