Road Blog: Friday March 16, 2018 - Fort Wayne, IN
March 16, 2018
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Our first overnight run of 2018 started at my place around 3:30pm when we met to load the van. Spirits were high - we were all excited to get back out on the road and kick things off at a new venue we’ve been working hard to get into for a long time. Gabriel drove through Ann Arbor, Toledo, Maumee, and into Indiana to the soundtrack of Van Morrison (Official), Slade, and The Screaming Females. We landed at our Airbnb around 6pm and got the tour. We had the basement of a nice big house in a newer neighborhood about 10 miles north of the city. Gabe took the back room while Patrick and I had pull-apart twin beds in the living room. There was plenty of space to stretch out and it was nice and clean. Our host is a nice guy who seemed excited to have us. After a quick bit of hygiene, we got back into the van and headed into Fort Wayne.
We pulled up next to The Brass Rail and went inside to take a look. This place is rock and roll. There’s a wrap-around bar that takes up most of the main floor with a deep but narrow stage towards the back. There are stickers covering most of the walls and cool painted murals back by the bathrooms of super heroes who “came to rock…” “and drink PBR!” We said hi to Tom, who was tending bar, and who I’ve known only online for a few years, then went outside and talked to the Raelyn Nelson Band for a minute.
We had high hopes for dinner, but the place we wanted to go wasn’t an easy walk in the cold, and we didn’t want to give up our primo parking spot next to the bar, so we settled on a nearby Arby's. We very rarely do fast food on the road, so this was an anomaly. It was decent though, and we had the fuel we needed for the long night ahead. From there it was back to the bar where we loaded in and ordered a round of drinks.
Pretty soon we met Kenny Taylor, who is the front-man for the opening band (KT3 – The Kenny Taylor Trio). He is a super nice guy with a rockabilly heart and many tales of playing Detroit with the Twistin' Tarantulas and others back in the day. He has nothing but great things to say about Detroit, and that was a refreshing twist from what we often hear. Soon his band showed up, including his son on stand-up-bass, and they got set up and ready to go. We set up our merch, ordered another round, and listened to The Replacements, Cheap Trick and Jawbreaker on the jukebox. My buddy Tom, who’s been chirping at us to get back to Fort Wayne for a long time, showed up and it was cool to see him and his pals too. I also saw my pal Mike from Flamingo Nosebleed, who confessed to playing The Replacements on the jukebox in our honor. Seeing old, familiar faces is always a highlight of these trips, and one of my favorite things about being on the road.
The KT3 went on shortly after 10 to a great room of people. They played some great rockabilly-surf. He is one hell of a guitarist and it’s no surprise that he teaches at the local Sweetwater Academy Of Music & Technology. They ended their set with Miserlou by Dick Dale & his Del-Tones and we set up to play. I got a new amp last month and I didn’t intend to incorporate it into my live rig, but as often happens, I couldn’t resist. It’s a little more effort to set up but I think it’s worth it. We played to a great room full of rowdy people who were there to see some rock and roll. They were loud and rambunctious and generous with their applause and we had a fantastic time playing for them. The sound was great – another anomaly for a club this size – and we felt that we played well. The new road rig sounded great and I’m starting to get acclimated to it.
After us The Raelyn Nelson Band set up and played into the early morning. She’s Willie Nelson’s granddaughter, but they are very much a rock and roll band. There’s some country in there too, sure, but they have great pop hooks against a rock beat and just enough swing to make it a bit `rootsy.` They played a couple covers including Portland, Oregon by Loretta Lynn Official, Ballroom Blitz by The Sweet, and a couple of Willie’s songs. They wrapped up around 2am. We took some photos, traded some merch, contact infos, and hugs, loaded out, and headed back north to our AirBnB. It was after 3:30am by the time I laid down. I was processing the great night we’d had through the ringing in my ears, and eventually crashed out.
This morning I was up early, around 7:30am, with a pounding head, wicked dry cough, and sinuses draining like the Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I think my issues were about 25/75 Hangover/Cold-Allergies. I couldn’t get back to sleep so I got up, took some medicine and a long shower, and I’m doing much better now, thank you. Still pretty snotty and dealing with that cough, but a clearer head that is ready for some coffee.
Last night was incredible. We don’t have the luxury of nights like that all the time, so we don’t take it for granted. The Brass Rail is a great dive bar in all the best ways. The staff there were super nice to us and it’s a fantastic place to see live music. Huge thanks to them and to The Raelyn Nelson Band and KT3 as well for being great to work and hang out with. We’ll see ya out there!
Today we’ve got a special tour of the Sweetwater music complex scheduled, which has my wife TrooperGirl22 a bit nervous, expecting me to come home with a new Gold-top Les Paul. Then it’s up to Grand Rapids were we’ll play an early set at Kuzzins Lounge to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. We’re on early, like 7:30, so get there by then to see us!
Thanks Fort Wayne! You were wonderful! Xo