Road Blog: Thursday June 14, 2018 - Fairport, NY
June 14, 2018
We left Gabriel’s a little after 10am and stopped and started our way through Detroit construction, across the Ambassador Bridge, and through Canadian customs in record time. No immigration, no questions other than nationality and destination, and we were on the 401. I’m normally the driver when we have to cross borders – not sure why – maybe I’m a better bullshitter or something, but it’s pretty easy when you have nothing to hide. That stretch of the 401 is brutal and seems to take longer every time. Flat farmland, a few windmills, and the occasional EnRoute rest area. We listened to Tyler Childers, The Carpenters, Valley Lodge, X (the band), 500 Miles To Memphis, and Devious Ones. We took a right at Woodstock, through Hamilton, and across the Niagara River just north of Niagara Falls.
Getting back into the States was a bit of a debacle. The guy at customs clearly had some agenda. He sat there analyzing our license plate for a long, awkward moment before he extended his hand for our passports. As soon as I admitted that we had “a few CDs and a couple records” he scowled and sent us into Immigration, mumbling something about some fee we were going to have to pay for crossing the bridge (that has no toll). We parked the van, got the stink-eye from the woman whose job it is to look at the little scrap of paper they give you, and went inside, feeling a little disgruntled about catching this level of shit when re-entering our own country. They were perplexed in there “You’re from Detroit? You were just passing through? Did you tell him that? Why did he send you in here?” I know, right? They were annoyed, but laughing, and stamped our scrap of paper without any delay and we were out of there in less than a minute. The official USA paper-looker was surprised as we handed her the scrap of paper (now branded with a red stamp) and we were on our way. It was stupid, but we’ve been through worse, and we were grateful to the guys in immigration for the quick resolution.
90 minutes later we were at our hotel, just south of Rochester, checked in, and getting ready for the early show. Traffic was a real bitch and it took us about 40 minutes to drive the 10 miles to the venue in Fairport. FairportBside is a small, square room with a small stage in the back corner, high-top tables, and a bar in an adjacent room with a bottle of Woodford Reserve Rye with my name on it on the top shelf. We met our sound-tech John and our waitress and had a good meal – the highlight of which (for me) were the buffalo chicken egg rolls. Between drinks and dinner, and after, we loaded in and set up. It was pretty clear from the start that volume was going to be an issue. We’ve played smaller rooms, but it’s been a while, and we’re not used to it. We had to tone way down. Patrick unplugged one of his cabs. Poor John wasn’t sure what to do with us for a bit there, but we worked it out together and ended up in a mutually agreeable place.
We played from just after 7 till just after 10 with a short break around 9. The crowd fluctuated throughout the night from just a few lonely souls to a fairly crowded room of dancers and drinkers. For the most part it was really fun. We were able to turn up a bit when there were some bodies to absorb the sound, we played pretty well, and people had fun. We had a request for The Monkees so we pulled Stepping Stone out of our collective asses and, considering we’d never even considered playing it, it was passable, and the onlookers appreciated the effort. One dude was on the dance floor talking to his buddy on his phone “These guys are cool – you need to get down here!” so I commandeered his phone (between songs, on stage) and had a little chat with the guy on the other end while the audience looked on, reiterating the sentiment that he should indeed join us. Not sure if he ever showed up or not. We made some new friends, like Erica and Elisabeth, another woman celebrating her birthday with a large group, and some other stragglers.
After the set we mingled for a bit, tore down, loaded out and headed back to the hotel, relatively early and sober, for a nice change. We watched some South Park, I finished off the last buffalo chicken egg roll from dinner, and we crashed out.
This morning it was breakfast at the hotel and a good long run though a nearby park and along the Lehigh Valley Trail, though some fields and woods, and back through the park. I crossed paths with an active little black squirrel and his neighbor, a feisty brown squirrel, who wasn’t happy about sharing his little corner of the woods with me. Can’t say I blamed him – he had things to do and I was chaosing his shit. Today we’re going to hit a couple record stores and head back towards Buffalo where we’ll play at Nietzsche's tonight with our buddies The Buffalo Brass Machine and our new pals The Alison Pipitone Band. Come on out Buffalo buddies!!!! Thanks to the Fairport B-Side, John, and all the revelers there – we’ll see ya next time!