Road Blog: Saturday October 12, 2019 - Omaha, NE
October 12, 2019
We had a leisurely morning at our hotel then headed North through Kansas City towards Omaha. Just as we were getting out of the city a big bald eagle flew over the van, which was pretty awesome. We stopped for gas near St. Joseph, Missouri and I succumbed to one of my guilty pleasures – gas station taquitos (sometimes called a tornado, torpedo, or various other things based on the chain). Gabriel rolled his eyes and shook his head in disappointment as he passed by.
As we drove into Iowa towards Council Bluffs we were astonished at the flooding. There were roads, houses, semi trailers and farms all under water. It was cool to see giant flocks of white pelicans, common to this area, but the devastation was sad. We crossed into Nebraska and pulled into our Airbnb in Ralston, just south of Omaha. It’s a nice two-bedroom, three-bed cottage in a hilly neighborhood. It was a beautiful day, the sun was out, and we had a couple hours to kill so I changed some guitar strings, made a cup of instant oatmeal that our host provided, and went for a walk. I was nearly mauled by a vicious black lab and the other neighborhood dogs were equally annoyed by my presence.
We headed into the city and hit a record store called Homer's Record Stores They’re carrying our records now so stop in if you’re in Omaha! From there we went to Ground Floor Guitar and checked out some cool vintage amps and guitars. We left empty handed, and drove the venue. The Barley Street Tavern is in the Benson District of Omaha – lots of bars, shops and restaurants. We had dinner at the nearby Benson Brewery which was really good and walked back to the bar for load in.
The Barley Street Tavern has a band room and a bar room with a window in the wall so you can order drinks from either side. It’s not a big place, but it’s not tiny, with a sort of dive-bar vibe. We talked to the staff, met opener Gerald Lee Jr., closers The Broke Loose, ordered up beers and did a line check. Gerald went on around 9:15 and played a solid set of solo-electric Americana. His voice was reminiscent of Jay Farrar, not a bad thing by any stretch, and his songs and posture reminded us of our pal Brian Raleigh back home. He held his guitar and went at the mic the same sort of way. We played next. The crowd was thin for a bit but a nearby concert wrapped up and a bunch more people came in. As we were nearing the end we had dancers and shots coming to the stage. Poor little Josephina took a tumble during “Bottled Regrets” and twisted her ankle pretty bad. She spent the next hour elevating it in the bar room, laughing, and getting one-handed ankle massages from her girlfriend, the other hand precariously grasping a Coors light. She took it all in stride, we had a nice chat, and she was back out dancing an hour later.
The Broke Loose went on after us. Super nice guys with good gear and a set of great songs behind them. They came out smoking – tight as hell, and dialed in right away. It was a great set and we’ve made some new friends that we’ll be seeing again down the road somewhere, sometime. We had a nightcap or two, loaded out, said our goodbyes, and went back to our AirBnB cottage where I devoured what was left of my black & bleu burger before crashing out somewhere around 3am.
We have a long drive today, 8 hours to Denver. Our plan was to get up at a painful 8am. I rolled over and looked at my phone and my alarm had been going off for 40 minutes but the volume was down or something so we never heard it. We took some quick showers, threw the luggage in the van and hit the road. We’re heading west on I80 as I type this, lost in the endless miles of tan corn fields that go on forever. We’re listening to the new David Picco Music record, and I’ve got a steaming hot cup of McDonalds coffee next to me, served with a blank, empty stare by a rosy-cheeked kid who dryly proclaimed that I have good taste in music. “Huh?” I said, ears ringing, and a little surprised at the idle chatter. “Heavy Metal” he said, pointing at my “Heavy Metal Heart” leather pin (by Vanessa Jean Speckman). “Oh, right on dude – Up The Irons!” I said as I flashed him the devil horns. “ Black Veil Brides is my favorite band.” He said in his dull monotone. “Sweet.” I said awkwardly, pretending like I know anything about that band. Somehow the interaction stuck with me, and I wondered what his life is like. Was he partying with his friends and listening to records last night? Do his McDonalds paychecks go to his digital metal music library? Does his girlfriend tolerate his noisy tastes while she drags him to the Ariana Grande concert? Well, whatever lies in store, Godspeed dude – live your life and kick it in the ass!
It’s been many years since I’ve been in Nebraska. We had fun last night and the tour rolls on. Thanks to The Broke Loose, Gerald Lee, The Barley Street Tavern and Josephina. See ya tonight Denver! Free show at 3 Kings Tavern, doors at 8pm, music at 9, The Born Readies, JP & The Tucos, Television Generation!